ALJA Condemns Deputy Defense Minister’s Appointment

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ALJA newly elected president, Joe S. Mason.

— Says nominee lacks moral and professional pedigrees required for such a post

The appointment of Deputy Minister of Defense for Operations, Tarplah Davies, a ruling party zealot, and strong apologist of President George Weah, has been met with a barrage of criticisms, and public outbursts with many calling on the President to revoke his nomination.

Davies, according to a release from Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), had no idea what the immediate future had in store for him when he took to social media threatening to kill Liberians, who are dissatisfied with the manner in which the country is being governed, and would intend to vent their grievances through protests.

In what seems to be a move intended to please and solidify his position and loyalty to the President, the release said Davies, popularly known as Zoely Zoe, in a Facebook post, which has now gone viral, threatened to kill would be participants of the December 30, 2019, street protest being planned by Liberia’s controversial talk show host, Henry Pedro Costa, against the Government of President Weah.

Davies’ appointment has been met huge public disapproval, the latest of which comes from the ALJA. The group has therefore called on President Weah to withdraw Davies’ nomination.

ALJA said in a statement on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 that the Liberian military is a professional institution, whose members are expected to perform their duties in a nonpartisan manner in accordance with democratic values and regards for human rights.

The statement was signed by the secretary general of the association, Akai Awuletey Glidden, and approved by its National President, Joe S. Mason.

Davies said in a live facebook video, “The symbol of everything that I have worked for personally is in Liberia. And I told people, anybody tries my property, I will kill them. I have said it and will continue to say it openly,” he stated.
He added: “I, Zoely Zoe or Tarplah Z. Davies, will never ever sit down in this America when Henry Costa and his likes, who are thinking about covertly overthrowing the Government of Liberia, and thinking about looting the resources of our country. When they carry out their wicked plan, I will not sit in this America and witness my country in chaos.

I will defend my properties, I will defend my government and people, I will defend my family, and do everything possible to ensure that those people who have their devilish intention of trying to subvert the Constitution, their plans are reverted and the Constitution will take over.”

The association finds Davies’ comments troubling and inimical to the country’s peace and stability. Though a civilian position, the group believes that his association with the military, if confirmed, could compromise that institution’s independence—noting that it is hypocritical for the government to criticize the use of “inflammatory and hateful” messages by journalists and talk show hosts, while rewarding supporters of the government, who engage in similar rhetoric with high profile appointments in government.

Many have viewed his appointment, coming amidst such “unwarranted social media outburst, as a threat to national security.”

Though the President has the appointing power, ALJA said those appointed to strategic posts, especially in the security sector, should not espouse views that run contrary to the values of the military.

“Their appointments must be based on professionalism, but not their loyalty to the presidency or the ruling party,” the statement noted.

ALJA notes that the nominee’s social media outburst is a clear manifestation that he lacks the moral and the professional pedigrees required for the position. “Calling for violence and death against Liberians make him unfit for the position to which he was appointed,” the group said.

Founded in 1998, ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. As a non-profit organization, it is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.

The citizenship of the nominee is another issue that is drawing public concerns, as he is a veteran of the US Army. Many are wondering whether he has denounced his American citizenship—if he ever had one. He served in the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2019.

To enlist in the US military, one must be either a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident (Green Card holder) in the U.S.

There are legal implications to an American citizen’s decision to pledge allegiance or take up an elected or political post as on official of a foreign country. The U.S. State Department’s travel page explains:

“A U.S. national’s employment, after attaining the age of 18, with the government of a foreign country or a political subdivision thereof is a potentially expatriating act pursuant to Section 349(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act if the individual is a citizen of that foreign country or takes an oath of allegiance to that country in connection with such employment. Such employment, however, will result in one’s expatriation only if done voluntarily with the intention of relinquishing U.S. citizenship. Running for foreign office, even foreign head of state, is not a potentially expatriating act; only accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of a foreign office are potentially expatriating as described above.”

Referencing the Liberian Immigration Service Law, ALJA says: “The fact that you take on another country citizenship; automatically you have forfeited your rights as a citizen.”

The legislature, in their recent dual citizenship bill, issued some restrictions, that a natural-born citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country, but shall not qualify for elected positions and the following appointed positions: Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court; Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers; all heads of Autonomous Commissions, Agencies and Non-Academic/Research/Scientific Institutions and Ambassadors.”

The group has therefore called on President Weah to withdraw Davies’ nomination. With such decision, ALJA believes the President will be sending a powerful message that his government is opposed to inflammatory rhetoric from all sides of the political spectrum. It will also deter others, who use social media to spew hate messages that have the propensity of undermining the country’s peace and stability.

The Association has also called on the Senate not to conform the nominee if the President refuses to rescind his decision.

“Some Liberians are now wondering how the country’s international partners will welcome such an appointment of a man, who openly threatened to kill opposition supporters. With such move, many think President Weah is helping to undermine his own government,” ALJA said in a statement.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Due to the intricacies of the situation with incoming Deputy Defense Minister Tarplah Davies, we urge all stakeholders to read up on “Responsibilities and Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association” which can be delivered to you in Liberia. Call us for a copy @ 0770138996 or 0886494727.

  2. ALJA is a parrot of an oppositional press. So, it has joined the fearmongering of Rodney Sieh over statements made by Tarplah Davies. Frankly, a position needed considering mob violence resulting in the burning down of a police station, threats of ambushing presidential motorcade by Rep.Yekeh Kolubah, resolve of Henry Costa to buy guns for old rebels who would kill on his orders, and other acts of lawlessness that have increased public safety anxieties of poor, old, and powerless survivors of the civil war.

    One doesn’t need a high school diploma to figure out that it isn’t the protection of public order remarks by now Deputy Minister nominee Davies that sent shivers down the spines of those the UN, AU, and ECOWAS offices on 02/25/19 warned against “media messages that promote violence”, and COP proponents. (After all, Chapter 111, Article 14 of the Constitution grants government that authority). Rather, it is probability that his patriotism could be infectious which worries inciters invested in keeping an inherited sick economy bleeding in order to stoke an uprising few promised even before the inauguration of GMW.

    In the mid-1980’s, amazingly, we welcomed US Army veterans that came to subvert government. NPFL invaded with many including mercenaries from all over who helped in destroying electricity infrastructures and everything else the same revolutionary Ellen was begging for all over. But we’re now up in arms when Tarplah Davies says I’m going to defend Liberia. If the Senate listens to pay-to-play FPA, COP, and foreign spies (under diplomatic covers) to reject the confirmation of Deputy Minister Davies, they w’ld have betrayed Mama Liberia again. Ladies and gentlemen, we where here before; don’t allow a deja vu.

  3. ALJA does not have a good track record of trustworthiness. Because of that, it is highly unlikely that ALJA will be taken seriously now or anytime in the near future.

    According to what is known about Tarplah Davies, there should be no outlandish reason why ALJA should cry bloody murder about Davies’s appointment. ALJA questions the patriotism of Davies by suggesting that Davies once served in the US military. So what? The truth of the matter is that although Davies served in the US military, Davies was not dishonorably discharged from the US military. A veteran of the US military who served with distinction should be allowed to serve in the military of his or her original country of birth. When Davies is confirmed, he will serve with professionalism. Without doubt, the Liberian military needs professionals!

    The other point that ALJA puts forth in order to discredit Davies and Weah is that Davies threatened in years past to kill his enemies.
    The threat to murder one’s enemies is untenable. I understand. However, everyone makes a poppycock statement from time to time. While I cannot vouch for Davies (because I don’t know what his frame of mind was when he uttered his killing threat) I can say freely that Davies can modify or elaborate on what he meant when he said that. With regard to Weah, ALJA wants to make the point that the president does not possess a sound judgement in terms of appointing competent Liberians. Well, if ALJA’s top men and women are put in Weah’s government, those very men and women will be villified by other groups of people.

    For once, it would be in ALJA’s best interest were it to focus its attention on economic or agricultural issues. The economy of Liberia is suffering. The agricultural sector needs help now than ever before. There aren’t good roads in the countryside that farmers could use to flood the Monrovia market with food. Still, if ALJA means business, ALJA could arrange for small business loans that low-income Liberians could use to get the area of business.

  4. First of all I don’t think this individual is a US citizen ( he might be a permanent resident) , he reminds me of Gray D Allison ( ex defense minister in the Doe regime ) this guy is lacking common sence and obviously he is a danger to himself and the people around him, secondly I believe he doesn’t have the intellectual and ability to hold any high profile position in any government of any country due to his inability to control him self and the lacking of common sence .he has a backward mentality which is extremely dangerous and offensive to any civil society , he seems to be his own enemy, his reckless ranting of threats to the masses is very disturbing .

  5. Hate to say but Davies messages and podcast are good evidence of the president rewarding those that support and defend his failed polices that is paralyzing Liberia slowly without considering the rule of laws in Liberia. What amazed me is how evilly he is ready to kill anyone that tempered with his properties through violence and he expect Henry Costa to sit and look at a legitimate elected government to vandalized his properties without reaction?

    Everything Mr. Davis said in one of his podcast relate to recipes of violence and undermine our constitution and is very undemocratic to start with. Arresting people that supports Henry Costa because they are supporting someone that is frisky and disrespect the president. Is that a reason to arrest anyone in Liberia for? Our nation, Liberia is very fragile to violence considering what is occurring presently in the wake and midst of our regressive growth of everything that is unfolding in our country. These type of hate life podcast on social media is just unhealthy for our hard earned peace now in existence in Liberia. Empowering Mr. Davis with power and hands on weapons that kill is not good for Liberia and Liberians as a whole. In his quest to defend his hard earned properties Liberia, he has failed to understands that, so many other Liberians, also has investments in Liberia just like Mr. Davis but has not done nor said the things he is saying. This is just how conflicts erupt and destroy lives and properties if the president is not careful on how he goes about his appointments. The president again has done the wrong thing and it is up to the senate to do the right thing.

  6. The position of a deputy or assistant minister of government is one that carries with the critical responsibility of operating within the rule law. The image of this man on social media where he seems to think it is ok to take the law into his own hands in an extreme and violent way is very troubling. He no doubt may have served honorably in the US military. That’s not even the issue, as I see it. His temperament and moral judgment in performing his duties in this position is what should gave this government cause for concern. In country of 4 million, surely there must be many more men and women who are quite capable to fill this role without the sort of controversy that this overzealous Army veteran has created through his own reckless video monologue from the American upper Midwest.

  7. ALJA needs to produce a news paper that people read for fresh information about Liberia. Simple task like that they are unable to carry out but put out subjective releases ALJA needs reform and contribute to development of Liberia. When Ellen said to level down the executive mansion, ALJA was nowhere around to fight the nomination of Ellen. So keep your mouths shut. We need stronger security to develop Liberia and Mr Davis represents that. We also need Prince Sheriff at NSA. Put up a scholarship program at UL to help students in mass communication studies.

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