Dear President Charles Coffey, officials and members of the media community
As you gather in the historic and traditionally-hospitable county of Maryland for the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, I send you the warmest of greetings and express profound regrets that I will be missing out in the events.
As a member of the PUL since 1987, I would have loved being in that part of Liberia, not only to participate in the ceremonies commemorating the day but to also have an opportunity — after more than two decades — to interact with the great and brave people of that county. I would have loved sharing some cola nuts with pepper as I did many times when I visited.
In principle, I had even agreed to head or form part of one of the outreach teams to visit some remote places in or near the county to get to appreciate how people are coping with life and what they make of the new political arrangement.
Like I did in Lofa during our celebration there, I would have loved covering those distances to meet our people at different ends of the county and country.
But sadly due to the current state of security uncertainty in which I find myself owing to the long story all of you are aware of, I have been advised to remain in safety in Monrovia until the official treats against my life have been reduced and I feel safe to venture outside a bit.
This colleague of yours, ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate, has been going through difficult times in recent times — his only crime being helping to create the necessary awareness to end the civil war in Liberia to pave the way for one president to be elected after another. This is how I am being paid for braving the storm to help create the peaceful Liberia we have today.
It will further sadden you to know that what started as a mere inquiry into an unexplained official outburst against me on March 22, 2018 at the presidency has now degenerated into an uglier situation where some former heads of defunct warring factions now see me as their enemy — that I am one person seeking a war crimes court for them. I am grappling with a serious situation, to say the least.
In view of all these complexities and knowing how gullible our people are, I didn’t think it was advisable to take any chances traveling to a leeward county.
But even though I am not with you in Maryland in person, my heart is with you all and I appreciate the continuation of what was started years back by taking the celebrations to our rural people — being a typical rural boy myself.
Please celebrate in grand style. On your return to Monrovia, I will meet and appreciate the leadership of the union in a special way for mustering the courage to travel the length to reach our people on that side of the country. Thanks to the wisdom and vision of those who made Maryland to form part of our republic in 1857.
Happy Press Freedom Day; and may God bless and guide us all and save the state.
The Press Club, Press Union of Liberia