‘We Want Justice for Missing Containers’ – Say Musicians Who Sang “Bring Our Containers Back”
Paynesville – Despite an arrest, over-night incarceration and subsequent release of one of the musicians, who sang the newest hit song on the streets, “Bring our Containers Back,” Augustine Ford said they are not frightened by alleged censorship from state security.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
The ‘Bring Our Containers Back’ song done by Augustine, who goes by the stage name, AFo4Doe, and his friend, Skinny boy Kpanto, criticized the past and present governments’ handlings of the alleged missing moneys and corruption in the country.
In an interview with FrontpageAfrica, AFo4Doe, the producer and one of the rappers in the song, said their song is a way of documenting the accounts of the country’s missing containers of moneys.
“We always let things to pass by, especially money issues in our country can just die and no one can talk about it. This is not the first time that money is not accounted for.
“However, this time around we won’t only talk about this issue, but it will also be recorded through music since we are musicians. We will talk about it through our songs even if the government doesn’t give account, a record will be there,” he said.
The local musician narrated that their music, which is taking the city by storm, is not for any particular group with some ulterior motive nor is it against this administration; adding: “But it for the masses who want the missing containers of money back.”
He said he and his friends find it hard why anyone would be against the song, jibing that those against the song are those who stole the money from the containers and so hearing it being sung in song makes them angry.
“If you love the song you want justice and you want the money come back to develop the country,” he added.
The song is done in local English, otherwise known as ‘Lib colloquial’ for Liberians without formal education, too, to easily understand all the discussions surrounding the alleged missing containers and bags of moneys.
A noticeable area of the local English is where the musicians are using ’40-feet container’ instead of ’40-foot container.’
In the song, the singers did not put much emphasis on the money coming back but their emphasis is on the authority bringing the containers back.
“We don’t want to say bring our money back, because we believe that they have eaten that money ever since. So, we are telling them to bring the containers back because when we see the containers, then we will believe that actual money was in it and we will ask them for evidence.”
According to him, they are prepared to do more songs as a way of protest if nothing concrete is done in the investigation.
“We won’t go to streets to protest but rather use the song to educate and speak truth to our leaders. Music doesn’t die and in 20 or 30 years, if another container is missing, this song will be played again,” he stated.
Speaking about his arrest and subsequent incarceration, AFo4Doe narrated that by 1:30 am on Sunday, September 23, he was arrested right at the main intersection just a stone’s throw from President George Weah’s official residence on Rehab Road by police officers.
“I’m still trying to understand why I was arrested when I did nothing wrong. Kpanto and I, the other guy who raps on the song, were heading towards my house when the police assigned at the President’s house junction stopped the bike. We were stopped for what they claimed was a violation,” he explained.
According to him, while in the process of appealing for the release of the bike, one of the police officers asked who he was and upon identifying himself as a musician and the producer of the song about the alleged missing money, the officers began insulting him for making the song. He stated that he told the officers their utterances to him and his colleagues were unnecessary and unprofessional.
He further stated how arguments broke out and when his friend noticed that things began to get out of hand, he (Kpanto) took to his heel and was chased after by some of the officers, who didn’t catch him and he was left alone there and was arrested and jailed for the night.
According to him, he had heard how the police officers had a report circulating that they (he and Kpanto) were intoxicated and behaved rudely; adding: “This is totally made up.”
“The first thing, they lied by saying the arrest was made in front of the President’s House when it was not. They arrested me at the President’s house junction which is far away from the actual house.”
According to AFo4doe, his arrest began really forceful when he began to video record the arguments on his mobile phone.
“When I refused to hand the phone in order for them to delete the video, the police officer who started the insult ran to me and started to squeeze my hand to get the phone but he was unable.
“When the pains were becoming unbearable, I gave the phone to Kpanto to run with it. Unfortunately, they were able to get hold of the phone after it dropped from him when they were chasing after him. They deleted the video; however, since I was online, the video was not completely deleted,” AFo4doe added.
After deleting the video, the officers decided to arrest me for trying to record them and took me to the station and placed me behind bars.
Meanwhile, AFo4Doe has threatened to sue the two police officers, who he accused of assaulting him during his arrest. According to him, their assault resulted in body pains.
He said the officers violated his rights and the arrest and subsequent incarceration were meant to disgrace him.
AFo4Doe, who is also the manager for Holy Records, said the pains inflicted on him won’t go free.
He said the arrest has made his team stronger and will not be deterred in spite of manhandling by police officer that resulted to his shirt ripping Sunday night.
Meeting with the #BringBackOurMoney protest planners on Sunday, September 23rd at a local hotel, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue confirmed the arrest, incarceration and release of the Ford.
Some members of the protest group had panicked that state security officers had begun to crackdown on anyone planning to take part in the protest.
But in that Sunday meeting, during which the Liberian government finally gave the go-ahead for the protesters to gather peacefully, the Police Chief clarified that AFo4Doe was not arrested because of his making of the ‘Bring Our Containers Back’ song but rather that he had broken the ban on bike plying the street after certain hour of the night.