Liberia: Autopsy in Journalist Zenu Miller's Death Is Welcoming

The death of Journalist Zenu Miller of OK FM has taken a trend of accusation that puts a government security apparatus on trial in the court of public opinion. Just three weeks prior to his death, Zenu Miller claimed that he encountered a bitter experience at the hands of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) in which he was reportedly beaten.

From the encounter, families and friends conclude that the journalist died as a result of the beating he allegedly received from the EPS officers, despite medical report that unveils that the deceased died of hypertension (otherwise High Blood Pressure).

High blood pressure, according to Adam Felman, is caused by factors, which include, but are not limited to, excessive alcoholic intake and smoking. Smoking was not a habit of Journalist Miller's, but friends who were associated with him attest that he was a casual drinker, and did not consume alcohol excessively.

His alcoholic consumption did not cause him any health problem to be reported prior to his encounter with the EPS, but as soon as the Liberian journalist had this bitter encounter, reports say he became ill and was subsequently visiting clinics to seek medication.

The connection of the EPS to the development of rapidly declining health of Miller, therefore, makes it imperative for the government to call for an autopsy to ascertain facts surrounding the deceased as people continue to demand the truth about what happened.

Another instance that makes it compelling for the government to sponsor an autopsy is the constant and persistent reports of human rights abuse by state securities; mainly the Liberia National Police and the Executive Protection Service (EPS).

The EPS is there to protect the President and the Vice President, but its performance over the past two years has in some instances been unorthodox. We recall in 2018 the EPS had a shooting scuffle with a personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia while the African Cup of Nations preliminary match between Liberia and Zimbabwe was about to take place at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex. Investigation into the scuffle put the EPS on the wrong side, and six of its officers were dismissed.

Unlike the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration, under which the EPS was much more moderate even, in moving the presidential motorcade, the present EPS, though still composed of the same members with some new officers added, are very intimidating and rough in their actions. It can be recalled in 2018, when some American Peace Corps were about to be inducted, EPS officers, in a vehement and intimidating mood, entered the Monrovia City Hall and began to remove chairs in which the US Ambassador and other high profile officials were sitting, leaving it disarranged and walking out to await the arrival of the President.

In addition to the EPS, such belligerent attitude has been exhibited by the Liberia National Police, whose tainted human rights record far outweighs its counterpart, the EPS.

Besides the constant harassment of commercial drivers in Monrovia and along the highways, the Police committed a number of human rights abuses ranging from brutalizing civilians to killing. On January 6 this year, the Police went ahead to use an excessive force on peaceful protesters on the grounds of the Capitol and illegally arrested a number of people including the driver of Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah.

The Police in 2019 October brutalized students who converged in the streets in protest against delay in their teachers' salaries that caused the teachers not to go to class to teach them. On June 24, 2019, officers of the LNP carried on sporadic shooting in Kingsville, where aggrieved citizens were protesting against rampant ritual killings and injustice. In the process, the police opened fire and killed an innocent child and wounded another.

These circumstances, therefore, are past events that cannot allow anyone to dispute an allegation levied against any of the two security apparatuses, and it is only good that the government, being at the center of such scathing allegations, does everything to ascertain the facts and truth, or establish that the allegation against its security is false.

We, therefore, support the government sponsoring an autopsy to be conducted on the remains of Miller to establish the facts and truth beyond all reasonable doubt to expiate the EPS or blame it for the cause of death.

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