Local media outlet Hot Pepper Newspaper publisher Mr. Philipbert Browne has officially complained to the opposition Unity Party (UP) to the Minister of Justice, alleging that he had been intimidated by the party.
In a letter of complaint addressed to Cllr. Musa Dean and dated 6 September 2023, Mr. Browne also drew the attention of President George Manneh Weah, the Defense Minister, Liberia’s Army Chief of Staff, the National Security Agency, the Liberia National Police, and the Director of the Executive Protection Service.
Browne narrated that on 5 September 2023, he was caught up in a traffic jam behind Musu’s Spot owing to UP’s political rally in the vicinity of the Ministerial Complex.
Upon his return from viewing the extent of the traffic jam, Mr. Browne said he was spoken to by Mr. Arthur Massaquoi, his esteemed brother who had approached his vehicle.
“He informed me that he was sitting with Cllr. Buchi Ben Kiata, so I opted to speak to him,” he narrated.
After pleasantries, he said, the Unity Party folks complained about the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) supplement on the back page of his Hot Pepper newspaper and some of his headlines.
Mr. Browne alleged that the UP folks concluded that he was supporting President George Manneh Weah when he should have been neutral.
“In my own defense, I simply said that I was a businessman and, if the Unity Party wanted to advertise, they were welcome to do so,” Mr. Browne wrote.
“As for me being neutral or not, I told the Unity Party folks that the same rights they have to support the Unity Party were the same rights that I have to decide whom I support,” he continued.
He added that during this friendly exchange between friends, a well-dressed gentleman, supposedly from the Unity Party, amid Cllr. Kieta and Mr. Massaquoi said that they should beat him up.
“Even though sharply rebuked by the Unity Party folks, I, for obvious reasons, [am] of the opinion that it is the mindset and predominant views of the Unity Party higher-ups to beat me up,” Browne alleged.
“Mr. Minister, this is not a letter of complaint, I am capable of self-protection and am in no way requesting protection from the Government of Liberia,” said Mr. Browne.
He said he is simply stating for the record in case of any eventuality.