Rep. Koffa, others condemn Formation of “Kru Defense Force”
Grand Kru County District #2 Lawmaker Fonati Koffa has out-rightly condemned in strongest terms statement made by former rebel general Augustine Nagbe, aka General Power, last week that he will form a tribal force comprising Krus to defend and protect President George Weah.
Rep. Koffa is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the committee on Governance and Government Reform Committee and Election and Inauguration.
“I feel compelled in no uncertain terms to condemn my kinsman, whose nom de guerre (whose war name), is General Power, and urge him to desist from talks of urban militarism. Similarly, I condemn all those engaged in incendiary rhetoric in the name of free speech,” Rep Koffa said.
He added, “The Liberian state and people have endured much; our common challenges must be faced with clasped of hands one to another, not clutched fists.”
Rep. Koffa is the first and only high profile official from the Kru ethnic group to issue a statement condemning the threatening statement the former rebel general made. General Power is on record for forcing a woman at gunpoint to eat human feces in West Point, a suburb of Monrovia, during the civil war.
Alfred Chea, a Liberian journalist, added that the statement by General Power is such a “stupid” one that the President has to distance himself from it “because it has the propensity not only to threaten the country’s peace but to demoralize him (the President).
Emmanuel K. Urey, founder of One Life Liberia, also said that because justice has not been brought against those who committed heinous crimes in the country to account for their actions, former rebel leaders like Power and others will continue to flaunt their freedom with intimidation tactics.
“We do not have to dignify these people by giving them a position, and it is because of giving them a position in government that is making that other ‘stupid’ man to make that statement. Do you know what tribalism has done in this country? Tribalism caused people to be slaughtered for no reason, but only because they belonged to certain tribes,” Urey said.
The statement by the ex-general does not only pose threat to the country’s existing peace but also adds ingredients to the tribal sentiments that continue to divide Liberians, which the Liberian Constitution frowns on and obliges the state to take steps in abolishing.
In Article 5c of the Liberian Constitution, it is stated: “The Republic shall take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government, nepotism, and all other corrupt practices.”
The Constitution, though, has a clause as part of the national government’s obligation, division on the basis of tribe remains an impediment to the unity of the Liberian people, and conflicts related to ethnicity are in most parts of the country.
In Sinoe County where the Krus and the Sapos find themselves living together, the Sapos have made numerous complaints through their Representative, Matthew Zarzar, of social marginalization by the Krus.
In Nimba, the Mandingos accuse the Gio and Mano people of denying them of their land, and have, therefore, taken the government to the ECOWAS Court for not doing much so that they can regain their land after the civil war.
Similar tribal discrimination exists between the Mandingos and other tribes of Lofa and Bong counties.
Although the Liberian Constitution gives the appointing power to the President, and the Senate confirms where applicable, it is widely known that most of the top officials of the George Weah Administration are from the South-east and of the Kru and Krahn ethnic groups, something that critics view as an act of tribal and social discrimination.
Since the former rebel general made the threatening statement, there has been no word from the Executive Mansion as to whether the President condones such sentiments or not. Neither has the Ministry of Justice spoken out on the statements made by ‘General Power’, which are no doubt a threat to public safety.
While the public is yet to hear what the President’s view is about the ex-rebel general’s statement, many eyewitnesses have attested that an exclusive training aimed at protecting President Weah outside of state security protection is ongoing at his newly built 46-unit condominium opposite the Baptist Seminary along the ELWA-RIA Highway.
Although government is yet to respond to the “secret training,” a reliable source informed this newspaper on Monday, November 25, that General Power is always at the so-called base directing the trainees —all dressed in T-Shirts bearing President Weah’s portrait, learning to shoot weapons and with the advice that they are preparing to counter a planned protest on December 30 led by the Council of Patriots.