6 May 2019

Liberia: Fahngon Suspended - Weah Suspends Minister Over Congau-Country Rhetoric

Photo: Leroy M. Sonpon, III/ Liberian Observer
President George M. Weah,

Monrovia — President George Manneh Weah has indefinitely suspended Mr. Eugene Fahngon, Deputy Minister of Information for Press and Public Affairs just moments after the United States Embassy in Monrovia raised concerns about disturbing tribal tones of the government official, former warlord Prince Y. Johnson and Representative Yekeh Kolubah.

President Weah in an executive mansion statement said his Government remains committed to a "one country, one people" policy with zero tolerance on divisive politicking or tribalism. "The Liberian Leader has sent out warning to government officials and all citizens to stop dividing Liberians along ethnic lines."

The embassy in a statement said: "Those who promote through their words or deeds a Congo-Country divide do not have Liberia's best interests or that of their constituents at heart, but rather appear motivated by personal ambitions or fears. It is unacceptable for Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Representative Yekeh Kolubah, "ex-generals" or other former actors in Liberia's civil wars to incite unlawful acts through ill-considered rhetoric that could jeopardize Liberia's hard-won peace and security. It is equally irresponsible for people within leadership positions in government or the ruling party to promote such division as Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon has done on social media. To take such a public stance and suggest it is a private opinion or a personal right reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of public service in a democracy. As Liberians look to National Unification Day next week, we encourage all Liberians to reflect on their role in constructively contributing to development and sustaining peace."

Mr. Fahngon, in a stinging Facebook post last weekend, wrote:

"Nov.12,1985 the patriotic forces. Dec.24,1989 National Patriotic Forces; June 15,1990, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL); June 7, 2019 Council of Patriots... . I will exercise my constitutional right to freedom of association as provided for in article 78 ... ... I will march from the ATS (Antoinette Tubman Stadium) to the SKD (Samuel Kanyon Doe) Sports Complex on Saturday, June 8, 2019 alongside the assembly of country people (a c p) to show appreciation to president Weah for the great job done in a year and half.

My regalia will be emblematic of our fallen heroes to the canons of Matilda Newport and the patriotic forces as seen above who made us kill each other in a senseless and brutal war. With the deaths of over 250 thousand Liberian citizens still fresh on our minds, most of whom indigenous Liberians, the council of patriots have invigorated and necessitated the assembly of country people. The likes of Benoni Urey who was listed for the illegal purchase of arms that killed Liberians during the Taylor regime; the likes of Charles Brumskine who authored the infamous status of forces agreement that saw the reduction in ECOMOG troops leading to the deaths of thousands of Liberians... .

The likes of Sen. Oscar cooper alias captain marvel whose alliance with the NPFL produced nothing but massacres in Lofa, Harbel, Duport Road... etc. The likes of Sando Johnson; Chief Custodian of the NPFL and of course Gen. Yekeh Kolubah. After allowing members of the patriots consortium to enjoy peace and democratic leadership for 12 years, the people of this country cannot afford to surrender their country to militant aristocrats. Therefore, they've decided too , to organize under the banner "the assembly of country people... .. suggest that holding a rally to appreciate a leader for restoring hope and confidence to a lost generation in addition to massive development, under the banner of "assembly of country people" is divisive... ... is to suggest that the council of patriots assembly is genocidal.

I Eugene Lami Gbayangbatumah Fahngon, will on Saturday, June 8, 2019 ... .in the exercise of my constitutional right and in conformity with the law; march alongside the "assembly of country people " from the a t s to the SKD Sports Complex. I believe that the assembly of country people means... ... .people from the country of Liberia."

While Minister Fahngon says the views expressed are his personal, and not the government's, many have taken the government's silence over the minister's rants as well as the rants of others, to mean that the negative comments have the government's blessings.

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