Senate Defense and Intelligence Committee Rejects President’s Nominee for Deputy Defense Minister

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence has recommended that the general body reject President George Weah’s nominee, Tarplah Davis, for the position of deputy defense minister for operations.

The recommendation for Davis’ rejection was contained in the Committee’s Report on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in which the committee members expressed the strong belief that Davis lacked “what it takes to move the Army forward.”

Davis, also known as ‘Zoely Zoe’ on Facebook, was rejected within a week of his confirmation hearing. The confirmation process involved the committee reviewing his CV and engaging in an open hearing process.

“After carefully reviewing the CV of the minister-designate, the committee has concluded that Mr. Tarplah [Davis] doesn’t have what it takes to move the army forward and recommend that his confirmation for the position of deputy defense minister for operations be rejected,” the committee’s report noted.

Davis has been a fierce online supporter of President Weah. In one of his public comments last year, he threatened to kill any protesters participating in the ‘Weah Step Down Campaign’ organized by vocal talk show host Henry Costa. The Senate committee appeared disturbed by this post by Davis, which many believe significantly influenced their decision to reject him. In another live Facebook video last year, Tarplah promised to defend the government of President  Weah, his family, and others against any plans intended to thwart or go against the administration, through any means necessary, leading many to suspect that the nominee may be highly disposed to violence.

In the video, he said, “Everything I have worked for personally is in Liberia. I told people, anybody tries my property, I will kill them. I have said it and will continue to say it openly.”

Davis sought to defend himself by invoking his record as a student activist in the Liberian Student Union, or LINSU, claiming that he would never harm any Liberian who sought to exercise their constitutionally protected right to protest, despite what he wrote on Facebook. He insisted he understood the rights of people, and deeply cherished the Constitution.

If these Facebook posts and videos did nothing to turn senators against him enough, Davis’s willingness to lie under oath was perhaps what finally deterred committee members.

As a former member of the United States Army, Davis provided unsatisfactory answers to questions about why and how he left the U.S. military, and if he was a U.S. citizen.

The Senate is unlikely to reconsider Davis’s rejection, and President Weah is yet to nominate another person for the position.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Ida Reeves

Ida Reeves holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Liberia in Mass Communications and Sociology. She graduated from the Young Political Leadership School and has worked in the past for Farbric Radio, Freedom Radio, and Frontier newspaper.

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