By Jefferson Togba
Whether educated, military junta, politically inclined or not. They all behave the same. They will kill you whenever when they have doubts even though they publicly endorsed and praised your contributions. In secret they regret your inclusion.
Be it an autocrat, democrat government in power there have been mysterious and targeted deaths for political reasons. In more cases, the leadership in power wants to be the only valid actors not oppositions or critical views. In or outside government you’re target for being opinionated. They even killed their trusted confidant and security officers. They came together but greed eliminated them unnoticed. They studied and struggled together yet the key power holders do not valued their paths.
The frequent targeted acts of politically motivated and mysterious death of Liberians are totally unacceptable.
This is the most senseless exercise of power and authority entrusted to leaders and their cohorts.
We have seen and experienced mysterious and extraordinary killings in every administration. This has been common characters and habits of political leaders in power. When they are in power pretend to talk for you. However, I chose to discuss 1979 -2023.
We were of the hope that the more democratic, multiparty system and digital transparency operated in, the better accountable and judiciary independent the rule of law would be.
That has not been the case. Justice has never been given to victims least their families.
THE DOE’S PRESIDENCY
Previously, only the male descendants of Americo-Liberians have had the right to vote and could be head of government and top officials.
Many indigenous Liberians changed their family names if not their entire names to be accommodated in government and in an effort to obtaining foreign scholarships opportunities.
Doe known absolutely nothing about government functionality besides an arm leading few men. How did he became head over well qualified and educated Generals?
The government of Liberia and 100 Guinean troops suppressed the demonstration on April 14-15, 1979, resulting in the deaths of at least 40 individuals. That demonstration caused the Legislature to grant President Tolbert emergency powers for twelve months. The Guinean troops withdrew from the country on May 15, 1979.
In December of 1979, Mr. Gabriel B. Matthews founded the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).
In few months, a military coup was launched under the leadership of Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe. President Tolbert was killed by Doe and member of the Krahn ethnic group on April 12, 1980. Barely month into the military regime thirteen members of the Tolbert administration were executed on 22 April 1980.
These men were politically targeted under the disguised of being corrupt.
They were tied and placed on firing squad publicly before hundreds of citizens predominantly by Doe People’s Redemption Council (PRC) shouting native women born soldiers congo women bore criminals/rogues.
Remember, the cheering soldiers were elite and inner circles to president Doe ethnic group and closest associates in the army.
The regime justified their deaths as clearing corruption in government. Yet President Doe rated most corrupt during his presidency.
Mr. Doe spent 10 days as head of state before executing those 13 men through a quasi military court martial.
The PRC executed four other individuals on April 17, 1980 before those 13 permanent and senior government officials on April 22, 1980.
The PRC declared martial law, and suspended the constitution on April 25, 1980. Three days after the government politically motivated execution.
The United States government provided military assistance to the PRC from 1980 to 1989 and mobilized naval ships and troops in the area President Doe needed support between April 1 through May 10, 1981.
From May 29-30, 1981 thirteen military personnel were executed for their involvement in a military rebellion.
Another attempted military rebellion led by Major General Thomas Weh Syen on August 8-10, 1981 was circumvented.
Then On August 14, 1981, Major General Weh Syen and four other members of the PRC were executed for their involvement after facing court martial they were once a part of.
Doe military regime suppressed yet another rebellion on November 21, 1983, and 13 individuals were sentenced to death for their involvement on April 5, 1984. Many referred 1983 as Nimda Raid.
These individuals were court martial Commissioned by PRC. President Doe repealed the death sentences for 10 of the 13 individuals on April 7, 1984. A new constitution was approved in a national referendum held on July 3, 1984.
Dr Amos C Sawyer as appointed as national Constitution Committee.
The PRC was formally dissolved on July 21, 1984, and the ban on political party was lifted on July 26, 1984.
The government again prevented rebellion on August 19, 1984. Government troops suppressed demonstrations in Monrovia on August 22, 1984, resulting in the deaths of 16 individuals.
President Doe survived an attempted assassination on April 1, 1985, and Lt. Colonel Moses M.D Flanzamaton was executed for his involvement on April 7, 1985.
The PRC experienced more attempted rebellion then any regime in Liberia’s modern political history.
Legislative elections were held on October 15, 1985, and the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) Mr. Doe’s party won 51 out of 64 seats in the House of Representatives.
The Liberian Action Party (LAP) won eight seats in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Doe of the NDPL was elected president with 51% of the vote on October 15, 1985, and he was inaugurated as president on January 6, 1986.
The opposition political parties claimed election fraud. The PRC government did not care neither listen.
Between November 12-15,1985,Brigadier General Thomas Quiwonkpa led an unsuccessful military coup resulting in the deaths of several Liberian.
On March 16,1986, a formidable political opposition coalition of three was formed to unseat the incumbency of NDPL government-the Liberian Action Party (LAP), Liberian Unification Party (LUP), and Unity Party (UP).
In August 1986, the government lifted the ban on the United People’s Party (UPP) led by former Foreign Minister Gabriel B. Matthews.
The government suppressed a military rebellion led by General Nicholas Podier on July 13, 1988, resulting in the deaths of ten individuals. All these deaths were investigated before court martial.
THE TAYLOR’S ’s PRESIDENCY
Like President Doe, Mr. Taylor has been accused of horrible acts of cruelty and depravity during his revolution and Presidency.
Though political arrival was through the barrel of the GUN supported by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf humanitarian efforts.
He defeated his primary sponsor-Johnson-Sirleaf in a very special election. Mr. Taylor minimal international recognition and cut off by power nations.
In 1997, a leading political figure Mr. Samuel Dokie, a member of the Unity Party that supported Taylor’s chief rival in the July special presidential election, was found dead with his wife and bodyguard after being detained by police in central Liberia, Taylor’s stronghold Gbarnga.
Mr. Dokie was the former Deputy Speaker of Liberia’s Transitional Assembly during the power sharing.
Although several Special Security Services (S.S.S) allegedly involved were charged with the murders. All of them were released. Even the SSS boss, Benjamin Yeaten was temporarily removed from his duties, he remains in charge of the presidential guard. The president set up investigation team but no outcome.
In 2000, President Taylor announced the abrupt and mysterious death of his Vice President and rebel brother Enoch Dogolea. The cause of death remains serious mysterious to date.
There were many mysterious and unaccounted extrajudicial killings during Taylor’s Presidency. Most presidency in Liberia experienced mysterious deaths.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration was no exception like her predecessors. Taylor’s era assumingly engaged with more Mysterious deaths. Remember he was a rebel leader and judgements was by execution.
He is imprisoned for 50 years in the United Kingdom for everything.
THE JOHNSON-SIRLEAF’S PRESIDENCY
Some have more confidence in madam Johnson-Sirleaf because she’s a woman. In Women, they feel they are less corruptible. She announced and declared-corruption public enemy number- in her 2006 inaugurate speech.
She fooled and lied consistently. Small light today ;big light tomorrow. She could not even electrify Monrovia in 12 years.
Again, she downsized qualified and competent Liberian to upsized her associates that turned out to be named-corrupt vampires. She promised small government but effective and efficient.
That did not happen. She established four antigraft (the General Auditing Commission, Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, Internal Audit Agency, Financial intelligence Agency)to make citizens believe her fight against corruption and any corrupt officials. Yet another glorious deception.
The Public Procurement and Concessions Commission laws were violated as well as 25 years TRC recommendation ban for keys actors like herself from participating in elected positions and public offices among others.
Furthermore, the code of conduct was flagrantly violated. Her administration concurrently signed 68 agreements. Out those agreements only six was in compliance with the LAW. Worst among those are the AMP and Mittal steel agreements. 25 years each.
In 2006, the newly-appointed S.S.S director attorney Chris Massaquoi bodyguard “alias Silver J” was brutally murdered. There were shootout and what caused it remained a mysterious.
They voted for the rule of law but to no avail. Committee was Commissioned but absolutely nothing to report. Interestingly, people knew cause of death before his funeral and burial.
But actual cause behind the shootout was never provided. We don’t know his death was one of those many fiasco and upset.
In 2009,Keith Jubah Chairman of the Public Procurement Concessions Commission (PPCC) was brutally murdered. This shocked everyone because he was the president trusted aide. How and why reason remains unknown to the administration and generally to the public.
In 2011, at least one person was killed at Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) headquarters after riot police fired tear gas and live rounds to disperse hundreds of supporters of Ellen’s main challenger Cllr Winston Tubman on the eve of presidential election.
A presidential security guard named George Williams was shot dead at the president residence in the city of Ganta Nimda during the president upcountry trip.
Some sources and eye’s witnesses reported four persons. Even though, at first, the Johnson-Sirleaf government denied the death when news broke and categorically refuted the use of live bullets to disperse protesters. This came back to be true with one confirmed death.
In 2013, a former presidential candidate in 1997 and key political figure in Liberia, Fayiah Saah Gbollie was gruesomely murdered. To date, neither the Ministry of Justice nor the Liberia National Police has investigated and established how and why Mr. Gbollie was killed.
In 2014 ,during protests over the quarantine of Ebola virus, a 16-year-old Shacki Kamara was shot in the legs by security forces-the arm forces of Liberia. He died the next day of blood and fluid loss.
In 2015, Attorney and whistleblower Michael Allison, A consultant hired by the National Legislature to craft the new oil law was found dead on the beach and nobody knows what may have been responsible for his death. Even though, an autopsy was done cause of death was not sustentive.
However, after his death, the Government of Liberia said through the Ministry of Justice announced that he had fake identify and could have been prosecuted if alive.
He was hired for consultancy by the National Legislature so how his identity becomes fake? Is it because the Attorney was a whistleblower and dead where he couldn’t no longer speak?
Similarly, in 2016, Harry Greaves, Jr former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company(LPRC) yet another trusted confidant to president Johnson-Sirleaf was mysteriously murdered. He last visited the RLJ resort to attend a business meeting.
Evidences from the facility CCTV and others records revealed he checked in but whether he ever checked out and how he disappeared from the premises was unbelievably mind blowing mysterious.
There were no trace of his exist. This was a broad day suspicious and dishonesty at the highest level. The RLJ resort and government failed to account his exist.
Mr. Greaves was found dead on the beach behind the fence of the Executive Mansion ground barely three days after he went missing from the RLJ Kendija Hotel, off the Robertsfield Highway.
Record shows he signed in but no evidence to indicate if he ever left the hotel premises. How did he get missing physically for more than 72 hours when his lifeless body was found behind the executive Mansion on the beach?
THE WEAH’S PRESIDENCY
President Weah is absolutely no different madam Johnson-Sirleaf his political maker. Ever since 5 years ago, the Liberian head state promised, failed and lied. He said I the -mandate to end corruption in public service”. “I promise to honour that mandate”. Where is the mandates? His political slogan “Change for Hope “. Oh yes change has two faces-RIGHTS and WRONGS. Indeed. He is given Liberian hopelessness and absolutely worst economy.
Another, hopelessness wa shown by president ineptitude to leave country and serious matters attend the world. Taxpayers money intended for substance was used entertained him for
The US Treasury has sanctioned three members of government and trusted confidant for corruption.
Former Minister of Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill -heads the presidential cabinet. Allegedly been accused for “bribing business leaders, receiving kickbacks from potential investors” and “accepting kickbacks for bringing contracts to companies in which he has an interest”.
In addition, Mr McGill appropriated public assets for “personal gain”, and also used “warlords to threaten his political opponents”, the US Treasury.
Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, Attorney General, allegedly accused for “developed close relationships with suspects in criminal investigations”, and received bribes protect laundering cases and closed.
The National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway alias Weah Jr was allegedly accused for “orchestrating the diversion” of $1.5 million to a private account.
The president did not see any wrong in those men.
After several outcry from all walks of Liberians in and out. Mr.Weah reluctantly dismissed them without investigation after one month.
Two of alleged economic criminals are politically engaged for Senatorial seat in Margibi and Rivercess Counties respectively. Whereas Cllr Cephus is still practicing law and representing clients in courts. Is this what you called change for Hope?
In 2017, eight people mysteriously died after attending a religious leader funeral and left more than five others hospitalized.
According to Health officials in Liberia point the mysterious disease that killed nine people to Ebola as causes of death as was previously feared. But that was not the case. The cause of deaths were never established (WHO).
In 2018 ,Police investigation into the murder of Journalist Tyron Browne at super FM own and operated by businessman and former rebel attorney George B Kailondo.
An initial probe reveals that the former police chief, Col. Chris Massaquoi, was deeply in the know of the murder, contrary to his initial claims. Since then that investigation outcome is yet to be published.
On March 3, 2019, the Central Bank of Liberia senior staff, Mr. Matthew J. Innis, Deputy Director for Micro-finance in the Regulation and Supervision Department died mysteriously. No seriousness attached to the cause of death.
In 2020, a talk show host and broadcast journalist Mr. Zenu Koboi Miller died three after been physically assaulted by bodyguards to President George Weah at SK D sport complex in Paynesville.
The same years, four auditors mysteriously died. The head of the Liberia Internal Audit Agency. His death Occurred eight days apart [October 10,2020].
The four deaths involved; Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, director general, Liberia Internal Audit Agency-lifeless body was discovered at his residence.
Others are Mr. Albert Peters, madam Gifty Lama, and Mr. George Fanbutu.
The two employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority were found dead in a car mysteriously on October 2,2020.
Madam Gifty Asmah Lama was acting manager for tax services and Mr. Albert Peters was assistant commissioner for audit.
Again on October. 4, another auditor at the Liberia Revenue Authority, Mr. George Fanbutu, died in a car accident while driving home from a business meeting.
There were autopsy but families rejected reports. They believed there were foul played in their loved ones deaths. Some authentic sources revealed that the four were conducting audits of Liberia government accounts over allegations of misappropriation of funds.
Today in Liberia, there are several cases of abuse by state security and undercover killing which the government of Liberia can not address.
However, this is an age old problem in Liberia. These situations are very worrisome in most administrations.
In February 2021,Melvin Earley, an Executive Protective Services agent and one of Weah’s closest bodyguards reportedly committed suicide behind President Weah guest house on a trip to Tappita, Nimba County.
In same year, in less than a month, the country witnessed three gruesome murders-two Tubman’s died mysteriously-John Hilary Tubman, William Tolbert III, and a LISGIS staff Madam Maude Elliot killed by unknown persons. Investigation and report in limbo.
In May 2021, two staff of ArcelorMittal Mining company’s locomotives team were involved in an accident on the rail, but there was no casualty. Investigation was promised. There were three accidents in 2021(May, June & September 2021). Nothing was done to avoid cargo trains derailment.
As a result to address the cause of accident, the two staff succumbed to death after they were evacuated by helicopter-John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia.
According to ArcelorMittal press statement-a full investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident. No outcome from investigation to cause and prevent repeat. Yet nothing has changed.
At least more than 10 people have been killed in unclear circumstances including five in September 2021 reportedly for ritualistic practices or political motivations.
Also, an employee named Emmanuel Joe died in an industrial accident at the Factory Rubber Processing Plant while carrying out a routine maintenance at Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC). The actual cause is unknown.
In 2022,Ms. Princess Cooper, 25, and Mr. Melvin Togba, 36, both died mysteriously.
Fear has gripped some nighttime goers, who normally come out to entertain themselves and returning late from special meetings.
2023 still early but the number starts to count in Rivercess County then Cllr Gloria Musu Scott daughter awaiting graduation now victims of mysterious (arm robbery) and targeted deaths. Others injured. Unconfirmed information report that the government was informed of the first attempt but didn’t do enough to circumvent the untimely death and injures sustained by peaceful citizens.
In summary, Now it has become a common practice to silent critical individuals involved with tough opinions. This is form of neglect by government under constitution obligations to guarantee protection for all.
Some people think that presidency is more effective when those in a position of authority are enjoying privilege lifestyle. This is untrue because many suffered. Government officials brand them as lazy and noisy minority. Some use bad governance to amass worth to themselves.
There are no effectiveness to how they administer the affairs of state.
How comfortable are citizens with bad regime? Are they comfortable discussing sensitive and even controversial issues that matter most to citizens to advance the quest for real change?
President Doe did not allow open political discussions so was Mr Taylor. Madam Ellen and Mr. Weah make Liberian to believe but really don’t.
They announced and cried redemption out persistently the loudest for Liberians but led the country like the devil. They want to make Liberia corruption free but were or are agents of corruptible seeds. Liberians must think well to raise the standards and hold them to account.
No leader does favor when govern well. They are under obligation to do so: serve and deliver basic goods and services to transform.
WRITTEN BY: JEFFERSON G TOGBA
this is very informative and eye-opening.
perfectly read and information mentioned are factual. The government of Liberia model of operations have began “copy and paste” with no substantial contribution and strategies to benefit its citizens. until we mobilize and educate, liberians will continue to make the same mistakes to elect incompetent and inhumane leaders.