Supuwood's Friends Respond to Allegations
Our attention has been drawn to an article published in the 05/02/03 edition of the AFRICAN ANALYSIS Magazine entitled: “A New Model for Liberia”, in which among other things the writer alleged that Counselor J. Laveli Supuwood “is rumored to have some knowledge” of the death of his colleague, (the late) Sam Dokie.
What exactly is meant by the phrase, “having some Knowledge”, we are at a loss to understand. The writer and editors of the African Analysis Magazine certainly owe us and the teeming thousands of Liberians, who hold Counselor Supuwood in high esteem, some explanation and answers. The African Analysis article was not only factually inaccurate on this score, but the vagueness of the article’s reference to Supuwood leaves much to be desired. In its vagueness, the article let open the door way for many dangerous insinuations, innuendoes, baseless assumptions, and countless interpretations.
The article in part alleges that Counselor Supuwood “is rumored to have some knowledge of about the killing in November 1997, of one of his closest colleagues, Samuel Dokie”. How preposterous!
Again we return to the cardinal question as to what is meant or implied by the phrase “having some knowledge of the death”? The fact that Dokie, along with his wife, sister and nephew, was arrested, detained and subsequently murdered by Liberian Government security forces is a notorious fact known to all Liberians and to those who follow events in Liberia. Is it this general knowledge of the circumstances of the Dokies’ death that is being referred to in the African Analysis article? If this were the case, why then is a single individual or a single politician being fingered as having such knowledge, which, by all accounts, is available in the public milieu? Or, is the paper in the possession of other exclusive information that has not otherwise been made publicly available? If this is the case, then the African Analysis is professionally called upon to make such information available in the interest of clarity and accuracy.
It is not our intention to cast aspersion on the integrity of the writer or that of the African Analysis Magazine. Far from it. For we are told that great has been the contribution of the African Analysis Magazine to the process of African information dissemination and analysis. However, it is always important for editors and their employees to note that whenever there is less clarity, imagination ultimately tends to fill the gap. That is why when a journalist is in doubt as to factual matters, the best option is to leave out the doubtful information, and not tries to fill in the blank with rumors and vague references that are opened to varying interpretations. It is unfortunate that the author went to great length to reach a fatal conclusion without attempting to speak with counselor Supuwood or any of his numerous friends or supporters.
Having questioned the factual and circumstantial basis of the article, it is now time to lay out the facts, as truth demands to be told. Firstly, we will like to clearly state that colleagues and Friends of counselor Laveli Supuwood vehemently deny and dismiss the assertions that he (Supuwood) has any knowledge of the gang-style and brutal execution of his friend and brother, the late Samuel Dokie, his wife, Jeanette and several family members in November of 1997. For the record, let it be known that the Dokies and Supuwoods were one big, close-knit family. Their children played together as they still do; the wives socialized together; Supuwood and Dokie were brothers in the fight for justice and equality in Liberia. They stood and fought together even at the peril of their lives and personal comfort. Others less committed would rather choose the path of safety and personal comfort. But shared aspiration for justice and dignity drove them together. They fought injustice wherever it came from.
So, when Charles Taylor hijacked the Liberian people’s fight for justice and transformed it into a campaign of graft and personal vendetta, Supuwood and Dokie made it clear to Taylor that the path chosen was not the way to go. They did not only quit, but they fought Taylor for his transgressions and his intransigence towards the search for lasting peace in Liberia.
History will show that Counselor Supuwood and Samuel Dokie jointly, along with other courageous Liberians, fought Taylor's NPFL and drove Taylor from Liberia into the Ivory Coast. It was Former President Jimmy Carter's intervention and the shenanigans and failure of the West African establishment to see the Taylor danger that redeemed Taylor and arranged the Peace Negotiation that created the Liberian transitional Council of State.
In 1997, in the continuing pursuit of their lasting commitment to democracy in Liberia, Supuwood and Dokie, teamed up with the Unity Party during the general elections so as to stop Taylor from ascending to the Liberian Presidency. The danger we face today testifies to the wisdom of trying to stop Taylor then. Clearly, Supuwood neither had, and could not have, the motive nor the resources to plan, or kill his
Colleague. The fact of the matter is When Dokie died, a part of Supuwood died. So much for the lecture on personal relationship.
When Dokie and family were murdered and their charred and mutilated remains dumped into the rural wasteland near Taylor’s headquarters, it was clear that the death were never accidental but orchestrated. Taylor had done it again. Chill ran down the spines of many who had opposed the Taylor regime. Like the African Analysis Magazine rightly said, Supuwood was the Taylor regime’s public enemy number one. It became clear that Supuwood was the next in line that the Taylor murder machine would kill for daring to challenge the West African megalomania. He was whisked out of the country by the West African Force (ECOMOG), who knew all too well that Taylor’s murderous foray would extend to Supuwood, as the Liberian dictator had issued an order to his thugs to finish up the second man who broke away from him (Taylor) in 1994 and brought him to the brink of collapse.
Supuwood left Liberia in January 1998 but never gave up the fight to expose and curb the danger that Taylor poses to Liberia and the West African sub-region in general.
It is, therefore, utter nonsense to imply that he was involved in or had any knowledge whatsoever of the gruesome execution of his close friend. Nothing could be more insane.
In the ruinous environment of the Liberian catastrophe, it is not uncommon to see the politics of personal destruction elevated to the form of art. Publishing slanderous articles about politicians in Liberia, especially on the eve of pending negotiations to determine the country’s future leadership course, is not new. Politicians in Liberia have made it into the Guinness Book of Record for countless and oftentimes uncomplimentary reasons. Hence, it would have been no surprise to read character-assassinating accusations orchestrated, and published by a Liberian paper. However, it is astonishing to read such article from what supposed to be a reputable foreign based journalist and news outlet.
The writers of Africa Analysis (Kenya) Financial Times Information Ltd, while giving their understanding of the inner relationship within the armed groupings in Liberia, decided to focused a critical part of the article on counselor Supuwood through the use of erroneous references to a gruesome murder that from all accounts bear the signature and imprimatur of the Taylor regime. In addition, Taylor has always had the motives and the resources to intimidate and murder his perceived as well as real opponents. He has never hesitated to exercise this murderous appetite. Evidences abound to confirm this. An article in the New York Times quoted Taylor as saying that his enemies would never hide from him. He would chase them anywhere, including their mother's womb. Did the writer of the story read this? May be not. So, why not focus on Taylor who is the problem and the culprit? To do otherwise is shape attention away from the villain and blame the victims.
It is important to note that the Taylor military regime, with all the resources at its disposal, has done nothing in pursuing credible investigation into the gruesome killing of Dokie and family. Neither has he encouraged the relevant Liberian government agencies in allowing families and friends of Dokie to seek justice. Paramilitary personnel within Taylor government have confirmed that Taylor's paid former combatants have been instructed to rebel against independent investigators who dare to unearth the circumstances surrounding the killing of Samuel Dokie and family.
But against the run of evidence and logic, the writer of the African Analysis article seems to imply that Supuwood was involved in the planning and killing of Dokie and family. How could a man possibly be the Taylor regime’s “public enemy number one” and at the same time be a part of the regime’s grotesque spectacle of murder and mayhem? This can only be laughable at best and malicious at worst.
We find it disheartening to read false and malicious article directed at individuals, other than Taylor and other anti-democratic forces. This is especially true when all peace-loving people should be working diligently toward the efforts on our part in establishing the fundamental principles of democracy in Liberia.
In the spirit of fairness and truth, we call on Africa Analysis (Kenya) Financial Times Information Ltd. to immediately clarify and/or publicly retract this slanderous statement, which has the potential not only to damage the reputation of Supuwood and co-workers, but contribute to inciting another round of ethnic violence within Liberia, a country that continues to suffer immensely from the ugly, vicious, and senseless 12 (twelve) year-old war.
Let's hope that journalists, editors, and owners of news outlets will learn from this regrettable and unforgettable journalistic flap and help in building a true, reliable and unfettered news media in Liberia.
Thanks, Mr. Editor, for affording us the opportunity.
Friends and Colleagues of Counselor Laveli Supuwood
Michael N. Moifolley, Jr.
1305 Monterrey Blvd Ste. 109