A former Commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ms. Massa Washington, has sharply reacted to a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Agnes Reeves Taylor, wife of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor.
Mrs. Taylor filed a suit at the Civil Law Court of Monrovia alleging that Ms. Washington had defamed her (Mrs. Taylor’s) character in an article published in October of this year. But the former TRC Commission terms the allegation as “shenanigans” intended by Mrs. Taylor to shut her down from speaking out against those who took active part in the Liberian civil war.
Ms. Washington, who now resides in the United States where she regularly highlights the carnage that occurred during the war. She is also part of those calling for justice to be rendered on behalf of the victims of the war.
Reacting to Mrs. Taylor lawsuit on her social media page via a video, Ms Washington said she was ready at any time to appear in court to defend herself against the allegations levied against her by Mrs. Taylor whom she described as someone who had the free choice during the war and decided to be part of it and benefited from it.
Madam Washington wrote: “So, unlike Mrs. Taylor who is now suing me, she was a beneficiary of the country; she got her wealth during the heydays when women’s stomachs were being opened and young girls were being raped, and young boys were being conscripted and she had child soldiers. So people like Mrs. Taylor and the rest of them want to shut people like me down. I am a strong advocate, I am an advocate for the full implementation of the TRC and also advocating for war crime court to come to Liberia. So, former Mrs. Taylor and the rest of the people want to shut us down and whatever better way to shut us down by introducing all these shenanigans.”
Portraying a posture that she was unshaken by the allegation and that she was ready to challenge Mrs. Taylor in court, the human rights activists said: “So I look forward to Mrs. Taylor’s lawsuit. I will submit myself to the courts of the Republic of Liberia because I believe in Liberia; I respect Liberia and I respect the rule of law. I will definitely conform to the judicial process of the Republic of Liberia, but in the meantime, as a matter of fact, when I read that lawsuit on the social media on the day before yesterday’s night, I went to bed, I actually had three dreams because I slept so sound and I am having a fantastic day today”.
Ms. Washington wrote that the decision to be part or not to be part of the civil war was based on individual volition, adding that from the onset of the war, she (Massa) and her family made a vow not to be part, support it or be compatriot of any of those who were involved in it because it was Liberians that were killing themselves because of ethnicity or simple issues.
She said the decision not to form part of the war was taken at a family meeting and they stood by and lived with it.
“People like Mrs. Agnes Reeves Taylor, former wife of Charles Taylor, also made a choice and her choice was to be in the war, to be with Mr. Taylor, to be with the NPFL, to be in the hierarchy of NPFL. So she made her choice, and today, apparently her choice is not really reaping any moral dividend for her now,” the former TRC Commissioner stated.
“Yes she got all the looted wealth; yes, she got all the SUVs, while Liberians were killing one another all over the place. She was sent to England to live there, had millions of millions of dollars; she bought mansions according to a British media when she was arrested and incarcerated for two years. I don’t have money and I am absolutely proud of myself.”
Ms Washington claimed that she has never benefited anything from the government of Liberia through her out her struggle for education and every success story recorded was through her father’s pocket and her own effort as well, tracing her education from Kindergarten at up to 10th grade at the St. Teresa Convent, the last two years at the Assemblies of God High School, to the French School after high school and then later at the University of Liberia which she later on started paying her own fees when she started working.
“She said her graduate studies were financed by three loans she got, two of which had already been repaid for and the last one is almost at the point of retirement. She said despite of not benefiting anything financially from the government, she loves Liberia making reference to President John F. Kennedy of the United States who urged his citizens not to ask for what the country can do for them but what they can do for the country.
Mrs. Taylor has filed a lawsuit demanding over US$1m in damages for libel against the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) former Commissioner Madam Massa A. Washington who allegedly published fake information to expose the complainant to public hatred stressing that intention of Ms Washington was to lower her person in the high esteem of her colleagues.
Madam Taylor lamented that the publications substantially injured her hard-earned reputation after the alleged fake information was made public via the internet and print media by some local newspapers on October 13, 2021.