Civil Society Network Hails “Heroic” Intervention Of Judicial Security In Ponpon’s “Savage Suicide”

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Scenes from Archie Ponpon’s attempted immolation

The Civil Society Network of Liberia (CSNL) has lauded the swift intervention of the judicial security officers and other good citizens who helped save the life of Archie Ponpon, protest leader of aggrieved judicial workers.

   Ponpon, on Monday, November 2, 2020, shocked Liberia and the world by setting himself ablaze in protest of what he claimed is a calculated marginalization, oppression, suppression and alleged attempt by Chief Justice, Francis S. Korkpor, to kill him (Archie) for leading a series of protests on the grounds of the Temple of Justice in demand of several months of salary arrears owed judicial workers and an attempt by unknown men under the alleged instruction of Chief Justice Korkpor to kill him (Archie).

   The CSNL, in a press release issued Friday, November 6, 2020, hailed officers of the Judiciary’s security for swiftly intervening to quench the fire on Ponpon and avoid what could have been a savage suicide on the sacred ground of the Temple of Justice.

   It can be recalled that, amid continued protests, allegations and public disrespect shown to Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor and the Judiciary by judicial workers and some journalists assigned at the Temple of Justice, the Civil Society Network of Liberia (CSNL) recently issued a statement strongly defending the character and integrity of the Chief Justice and the entire leadership of the Judiciary.

   Scores of judicial workers last month (October) intensified their protest actions against the leadership of the Judiciary, particularly chanting derogatory and disdainful slogans against the impeccable reputation of Chief Justice Korkpor on grounds that the leadership of the Judiciary has refused to give them or has “eaten” their duly entitled salaries and benefits.

   Chief Justice Korkpor and the administration of the Judiciary are on record for making several clarifications to the protesting workers on many occasions about the circumstances surrounding their salaries, like all other civil servants and government employees as a result of the much publicized harmonization policy, but to no avail.

   On one of the protest days, October 13, 2020, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah rushed to the ground of the Temple of Justice and told protesting judicial staff that the government was doing all it could to address the situation and probably restore the cuts to their salaries.

   In September this year, the Judiciary made another clarity to the protesting employees that whatever cuts in their salaries were not the doing of the Judiciary, and that the cuts affected all employees of government in keeping with the harmonization policy.

   Despite all of the interventions and clarifications done by the Judiciary and the Executive branches, some unscrupulous individuals led by Archie Ponpon, under the guise of protesting for cuts in the Liberian dollar component of their salaries, continue to make unwarranted public statements, insulting the Chief Justice and bringing to public disrepute the integrity of the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia.

   Ponpon, prior to his scaring jihadist action, has paraded at several radio stations and other public platforms, alleging that Chief Justice Korkpor wants to kill him, an allegation the Civil Society Network of Liberia described as grave but unfortunately, not supported by any iota of evidence but rather solely intended to tarnish the reputation of Justice Korkpor to achieve the selfish and seemingly political aims of Ponpon’s benefactors.

   This attitude, the civil society group said, it would not condone and therefore called on Ponpon and his accomplices to immediately desist as their unjustified actions are not only disrespectful to Chief Justice Korkpor but also has the propensity of eroding the sacredness of the Judiciary, which is a non-political branch of government and the fulcrum of the peace, justice and stability of Liberia.

   The group said, while it joins the Chief Justice and other well-meaning Liberians in empathizing with Ponpon for the injuries he sustained in his attempted terroristic suicide mission, it sees it fit to remind Ponpon and his fellow protesting workers that the harmonization policy affected the entire government, and is therefore not the making of the Chief Justice Korkpor, whom himself is a victim.

   The civil society group has also commended Chief Justice Korkopor for exercising maximum restraint and magnanimity by preventing any use of force to gain access to his official vehicle, which was placed under felonious restraint on several occasion by Ponpon, thus causing the Chief Justice to ride an ordinary vehicle to and from the Temple of Justice.

   The CSNL expressed shock about the gross failure of some activists and politicians to verify the circumstances that led to the reduction of government employees’ salaries, including Ponpon and others’, but rather chose to do radio and newspaper commentaries that erroneously indict the Chief Justice for acts he did not commit.

   Contrary to the widespread public perception that the Judiciary deliberately owes its employees or has tampered with their legitimate salaries and benefits, the civil society group emphasized that it is impossible for the Chief Justice or any official of government in the three branches to individually tamper with any government worker’s salary because the government has since put in place, and is operating, a direct deposit policy which allows every government employee to receive his/her salary through a personal bank account.

   The Civil Society Network of Liberia has meanwhile reiterated that it welcomes the suspension, transfer and/or investigation of several protesting judicial workers who were part of recent protests and levying unsubstantiated allegations against Chief Justice Francis Korkpor.

   The civil society group has also re-echoed recent caution by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and the Director of Communications at the Judiciary, Atty. Darryl Ambrose Nmah, that journalists reporting from that sacred branch of government be more careful and exercise maximum professionalism in their reportage.

   CSNL maintained that misinformation from any reportage emanating from the Judiciary has the propensity of eroding public trust and confidence and could be a recipe for confusion in the public.

   The group also urged the judicial reporters to seek a more closer working relationship with the communication office of the Judiciary to always cross-check any information or news item they may have doubt about before going to press because doing so would enhance credible information dissemination and reliable news reporting at all times.

   The Civil Society Network of Liberia has, again, rubbished what it calls malicious claims that Chief Justice Korkpor’s office staff comprises of only people from his Nimba County, and that he was saturating the Judiciary, in all departments, with Nimbaians.

   The group said its investigation has established that the claims are untrue and are only part of the deliberate character assassination campaign launched by uncivilized and rogue elements who have got nothing to contribute to the remarkable transformational work of the Judiciary under Justice Korkpor and the larger growth and development of Liberia.

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