Monrovia – Solomon Joah Jr. – the dean of students at Soltiamon Christian School System who allegedly whipped a female student 130 lashes – might be a chip off the old block.
Joah Jr. is the son of controversial separatist Baptist preacher, Saint Solomon Joah Sr., who has called for the jailing of people who are lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in Liberia.
The controversial pastor, in an interview with the New Republic newspaper in 2018, said the Liberian gay community is criminal and should be arrested.
“I am calling on the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police to arrest all homosexuals in this country because they’re criminals engaged in criminal act,” he said.
Identifying as gay is not a crime in Liberia. However, it could spur violent attacks on your person.
Liberian law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. Articles 14.74, 14.79 and 50.7 [of the Penal Code of 1976] consider “voluntary sodomy” as a first-degree misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment. There has been no publicized case in recent years. But Liberian’s gay community says harassment and discrimination are widespread.
LGBTI persons continued to record instances of violent attacks, harassment, and hate speech by community and church leaders, according to the US State Department 2018 report on Liberia.
Joah’s remarks last year came on the heels of a press release by the Liberian gay community on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which is celebrated in many countries worldwide, including 37 where same sex relations are considered illegal.
“I’m prepared to take anyone to court who will publicly announce that he is gay. It means that you want to violate the Constitution of Liberia. I will not allow anyone or group of people to destroy our country,” Pastor Joah said.
Joah’s comments were bolstered by Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi when he introduced a bill in the Legislature seeking to make same-sex sexual activities criminal.
Liberian gay community has often complained of harassment and discrimination by state and non-state actors, including a nonchalant posture being maintained by the government.
Maxwell Monboe, Coordinator of Liberia’s Initiative for the Promotion of Rights Identity, Diversity and Equality (LIPRIDE) which covers key population, said in a statement with FrontPage Africa little has been done by the government in the creation of laws to protect people of the homosexual community.
“In fact, the penal code in section 14 of the Liberian constitution violates the right of sexual minorities in the sense that
Sodomy law on our book is used in court to criminalize people of same-sex relationship,” he mentioned in a statement.