The Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) has filed a Freedom of Information Request to Army Chief of Staff Daniel D. Ziankahn, for the findings of the investigative report on the August 20th shooting incident in West Point Township to be revealed to the public in order to allay the rumor mill that has greeted the process.
In a press release, CEMESP said it is of the view that the issue is human rights related, which cannot be covered in secrecy on the basis of exemption clauses as contained in the FOI Act of 2010. The Executive Director of CEMESP, Malcolm Joseph, therefore entreats the leadership of the military to respect the dictates of the law by making said report available within statutory period.
Mr. Joseph argues that where secrecy is allowed to cloud said report, conspiracy theories and falsehood will dim whatever good intention the army leadership is predisposed to in instilling discipline in the new AFL.
The Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, recently forwarded the report to Brigadier General Ziankahn following its submission by the Board of Inquiry appointed by the government to investigate the West Point shooting incident, which led to the death of a 16-year-old lad, Shaki Kamara and another teenager seriously wounded.
CEMESP said that the failure of government to make public the findings of the report is a violation of the public right to know, especially the residents of West Point, who have borne the greatest brunt of the August 20th shooting.
The media training and peace building organization has questioned President Sirleaf’s decision to have the Independent National Human Rights Commission conduct a parallel investigation into the incident as though there is a credibility crisis in what has been released. Malcolm says this action amount to misuse of scarce resources as it is a duplication of function, which is ill timed.