Political Assassination in Post-War Liberia: The Case of Gloria Musu Scott
A week ago, Liberia woke up to the news of a failed assassination attempt on the life of former Chief Justice and former President of the Constitutional Review Committee, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott at her home which led to the death of her daughter, Charloe Musu and two others sustained severe wounds. Like a carpenter trying to drive a six-inch nail into a hardwood, the killer repeatedly stabbed Charloe to death.
According to a press release from the family of Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, there were two consecutive (two nights in a row) attacks initially, on February 8th and 9th, and those attacks were reported to the Liberia National Police (LNP), but there were no efforts from the police to take control of the situation — and their inaction led to the third and most brutal attack. The family blamed the government for contributing to the fatal attack at their home that led to the death of Charloe Musu and the severe wounding of two others in the former Chief Justice’s home.
A few months ago, I watched with horror the viral video of the brutal arson attack on the home of Unity Party (UP) Chairman Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh. The Unity Party leadership alleged that the Government of Liberia hired arsonists to attack its Chairman, Dr. Luther Tarpeh’s home.
The majority of Liberians have empathy with Cllr. Scott’s situation includes the Liberian Women dressed in all black on Thursday stormed the ground of the Capitol Building to call on their lawmakers to see that justice is served to former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott who lost her foster daughter during what is being considered an attempted assassination at her home in Brewerville City, some has accused the Cllr. Scott for the attacks. I am not sure what those accusing Cllr. Scott is thinking, but I have wondered where our humanity has gone.
Unfortunately, we haven’t heard any condemnation in the strongest terms from President George Weah on the attack on Cllr. Scott’s home and of Charloe Musu’s killing or the President directing the security agencies to fish out the cowards who attacked her home.
No doubt, Liberia has become a slaughterhouse for its citizens. We are all living witnesses to the mindless killing of innocent people in different parts of the country. Ours has become a country of bandits and assassins.
In 2019, Matthew J. Innis, Deputy Director for Micro-finance in the Regulation and Supervision Department at the Central Bank of Liberia left his home in the morning hours on Saturday to attend to office matters at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), he was allegedly murdered by unknown men according to his family. Mr. Innis was slated to testify in two separate corruption scandals in the country’s LD16 Billion and USD25 Million scandals.
In 2020, four auditors died mysteriously including Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, director-general of the Liberia Internal Audit Agency; Gifty Lama, acting manager for tax service, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA); Albert Peters, assistant commissioner for audit of LRA and auditor George Fanbutu of the LRA. In 2021, a 15-year veteran of the Executive Protection Service Agent (EPS), Mr. Melvin Early was executed in Tappita, Nimba County by people he worked with in the EPS according to his family.
A few months ago, Liberians read a statement from this noble, industrious woman and former president of the Constitutional Review Committee, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, argues that the elections might not be held on the second Monday in October because of the delay of the census and the breach of the constitutional mandate. What could she have done to warrant these kinds of brutal attacks on her home? What manner of people will carry out this type of killing against a harmless, defenseless woman’s daughter? What level of hate and intolerance could lead a person or group of people to plan and execute this kind of action against Cllr. Scott and her household are unimaginable. Only those who attacked her home and killed her daughter can say precisely why they committed such a crime. We can only guess that it’s a political assassination.
On February 23, 2023, the former Chairman of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Cllr. Jerome Verdier while serving as a guest on the Spoon Talk, disclosed that the attack was masterminded by the current Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) Mayor and Secretary General of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CD), Jefferson Koijee, and executed by one of his trusted confidantes, Varlee Telleh—a former commander of the defunct ULIMO-K rebel faction.
Mr. Koijee has since denied Cllr. Jerome Verdier allegations. During a recent press conference at the MCC, Mr. Koijee told journalists he had no hand in the attack and that all allegations levied against him are false and offered to cooperate with the ongoing investigations.
Sadly, there are many more such brutal killings in Liberia. In 2013, some gunmen suspected to be assassins attacked the home of the former presidential candidate and standard bearer of the Free Democratic Party (PDP), Fayah Saah Gbollie, and instantly murdered him with a blunt object. His lifeless and disfigured body was dragged and dumped outside of his home.
Earlier, Keith Jubah, the head of Liberia’s Public Procurement and Concession Commission tasked with tackling corruption in public contracts was shot as he returned to his home in Kakata, about 20 kilometers from Monrovia. Jubah’s murder in 2009 like most others was believed to be connected to his job.
Also, On February 13, 2015, Atty. Michael Allison, a Liberian Attorney and former Legal Consultant to the Liberian National Legislature was found murdered and his decomposed and mutilated lifeless body was found on the beach in Monrovia and dumped on the beach behind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the current seat of the Liberian presidency at the time.
The body of the former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, and former ally of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who became a vicious critic of her regime, Mr. Harry A. Greaves was also discovered dumped on the beach behind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the current seat of the Liberian presidency at the time in January of 2016. Mr. Geaves had gone to attend a meeting with partners at the Kendaja Resort along the Roberts International Airport Highway in Paynesville when he mysteriously disappeared from the hotel, only for his lifeless body to be discovered dead miles away. Mr. Graves knew too much about the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) bankruptcy. Robert Sirleaf, son of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was the chairman of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), which went bankrupt under his chairmanship in 2016. Under his management, 30 million to 40 million US dollars disappeared.
In almost all of these homicide-related cases, no solid arrests have been made or reported by the police. There has been no prosecution in these cases to deter similar future occurrences. The high-profile alleged murders cases of prominent politicians and top government employees discussed above, the places they resided, and the positions they held at the time of their deaths showed a pattern of assassination.
The sad part of it is that we live in a country where no one is safe anymore, not even school children, students and their teachers, wives, husbands, and the ordinary man. Under Mr. Weah, Liberia is in recess. It is absent. Its institutions are too fragile to help the people. The people are like orphans in their own country.
This is why the security agents handling the investigations of what occurred at the former Chief Justice’s home must learn to think before opening their mouths. Sadly, in most cases of this nature, the Liberia National Police (LNP) are often so lazy, and so unimaginative. They easily jump to conclusions, latching on to the most convenient lead. This explains why the initial reaction was less than 24 hours after the attack and the killing of Cllr. Scott’s daughter, the LNP contradicted itself.
It can be recalled that the police in a press statement had earlier informed the public that Former Chief Justice Scott revealed that a man who was part of a crew she hired to carry out some construction work at her residence remained hidden inside at the end of the work day, while his colleagues had retired for the day, and later attacked her family at night and killed her daughter.
We have been told that the police have since apprehended Scott’s alleged attackers. So fast? Are the suspects in custody the killers? Or is this a case of lazy policing? Only for the LNP to threaten Cllr. Scott and members of her household with “appropriate legal actions through the court of law” if they failed to appear for questioning even though the police questioned her and members of her household for four hours on March 2, 2022, and also questioned them on February 24 for more than three hours. This kind of beer parlor policing is unacceptable.
How many Liberians have to lose their lives before Mr. Weah-led administration comes to the realization that something is wrong with our security system? Why do we have the police and other national security apparatus if they can’t assure us of our safety? Why do we have law enforcement and court systems if alleged killers continue to walk freely in Liberia? Why do we have law enforcement if some government officials are allegedly running their private armies?
All we are left with are questions and more questions. Who attacked Cllr. Scott’s home, killed Charloe Musu, and wounded many? Liberians are anxiously waiting for the outcome of the police investigation to determine the actual killer of Charloe Musu and the attack on Cllr Scott’s home and have been pressuring the government to ensure that concrete actions come from this investigation.
The attack on Cllr. Scott’s home should be a warning sign of how dangerously Liberia sits on the brink of the precipice and the edge of a knife. Such a gruesome attack is a sharp reminder that the season of assassinations associated with politics in Liberia may not be over. I rest my case.