Liberia’s George Weah suspends minister over ethnic remarks

ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST - APRIL 04: Liberian President George Weah makes a speech during a joint press conference with President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara (not seen) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on April 04, 2018. (Photo by Cyrille Bah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Liberian President George Weah on Monday suspended his junior press minister for stoking ethnic tensions in a country ravaged by tribalism and two civil wars which killed some 250,000 people.

A statement from the presidency indicated that Weah suspended Eugene Fahngon over comments that a call for a big anti-government demonstration on June 7 engineered by the so-called “Congo Liberians,” or descendants of freed slaves who returned from the United States to found Africa’s first independent republic.

Weah and his government are “committed to a ‘one country, one people’ policy with zero tolerance on divisive politicking or tribalism,” the statement said.

On his Facebook post Fahngon said that “I will not go for the June 7 demonstration.It is the Congo people who are behind the June 7 demonstration.”

The US embassy also raised concerns by recent comments made in various forums which could impede Liberia’s progress.

“Those who promote through their words or deeds a Congo-Country divide do not have Liberia’s best interests or that of their constituents at heart, but rather appear motivated by personal ambitions or fears,” a statement said.