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     2012/2013

Letters to the Editor – Editor@theliberiandialogue.org        

 

Koijee’s suspension confirms CDC’s problems, and George Weah’s lack of leadership

 

Firstly, we must commend you for taking the courage to voice your opinion on many issues that others would shy away from. Let me , however quickly aver that while your courage is admirable, your inability to stay away from falsehoods, half-truths, slandering remarks, casting of aspersions, anecdotes and unfounded allegations have captured my attention. Of specific interest is the ferocity with which you have engaged issues appertaining to the CDC and its charismatic first partisan, Ambassador George Manneh Weah. Your determination to malign the character and image of the Party and its leader is becoming a pattern thus meriting a response. Note though that, not that your position really matters since it is clearly the barking and ranting of a desperado wanting of recognition and a spot on the pedestal where greats of the likes of Ambassador rests comfortably pondering on how to achieve genuine reconciliation and peace in Liberia, such reckless behavior, if unchecked , could be misunderstood. 

Now let us return to the arguments in your last misguided criticisms of Ambassador Weah and the CDC. While “due process” is an important tenet of democratic systems, the standing law of any political institution is sacrosanct and cannot be circumvented. While I may have my own position on the issue of Honorable Koijee’s suspension, the bye-laws of the CDC allows for the suspension pending a full scale investigation.  You asked:  Do you suspend a person indefinitely before investigating them to know what actually took place. My answer is an emphatic yes. Yes, consistent with the policy of the institution. Now is this a good policy? I quite honestly don’t think so. But, until laws are amended and policies changed the existing laws must be adhered to. Obviously, such situations presents opportunity for the Party to review its policies and I am certain that such is the case with the CDC.

Having addressed what was supposed to be the focus of your article, reading from the title, I beg to touch on the other issues that you quickly ventured into. What is Ambassador Weah risking? How is he supposed to answer a call to service? Is accepting to work for peace an acceptance of a position in government? Is that position a cabinet position? Does accepting to work as a Peace Ambassador constitute endorsement of the policy or position of the ruling party? Such line of argument sickens me.

Mr. Sungbeh, this is not the years when politics was about making enemies. Ambassador Weah sees the President of the country as the leader chosen by the people. As one who supports democracy he is to respect the office of the Presidency no matter how much he disagrees with the policy of the government. Additionally, the CDC has vested interest in the future of Liberia. A Party which draws its strength from the youths of the nation, the CDC must be ready to work to ensure that its constituents enjoy the peace and stability that have eluded them for most part of their lives. Don’t you think then, it is the right call for their leader to rise up to work for peace? My man, this is not the politics of the old. The CDC goal is to see a just, free, prosperous and peaceful society where opportunities abound not for a few but for all. How can such be achieved in the absence of peace? How can such be achieved when we leave with it with a government that has demonstrated its inability to deliver on peace and reconciliation?

Let’s move to your allegation that Ambassador Weah did not consult with his “party”. What is your source? Though you are correct that the issue of peace is not about “Weah”, you are equally wrong to say it is about the CDC. No, peace is not just about the CDC- it is about Liberia and the people of Liberia.

Yet another paradox in your vain attempt to bad-mouth the CDC is the fact that you would think that an individual can own a “party”.  Just look at the following lines from your diatribe: “if I had a political party”, I will restructure my political party”, I will push my legislative members”. Here you are accusing Ambassador Weah of being autocratic and self-centered but yet you are claiming that as the leader one can own “legislative members”. Is that “due process”?  Is that how “educated people” do it? Is that what the “policy papers” will be about? Is that how you will “frame compelling messages “? Is that how you will repudiate “questionable alliances”? Good thing that our people have gone beyond hearing “policy speeches” to demanding genuine patriotism , actionable commitment as evidenced by the willingness of Ambassador Weah to abandon his career to partake in disarmament efforts in Liberia and the generosity he has shown to many.

Concluding let me say that the other allegations about how“most people” see Ambassador Weah are more of a therapy for you than a fact. If that sooths you then I am happy for you. You, however, have failed on every occasion to provide any evidence of the allegations you heaped. To the contrary, Ambassador has scored victories in the first round of every election he has participated in as a candidate.

The CDC is moving on and I hope you too will move on. Remember, the Struggle continues!

About the author

Isaac Saye-Lakpoh Zawolo is an award winning teacher who resides with his wife and son in Bryans Road, Maryland, a Washington DC suburb. He has been a very active member of the Liberian Community in the United States. He served the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, ULAA as National Secretary General for two terms. He most recently ran for the presidency of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, ULAA. The writer can be reached at (301)728-1210 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (301)728-1210     end_of_the_skype_highlighting and izawolo@aol.com

Disclaimer:

The views contained and expressed are those of the author. The writer does not speak on behalf of the CDC, ULAA or any organization with which he has affiliated. 

 

Hello Mr. Sungbeh,

It seems that you choose to be on George Weah’s case like  “white on rice”.  Mr. Sungbeh, George Weah is NOT the President of the  Republic of Liberia.  From your writings it seems obvious that you did not  vote for George Weah in 2005 nor did you vote for his party’s ticket for  president in 2011. According to the constitution and laws of Liberia, George  Weah is a private citizen in Liberia. He holds no official position in the  government, but you decide to criticize him and take him to task every day you  wake up from sleep as if he were the president you helped to put into office by  your vote. Yes, if you vote for a man or woman and that individual wins the  political office for which you voted, then you have the right to take him  or her to task if you feel that he or she is not carrying out the mandate  for which you voted him or her into office. It seems that you are  misdirecting your anger, time, and energy fruitlessly against someone who has no  direct power in the governing of the country today.
Since you prefer to be silent on issues concerning the  performance of the president who was indeed elected into office for two (2)  consecutive terms (a president whose actions and/or inactions directly  affect Liberia and Liberians), I will put this simple question to you(only  one question and a follow-up): where were you when President Johnson-Sirleaf  summarily suspended her entire cabinet without due process and  without cause? Where were you when she got over her antics and reinstated all  but ended up firing only those who questioned her action on the  suspension?
The Cabinet Ministers were officially appointed by  the president-elect of the Republic and confirmed by the Legislative Branch of  government according to the constitution and laws of the nation. Once they were  installed in their respective positions, they were automatically officials of  the Republic and at the same time citizens who have rights. Even though they  were serving their nation at the “will and pleasure of the president”,  common sense dictates that they could not be suspended and/or removed without cause. In the midst of their  busy schedules: projects to complete, appointments to keep, important trips to  make, serious meetings to be held, etc, etc, they suddenly heard on the 1:00  P.M. national news that they were immediately suspended without any  fault of their own, and pass all keys to their respective offices  and vehicles to their immediate subordinates and vacate the premises of  their respective offices! Where were you?
From your writings, it appears to me that you are not a  registered member of the CDC Party.  I don’t think that you are familiar  with their constitution and by-laws, but you may have heard from the National  Executive Committee (NEC) of the party that Mr. Koijee was suspended and with  cause according to the constitution of the party. The release from the NEC  further stated that the case was under investigation and that Mr. Koijee  will be given due process according to party’s constitution. You do  not know if Mr. George Weah is a member of the NEC. Even if he is a member of  the NEC, he has no authority to interfere with a constitutional process in  the party before all the facts are known: the complete case put forward by the  NEC and Mr. Koijee’s own defense.  These facts will only come out  during the investigation. As I can recall, the time of the investigation  was also made known in the NEC’s release.
Mr. Sungbeh, Mr. Weah, the CDC Party, and others have  fought hard to guarantee the freedom of speech of all Liberians and legal  residents of Liberia.  The CDC Party fights everyday to make sure that  the civil rights of all citizens and aliens in Liberia are respected at all  times, but it is our responsibility to make sure that these rights are not  abused at will.
There were those days in that country when the  rights of the Liberian people were only found in the constitution and the laws  but were very poorly implemented and enforced. Liberians easily lost their  freedom just by disagreeing with a given government “official” or the president  under the True Whig Party or any other party before it. Many fellow Liberians  easily lost their lives in Belleh Yalla that way. In this particular case you  are constantly attacking a fellow private citizen who is not a government  official. He is not getting any remuneration from the Liberian Government paid  for by the tax payers for the sustenance of his family. To put it in  simple English: George Weah is not president of Liberia,  give him a break!
This time, I chose to communicate with you one-on-one in order  to remove all the publicity stunts that come with the listserve or other  public forums. I personally believe that issues concerning our country are  serious business since all the children (people) of Liberia are the victims of  poor leadership and poor governance.
  Matthew N. Nimpson

 

Mr. Sungbeh,
I am sorry for not thanking you for the wonderful work you are  doing to keep the light of responsible government burning.  I must  apologize to you for the good job, over all. Yes, I have been defending  Ambassador Weah and the CDC Party when I feel that the Ambassador and the party  are only being criticized and maligned by a Liberian Press which should be  critical but also balanced and truly objective for all to see.
If you were privileged to visit the CDC’s “Zoe Bush” you would  realize that I leave no stone unturned in pointing out any weaknesses or  shortcomings of anyone in leadership and floor membership, including George  Weah! On the other hand, I waste no time in giving praises to whom praise is due  while expressing words of encouragement in leadership and floor  membership, including George Weah.
T.W. please tell me how many times the Liberian Press and the  so called intelligentsia and so called civilized people ever publicly thanked  George Weah for spending his own money to train the Liberian Lone Star Team, and  not only train them but also paid for their jerseys (including boots),  charter planes to take them for advanced training in foreign countries or  for international tournaments while also footing their bills for food, hotels,  and transportation at home and abroad?  He did this sparing the Liberian  tax payers for footing these hefty sums of money.
How many of our “educated” politicians spend their own hard  earned money to buy back deadly weapons from the hands of child soldiers  (weapons given to them by these same “educated” politicians to kill their own  grandparents, parents, siblings, and other closed relatives including other  peaceful people) during the senseless war that killed over two hundred and  fifty thousands (250,000+) Liberians and eight (8) American Catholic  Nuns while destroying our dear country? Instead, the one who confessed that she  helped fund the war and gave moral support to Charles Taylor was awarded the  post-war presidency of the country. The only other one to be awarded the  presidency of Liberia after the war was none other than Taylor himself!!  To some Liberians these individuals are better than George Weah to  become President of Liberia because they are “educated” and  “civilized”. They are also viewed as “experienced”  politicians.
How many times have our Liberian Press openly reminded the  Liberian people that George Weah got out of his way while he was the only  Liberian star shining on the international scene in the 1990’s to come back  to his native Liberia in order to beg and convince the child soldiers to put the  guns down, come out of the bushes to put stop to the killings and  wanton destructions in our country?
Do you remember how many political parties and political  leaders we have had from J. J. Roberts government since 1847 to that of  Charles Gyude Bryant in 2004 before George Weah decided to join with others to  form the CDC Party? Most of the people that formed the CDC Party were not  politicians, including George Weah. Most of them never dreamed of becoming  politicians, left alone to become president of the land! They were not even  soldiers, like the PRC Government, but after nearly one hundred and  sixty (157) years of misrule by the “educated” and “civilized” people (including  the soldiers) and Liberia was sent back to the middle ages, most of them  decided that enough was enough of the “educated” and  “civilized”! That group included the incumbent president (remember now, she too  is a Krao from Sinoe even though she never mingled with the Krao  People!!).
Now, Mr. Sungbeh, pray tell me as a writer, when last did  you write a balanced story about the man George Weah. Forget that you are a  fellow Krao. I know that writers seek to tell a true story, a balanced one. It  is good to take your favorite politician to task (in this case, it  is George Weah) but also leave no stone unturned and tell his true  story,objectively.
Come on, if people are to take you seriously about your  objectivity, do your research, as a writer, and tell the George Weah story  from the time, as a little kid, when he went to Slipway in Monrovia in order to  live with his paternal Grand Mother, Ma Krohn Jlaleh, a praying woman, who  hails from Sasstown, Grand Kru County. Follow the George Weah trail all the  way to Europe and how he got to where he is now and how he became the man he is  today.
If you objectively take these few steps and follow the George  Weah life story, then perhaps, you will see why I try to add my “two cents” to  the last two topics you wrote about him and the CDC Party!  It looks  like you and I have the same objective: Liberia, and where does it go from  here? Who can lead the country and take it where it ought to be?
Matthew N.  Nimpson     

 

Snowe’s dilemma and an incredibly gullible Liberian people

Mr. Editor,

One-Sided Articles

Thanks for your informative magazine which presents an array of materials about Liberia. However, I am disappointed to note the obvious bias in many of the articles that appear in your magazine. The articles on Leymah Gbowee titlled “Leymah Gbowee Does Not Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize” and the one on Ediwn Snowe titled: “Snowe’s Dilemma and the Gullible Liberian Public” are a case in point. The worst part of it is that you blankly say “No Comment” on each of the articles, even though you have not given readers an opportunity to comment on the articles. When you decide to publish such grossly biased articles, the best you can do is to create space at the bottom of the article for readers to reply and express their views on the articles. This is the only way that you won’t create the impression that you are part of a PR Campaign to defend the Government. I hope my advice will be taken in good faith.

Jeff Sonpon

      

Dual citizenship conference and ULAA’s mounting credibility problem

A nice piece.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all else will fall through. This is it for ULAA. If the Dual Citizenship project goes through, all other ills affecting Liberia will expeditiously be handled. Leaders in Liberia will be accountable to not just people on the ground, but also to an enlightened group of Liberians who will not tolerate or accept the status quo.
Diaspora Liberians can send all the remittances to their families and support all those running for positions in Liberia, but as long as they are unable to vote, their calls and protests for change will always fall on deaf ears.
For now, ULAA is on the right track. It’s time for all Liberians to give this train a blessed touch and a positive shout-out as it rolls into the future blooming for all us…all Liberians!
The Loss of Citizenship clause needs to be changed/amended to reflect the reality of today, not the uncertain or untested future that characterized 1974 or 1986.
Kweme
11/28/12

   

Mr. T. W. Sungbeh,
First of all, I do not speak for Ambassador George M. Weah, neither do I speak for the CDC Party, but as a stake holder (a citizen of Liberia), I must respond to your editorial which is captioned “‘Senator’ George Weah? Can he deliver in the Liberian Senate?”.In that editorial you directly targeted Ambassador Weah and a bona fide political party of the Republic of Liberia, the CDC Party, its partisans and supporters indiscriminately who are also citizens of Liberia.As a columnist or special correspondent, you are entitled to write about any topic or any public individual according to your interest, but the journalistic ethics also hold you accountable for factual reporting; or in this case, an editorial, on opinion(s) based on facts. I am also bewildered that It seems that some Liberians at home and in the Diaspora have forgotten that Liberia is still going through the phases of a post-conflict nation which were spelt out in the Accra Peace Accord on Liberia: Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction. This post-conflict state of affair of the nation also appeals to the conscience of every patriotic Liberian to be highly responsible and considerate for what is said, written, and/or done. It is more imperative upon members of the Fourth Estate, a group to which you belong, I supposed, to take the extra mile in searching for and disseminating the truth.The last time I checked, failure to win the presidency after one or more attempts does not necessarily mean that one is incompetent. Another salient point that I want to make is that one does not have to hold a degree in political science in order to be qualified for the presidency of Liberia or any other nation on earth. This fact debunks your assertion implying that Ambassador Weah did not win the presidency because of “…his inability to grasp the intricacies of ‘modern day’ Liberian politics….”. Mr. Sungbeh, if the intricacies of ‘modern day’ Liberian politics are, amongst others, having market women stealing and hiding the voting registration cards of their children in order to deprive them of their constitutional right to vote only to give the older candidate in the second round of the presidential race of 2005 the chance to win an election, then neither Ambassador Weah nor CDC needs to win the Liberian presidency with such tactics.Sir, please be reminded that Ambassador Weah won the first round of that face-up convincingly out of twenty two (22) candidates and he could not attain the presidency based on technicality! Had that race taken place in these United States of America George Weah would have been declared president. This latter point confirms the fact that your notion of incompetence is a fallacy.If Ambassador Weah could not articulate his party’s policies and vision during the presidential campaign, then why, in your clear conscience, did he beat out twenty one (21) other presidential candidates of supposedly higher competence, including the incumbent president in the first round of the 2005 elections?With all due respect, Mr. Sungbeh, among those potential candidates you mentioned for 2017 including the incumbent president and all the other past presidential candidates of 2005 and 2011, Ambassador Weah is the only person who played a leadership role in forming a brand new political party that is not only viable on the Liberian political scene but remains the largest opposition political party and a force to reckon in the country! When the international community speaks of Liberia as a multiparty democracy, CDC is at the top of such a discourse.It takes men and women with leadership capabilities, strong convictions, and shared sacrifice to form, maintain, and foster the ideals, vision, and principles of such a large and formidable political institution as the CDC Party of the Republic of Liberia. Think about that!

Speaking of leadership and developing one’s potentials to the fullest on the national, continental, and international scenes, George Manneh Weah has no equal in Liberia, past and present! He has proven, time and again, that he can succeed in whatever he puts his mind to. He was not just “a soccer star” who later turned to be a politician. He far surpassed just being a soccer star. He is indeed one of the top fifty (50) superstars in soccer of the twentieth (20th) century in the world! It does not take just talent and natural skills to attain such a fete on the world stage. To attain that level of prominence requires self discipline, self control, dedication, consistency, endurance, self sacrifice, self reliance, and vision, yes, vision! My friend, those are exquisite qualities and attributes that we look for in a true leader. Probably you may have not heard that he also obtained his college degree last year.

During the civil war, George Manneh Weah was the only Liberian among your potential candidates for the presidency for 2017 who spent his hard earned money to buy guns from the young Liberians who were used as child soldiers by unscrupulous politicians to fight against their own blood and kin. He beckoned and convinced a lot of them to put down their weapons and stop the killings and destructions in our country. He distributed food and money to the needy, hungry, and homeless in the streets of Monrovia. He also preached non-violence in the streets of the cities of Liberia.

What is the proof of his benevolence and stewardship as a good Samaritan? You may ask. For your information he was appointed and still remains the only Liberian to hold the title Ambassador of UNICEF!

George Manneh Weah has traveled the globe as Ambassador of peace through sports. He has been sports analyst on a cross section of international televisions and radio stations. He is a well sought after international personality for his personal intuition, wisdom, and as a role model to many persons around the globe including present-day superstars of sports world-wide.

It is stated in the Bible that a prophet is not appreciated nor welcomed in his own hometown, but George Manneh Weah is revered and respected around the globe not only as a soccer superstar of the twentieth (20th) century but also because of his demeanor, leadership characteristic, and as a role model to many. Is George Weah perfect? No, but let anyone without sin be the one to throw the first stone.

It is without doubt that the CDC Party within a relatively short period of time has contributed immensely to the multiparty democracy of Liberia. In spite of the contrary, CDC has shown a lot of maturity and constraint in tackling some of the most pressing issues that confront the young political party in particular, and the young and burgeoning multiparty democracy in Liberia as a whole. The party has had its share of suspicious, bias, and uncompromising reviews from individuals and institutions like yours but guess what, it transcends all of these negatives and still survives. It continues to do what it does best by struggling for the constitutional rights of all Liberians, especially for the rights of the little people whose voice will not otherwise be heard. Whether you or others may like it or not, George Weah plays a substantial role in this process.

Mr. Sungbeh, it is only left with the Liberian people who their next elected president will be. In a democracy, and certainly in a young fledging democracy as Liberia, it is not left with the whims of a single man, not even a powerful journalist!

Thanks.

Matthew N. Nimpson

 

Editor’s note:
Mr. Nimpson,
It is one thing to be a popular former football star whose exploits on the football field gained him popularity at home, and acclaim abroad; and it is another to be a visionary political leader. The latter, Weah is not.
It is true that Weah’s name is a household name, which made it possible for him to form and fund his own political party. However, what you failed to mention is the known fact that Weah, as a party leader and former presidential candidate, has failed miserably over the years to clearly articulate his vision for the country.
As a leading political party in the nation and in the national legislature, isn’t it strange that CDC hasn’t been able to influence and enact legislations, but is known for making threats and inflicting violence on people that don’t see things their way?
Another thing: I did not write that college education should be a criteria for running for president.
Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

Editor,

If the current legislature is a rubber stamp and has failed to deliver for the Liberian populace which we all know, why give a novice a chance that is very hard to learn that led to the loss of two consecutive elections. Whose political party does not have any sense of directions, no plan of action for the higher office in the nation; clearly the majority of legislators represented in government with no piece of legislation put forward to augment the party intention to provide for the Liberian people and the higher office. I suggest the brother start with the Liberia Football Association (LFA) to understand some policies and how government functions. In view of that, he could stay have a chance for looking at higher office(s) in the land. The brother is a fine gentleman with good heart for Liberians hypothetically but needs to grow up politically and academically with vast government experience to contest any high government positions in Liberia, in my opinion.
Frank Jep
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