Liberia: New Deputy Defense Minister Threatened to Kill Protestors Shortly Before His Appointment


MONROVIA – President George Weah has appointed the man who threatened to “kill” would-be protestors of the ‘Weah Step Down Campaign’ and critics of Pres. Weah as Deputy Minister of Defense for Operations.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected] and Obediah Johnson, [email protected]

He was named to the position over the weekend, despite holding American citizenship.

Few days preceding to his appointment, Mr. Tarplah Z. Davis, went live on Facebook and openly expressed his disgust for critics of the President and planners of protest in Liberia.

He reduced the constant protests happening in Liberia for various reasons as a strategy by the protestors to loot and destroy properties in Liberia and make the government appear ugly to the international community.

In the live video session, he promised to defend the government of President Weah, his family and others with plans intended to thwart or go against the Liberian Constitution.

“The symbol of everything that I have worked for personally is in Liberia. And I told people, anybody tries my property, I will kill them. I have said it and will continue to say it openly,” he stated.

He added: “I, Zoely Zoe or Tarplah Z. Davies, will never ever sit down in this America when Henry Costa and his likes who are thinking about covertly overthrowing the Government of Liberia and thinking about looting the resources of our country. When they carry out their wicked plan, I will not sit in this America and witness my country in chaos. I will defend my properties, I will defend my government and people, I will defend my family and do everything possible to ensure that those people who have their devilish intention of trying to subvert the Constitution, their plans are reverted and the Constitution will take over. 

“I will never even accept any undemocratic removal of President George Manneh Weah. If it causes me to risk my life, I will do so.” 

Questions over Citizenship

FrontPageAfrica did not get comments from Mr. Davies concerning his citizenship. However, he is a ranking officer in the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2019. To join the army in the United States, one must be either a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident in the U.S.

Liberia’s Alien and Nationality Law does not recognize individuals who have served in the army of another country as a citizen of Liberia.

In their recent dual citizenship bill, the Liberian Senate recommended that “A natural-born citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country but shall not qualify for elected positions and the following appointed positions: Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia; Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers; all heads of Autonomous Commissions, Agencies and Non-Academic/Research/Scientific Institutions and Ambassadors.” 

Though Senate’s proposition is yet to become law, eyebrows are raising over how the Senate would handle the confirmation of Mr. Davis for reasons relating to his threat and his citizenship.

A Senator who spoke to FPA on the basis of anonymity said, “It is true that our proposal is not law yet. However, we cannot be asking for something or making a particular recommendation and start making decisions that are contrary to that recommendation. I hope my colleagues would be very considerate of our recommendation on dual citizenship before confirming any of those being appointed by the President, henceforth.”

The Acarous Gray Factor

Davis is a loyalist to President Weah and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). His appointment, despite the threats he issued on Facebook to citizens who differ with the ruling establishment does not come as a surprise.

Last week, Montserrado County District 8 Representative, Moses Acarous Gray, posted to his Facebook page, “Mr. President and my brother, you are indeed President for all Liberians but the writings are on the wall that we must weed out the traitors and bring in competent and qualified loyalists who are patriotic too. No matter what you do you will be demonized by your haters. Haters are haters my brother.”

“The symbol of everything that I have worked for personally is in Liberia. And I told people, anybody tries my property, I will kill them. I have said it and will continue to say it openly.”

– Tarplah Z. Davis, Deputy Minister of Defense-designate, Liberia

“Enemy Combatant”

There are also rising concerns about open disgust for members of the opposition block and radio talk-show host Henry Costa who is widely known for being a critic of the government and the lead organizer of the December 30 ‘Weah Must Step Down’ protest.

According to Davis, state security must arrest Costa upon his arrival in Liberia and treat his as an “enemy combatant”.

He said among other things, “The Government of Liberia should grab him before unveiling the indictment and send him somewhere far; let no one know wherever he is. Let his lawyers come. Treason and sedition are non-bailable offenses. Send him anywhere and prosecute him.” 

Mr. Davies called on security authorities not to take lightly assertions being made by citizens in Liberia and in the diaspora.

He wants stringent or tougher actions to be taken against critics of the Liberian government.

“People say talk is free but as a security expert I do not consider talk to be free. Talk is not free and those who’re in government should make him [Costa] to pay for it. That talk is not free, that talk is expensive and he must pay for it. That’s what I want for y’all who work for government watching to make him to pay for it so that we cannot have three, four, five, six or a million Henry Costa in the streets disrespecting the rule of law,” he said.

Threat to Diaspora Liberians

Davis barrage of threats were not limited to Costa or members of the protestors, he also involved Liberians in the diaspora. He warned that those engaged in denigrating the image of the government are “risking their own lives”.

He said: “I want to tell anybody who thinks that you can sit in America like the like of Henry Costa to destroy Liberia and declare war on the state, I think you are joking and risking your own life because you will not have that environment and the opportunity to live in luxury because of the inter-connectivity of Liberians in the diaspora.”

“Game of sitting down in a little box and just discrediting the President and government in Liberia is an old game. People are trying to tarnish the image of government by finding old, old photos, like Henry Costa.”

Opposition Labelled As ‘Warring Faction’

The Collaborating Opposition Political Parties (CPP) in the newly appointed Deputy Defense Minister’s view is a warring faction which has remain mute on unfolding issues that are contrary to the Constitution.

“All the so-called collaborating political parties-they are warring fraction now. No body loot my house and live in America in peace. Nobody will loot my house at anybody instruction and they will live in America in peace or anywhere in the world they go. You know how I suffered for my place? You know how many countries in the world I have been to, to suffer for and get what I got in Liberia?”

He insinuated that opposition leader Mr. Benoni Urey’s Woki Farms is being used as training ground for mercenaries for the upcoming protest.

A Cause for Concern

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica on Davi’s appointment and his open threat to members of the opposition, Mr. Mohammed Ali of the Collaborating Opposition Collaborating Parties called on the Liberian Senate to see all necessary reasons not to confirm him.

Ali intimated that the appointment violates the Constitution of Liberia and the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia, owing to the fact that Davis had served the U.S. Army.

Mr. Ali contended that people appointed to high ranking position at various state security agencies like the Defense Ministry are not to openly express their political views.

“This is a man who has never hidden his loyalty to the CDC and President Weah, and then he comes out to threaten citizens of Liberia and yet he is appointed to the Defense Ministry. We cannot take professionalism from the army. It is our hope that the Liberian Senate will not confirm this man not only because he is not a Liberian citizen, but also because he is a partisan issuing threats against other citizens,” Mr. Ali said.