22 April 2019

Liberia: 'Ex-Rebel Generals' Proximity to State Power Is Dangerous'

-2 lawmakers condemn 72-hour ultimatum to Rep. Kolubah

The emergence of the ex-rebel fighters on the political theatre in recent days, has continued to receive condemnations from the public, the latest being two lawmakers of the 54th Legislature.

On Friday, April 19, 2019, two members of the House Representatives Standing Committees on Good Governance and Government as well as Peace, Religion and Reconciliation, issued a joint statement, condemning "the regrouping of former rebel generals," who gained notoriety for their respective brutal participation in the Liberian civil war (1989 - 2003) that resulted to the deaths of over 250,000 persons, and mass destruction of properties, and the societal fabrics.

The two lawmakers also criticized the ex-rebel fighters for their public appearance and political utterances and warned against their threatening statement -- a clear usurpation of State's functions -- to arrest Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah, if he failed to surrender himself in 72 hours to "justice" on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

The lawmakers believe that the re-grouping of the ex-rebel fighters is unwanted, "because they are non-State actors. So their threat is worrisome, demonstrates a looming crisis reminiscent of the country's dark days. Their closeness to the powers that be is tantamount to extreme fear and danger."

In a telephone conversation over the weekend, Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi told the Daily Observer that the ex-rebel generals should instead put their acts together to get a legal team that would plead on their behalf to exonerate them, whenever they are subsequently arraigned before the pending War and Economic Crimes Court. They should stop usurping power that is already assigned to state security agencies, whose officers are paid by Liberian tax payers' money.

"I cannot say whether the ultimatum from those so-called ex-rebel fighters, was accidental or orchestrated, but what we can say is that the re-emergence of rebels, to in fact issue ultimatum, is worrisome and condemnable in our fragile peace," Rep. Younquoi said.

According to Younquoi, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, himself an ex-rebel fighter, made similar statement when he vowed to "fight against his arrest if there will be a War and Economic Crimes Court to try him."

Rep. Younquoi is the chairman of the House Committee on Good Governance and Government, and head of the Liberia delegation to the African Parliamentary Union.

Also, the House chairman on Peace, Religious and Reconciliation, Nimba County District #6 Representative, Dorwohn T. Gleekia, also condemned the ex-rebel generals' public statement, saying it was an affront to the country's government and the peace; reminding people of the days when the country was at war with it self.

"Therefore, the government should stop witch-hunting by dissociating itself from former fighters, since the country's fragile peace prevails," Rep. Gleekia said.

According to Gleekia, Liberia needs peace and reconciliation not an echo of the dark days where "the rule of jungle justice by rebel fighters from the various so-called factions were against the rule of law."

He added, "we are proposing a National Peace and Reconciliation Conference, hoping that President George Weah will support the idea."

For that, authorities at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the United Nations Peacebuilding Office are being invited to appear before the House Plenary where Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, former Interim President, has expressed support to the proposed Peace Conference.

It can recalled that ex-rebel generals from various defunct factions on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, distanced themselves from an allegation attributed to Rep. Kolubah. But shortly after the Kolubah's statement, the ex-rebel fighters issued a joint statement threatening to arrest him on behalf of the government.

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