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Liberia's Government Alleges Coup Plot

Who is plotting to overthrow the government of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, or is the government simply crying wolf? Ever since her inauguration as Africa’s first elected female president, Johnson Sirleaf’s government has been making claims that certain groups were planning to overthrow her government. The latest came from Justice Minister Frances Johnson-Morris. She said defeated politicians from last October’s general elections have been conniving with disgruntled soldiers of the Liberian army to seize power by military means.

The opposition has accused the government of crying wolf, saying it should arrest and prosecute the so-called coup plotters or stop crying wolf. But Justice Minister Johnson-Morris told VOA the government has preponderance of evidence.

“That statement was made by me, and we have sufficient evidence to prove that there are people who are planning and plotting to cause unrest in the country or to stage a coup. We have sufficient information to establish that,” she said.

Johnson-Morris dismissed some opposition members’ claims who urged the government to either use its so-called evidence to either arrest the alleged coup plotters or stop putting fear in the Liberian people.

“At an appropriate time, the government of Liberia will expose the names of those persons and individuals involved in this plan. We are gathering our evidence, making sure that everything is water-tight and irrefutable before we can disclose the names of the individuals concerned,” Johnson-Morris said.

The leader of the opposition Liberty Party, Charles Brumskine, said in a statement that the Liberian government should realize that its repeated allegation of a coup plan creates an air of instability in an already fragile environment. He called on the government to stop crying wolf. But Johnson-Morris said the government is not crying wolf.

“No, we are not crying wolf at all. This is not a story that is being made up by the government. As I said earlier, we have adequate evidence to prove that there are people. Unfortunately, we thought everyone was on the same page about our determination to move our country forward and restore normalcy and stability to the country. But unfortunately there are those among us who are not prepared and ready for peace,” she said.

Johnson-Morris said some of the alleged coup plotters are both in and outside Liberia, and she rejects opposition accusation that her government’s claims might be scaring investors away from Liberia.

“Some of them are in and some people are outside the country. And don’t worry you will soon get to hear the full details of the plot. This is not a fairy tale that I’m telling you. No one will take pleasure in scaring away investors just trying to stare up rumors that are not true,” Johnson-Morris said.

She rejects opposition allegations that the Liberian government might be employing the same tactics used by previous Liberian governments like Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor when they tried to implicate their serious opposition or those who might have fallen out with the government in some kind of a coup plot.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not aware of any group of people that the government doesn’t like. I’m not aware that this government has such agenda. We’re not interested in that. I’m giving you facts. I don’t know that this government has fallen out with anyone for that matter,” Johnson-Morris said.