Liberia: ‘Anti-Poverty Group’ Threatens Lawsuit against Dillon, Ali for ‘Defamation’
Monrovia – A group calling itself ‘The Plebeians- Common People of Liberia,’ has threatened court actions against Abraham Darius Dillon and Mohammed (Mo) Ali for “spreading falsehood against them.”
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh – 00231880881540 / 00231777769531 [email protected]
Darius Dillon is the Vice Chairman for Political Affairs of the opposition Liberty Party, while Mo Ali is the Assistant Secretary-General of the former ruling party — Unity Party.
According to officials of the group, Dillon and Ali, without permission and on separate occasions shared a promotional video their organization had previously uploaded on Facebook and changed the original caption to “hate messages,” and this negatively impacting their organization.
In a press statement issued on Monday, the group gave a 48-hour ultimatum to Dillon and Ali to apologize for their actions or risk being sued.
“This action by Mr. Dillon and Mr. Ali has further destroyed our good image with our partners in and out of Liberia. Our partners have withheld their support until the matter is resolved. A strangulation that have watered down the commoners and have placed a stigma or dark cloud over our institution,” the group said in a statement read by its spokesperson, Barsee W. Freeman.
“We want to use this medium to give Mo Ali and Abe Darius Dillon a 48-hour ultimatum to unconditionally apologize firstly to the ‘Common People’ of Liberia, and then to ‘The Plebeians’ organization in order to restore our lost image.”
Responding, Mr. Ali, did not deny or agree to the allegation, but said he owes ‘no apology’ to the group and that they should go to court.
Dillion said: “My official response is that I am waiting for their lawsuit. And I will not retract my statements I posted on my page.”
What’s in the video?
According to the group, the video captioned a segment of its physical fitness exercise involving 175 applicants with the aim of selecting qualified individuals for possible employment by a security firm called Secrite Incorporated.
The exercise, the group said which includes warm-up, sit-ups, push-ups and runs took place at a public beach in Monrovia.
The group further noted that an agreement was reached with Secrite Incorporated on February 22, 2019 wherein the firm will “absorb 350 of the common people of Liberia for possible employment where later they would be sent to the Liberia National Police Academy for basic initial training.”
Qualified applicants must be high school graduates or above, age 18-35, proof of nationality and legal status and good health and must be physically fit.
To show a proof of transparency, the group added that it posted the physical fitness exercise on Facebook on March 12, 2019 with the caption: “The Plebeians: Common People of Liberia is committed in supporting President Weah’s Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. By all means, we will ask private companies to help employ our people. Secrite Security has promised to employ 350 common people into their company.”
Two days later, on March 14, 2019, the group alleged that Mo Ali posted the same video with a new caption which read: “They are now forming a private army, one of the hallmarks of a dictator.”
The group, in the statement further noted that this was followed by Dillon’s post with another “inciteful message.”
“Dark day again!!!! I hope well-meaning Liberians home and abroad are following this latest foolishness been done by the CDC/ Weah gov’t. I hope the UN the US gov’t, AU, EU, ECOWAS and our other development partners are monitoring the CDC/Weah gov’t.
“This video clip shows CDC training militias in the name of Common People Defense Army. They plan to take them to the National Police Academy for training for the purpose of arming them with deadly weapon. I believe very strongly that this militia group hiding under the cover of private security is being trained to target critical opposition and other perceived haters of the current administration.”
The group claimed that its intentions are cleared and such inflammatory statements on social media by two key opposition figures have the propensity to derail the peace and create panic among the citizens and residents of Liberia.
The group noted that the history of Liberia is replete with such negative propagandas that led to the April 14, 1979 rice riot eventually the overthrowing of the Tolbert-led government and the death of 12 of Tolbert’s officials. The group boosted of creating over 1000 jobs for the common people and vowed to be in the vanguard of supporting the Weah administration’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, at the same time maintaining its independence as a non-profit nongovernmental organization.