Ponpon’s Self-lighting Generates Mixed Views

Arcie Ponpon, after being washed down with water by his colleagues who also removed his burning layers of clothing to rescue the man from his grief.

By Abednego Davis

The decision by Leroy Archie Ponpon to set himself ablaze before the office of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor on November 2 has generated mixed reactions with some blaming the Chief Justice while others are shifting the blame on security officers at the Temple of Justice, for allowing the impasse to escalate to the point it did.

Some views suggest that when Ponpon was on the grounds of the Temple of Justice, it was time that the officers serve him his writ of arrest and have him arrested, which accordingly would have prevented him from setting himself ablaze; instead, everyone stood by witnessing only an elderly man serving Ponpon the writ of arrest as he (Ponpon) appeared determined to set himself ablaze.

There are about four different security groups assigned at the Temple of Justice including the Liberian National Police, the Monrovia City Police, the Judicial Security and Bailiff (court officers).

Ponpon lit himself after being charged by the Judicial Branch of the Government where he has worked for 10 years for leading a series of protests against the Chief Justice and other Associate Justices over pay delay.

While the complaint was pending before the Ministry of Justice for criminal investigation, the Supreme Court Administrator, Cllr. Elizabeth B. Nelson, wrote an indefinite suspension letter for Ponpon with advice that he should keep away from the premises of the Temple of Justice building and at the same time ordering his arrest.

Ponpon, in defiance of the order to keep him off the premises of the Temple of Justice, entered the grounds in multiple layers of clothing, under which he hid a bottle of gasoline, which he eventually doused on the front of clothes and set himself on fire.

While on the grounds of the Temple of Justice, an alarm was raised calling officers to arrest Ponpon to turn him over to the Monrovia City Court for prosecution on the complaint of the Chief Justice.

With the order being passed already, officers of the Judiciary were expected to effect the arrest order and to prevent any further protest by judicial workers, but not much effort was exerted to execute the order.

There were also people who, instead of helping to prevent the situation, were encouraging Archie Ponpon to set himself on fire.  Some people believed to be aggrieved workers were heard telling Ponpon to set himself ablaze while others were trying to reason with him to stand down.

Another segment of views has cast the blame on the head of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice, for not paying the workers for 12 months which sparked up the protest and resulted to a worker setting himself ablaze.  Following a security meeting with Justice Minister Musah Dean and Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue on Tuesday, November 3, journalists attempted speaking to the Chief Justice but could not materialize as he refrained from speaking to the media.

The President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, says there has never been a record of such in the history of the Judicial Branch of the Liberian Government.

Though he did not cast blame on anyone, Cllr. Gongloe said the action by Ponpon is a serious warning to everyone and Liberians should take it seriously.

Not much was heard about the health of Ponpon yesterday relating to his condition at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center where he was rushed for medication after burning.

Having sustained severe burns on his face, hands and other parts of his body, Ponpon’s critical health condition is now of public concern.

Regular court activities could not take place at the Temple of Justice yesterday as security was tightened with all the entrances barricaded. 


  1. A hint to the wise is sufficient. Liberians are now desperate, in their desperations, they could result to any desperate measures to rescue themselves; do not take anything for granted. It could have been worse than that. How long can you suppressed one person?

  2. This just tell you how heartless these people can be. You dismissed someone for standing up for his entitlement that you due him? I think the Chief Justice need to be investigated before our lawmakers because this shouldn’t be tolerated in our democracy as a nation. You should be there seeking for interest on their unpaid salaries rather seeking prosecution against Mr. Ponpon and colleagues involved in the protest. I think he kopkpor should be investigated for trying to punish those involved in the protest and that’s why led to the unthinkable of ponpon’s action. How can you be serving injustice on the premises of where Justice is to be served? Mr kopkpor action is very alarming to the well being of everything Liberians ever yarns for.

    When are we going to stop this hate and malice against our fellow Liberians because of power? Do you consider the consequences of your actions now and after you have leaves office? Remember, you will someday live your life as ordinary Liberian and these evils doing will definitely hunt you as revenge for today’s behaviour. Mr. Chief Justice! Are you willing to work for the people of Liberia for 12 months as charity? My guess is absolutely no because your actions today said it all. Just the cost price of one of your vehicles can paid probably the entire staffers of the capital building and you chasing a little man like Mr. Ponpon for standing up for his rights?

    Giving your age, I supposed your retirement is around the corner unless if you want to lied about your age. I am even more trouble why you never mentioned anything about your date of birth on the website of the Liberia judiciary? Your profile and 3 others justices are incomplete and need to be updated. The reason for this is, the position you and all the other justices now occupied is age sensitive and the public need to know your date of birth. This is what our constitution say, the law the governed us all. I suspect cheating precisely is the reason why your failed to include your dates of birth, as required by law. Instead, you are trying to muscle a little man like Mr. Ponpon’s and friends for standing up for due entitlement.

    You and your associates justices should please do the Liberian people a favor by updating your profiles especially your dates of birth. This is paramount because, at age 70, our constitution obliged all justices to stepped down, giving way to new brains in the area of law. The danger is, we can not ask you to step aside because we don’t have information on your age, meaning, you could remain there for as long as you wish since nobody knows anything about your date of birth. This is why it is very important that, the Liberian people get to know about the dates of birth of all the Justices. You have cause yourself more damages than you ever imagined for creating this environment that led to Mr. Ponpon’s action. So I will suggest that, you find a place in your evil heart and covered his medical bills and total recovery to normality. Hold a press conference and apologized to all the judiciary employees, especially Mr. Ponpon for your actions.

    • Joe Akoi, that “standing up for his entitlement“ was unreasonable since the Minister of Finance made clear to Popon and his colleagues that the measure for which they contended was or is a nationwide measure and had nothing to do with the Chief Justice. A PUNK is always a PUNK. That fool should have been left to burn to ashes and save our culture from being contaminated from such as him A MENTAL AND SOCIAL PUNK.

  3. THIS PUNK knew that people were going to rescue his backside, and this is why he decided on such pretense. We already thinking on extinguishing you sodomites from our midst, then you here pretending to commit suicide.


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