The family of Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah has been denied from traveling out of Liberia to Accra with their passports and luggage seized at the Roberts International Airport.. The Montserrado County lawmaker said the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that his family was stopped from leaving the country based on instruction of President George Manneh Weah.
Mrs. Georgetta Joyce Kolubah was travelling to Ghana with her twins babies and other children for a short vacation but were stopped under claimed that she did not have paper to establish that the six children she was travelling with are her own children.
Explaining her ordeal, Mrs. Joycetta Kolubah said that while they were at an immigration check where the bigger children were being photograph, a man came and whispered in the ears of the immigration thereby changing protocols and stopping her and the children from traveling. At a time they have already checked in and their passports stamped.
“I say but since when this other process started? They said long we have been requesting for this paper. I told them I don’t know about it because last year, my husband and I travelled with these children. At that time I was pregnant. When I came back I went with my children to Nigeria,” she explained.
Mrs. Kolubah who spoke at their residence on the Old Road in Sinkor where her husband organized a press conference further noted that she reminded them that they did not request for such paper alluded to and wondered why they were requesting it now. “They told me that that is the process; if you do not have it you will not check out. We I asked them how I can get it, they said you have to pass through the Justice Ministry and the Gender Ministry before you get it.”
According to Mrs. Kolubah, she inquired of them whether they did not want her to travel because of the critical stance of her husband, adding reminding them that they are all Liberians and that no one is more Liberian than the other.
She narrated that at the point of expressing herself, they insulted her that she was taking in drugs, noting that it was at that point that they called her husband Representative Kolubah. She reminded them that I need not to take drugs to express herself, countering their statement “maybe it is your mothers or your wives that are taking drugs not me.”
She said upon the arrival of her husband, Rep Kolubah, they stamped their passports and allowed she and her children to go, but to our surprise, we saw another person coming and demanded from them their passports, demanding further that Representative Kolubah has to make paper before they can go.
Mrs. Kolubah who said her father was a politician and noted that no one transferred her father’s conducts to them, adding that the George Weah government is proving the reasons why Mr. Kolubah has been critical on the government.
She said she was two weeks after giving birth to her twins when her premises were invaded by armed state security thereby traumatizing the children, a reason for which her family decided to fly them for a vacation to stabilize them; saying that even at the airport, the security people seized the milk and food of the six-week old twins. She then called on women of Liberia and the world at large to condemn this act meted to her and her children, especially the babies.
Also speaking on the Situation, Representative Kolubah said his family has been harassed and humiliated at the airport from 8:00 am to 11::00 while she was traveling out of the country for at least one week. Representative Kolubah confirmed that his family took the decision because of the trauma the children have been going through, pointing out that they were to fly back before the July 24th planned Protest.
“They checked in and everything, later I was called to clarify whether I am aware that my wife is traveling with my children. And I drove to the airport and met with the immigration authority there. The immigration boss for operation that I spoke to said he only wanted to know if I am aware that my wife was traveling with my children because my wife was traveling with six children. I made that clarity and they told me to go,” the lawmaker explained
He said 20 minutes later when the President had landed at the RIA from Conakry, they called him, Kolubah, back and said he needed to fill in a form. “I said ok I went by then my wife and children’s passports were stamped and while going to board the plane, they call them back that they received instruction from the higher-up that they should not be allowed to leave the country.”
The District #10 representative said when he thereafter requested for the passports of his wife and children from the immigration, the commander said they cannot give the passports that he, Representative Kolubah will have to go to the immigration office to get the passports.
“I asked them: Have I committed any crime or my family committed any crime? They said no, but added that they have received instruction that my family should not leave this country.”
At the point Representative Kolubah indicated that he contacted the Ministry of Justice where the acting minister (not named) he said he is aware that the President just touched down and has given instruction that he and his family should not leave this country.
“Then I asked him, can I get the passports? He said to me no. We cannot give you your passports; we have been ordered to seize even your luggage,” he asserted, saying, “My family was humiliated from 8:00 this morning up to 11:00AM”.
He recalled that some time last year, he held a children party that President Weah, who he pointed out has no respect for children and women, sent CDCians to disrupt at which time they brutalized the people’s children. He also recalled that people went to his residence and opened fired at his house.
He pointed out that he has written the international community – the UN, the ECOWAS, the EU, and the American Embassy on so many occasions, telling them that he and his family have been harassed by the Weah-led government. “I have also said to them that this President has decided to take away the lives of me and my family,” he stressed, saying that the present aggression towards his family at the airport is a clear indication that President Weah is after the lives of his entire family.
His children, he said, has nothing to do with his political activities adding that if Weah wants to confront him, let him leave the children out of it. “This President does not believe in the welfare of women and children, that’s why you are seeing the increase in the number of rape cases in the country; and this government is aware. All the situations, the abuses of children,” the legislator asserted.
He then called on the international community to know that his family is being harassed and humiliated by the government for no reason but because of his critical stance against the government. “I am a part of this government and when this government goes down the drain, all of you will be asking us, you were part of this government, what happened? What did you do?”
The tough-talking and critical legislator said he is not afraid, but decided to tone down because this is what his supporters told him to do.
He threatened legal action against the government to test the law in this matter, saying that he has formally called the ECOWAS ambassador and informed him of the humiliation of his family at the airport.
“We have said this time without number, that with this dictator being president, this country is heading nowhere. If this President thinks by behaving like this will stop the July 24th protest, he is wasting his time. The protest will go on,” he assured.
Meanwhile, the government of Liberia has clarified that it did not prohibit family members of Representative Yekeh Kolubah from leaving the country out of any political consideration or ongoing legal case he has with the courts. Instead, immigration officers acted purely in keeping with anti-human trafficking regulations.
According to MICAT press release, “Madam Georgetta Joyce Kolubah – believed to be the wife of the Representative – was due to leave the country on Saturday, June 13, accompanied by seven children, five of whom had diplomatic passports. The other two had laissez-passers. During routined checks, Madam Kolubah could not prove that all the children were hers, or that they were traveling with the consent of both parents in keeping with anti-human trafficking procedures.
“When she didn’t produce the necessary legal instrument which would have validated her claims, Mrs. Kolubah was duly informed on how such documentation could be obtained, without which she cannot leave the country with the children. This is standard practice which other adults accompanied by even a single child have had to face.
“Meanwhile, the government strongly refutes Representative Kolubah’s claims that he spoke to Justice Minister Musa Dean about Saturday’s incident. The Minister has not spoken with the lawmaker since his return to the country from a trip to Guinea.
“The Government, however, reiterates its commitment to upholding the rights of every Liberian, including the right to free movement. The government interposes no objection to any plans by Representative Kolubah’s family to travel out of Liberia, except where interdicted by the courts”, the MICAT release signed by its acting Minister Atty. Daniel C. Gayedyu Jr. concluded.