“Give a dog a bad name and hang him” is an old English proverb dating back to the 18th century or probably earlier. John Stevens, in 1706, is said to have recorded it as : “Give a dog an ill name and his work is done.” This proverb means once a person’s reputation is soiled he will suffer difficulty and hardship as people will expect that he will behave just as badly as he did from the get go. It also means that a person who is known to have been guilty of some offense will always be suspected of being the person behind similar offense.
This newspaper has highlighted this old English proverb in light of statements made by Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee accusing the Justice Ministry of being silent on the recent election related fracas in which he (Koijee) is said to have played a leading role directing the violent assault against supporters of Unity Party candidate Cornelia Kruah-Togba in the just concluded by elections.
According to eyewitness accounts of the violent incidents, Cornelia’s supporters were attacked by machete wielding and stone throwing individuals which resulted in serious bodily injury to several of her campaigners. Grand Bassa Senator Nyomblee Karnga, who was also present at the rally in support of Cornelia, reported on her Facebook page that she was attacked by Koijee and his men and had to flee the area for fear of losing her life.
Koijee in his defense had claimed that having learnt that some of his supporters had been denied free passage by Cornelia’s supporters; he felt duty bound to go to their rescue. As events showed, Koijee mounted a rather brazen and unprovoked attack against Cornelia’s supporters. To the sorry disappointment of many, the Police was not on hand to prevent the orgy of violence from unfolding.
To the best of information available to this newspaper, the Police did eventually intervene but apparently did so only to whisk Koijee to safety, while the Grand Bassa Senator had to find her own way out of the area in a surreptitious manner for fear of being attacked by the machete wielding and stone throwing men. Public concerns about the violence have still not been addressed and, to the best of available information, not a single individual has been apprehended by the Police for involvement in the violence.
Senator Karnga Lawrence did convey the information to the Senate and requested its intervention in the matter. Since then, there have been no reported arrests of individuals involved in the violent fracas. And to the best of available information, the Police have not since called Jefferson Koijee in for questioning although eyewitness accounts put him at the center of the violence.
In a rather strange and bizarre twist, Jefferson Koijee has instead upped the ante, virtually calling for the dismissal of Justice Minister Musa Dean for what he (Koijee) claims is the Minister’s silence on the violent fracas which he led. What therefore is Jefferson Koijee telling the public? After having unleashed his storm trooper goon squads on citizens peaceably assembled, he is now crying “victim” in a manner strongly reminiscent of Nazi zealot Heinrich Himmler blaming Jews for everything wrong and systematically exterminating them.
In the opinion of this newspaper, the Police should have long since launched a probe into the violence and should have by now made some arrest. But this has not happened apparently because Jefferson Koijee is untouchable –touch him and you have touched the Big Chief. Although it is clear as daylight that Koijee played a major role in instigating the violence, he has not been called in for questioning. The Police should therefore provide answers to growing public concerns about what appears to be selective law enforcement.
Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue has long been accused of partisanship in the running of the Liberia National Police. Therefore, could the apparent nonchalance of the Police be attributed to the Inspector-General’s alleged membership in the CDC? Should this be the case, then he ought to step down voluntarily or risk summary dismissal by President Weah.
Equally so, the Justice Ministry cannot be absolved of responsibility in this matter. It is the Justice Ministry that has supervisory oversight over the Liberia National Police and, in the instance where the Police fails to act in keeping with its statutory duties and responsibilities, the Ministry should, without prodding from anywhere, immediately take the necessary remedial measures in order to, if not for anything more, redeem and uplift the image of the Police, shore-up its integrity and promote accountability.
This means that the Police under the leadership of Patrick Sudue has to do better. Law enforcement under his leadership cannot be selective. Rather, it should be unbiased, coldly neutral and proactive. Admittedly, this is an uphill task all things considered yet, it can be accomplished. This newspaper has since called for an independent probe in the elections violence to establish its immediate and antecedent causes as well as to identify, arrest and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, all those responsible for the violence.
This is very important given what appears to be a growing trend by government officials to display might and coercive power with the sole intent to intimidate political opponents. This is completely unacceptable and the Police has a key role to play in ensuring that peace is sustained more and better through cooperation rather than through coercive violence.
In this regard, Jefferson Koijee’s antics must be regarded for what they are — dangerous and replete with conflict inducing potentials. As this paper has repeatedly pointed out, the lessons of the past should never be lost on us. Assaults on the dignity of the people must stop forthwith. The Liberian people did not take it from Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor and, having come this far in a blood soaked journey, they will never take it from their beloved George Weah let alone from upstarts in the likes of Jefferson Koijee now crying WOLF and shedding CROCODILE tears over his misadventure.