— Based on lawyers’ request for further consultation with their client
The Liberia National Police has granted the Secretary-General of the Unity Party, Mo Ali, 48 hours to reappear at its headquarters for his post on social media that the LNP considers a matter of security concern.
The mandate followed Mr. Ali’s first appearance after an invitation was extended him to appear on March 18, which he did not honor on an excuse that he was not well and wanted to undergo medical treatment. The Police then declared him a “Wanted Man,” which the Unity Party and the Collaborating Political Parties claimed was contradictory to the law.
However, after sometimes of hauling and pulling, Mr. Ali accompanied by top officials of the CPP and the Unity Party went to the Police Headquarter yesterday in adherence to the call of the state security, but told to return in 48 hours with his lawyers.
Moses Carter, spokesperson of the LNP, confirmed the ultimatum to journalists on March 22 at the headquarter amid the presence of top opposition officials including former Vice President Joseph Boakai, All Liberian Party political leader Benoni Urey, Chairperson of the CPP, Senator Nynoblee Karnga Lawrence, and Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.
On March 1, 2021, Ali wrote on his Facebook page, “Dear National Elections Commission (NEC), we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what’s gonna be the end result.”
Again, on March 4, 2021 Ali posted saying “I don’t believe in the integrity of the Supreme Court. Most of the Justices have been corrupted. Justice Nagbe is a hardcore tribalist.”
Following the two social media posts, the home of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe was attacked with petrol bomb and the National Elections Commission (NEC) were attacked with petrol bombs by unknown individuals.
It was predicated upon the attacks that the Liberia National Police (LNP) invited the UP SG to explain the motives of his posts, but he did not appear until yesterday March 22, 2021.
“This morning Mr. Mo Ali was accompanied by his lawyers and a host of other political actors from the opposition community. We appreciated all those who accompanied him and he was acquainted with the reason while he was wanted by the Police,” Carter said.
He said on March 1, 2021, Ali did a Facebook post threatening the NEC and on March 4 he also wrote on Facebook referring to the Justice in Chamber, Joseph Nagbe as crook and a tribalist.
“And subsequently the Justice was attacked at his home by a petrol bomb, and a few days later, the NEC was attacked with petrol bombs. With these findings, we as a law enforcement agency thought it wise to make Ali to appear for questioning so that he could explain to us his motive, considering the events,” Carter said.
The Police Spokesman said Mo Ali was declared wanted because he failed to show up at the headquarters of the LNP, even though his lawyers earlier on Friday confirmed that he was on his way.
“We became concerned and declared him wanted because at 11 a.m. on Friday March 19, his lawyers came to us without any medical report and said that he could not appear because he was not well,” added.
According to Carter, the granting of the two days to Ali and his lawyers, as well as his political supporters to reappear and answer questions is not a sign of weakness but an act intended to demonstrate that the Police is interested in protecting the country’s peace, ensuring that no citizen’s freedom is tampered with in the absence of due process.
“This is neither a witch-hunt, nor a clamp down on free speech. We understand that the Constitution guarantees all of us free speech, but we are held responsible for what we say or write when it borders on national security or the safety of other people,” he explained.
He noted that “No one should consider this as weakness on the part of the Police. We are a law enforcement body and our role also calls for protecting lives and properties and ensuring that there is peace and stability in the country.”
Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, chairperson of the CPP, said the political alliance is standing with Mo Ali and will make sure he is accompanied again to the Police headquarters on Thursday.
“We know he has done nothing wrong and so we are confident that the burden remains government’s own to prove him wrong. This a country of law and we will not sit and watch, not only our fellow partisans but any other citizen who bears undue consequences for expressing his or her view openly or on social media,” Senator Lawrence said.
Also speaking earlier, Musa Bility, chairman of Liberty Party (LP), said there is no ground to arrest Mo Ali nor imprison him.
Bility, however, said should any unbiased investigation prove that a member of the CPP is responsible for the attacks on the Associate Justice and the NEC, the law should be applied accordingly.
“Until then, the government has no case against Ali,” he concluded.
Joseph Nyumah Boakai, former Vice President of Liberia, said the country has degenerated into a situation never thought of by any patriotic citizen.
“This country has degenerated into a situation that all of us are concerned about. This is why we are bringing these things to their attention to address them compellingly. If not, we will do what is right when we assume office.
“This is not the way we want this country to move,” former VP Boakai said, adding “It is hard to advise people who hardly take advice.”