spot_imgspot_img
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER CALLS FOR DEFENSE MINISTER ZIANKAHN’S RESIGNATION OVER “RED-LINE” WARNING

Date:

By Olando Testimony Zeongar

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Human rights activist Vandalark R. Patricks, has made the call for Liberia’s Minister of National Defense, Daniel Dee Ziankahn, to step aside amid the minister’s recent warning, daring Liberian political actors to cross what he called the “Democratic red-line,” and they would be dealt with accordingly.

Delivering a statement at a ceremony marking this year’s celebration of Liberia’s Armed Forces Day, on 11 February, Defense Minister Ziankahn among others, stated that Liberian political actors should not “dare cross the democratic red line…”

Howbeit,  in an open letter recently addressed to Minister Ziankahn, activist Patricks told the Defense Minister that his “Red-line” assertion is indicative of him (Ziankahn) being completely oblivious of his ministerial responsibility, especially when Liberia is still recovering from the debris of war.

Therefore, Patricks emphasized that it had become a moral necessity and constitutional obligation for him to publicly rebuke Minister Ziankahn, and call on the Minister of National Defense to step aside.

According to Patricks, as evidenced by repeated inflammatory statements made by the Minister of Defense, in violation of the National Defense Act of 2008, it would be a severe political accident to have Ret. Maj. Gen. Ziankahn preside over the AFL during Liberia’s 2023 elections.

“It is prudent to state clearly that you are appearing to be an endangered species ahead of our elections,” the human rights activist wrote, adding that allowing Minister Ziankahn to continuously make these threats while presiding as Minister of National Defense to direct the AFL during Liberia’s pending general and presidential elections will be a total disaster for the country.

He accused the Defense Minister of beating war drums ahead of the country’s pending elections, with the intent to scare members of the opposition bloc, and instill fear in Liberians that might choose to exercise their democratic franchise if things do not go right.

“It seems your fingers are becoming trigger friendly and you are now finding a justification to start preparations to shoot and kill as your army did in 2014 when they were deployed in West Point,” wrote Patrick, who recalled that the last time the AFL was called to quarantine some citizens in the predominantly civilian township of West Point during the Ebola outbreak in the country, the army headed by Ziankahn, opened sporadic gunfire, and discharged live bullets, which led to the death of 14-year-old Shaki Kamara, while several others were wounded.

“Trust me, those trigger-friendly fingers of your army might be very disappointed,” Patricks indicated, adding, “But let me remind you that Liberians fought war, they know war and are tired of war. STOP reminding them about the red line, because you have crossed it many times.”

Quoting a newspaper’s account regarding the alleged murder incident that reportedly took place at the Edward Binyan Kesselly (EBK) Military Barracks, a day after Christmas last year, Patricks told Minister Ziankahn that instead of issuing threats for people not to cross the red line, the Defense Minister should rather be making the findings available to the public on circumstances that led to the “murder” of a 16-year-old, Gentle Bryant whose lifeless body was discovered badly bruised, where Minister Ziankahn’s AFL personnel are domiciled.

“In this case, not only the red line was crossed, but an innocent life was taken away. We need justice!” Patricks told Minister Ziankahn.

Patricks, who told the Defense Minister that he needs to keep quiet and stop issuing repeated warnings, and blowing war trumpets, informed Minister Ziankahn that “You cannot scare anyone with guns or issue threats when you are not authorized to do so. You are only usurping your function, and if you want to act like a politician, the people will treat you as such.”

He noted that at this time, Defense Minister Ziankahn should muster the courage to inform Liberians about guns that landed on the country’s seaport that’s under the George Weah-led government’s control, and not the opposition and their supporters.

“That is the red line that has been crossed, but you sat completely quiet and still refusing to prevail on your colleagues to provide findings on those who brought the weapons onto the shores of Liberia. Liberians deserve an answer, especially from you since you are the only authority to defend our country during war,” added Patricks, who pointed out that a cardinal responsibility of the AFL is to also protect the territorial integrity of the country, and hearing that guns were illegally brought into the country by unknown individuals should claim Defense Minister Ziankahn’s attention.

“But you have kept completely quiet on this matter. This is purely hypothetical, and it only shows the design of your plans to imprison the democratic WILL of the people, something you will never accomplish,” the human rights activist stated.

Patricks, who informed Minister Ziankahn that his communication to him was also intended to put the Defense Minister on official notice should he dare attempt to usurp his function or abuse his office to take the laws into his hands during the 2023 elections, pointed out that “We want peace to reign again in the midst of excruciating poverty, sicknesses and diseases fertilized by a chronic system of corruption that has been designed and practiced by greedy political elites in the past and celebrated by the government you now serve.”

“You should remove the veil of arrogance from your face and read carefully the National Defense Act of 2008, Patricks further told Ziankahn, adding that the Defense Minister should also concentrate more on improving the lives of AFL personnel, who according to him, are underpaid, walloping in poverty, and desperation due to lack of adequate care.

“You should be ashamed and embarrassed by your warmongering statement,” Patricks retorted, chiding Ziankahn that ”As Minister of National Defense, you dress more than the country, ride luxurious vehicles, and get fat salaries while the AFL live at the mercy of God.”

He claims almost all AFL personnel appear and look hungry, and that they wear old and dirty uniforms that have completely dishonored the relevance of the Liberian army.

“They no longer have the morale and decency because they are underpaid and live like Prisoners of War (POW) in their own country instead of treating them with dignity and providing them the full support they deserve,” Patricks continued, indicating, “I feel ashamed of the AFL especially when they are stopping taxis to get to their locations with dirty uniforms and rotten boots.”

He observed that the “Red-line” warning, as issued by the Defense Minister was an usurpation of the function of Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musah Dean, who he said is legally authorized to prosecute cases of electoral misconduct, adding that this is a clear display of the gross incompetence of Minister Ziankahn, who he accused of using his ministerial position to market his ignorance.

“This is shameful. I can’t believe that after the country’s taxpayers money was spent on your education and mental purification in the army, domestically and internationally, you will deliberately choose to undermine the very law that dictates what is expected of the AFL, and how it should proceed,” Patricks further wrote.

smartnews
Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

LATEST DEVELOPMENT

ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION SURFACE IN BOAKAI GOVERNMENT’S INFRASTRUCTURE EQUIPMENT DEAL

MONROVIA – A staunch supporter of President Joseph Nyuma...

INVESTIGATION REVEALS POSSIBLE FRAUD IN US$25 MILLION FOREX INFUSION BY PREVIOUS CDC GOVERNMENT

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – A recent investigation has uncovered significant...

HASSAN BILITY RESPONDS TO ACCUSATIONS OF MANIPULATING WITNESSES IN WAR CRIMES CASES

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Hassan Bility, Executive Director of the...

EXECUTIVE MANSION’S SILENCE ON DEAL WITH BUSINESSMAN ROBERT GUMEDE UNDER FIRE

MONROVIA — In a controversial move that has left...

PRESS SECRETARY KULA FOFANA’S UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ACTION

The recent turmoil between the reporters assigned to the...

ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY AND IMPACT IN PRESIDENT BOAKAI’S FIRST CABINET RETREAT

Today marks the commencement of the Unity Party administration's...

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: ADDRESSING THE SEWAGE CRISIS IN CENTRAL MONROVIA

The ongoing issue of sewage leaking into the streets...

PRES. BOAKAI’S LEADERSHIP UNDER SCRUTINY AMID CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA CORRUPTION SCANDAL

The recent revelations of large-scale looting at the Central...

COMMENTARY

THERE SHOULD BE NO BIG DEAL WHEN A GOVERNMENT DOES WHAT IT WAS ELECTED FOR…

A Patriot's Diary  With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley  President Joseph Boakai's...

EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF THE UNITY PARTY GOVERNMENT’S 3-DAY RETREAT

As the Unity Party administration, under President Joseph Nyuma...

PRESIDENT BOAKAI ADDRESSES LOOMING RICE PRICE HIKE WITH KEY STAKEHOLDERS

In response to growing concerns regarding the potential surge...

 NATIONAL UNIFICATION DAY: REFLECTING ON LIBERIA’S JOURNEY TOWARDS UNITY

National Unification Day in Liberia, celebrated on May 14th,...

LATEST NEWS

GOL INCREASES STAPLE FOOD PRICE AMID GLOBAL RICE MARKET TURMOIL

Monrovia, Liberia – The government of Liberia has announced...

SENATOR CONMANY WESSEH EXPRESSES SADNESS OVER CITIZENS INSECURITY ACROSS LIBERIA

MONROVIA – River Gee County Senior Senator Conmany B....

Share post:

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

OPINION

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN UP-LED GOVERNMENT’S DEAL RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS

In a shocking and controversial move, the Unity Party...

THE PERILS OF PRAISE SINGING: HOW JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY IS ESSENTIAL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN LIBERIA

Journalists play a crucial role in holding public officials...

AN OPINION: COMMENDING THE EMBASSY OF SWEDEN, SIDA, AND CENTAL FOR CHAMPIONING ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS IN LIBERIA

An Opinion By Socrates Smythe Saywon The recent one-day Anti-corruption...

AN OPINION: ADDRESSING BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIES’ DEVASTATING IMPACT ON EDUCATION

An Opinion By Socrates Smythe Saywon The presence and operations...

THE GALLERY

spot_imgspot_img

MORE ARTICLES

spot_imgspot_img

MORE NEWS

LATEST DEVELOPMENT NEWS

LATEST CRIME NEWS

Share via
Copy link