For some time now, the government of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been accusing unnamed individuals or groups who it said have been plotting to overthrow it. Many have challenged the government to either show evidence or arrest those it said plotting to overthrow it. Now the government has arrested General Charles Julu, a former close associate of the late president Samuel Doe for plotting to destabilize the government of President Sirleaf. So, is Julu part of those the government claims have been trying to overthrow President Sirleaf?
Frances Johnson-Morris is Liberia’s minister of justice. She told VOA the government does not want to prejudice the case against Julu.
“At this time, I would not want to go on to further comment on this hearing. I do not want to pre-empt anything. I do not know whether our comments in the past have any link to the current investigation of Mr. Julu,” she said.
If the allegations against Julu are true, it would be his second time of trying to overthrow a Liberian government. In 1994, the Liberian army led by Julu briefly took over the presidential palace in Monrovia and announce he had overthrown the transitional government led by David Kpomakpor. His attempted coup was ended by the West African Peacekeeping Force, ECOMOG.
But Julu’s family members said the former general is now a religious man and would not plot to overthrow a government.
Justice Minister Johnson-Morris dismissed rumors of a conspiracy theory, that the government was using the Julu arrest to create the impression Liberia was still unstable.
“That is not the case at all. Like I said, the security forces are always on the alert. They are vigilant, and if they find any reason why they would want to invite anybody for questioning, that is their mandate. They have to safeguard the stability of the country. So I don’t think that anyone is trying to make up any fairy tale, or implicate people. But like I said, let’s wait for the outcome of the investigation,” Johnson-Morris said.
She also rejects claims by some that the arrest of Julu may not be in the interest of reconciliation in Liberia.
“Reconciliation cannot be a reason for the security not doing their job. We all wish that reconciliation would be promoted and advanced. But at the same time, if people have reasons to think that somebody should be questioned for whatever reason, we cannot put reconciliation as a pretext for being derelict in the performance of their job,” Johnson-Morris said.