Monrovia – An employee of the Judiciary, Archie Ponpon on Monday, November 2, 2020 sets himself ablaze for failure of the Government of Liberia (GoL) to pay employees’ twelve months salaries.
This comes barely a week after Mr. Ponpon and other employees staged a protest that prevented the Chief Justice Korkpor’s vehicle from leaving the grounds of the Temple of Justice in demand of their twelve months unpaid wages, and over claims that his (Ponpon) job is being threatened by him (Chief Justice Francis Korkpor).
Less than an hour after he was allegedly issued a writ of arrest for his part in October 23 protest, Archive Ponpon set himself ablaze in protest over Authorities’ unjust treatment against him and other aggrieved Judicial Workers.
It can be recalled on October 12, 2020, aggrieved workers of the Judiciary staged a protest in demand of their long standing plight (12 Months unpaid salaries); this protest took the center stage as some of the aggrieved employees were manhandled by officers of the joint security, leaving several hospitalized.
Following this, about 20 employees who were part of the protest were given letters ranging from indefinite suspension, transfer, further investigation, et cetera.
This situation disrupted the Supreme Court opening as aggrieved employees were seen with several placards displaying displaying slogans like: “corrupt chief justice, we need our 12 months salaries”, “enough is enough” among other things.
Mr. Ponpon’s action can be compared to Mohamed Bouazizi, a poor and desperate young Tunisian street vendor, harassed by the authorities, who set himself on fire in front of the provincial government building in the town of Sidi Bouzid on 17 December 2010, which became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring against autocratic regimes.
Pundits believe that Mr. Ponpon’s action could lead to sustained citizens action against widespread injustice among other things.