Who Oversees The Liberia National Police?

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Who oversees the Liberia National Police (LNP), is the question lingering on the minds of the public in the wake of the brutal assault meted out by Police officers against an unarmed civilian right at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police. The Police officers were said to have been acting on the orders of a notorious ex-NPFL General, Augustine Nagbe a.ka. General Power and they brutalized their victim in plain view of the public and the media.

The Daily Observer reporter Abednego Davies was at the scene and his report carried in the June 6th edition of this newspaper, under the headline “Ex-rebel Generals Score First Casualty” is the subject of today’s editorial.

This individual, Augustine Nagbe, who is listed in the TRC report as a notorious perpetrator, was accused of forcing a woman at gun point to eat a large can of feces during the civil war. He was one of the spokespersons of the group of ex-rebel generals who had publicly issued an ultimatum to Representative Yekeh Kolubah to turn himself over to them or face the consequences.

Just how this notorious character entered the ranks of the LNP and who clothed him with the authority to exercise command and control functions over rank and file Police officers is a question that Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue must answer. Justice Minister Musa Dean must also answer not only because he heads the Joint Security but also because he should be fully aware by now of Nagbe’s illegal recruitment into the LNP at such high level and he must have become equally aware by now of his activities from yesterday’s events at the Police headquarters.

It can be recalled that the Daily Observer has, for a protracted period, raised issues with the LNP for its failure to hold accountable perpetrators (top-ranked officials) of political violence in several episodes of violence the public has borne witness to in recent times. The violent disruption of a political rally last November in Gardinersville by armed thugs led by Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, in which several persons sustained injuries, was not investigated by the LNP neither was anyone arrested and accordingly charged.

The Daily Observer has also reported the influx into Monrovia of a band of notorious and hardcore ex-rebel fighters known for the brutal and senseless wanton killings of unarmed civilians during the civil war. And it is this motley band of misfits, it is learned from reliable sources, that have now become active players in the national Joint Security apparatus, although it remains unclear under whose direct authority they function.

However, judging from yesterday’s display by the ex-rebel general Nagbe at the Police headquarters, there are strong suspicions that these men have been left to their own devices to act as they see fit. And this is the inherent danger against which protest organizers are more likely than not to come face to face. That aside, it poses a danger also to President Weah, which he appears not to recognize now.

Why? It is because these men, emboldened by the impunity they continue to enjoy for their commission of war crimes, could act in ways that may spark violence which may spiral out of control and invite the intervention of the country’s military or the intervention of the international community to restore public law and order.

President Weah must be wary of such. Additionally, he must not heed the advice of those beating into his heart and mind fears of an assassination attempt, should he venture to meet protest leaders. He has instead named his Vice President, with whom he has had a vary uneasy relationship lately, to meet protest’s leaders and organizers, the Council of Patriots.

As the “Krobah” of the nation, this should be unthinkable. Why can he not meet his people, even if they are angry with him? Considered within the context of his indigenous Kru traditions, a true Krobah can never shirk from challenges, because it is in confronting daunting challenges that his mettle as a leader is established.

Looking back into history in 1979, President Tolbert behaved less than a leader as demonstrated by his vacillations and trepidation. He was virtually unable to meet his people and therefore succumbed to the wishes of hardliners who insisted on having the security forces open fire on demonstrators. Therefore, the cooptation of ex-rebel generals and hardcore ex-fighters and convicted armed robbers into the ranks of the LNP and other national security apparatuses is alarming.

Some of those elements are known to have been involved in hostage taking and killing of UN Peacekeepers in La Cote d’Ivoire. Several are now within the ranks of the national security apparatus. This runs completely contrary to the spirit and intent of the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement which called for disarmament and demobilization of ex-combatants.

That these individuals pose a threat to peace and stability is clear and this newspaper urges ECOWAS, as the major guarantor of the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement, to take keen note of this development which is in clear violation of the spirit and intent of the Peace Agreement.

ECOWAS must take note of this alarming development because, judging from experience, as sure as night follows day there will be popular resistance to any attempts to return to the ugly past. Once again, this newspaper calls on President Weah, particularly at this time, to take charge and lead as the “KROBAH” of the nation.

Delegating such crucial responsibility to his Vice President, with whom he has been at loggerheads and who has been accused of plotting his overthrow, cast him in a poor light and only serves to undermine his legitimacy. Some of the fuss with his Veep centered around allegations that she had plotted with some individuals to rob him of the Title of “Dahkpannah”.  Now the time has come to know the truth. Will the real Dahkpannah please stand!

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