You may recall that on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, I led a group of no more than 15 peaceful protesters on the grounds of the Capitol Building, home of the National Legislature of Liberia. The fifteen protesters, all of us, had and have one thing in common – conviction. We were backed by our conscience to do what we did on that faithful day. Our protest was peaceful but yet powerful. I organized such protest not because I wanted my name to be written on the marble slabs of monuments or the pages of history books, neither did I intend to attract public recognition – for my name is a household name. Though we were small in numbers and maybe young at age, but we were and still remain conscious at mind and passionate at heart. That protest was sparked as a result of a May 3 Frontpage Africa’s publication in which Rep. Morais T. Waylee of electoral District #2 – Grand Gedeh County was alleged to have raped and impregnated a 13-year old girl (his niece) only identified as Mary (name withheld on the basis of confidentiality and adherence to best practices). We had assembled at Legislature to ask members of the Honorable House of Representatives to launch an investigation into this heartless and horrible allegation against one of their colleagues, whom – per record- is the co-chair of the House’s committee on human and civil rights, and that whilst it is an alleged case, it was prudent and expedient to have him recused from this committee and as a Representative so as to maintain the sanctity of said body given that rape is a state and non-bailable offense. We acted in the confines of laws and principles –Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution and Article 12 of the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child – we committed no crime by doing so. This protest attracted public attention and today, this alleged rape has gained interests from organizations. Shortly after our protest with our concerns received by Rep. Byron Zahnwea of Rivercess County, as we trekked the side of the Capitol Building facing the state-run University of Liberia, a man with a horse-shaped white hat and an all-black dress suit followed us. Eventually, to the smartness and quick-to-notice attitude of one of my colleagues, we all became concerned. Little did we know that this man was from the Office of the alleged lawmaker-rapist (Rep. Waylee). He then began to shout “here is he (Keita)” as two vehicles – a TOYOTA RAV4 with license plate number HOR-64 and a white Mazda with license plate number A34347 (pictures in my possession) – slowly packed and out of both cars came staffers of lawmaker Morais Waylee who started making threatening remarks – among them, a lady with orange shirt said that that protest was the last one and the they will do everything possible to get at me. My colleagues and I quickly resisted their effort to carry me (Keita) along with them. Then, they rapidly escaped when people began to notice the encounter.
On Monday, May 29, 2017, I honored and respected our justice system by appearing with my lawyers at the Monrovia City Court to answer charge of contempt of court. The hearing was adjourned by Judge Kennedy Peabody till Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 9:00am. Again, I appeared with my lawyers. In the wisdom of the court and the judge’s judgement, the court’s contempt charge against me was dropped.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I want to say without fear of contradiction; I cannot and will not disrespect orders from any of our courts. I am an advocate for justice and in doing so; I preach the rule of law and despise any move to ignore and scape judicial processes.
Fellow Liberians, I want to express disappointment in our institutions responsible for child protection including the Ministries of Gender, Justice and the Liberian National Police for being slow in responding to calls for investigations in this alleged rape case involving a sitting lawmaker. When the case was first reported, I and Liberians in general expected that by tradition and law, Rep. Morais Waylee would be arrested, investigated, and if found guilty, prosecuted. Sadly, there was never an arrest made (still not done) and neither was there an immediate investigation until after our protest, which caused public agitations and mounting calls for investigation. This act of silence from the Police, Ministries of Gender and Justice undermines President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s quest to end violence against women and children in Liberia. It also proves that “the bank of justice has gone bankrupt” and that selective justice is being deposited in said bank. As an advocate, I think that there is somehow a deficit of integrity and honesty in these government institutions. I am calling on the LNP, Ministries of Gender and Justice to restore public trust in them by doing that which is good and right. In furtherance, I am calling on the Liberian government that to remain impartial, retain its integrity and win the fight against this societal virus called rape, three things must be done – arrest, investigate and prosecute, if guilty, or freed/release, if not guilty. For example, Varney Jersey of the Liberian National Student Union was arrested and put in prison on the basis of rape allegations. He is still there though there are ongoing investigations. Rep. Waylee is no exception after being alleged of such putrid act – rape.
Members of the press, I want to remind the people of Liberia that the charge of criminal coercion against me filed by Rep. Waylee is not yet over. After our protest last week Tuesday, the lawmaker filed a lawsuit against me, and I want to say, it is his right. But what I find unfathomable and unthinkable is the charge of criminal coercion on me for calling for his recusal, arrest and investigation of rape allegations. If the lawmaker thinks and feels that a lawsuit will stop or intimidate me from standing up and speaking out for the rights of women and girls and against rape, he is wrong. I will continue to voice for justice and to champion the rule of law. I remain a campaigner for children’s rights and I urge every child rights advocate not to be taken by fear, of course, there will always be attempts to silence people seem to be critical. Importantly, the lawmaker will not be allowed to use the justice system or our courts to frighten me and other advocates.
Members of the Press, we (my local support-based organizations and I) have received a press release issued by the Ministry of Justice published via electronic media that the Ministry is not aware of any writ of summons for the crime of criminal coercion against me (Abraham M. Keita), the International Children’s Peace Prize winner 2015. If that information true as stated by the Justice Ministry, than there is a probability or likelihood that the opposite hold; meaning, it is the Judge of the Monrovia City Court, Judge Kennedy Peabody, who issued the Writ of Summons for the crime of criminal coercion against me.
This action on the part of the court maybe prejudicial because the arm of Government (Ministry of Justice) responsible to press charges (to obtain a writ of arrest) under the given circumstances has said that it is unaware and is attempting to decline to proceed further with the prosecution of the said crime charge.
However, the state through the Ministry of Justice is given a 72-hours ultimatum to order the matter proceed or drop all criminal charges against I, Abraham M. Keita, with perceived prejudices.
The Writ is intended to suppress freedom of speech, the Table Mountain Declaration signed by the President of Liberia, and it is in sharp contradiction of Articles 12 and 19 of the UNCRC and Article 17 of the Constitution of 1986.
Lastly, I stand by my earlier position that the alleged case be investigated.
Thank you and may God bless you.