Media reports of the arrest of Augustine Nagbe aka, General Power which surfaced late yesterday evening followed statements he had made recently threatening the formation of a Kru Defense Force to protect and defend his kinsman, President George Weah and the Kru people, created quite a buzz on the local airways yesterday with many callers expressing support for his arrest while other callers cautioned against false optimism.
By the end of the day, however, Police spokesperson Moses Carter had issued a rather terse statement quoting the Justice Minister as clarifying that ‘general Power’ had not been arrested but had instead been invited to explain or clarify statements, he made recently threatening the formation of an ethnic Kru militia to protect President Weah and the Kru people.
Power’s statement had been preceded by that of an individual named to serve as Deputy Minister of Defense, an ex US serviceman, otherwise known as Zoely Zoe, who also made public statements that went viral on social media, threatening to shoot and kill protesters on December 30, 2019.
Nothing was heard from the Minister of Justice, neither was anything heard from him when, some time ago, other ex-rebel generals called a press conference threatening to arrest Representative Yekeh Kolubah. It is as if the Justice Minister has been absent — probably seen maybe, but definitely not heard.
Suddenly he has emerged from the shadows clarifying that the notorious “general Power” had simply been called in to provide clarifications on statements he made recently threatening the formation of an armed rebel group which he knows is in flagrant violation of the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord (ACPA).
This newspaper reiterates its stance that the Government of Liberia, as a major trustee of the ACPA, has the obligation to bring to book this so called “general Power” for threatening to form an armed rebel ethnic militia.
That the Ministry of Justice would remain silent until prodded by an avalanche of public concerns but would instead respond with a weak slap on the wrist of the self-styled general, sends a wrong signal that anyone can do the same and expect to get away with it. Impunity is indeed alive and well and thriving in Liberia.
With the exception of Grand Kru representative Fonati Koffa, the deafening silence of Kru elders and opinion leaders on general Power’s threat to form a Kru Defense Force is not only notable but telling. It is as if the lessons of the past have been forgotten so quickly and conveniently.
The bloody trails of mayhem, murder, looting and arson left behind by rebel forces in Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh counties appear lost on these opinion leaders but definitely not lost on the ordinary people who felt and bore the brunt of rebel savagery that left their communities torn apart.
Their silence and failure to speak out in condemnation of Power’s divisive and inciteful rants, therefore, suggests tacit approval and agreement with the blatantly false notion that Kru people are under threat simply because the President of Liberia, an ethnic Kru, is facing a barrage of public criticism for poorly managing the nation’s affairs.
Truth be told, the once great ethnic confederacies (Kru, Grebo, Gola, Kpelle, etc.) have been long since dead and those harboring dreams of a return to that once glorious past are but mere dreamers. The fact that the Kru ethnic group is one of the smallest ethnic groups in Liberia clearly means that by the strength of their numbers alone, George Weah would never have been elected President of Liberia.
If ethnic Krus, for example, did not feel threatened when the nation rallied to support the Weah candidacy, printing their own t-shirts, walking miles to political rallies, why should they now feel threatened with annihilation when the people withdraw their support because they feel let down? This is the question for those who espouse the false notion that Kru people are under threat from the rest of us.
This is blatantly divisive and does not augur well for sustained peace and stability in Liberia and this is why the Daily Observer has called for the criminal prosecution of the so-called general for inciting ethnic hatred and threatening to organize an ethnic armed rebel group styled the Kru Defense Force.
Liberians have not forgotten the rash of splinter rebel groups that formed during the course of the country’s long running civil war and the great distress and sufferings they visited on so many people. This is why their calls for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia have increased and are intensifying.
Justice Minister Musa Dean should not lose sight of the fact that he bears a cardinal responsibility to protect the integrity of the ACPA. As chief legal advisor to the President and Dean of the Liberia National Bar, he has the responsibility to ensure scrupulous adherence to all treaties and agreements to which the Liberian government has acceded. This includes adherence to the ACPA as well.
By his action or non-action, Justice Minister Musa Dean appears to be conveying a rather distinct impression that he lacks the courage to execute his duties as Justice Minister without fear or favor. Whether he can salvage anything out of this shitshow remains questionable. Perhaps he would do himself well to just throw in the towel and bow out.