A member of Liberia's Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been accused of being a member of one of
the many rebel factions that waged the country's civil war from 1989 to 2003.
Sheikh Kafumah Konneh is accused of being a founding member of the United
Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO-K), the rebel group once
headed by Alhaji Kromah.
TRC Chairman Jerome Verdier is said to be in the
process of formally asking Sheikh Konneh to recuse himself from the work of the
commission due to what some are calling the overwhelming nature of the
Sheik Konneh told VOA the allegations are
diabolical and bent to tarnish his good reputation.
of the negative impacts of a war in any society is that it demoralizes the
youth and traumatizes the old age, deranged the metal concept and the social
integrity of young people in the society. Liberia is of no exception, and there
are evil-minded people who bent on tarnishing the reputation of good people,"
said some of his accusers have paid by individuals he did not name to tarnish
his reputation. He said he will call a news conference in the near future to
described the allegations against him as false the allegations against him.
are not only false, but are diabolical, are criminal, are malicious. I was here
from the beginning of the war and my activities are opened," Konneh said.
in the Liberian capital said TRC chairman Jerome Verdier is in the process of
formally writing to Sheikh Konneh to ask him to recuse himself from the
activities of the commission.
fear is that Konneh's continued presence on the commission as an alleged violator
of human rights might tarnish the truth commission's image.
Konneh said his fellow TRC members do not have the authority to ask for his
removal from the commission.
have no power to ask me to step down; they have no substantial grounds to ask
me to step down, and mere allegations, contradictory statements from
evil-minded people cannot force me to resign," Konneh said.
Konneh also denied being a co-founder of ULIMO-K, the rebel
group once headed by Alhaji Kromah. He said ULIMO fighters tried to kill him.
"If there was any warring faction that attempted to take my
life was ULIMO-K. I was threatened; I was under the protection and security of
ECOMOG (the West African peacekeepers in Liberia during the war) for three
months and 15 days here in Monrovia. But I was compelled, under my moral
obligation never to turn my back to any warring faction because we were engaged
in peace making," Therefore, I take the interest of our nation above my
personal life and interest," Konneh said.
He said he has never once talked with any warring faction
alone. Konneh said he always did so with his counterparts in then Interfaith
Mediation and Inter-religious Council of Liberia.
Konneh also rejected allegations that he visited a ULIMO-K
rebel camp and gave money to some of the fighters.
"It's a lie! The only time that I visited ULIMO-Controlled
area was in Tubmanburg, and I went there with Bishop Dicks, moderator Brown and
some other people. This was not a secret visit,"
The TRC released Volume I of its preliminary report last
month in which it is calling for the establishment of a criminal court to
prosecute former warring faction leaders for crimes against the people.
According to sources, Konneh is one of two members of the
TRC who are said to be against the recommendations.
Konneh said he and three other members of the commission had
no final input into the final document.
"Under the Act of the TRC, whatever decision we are to take
must be taken either by consensus or two-thirds vote of the majority, and if we
cannot get two-thirds vote, then we can have simple majority and where there is
a tie, the chairman would cast the final vote. But in current case, we set up a
committee to draft a report for our review, our input and then approval. Four
of the commission members have communicated with the legislature to say we do
not know the contents of that document because when it was drafted, while we
were discussing we did not complete the discussion of the document page by page
before it was presented to the legislature. And it does not include our input,"
He said the TRC Act also limits the powers of the commission
on granting amnesty or recommending prosecution of alleged violators of human