Col. Fitzgerald Vampelt Laid To Rest
By A Correspondent
January 13, 2002
Funeral rites are among some of the most significant events found in Liberian culture which blends with that of Western funeral ceremonies. Among Liberian tribal elements, funeral ceremonies vary from a particular locality to another. For instance, the manner in which the Bassa, Grebo and Kru have funeral arrangements are quite different from the Kpelle, Lorma, and Kissi. One thing that is common as regards all funeral rites is that the dead is always accorded his/her last respect.
Saturday, January 11, 2003, was another memorable funeral service in Monrovia over the mortal remains of the late Col. Fitzgerald Vampelt, deputy inspector of police responsible for the advance Liberian National Police presidential traffic team. The scene was the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church on 13the street, Sinkor. This funeral service officiated by Rev. Etta Taylor was reminiscent of the funeral service held over the late Robert Philip who was reportedly killed by Samuel Doe's security forces nearly thirteen years ago. Philip, unlike Vampelt, was an opposition member to Doe. Don't get me wrong because I am not suggesting that an opposition person ought to be killed as was done in the case of Robert Philip. The similarity in the two funeral services is that they became political with fingers being pointed at the killers of Philip and Vampelt.
The government made a low key representation at the funeral by sending Victoria Rafell and Kadiatu Findley. Paul Mulbah, director of the Liberian police who had every reason to have been at the funeral service for his fallen officer from start to finish spent less than an hour in the church. His being there was to simply pay tribute to Vamplet and left with his principal deputy, Saa Gborlee, after the tribute. Prior to the director's tribute, Mr. William V. S. Tubman, Jr. who is a born again Christian told the congregation that Liberia of today is infested with lots of demons. Rev. Tubman lamented that unless Liberians got rid of the many demons in our society, there will be no development. His tribute reverberated among the charged members of the congregation thus making life uncomfortable for Paul Mulbah and his associates. President Taylor had the day before attended the funeral service of one of the secretaries to Jewel Taylor, along with his full cabinet in the Providence Baptist church. The president is a deacon in the Baptist church.
Here is Col. Vampelt, a senior police officer who was called from his home in the early morning of December 16, 2002 with an understanding that he was to clear the way for Taylor's departure to the Lome, Togo for an ECOWAS meeting on the Ivory Coast crisis. Government's version of the death of Col. Vamplet is that Chucky Taylor, President Taylor's son "accidentally" hit him with his jeep on the Schefflin high way. How director Mulbah managed to appear on the scene of the "accident" that early morning is only God that can e'plain. But director Paul Mulbah in his tribute said that Vamplet died in his hands at the John F. Kennedy hospital in Sinkor, Monrovia. Again one may ask why is it that in Paul Mulbah's wisdom could he drive a "critical" officer past the ELWA and Catholic hospitals which are better furnished only to go to the John F. Kennedy where Vamplet "died" in his hands. It has long been accepted among Liberians that Chucky shot and killed Vampelt in cold blood in the same way he ordered the killing of Isaac Gono of the ATU few months ago. According to police intelligence sources, after Chucky killed Vamplet, he called Police Director Mulbah on his hand-set informing the director that he had just killed one of his men, hence the director should go for the body. In the two murder cases, president Taylor said that people were lying on his son. Security sources indicate that Chucky Taylor has the lust for killing. His known victims totaled about twelve. As head of the notorious ATU, Chucky is said to have killed over a dozen ATU personnel with information buried at the Gbatala military base where he is lord. A pathetic ATU body guard to the president son once told his civilian friend that if any of them fall asleep while on guard at Chucky's house, it is a hot rod that he can place on that person skin to wake him up.
Since the government claimed that Chucky killed Vamplet accidentally, why is it that he (Chucky) has not been charged? Why is it that he did not attend the funeral? Since the president did not see the funeral fit to attend, why didn't he send his minister of state for presidential affairs to attend? I am sure that due to their guilty conscience, they thought the best way was not to attend that funeral. The congregation at the funeral service was fully aware of how Vamplet was killed. People were not allowed to see the body lest they spot the bullet marks. The family was denied access to the body as if the officer died a prisoner. No one in the congregation believe government story of the senior police officer being hit with the rear view mirror of Chucky's car while he (Vampelt) was "urinating" along the road. That story is too cheap for even a baby to buy.
The massive attendance that I saw at the police officer's funeral and the praises that were e'pressed by almost all of those who were there about Vamplet suggested to me that the young man was a police man with a big difference. One thing is clear, those who took away the life of Vampelt and other innocent Liberians will one day account for their actions. Vamplet, may your soul and those of the faithful departed rest in perfect peace and light perpetual shine upon you.