By Atty. Isaac W. Jackson, Jr.
The Military is NOT above the law. The Constitution of Liberia guarantees us freedom of assembly. Therefore, if you get drunk on Weah’s instruction, and harm or massacre peaceful protesters, you and all other involved will be held criminally liable.
We are constrained to sound this warning loudly because, history recalls many instances where military officers, reacting to instructions of despotic presidents, have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of thousands of well-meaning, decent, and patriotic citizens.
Put simply, scores of societies across the globe have witnessed military units transforming themselves into death-squads to please presidents – carrying out mass murders and destructions. We saw this in Doe’s Liberia when members of the opposition community were chased down and murdered in cold blood. With our partners, especially American investment in training our military personnel, we did not expect the re-echo of such souring song from a Major General who trained on US tax-payers money.
Instead of the dog whistle of intimidation we are hearing from Major General, Prince Johnson, if the military doesn’t want the Liberian people to organize peaceful rallies, it should encourage the Commander-in-Chief to stop his reckless, and irresponsible behavior that leads to the needless suffering of the Liberian people. Imagine, looting millions of US dollars from the Liberian Treasury to facilitate a prolonged happy-go-luckily trip – accompanied by scores of personal friends and administrative staff – to watch the World Cup football games in Qatar? Meanwhile, most of our people are suffering from the lack of basic needs – food included.
Honestly, we think it is unwise to prematurely drag the military into an evolving national political discourse. This viewpoint is important, bearing in mind that military personnel swear oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution, not an administration or a political party. The military cannot serve as an enabler of the economic injustice being heartlessly perpetrated and visited upon the suffering people of our country by President Weah.
Once more, Mr. Chief of Staff, we are warning you because, we will NOT surrender our rights to peaceful assembly!!!