-Sen. Wesseh on Ponpon’s immolation
River Gee County Senator ConmanyWesseh expresses utmost shock over protesting judicial staff Leroy Archie Ponpon setting himself ablaze in demand of salary cuts or arrears owed by the Government of Liberia.
Ponpon is head of protesting judicial staffers, who suffered cuts in their monthly salary, as part of a government salary harmonization policy implemented this year across the public service.
“Indeed, everyone of conscience must be troubled about what may have driven Archie to prefer taking his own life than negotiating a solution across the table. More so, why did he choose such a gruesome, insightful, excruciatingly painful, self-annihilating manner to make his point. During and after the 14 years of our war and the terrible experiences there from, I stop saying that Liberians were incapable of inflicting certain cruelty and inhumanity on another human being. Now, I have to stop thinking that no Liberian is capable of protesting in the Archie way.
What all this confirms is that we must pursue justice in all circumstances speedily, properly, adequately, timely, humanely and passionately. Pray for Archie’s speedy recovery,” Senator Wesseh laments.
Speaking to this paper Tuesday, November 03, in his office at the Capitol Senator Wesseh noted by that his immolation Mr. Ponpon is warning that any branch, entity and the government should speedily investigate concerns raised by employees or anyone or the country may witness such again.
He underscores, justice must be seen, served and speedily through a transparent way to avoid a repeat of young Liberians immolating themselves.
A member of the progressive class and stalwart of the former governing Unity Party, the senator explains that some people cannot stand depression, as a result, they commit suicide, cautioning that to reduce the frustration of effected people is for the government to at all times handle issues with care, speedily and transparently.
He stresses further that people should learn to resolve issues at the dialogue table than taking their precious God’s given lives in protestations or trying to make a case or to be heard.
Immolation is an act of self-infliction or one killing himself or someone else, usually by burning. On Monday Liberians witnessed the strangest protest yet in their country’s history when Mr. Ponpon, a staff of the Temple of Justice set himself ablaze in demand of salary and benefits owed him by the Judiciary Branch of Government.
Ponpon had been leading protests in recent days as staffers intensified their demands for moneys deducted from their salary for nearly nine months. Prior to Monday’s incident at the Temple of Justice, he had threatened to set himself ablaze if the judiciary failed to pay salary and benefits owed him.
Due to his advocacy, Mr. Ponpon was suspended for time indefinite by Chief Justice Francis Kporkor, for leading a protest during which the Chief Justice was jeered by angry staffers, calling him criminal.
On Monday, Ponpon was threatened with a writ of arrest and warned to stay away from the courtyard of the Supreme Court. He had previously led other protests, including his advocacy for the rights of same sex in Liberia.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne