Fist fight for Jobs In Monrovia

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted November 27, 2003

As the scramble for jobs in the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) continues in Monrovia, a group of persons believed to be partisans of the All Liberian Coalition Party(ALCOP), yesterday stormed the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) to forcibly install their favored candidate as Deputy Minister-designate/Administration.

The action by the intruders, who were about 20, provoked a melee between them and some employees of the MYS that led to the injuring of several persons.

According to sources at the MYS, the intruders went to the ministry with the intention of removing the incumbent, Deputy Minister-designate D. Max Leboe and immediately replace him with former national team captain, Washington Blay who is also a member of ALCOP.

The former was nominated to the position by the disputed ALCOP Chairman David Kortie, but that appointment apparently did not meet the approval of some ALCOP partisans who have since rejected the leadership of Mr. Kortie.
Upon arrival at the MYS premises, the disgruntled ALCOP partisans began throwing stones at the building, while others carrying sticks and other objects in their hands randomly attacked employees of the Ministry thereby injuring some.

MYS employees who got injured during the incident include Assistant Director Moses Teah, Melvin Jackson, an aide to Dep. Minister-designate D. Max Leboe among others, some of whom were taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

The ugly situation that caused grave damages to the Ministry’s building, was brought under control by some UNMIL peacekeepers of the Nigerian contingent who arrived on the scene upon being called.

Speaking to The INQUIRER, MYS Minister-designate, Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, condemned the attack on the Ministry and said such action on the part of the ALCOP partisans was an act of vandalism, which must not be condoned and culprits must not go with impunity.

Apparently disappointed over the act, Minister Barnes said anyone who has any problem of such nature should rather channel their grievances to the Transitional Legislative Assembly for redress rather than engaging in act of violence.
She added that now is the time for reconciliation, stressing that such an act is unacceptable during this period and suggested the need to assign and deploy UNMIL soldiers at the MYS to avoid any re-occurrence of such incident.
Also speaking, Deputy Minister designate D. Max Leboe called the names of Messrs Johnstone Fahnborde and Washington Blay as the ring leaders of the group, whom he said have planned to kill him by using some fighters of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).

He said the disgruntled ALCOP partisans attacked the Ministry on ground that he (Leboe) is not the proper person to represent the party and as such, will ensure that he is not confirmed by the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA). He said this was not the first attack on him at the Ministry, recounting how he once jumped down from the first floor to escape when he was attacked earlier.

For his part, Deputy Justice Minister and Solicitor General-designate, Cllr. Theophilus Gould who also arrived on the scene, said his ministry is working along with UNMIL to handle the matter.

He disclosed that the Justice Ministry is conducting a full-scale investigation and has cited all the parties involved to a conference.

Up to press time yesterday, this paper could not get comments from the two alleged ringleaders, Messrs Fahnborde and Washington Blay. However, our investigation continues.

Yesterday’s incident is about the third time of such at the MYS. Some aggrieved youth have on two occasions, gone on the rampage at the premises as protest against the appointment of Mrs. Wheatonia Barnes as Minister.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.