Montserrado County District #7 Representative Solomon George yesterday, November 19 threatened to order five men to flog two Liberian journalists in the joint chambers of the legislature. He made the statement during session.
The two journalists threatened with flogging by Representative George were Musa M. B. Kenneh, a reporter of Truth FM and president of the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL) and “Trojan” Kiazulu of Fabric Radio.
Rep. George took a combative stance against Journalist Kenneh, accusing him of referring to the lower house as a ‘useless body’ on the Truth Breakfast Show on Friday morning, November 16, which he described as unacceptable to that August body.
Rep. George also threatened to slap Journalist “Trojan” Kiazulu for asking him to provide evidence for his accusation.
“I will flog you too and Musa for negatively insulting this body that we will not accept,” Rep. George told Kiazulu during the incident.
Rep. George then proceeded to inform the Speaker about the situation shortly before he left the hall to fetch the men to beat the two journalists but the speaker successfully dissuaded him from pursuing that course of action.and pleaded with him to allow the journalists to carry out their functions.
Later, Rep. George approached Journalist Kenneh and pleaded with him to stop reporting critical stories about the 54th legislature because it is the best in the history of the legislature that is working in the interest of the Liberian people.
In an interview with the Daily Observer following the incident, Journalist Kenneh expressed disappointment at the attitude of Rep. George, a sitting lawmaker who attempted and threatened to brutalize professional journalists for doing the job they were assigned to do at the Legislature.
Kenneh said he did not refer to the legislature as a ‘useless body’ as alleged by Rep George on the talk show, but stated on the show in question that, “Speaker Bhofal Chambers and his team are not serious in the fight against corruption.”
“My point was based on a letter dated October 18, 2018, written to the Speaker by 10 lawmakers complaining about budget manipulation, alleged corruption, budget diversion and taking money that was agreed to by the parliament for private hospitals and private projects in Montserrado County and other counties after taking money from all of the counties hospitals in Liberia,” he said.
Kenneh called on the leadership of the legislature to advise its members that the use of brute force to instill fear into reporters have no space in a modern democracy and the rights of journalists must be protected and respected. “Journalists’ rights are also a part of human rights,” he added.