Grand Gedeh Caucus Boycotts July 26 Activities -In Solidarity with Missing NEC Staff

The Grand Gedeh Legislative Caucus has said that it will be boycotting all activities marking the 175th Independence anniversary celebration in the county in solidarity with the continuous disappearance of one of its citizens, Alfred Dunner, the logistic officer of the local office of the National Elections Commission(NEC) since May 3, 2022 without any trace.

The Caucus took the decision on Saturday, July 23, 2022 when it addressed a major press conference to lament the situation which has raised serious concerns and threatening peace in the county.

“Days from now, Liberia will turn 175 on July 26, and, as usual, national convocations and simultaneous celebrations across the country will ensue to mark Independence Day. The Grand Gedeh Legislate County Caucus announces it is boycotting any such events for this year’s Independence Day because Grand Gedeh is enduring grief. The County, as a People, is saddened at the mysterious disappearance of one of its promising sons, Alfred T. Dunner, who is still nowhere to be found. We continue to be very concerned, at this time, for more than two months, we do not still know the whereabouts of Alfred Dunner and what had happened to him.

“Member of the Press, you may recall that early May of this year, Liberia and the world received in extreme shock news of the sudden and strange disappearance in Grand Gedeh of Mr. Alfred T. Dunner, the County’s Logistics Officer for the National Elections Commission. Mr. Dunner, an enterprising young man, was unwell and taken to the Niao Clan to seek herbal treatment where he was reported missing under very questionable circumstances. In the wake of that, tension began to mount in the County as his family and kinsmen became furious over the situation – demanding answers they are yet to get. Grand Gedeh is sad”, part of the press statement read.

The Caucus said as a response to the situation at the time, there was a consensus for a meeting attended by the Caucus, the Minister of Internal AffairsVarney Sirleaf, the County Attorney E. Wilkins Nah and top local authority convened a citizens’ meeting at the Zwedru City Hall on May 20, 2022 in order to devise the channel to a logical remedy to the unwarranted disappearance of the young man. It said that at the meeting the Executive Branch of government, through the Minister of Internal Affairs—amplified by the Grand Gedeh County Attorney E. Wilkins Nah—announced that the Ministry of Justice was launching a forensic investigation into the matter, vowing then to arrest and bring charges against anyone, irrespective of status, who may have links to the disappearance of the diligent NEC worker.

The Caucus continued that based on the stance by the Justice Ministry, they further encouraged the local citizens who were by then becoming very restless to remain peaceful and allow for the State prosecutors to do their job and even issued a public statement issued on May 21, 2022 in which they called on President George Manneh Weah to suspend any appointed official alleged to have links to the disappearance of Dunner and subject such individuals to joint security for investigation.

“Our people became agitated with some indulging in peaceful assemblies to draw the attention of the Local Authority. They sought to ensure the secure return of Dunner that he be reunited with his family safe, sound and healthy. That probably moved the President, H.E. George Manneh Weah, into commissioning Internal Affairs Varney Sirleaf to Grand Gedeh to join our strides to ascertain what went wrong that a whole human being of great significance to the development of the County would simply vanish. The leadership of the Legislative Caucus, represented by Co-chair Sen. A. Marshall Dennis and Secretary Rep. Erol Madison Gwion, Sr. initiated efforts to ease the tension and consultations continued with the family of Dunner, the Elders, women groups, the Niao section and others.

“To date, we have neither heard of nor seen anybody standing trial in respect of the Dunner issue, and that the matter even appears to be generating zero legal interest at the level of the Justice Ministry. Additionally, the Dunner matter seems to be on its way under the carpet. Well, the Grand Gedeh County Legislative Caucus would once again use this media to call on the Ministry of Justice to go to the full length and give this matter all the legal attention. Alfred Dunner must enjoy his fundamental right to life. Let the Justice and Security sector tell us his status, whether he’s dead or still alive – if they know. This matter is of grave concern and it is not important to the forward match of Grand Gedeh County in particular and Liberia in general”, the statement said.. 

The Caucus which was represented at the event by its executives, Dr. George ES Boley, Chairman, Senator Albert Marshall Dennis, Co-Chairman and Representative Erol Madison Gwion Sr also used the occasion to bring to the public attention some other cases of mysterious disappearances and what it called secret killings in parts of Gbarzon District that must be thoroughly investigated to give justice to the victims as well as the aggrieved.

They said that on March 7, 2022, Sen. Dennis, informed the Minister of Justice on a number of such incidents, the first being  a kid of about 5 – 6 years old who went missing in Polar Town in Gbao Administrative District and his lifeless body was found in a stream days after with some parts extracted. The Caucus further said the second incident was an elderly person who was announced missing in Zuajah, Gbao Administrative District and could not be found to date.

“The third and most crucial and alarming instance was the disappearance of one Best man Weay of Zleh Town in Dunee Chiefdom. According to information, Mr. Weay left the town for his farm and could not also be found. In the case of Weay, it has been alleged that after preliminary inquest by locals, a young man who narrated that he encountered Weay while on his way to his hamlet had offered to give details was threatened with jail by the Acting District Inspector. However, the informant had earlier said that he saw five (5) men going the same direction of Mr. Weay – and that he knew two of them and was able to identify the others when he saw them. Unfortunately, the Justice Ministry has done nothing about these sad incidents. They are still left hanging in the balance. Now we have the issue of Alfred T. Dunner”, the Caucus said.

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