Liberian President and former football star George Weah suspended his deputy minister of information, Eugene Fahngon, for stirring up tribal hatred by describing the descendants of freed slaves as “Liberian Congo”.
Mr. Weah’s government has committed to a “one country, one people” policy, with zero tolerance for “divisive politics or tribalism,” his office said in a statement announcing the suspension of Mr. Fahngon with immediate effect.
Fahngon said on social media that an anti-government demonstration scheduled for June 7 was orchestrated by the “Liberian Congo”, a reference to the descendants of freed slaves who returned from the United States to found the first republic independent from Africa, according to the AFP news agency.
“I will not go to the demonstration on June 7. It is the “Congos” who are behind the June 7 demonstration,” said Fahngon.
In a statement, the US embassy in Liberia condemned his remarks as “irresponsible”. The embassy urged all Liberians to “reflect on their role for a constructive contribution to development and peacekeeping” as the country prepares to celebrate National Unification Day next week.
About 250,000 people were killed in the civil war in Liberia, which lasted from 1989 to 2003. Although founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves, Liberia is mainly inhabited by natives, the descendants of slaves representing 5% of the population.