MONROVIA – The political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings said “having consulted with several lawyers, it appears that while Dumoe’s statement was ill-advised and made many persons uncomfortable, it is not illegal and as such, it is protected under free speech. I believe we have passed our dark days when governments muzzled critical voices and violated their fundamental rights of free speech”.
The ANC leader pointed out that the Chair of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has spoken on “this issue on behalf of the CPP, but I’d like to add my voice to his and call on the Government to free Menipake Dumoe immediately”.
Mr. Cummings who posted on social media on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, cautioned that we should not go back down that road. “As we approach unification day, it is important that we focus on doing things that will unite rather than divide us. Let’s all insist our government does the right thing and adhere to the rule of law”.
Mr. Meneipalei Dumoe, an Executive member of the opposition Liberty Party, and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Patriots was arrested Tuesday by state security from Liberia National Police (LNP) and the National Security Agency (NSA) and subsequently his home was searched for allegedly posting a statement on his facebook page asking the Government of Liberia to give the people of Montserrado AK-47 instead of food aid.
Prior to his arrest, Dumoe who is currently under detention for 48 hours at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police, and after numerous concerns from his friends that the statement could be misinterpreted, and based on invitation from the Liberian National Police, promptly clarified his statement, indicating that it was “metaphorical” and not an attempt to instigate any conflict.
In its reaction, Liberty party (LP) says it is deeply troubled by the arrest and subsequent searching of the home of Mr. Dumoe by agents of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the National Security Agency (NSA). The party indicated that it wishes to inform the government that the arrest and detentionof Mr. Dumoe despite his clarification that his statement was merely “metaphorical” is a flagrant violation of his right to free speech and demanding his immediate release.
The opposition Liberty Party then expressed concern “that a whole government would be run on mere impulse is a troubling sign of Liberia being on a path to reliving our sad past; something that every well-meaning Liberian must stand up to prevent. From the plain text of Mr. Dumoe’s comment, even without clarification, it is obvious that his call for the government to give the people AK-47 is something that no government would yield to. We assert that Mr. Dumoe’s statement is protected speech in that it was rhetorical in nature and did not inflict injury nor was intended to incite an immediate breach of the peace”.