PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUP stands in solidarity with the Chairman of the Aggrieved Judicial workers of the Judiciary Branch of Government, Comrade-fighter Leroy Archie Ponpon; demands an Immediate Justice for Cde. Leroy Arcnhie Popon; condemns the inhumane attitude of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor; calls on the Government of George Weah to pay the Aggrieved Judiciary Staffers, the Aggrieved Legislative Staffers and all Civil servants immediately.
Comrades, compeers and commandos. Cadres, militants, and stalwarts of Africa’s oldest mass-based student political movement- SUP. Ideological defenders and Crusaders of social justice, academic freedom, and peace, members of the fourth estate:
We bring you furious revolutionary greetings from the pinnacle of Africa’s biggest repository, Pan-Africanist mass-based student political movement, the bulwark, sanctuary, and adytum of revolutionary enlightenment and consciousness, the Indomitable Vanguard Student Unification Party- SUP.
History has been fair in repeating itself. For those of you who have condemned Archie’s action and trademarked it as bizarre and outrageous without knowing how the brother felt as a result of the way the GOL has used them for several months without paying them for their services rendered, it means that you are not fair enough to your conscience and have not read history. Some of you hailed other people around the World for carrying on similar action (self-immolation) but today condemn Archie Ponpon only because it happened in Liberia. Sad! Our people have to read in order to evolve political and social consciousness.
SUP wants to go further by informing the public that self-immolation is not foolish or strange as people are viewing it but rather history has thought us that it is a common protest tactic among Buddhist in South Vietnam, Anti-Communists, and Czechoslovakia during the mid-20th century and continue to be used by Tibetans protesting the rule of Tibet by China and as well as the Crimean Tatars protesting forced deportation from their homeland. In this year alone, more than four individuals including Anastasia Niklas of Ukraine, Syarchei Radcheny of Belarus whose self-immolation led to current upheaval in Belarus and Irina Slavina of Russia who set herself ablaze in front of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in protest for press freedom and political liberties are all sufficient reasons to stand up for Cde. Archie, the Judiciary Staffer, the Legislative Staffers and all Civil Servants in general.
It’s not unusual and eccentric as some of you are narrowly thinking. It happens as a result of bad governance, oppression and corruption on an industrial scale in every state. The 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi was hailed and given Sakharov prize for setting himself ablaze on the 17th day of December 2010 because of the constant confiscation and humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides. That alone served as a message to many Tunisian to join hands and fight against the autocratic regime. It also catalyzed the Tunisian revolution. Is it not something similar to Archie’s case?
SUP demands an immediate and expeditious dispense of justice for Comrade Leroy Archie Ponpon and all aggrieved workers of the Judiciary Branch of the government of the Republic of Liberia. The ‘Self-immolation’ demonstrated by comrade Archie Ponpon few days ago on the grounds of the Temple of Justice was a clear manifestation of resistance against the continuous humiliation, lackadaisical suppression and all forms of oppression prosecuted by the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia Francis Korkpor and the President of the Republic of Liberia George Weah on Judicial workers for their deliberate and premeditated refusal to pay workers and staffers of the Judiciary for more than 12 months. This brave, unwavering and fearless courage exhibited by comrade Ponpon is a message for and on behalf of more than 40,000 civil servants in the Republic of Liberia who have been underpaid, humiliated, salaries unjustifiably harmonized and wages deliberately delayed by the Government of ex-soccer star Mr. Weah.
We recalled that a group of aggrieved staffers of the Judiciary branch of Government have been protesting for over three (3) months on grounds that the government of George Weah has deliberately refused to pay them for over 12 months and has unjustifiably harmonized their salaries after the Government made previous commitments that the so-called “Salary Harmonization” process was not going to affect them. Since then, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has continued to ignore, humiliate, and disregard the concerns of these workers. Chief Justice Korkpor has gone at all length to indefinitely suspend Brother Archie Ponpon and also threatened him with a baseless and unfounded ‘Writ of Arrest’ for committing the only crime of asking the government of George Weah to pay him for his services rendered to the country for over 12 months. Brother Archie became a point of target, hate and threats by Justice Francis Korkpor and loyalists of President Weah because he is the head of the Aggrieved Judiciary workers who are demanding their salary. He has been ruthlessly pursued and targeted for requesting his just benefits owed him by the state.
For us, we see Archie Ponpon’s action as truly revolutionary. And we hail and applaud him for his courageous heroism and step taken thus far which is blowing the trumpet for a just system. It’s a call for all Liberians to wake up against this plutocratic form of government headed by a simple ball-chaser. Our people deserve better. You cannot use people and refuse to pay them. This is being vicious and anti-progressive. They are fathers and mothers who have their families to feed and cater to. They need to be paid. GOL needs to act now!
Fast forward, SUP wants to clearly state that the regime of Mr. Weah has failed in all facets and sectors. The Government of Liberia presided over by President Weah and his clique of looters and zombies have taken Liberia back to the dark days. The CDC led government has led the fatherland (Liberia) into a serious economic paralysis and debauchery. Our people are dying rapidly in abject poverty as a result of bad governance, lack of basic social services and the absence of good policymaking. The rights of ordinary citizens have been abused and seriously tempered with under Mr. Weah administration than any other government since Liberia was founded.
Under Mr. Weah regime, the Judiciary branch has gone inhumane, insane and inane. Chief Justice Korkpor has desecrated the sacredness and holiness of the country’s highest moral voice. Since the constitutional and political machinated impeachment of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia has turned into a kangaroo Supreme Court. While corruption, bad labor practices, injustices and inequalities have taken the center stage in the Judiciary Branch. It is indeed a sad time for the republic. Liberia is a state headed by a domineering Executive, rubberstamped Legislature and a kangaroo Judiciary. Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has turned the Judiciary into a partisans’ Judiciary — CDC JUDICIARY. The Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia must be held fully accountable and liable for the Self-Immolation of Archie Ponpon. The unprovoked and groundless denial of the state to pay him his just benefits and salaries led him to take such bold step of resistance. This is the direct repercussion of the injustices and inequalities meted against ordinary citizens and civil servants on a daily basis.
Mr. WEAH swore under oath to protect the laws and constitution of the Republic of Liberia. This footballing President came on the popular mantra of “change for hope.” With almost three years into his presidency, the “change for hope” mantra has become a fiasco. Fascism is on the rise. Public bureaucracy is now intended to serve the purpose of President Weah and his team of looters. While Mr.Weah, Samuel Tweah, Speaker Chambers, and Albert Chea receive their salaries and benefits in time, poor and unpaid civil servants have to protest and go on monthly strike before they can be paid. This is a complete betrayal and breach of trust and confidence against the poor Liberian masses who voted for this President.
Therefore, SUP sees the refusal of the GOL to pay Civil servants after they have worked for several months as a wicked labor practice; devilish, inhumane, and a severe attack and assault on section 501 and section 1507.2 of Labor Law of Liberia, the 2015 Decent Work Act, and Article 6 and 18 of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.
Finally, SUP is calling on the GOL to take immediate action and provide quick medical treatment for Brother Archie Ponpon and to also pay in full all Judiciary staffers as well as Legislative staffers and civil servants for their services rendered in keeping with the aforementioned articles and sections provided. Any attempt for the GOL to slide away from our demands, unspecified actions will be seriously taken by the Vanguard Student Unification Party (SUP). And let it be told that our action will lead to a critical juncture which will be recorded in the revolutionary archive of Liberian history.
As the only genuine voice of advocacy and beacon of hope for the Liberian masses, SUP will continue to champion the cause for social justice, academic freedom, fair deals and civil rights until the hopes and aspirations of the Liberian masses are fulfilled.
The Liberian people will soon rise up to the occasion. The WEAH presidency is in no doubt headed for an unforeseen brinkmanship. The masses consciousness is increasingly building. Change is clear in insight. Conscious men must rise now to open a new page in our nation’s chronicles. SUP WILL LEAD THE WAY!
Done and sealed on this 9th day of November AD 2020 by and through the mandate of the Politburo and Central Committee of the all-powerful Vanguard Student Unification Party.
Cde. Mustapha N. Kanneh (ATATURK)
Cde. Momo James Peters