MONROVIA – An articulate and revered human rights lawyer, Presidential Aspirant Taiwan Saye Gongloe has expressed serious concern about the whereabouts of President George Manneh Weah in the United States, saying that it is concerning because it is reported that the president has been invited to the United States of America by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and reports are rife that he has since been reportedly undergoing investigation for “crimes of drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing.” The Human rights lawyer is seeking clarification of the veracity of these reports; The Analyst reports
Gongloe said that the silence by the government to comment, especially in the wake of the reportage that the President is being investigated for these alleged international crimes, has the propensity to brew insecurity in the country.
The Presidential hopeful therefore urged the government to allow the people of Liberia to know the veracity of these reports against the President in the United States and his engagement wherever he is.
Cllr. Gongloe made the assertions when he addressed a press conference in Monrovia to comment on the trending stories that the President who was invited to the United States, is being investigated for crimes of international nature, including drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing.
Commencing his extemporaneous statement to journalists, Gongloe said, “Let me tell you why I am here today. The people of Liberia have the right to know about the government and its functionaries under Article 15 “C” of our Constitution.”
The Human rights lawyer emphasized, “It is our right, not a privilege, to know about the government and its functionaries every minute, every hour, every second. And the most important functionary of the government of Liberia is the President of Liberia.
“Today, as enlightened as I am,” he said, “I do not know the purpose of the President’s trip out of the country. Maybe my senator knows, [but] I do not know.”
He was succinct to say that the President’s whereabouts “cannot be shaded in secrecy because it is demeaning [when] it is shaded in secrecy [at a time] there are speculations that the President is being investigated by the Center for Intelligence Agency of the United States”.
He averred, “for me, it’s so demeaning [to the extent that] it’s unprecedented for a president to be investigated [by the CIA]. Just that word – is demeaning”.
Gongloe further exclaimed, “For the president of the first independent country of Africa that is supposed to be a shining example to humanity that black people are capable of governing themselves – that our president – after 175 years going to 176 year would be investigated by an agency of another government is demeaning.”
He said that the reasons that are associated with the stories as are being reported are indicative that Liberia is the central point for drug trafficking to the rest of the word; that the president is a beneficiary to terrorist financing, drug trafficking and that he has to answer for the extra judicial killings under his administration. “That is troubling. And for the government to be silent on this, it’s a failure on its national duty to the people. And so the people have the right to know about the government and its functionaries.
He demanded that the Ministry of Information should come out and explain now “where exactly in the United States is the President and what is he doing there? It is not a privilege; it is our right to know. Tell us exactly where the president is? We want to know where the president is,” Cllr. Gongloe emphatically indicated.
He explained that every news report is about “‘It’s speculated; its hinted.’ And because the government is quiet about it, it becomes a blind check that everybody will write into.”
The Liberian Human rights advocate and Presidential aspirant asserted, “And let me tell the president and the officials of the Government of Liberia that secrecy creates insecurity.”
He related the story of late 1979 and early 1980. “I am an experienced man; I tell you – before most of you were born – that in April 1980 – around April 8, 1980, there were speculations in Liberia that Bacchus Mathews and about 90 persons that were in jail would be executed on April 14, when the president was about to travel to attend a Non-Alliance conference in Zimbabwe.
He said, “It was speculated [when I was then a senior student of the University of Liberia] that officials in the three branches of government had signed a resolution for the government to execute these people – 90 persons in jail, although they were not charged or tried.”
“And because of the high level of ignorance in this country we believe it – how come the people in jail that were not charged and tried will be punished,” he asked, saying “But the public believe it. And the government remained silent.”
According to him, “The government could have come immediately to say it is not true, the people have not been charged – these are the processes of charging and punishing people,” adding that the government remained silent on this grave national situation.
“But it is that silence that led to the [April 12, 1980] Coup d’état. So on the day he was supposed to leave on April 12, was the day the president was killed. You see how dangerous silence can be?”, he restated.
Cllr. Gongloe intoned that the Government should not remain silent on the whereabouts of President Weah in the USA because “The more the government remains silent, the more we will believe that our president is a suspect of international crimes. That’s demeaning!”
The situation, according to him, is exposing Liberians in international conferences to disrespect. “Liberian citizens attending conferences abroad are being laughed at on the dinner tables, on the breakfast tables and lunch tables by their colleagues attending international conferences , who joked with them thus – O so your president is on trial for drug trafficking, for money laundering that he is buying houses in Dubai and other places?”
He then concluded by inquiring, “How can they be silent on this? So I believe I am speaking for the majority of the Liberian people who want to know where the President go to in the United states and what he is doing there;”
He then added, “If it is true that our President is a suspect of drug trafficking, terrorists financing and that he is using these crimes to own properties in then no serious investors will come to a country that is the transit point of drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing,” reiterating that the government needs to address this situation.
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