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Blah’s painful political legacy

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      Moses Blah


I am not a fan of Charles Taylor. And like most Liberians who care about justice, I want Taylor to remain in the European prison he currently resides for the remaining of his pitiful life.

Moses Zeh Blah, 65, who passed away April 1, from heart attack worked for Charles Taylor, in their delusional quest to liberate Liberia from tyranny and corruption, etc.

In the spirit of camaraderie, the duo and their like-minded armed colleagues brainwashed, exploited and massacred innocent Liberians, hijacked the country and forcefully introduced to the Liberian people their brand of governance awash in mediocrity, corruption, blind loyalty and cowardice.

As Vice President and later President for a forgettable two-month period, Blah was known simply as the reticent and appointed accidental President who completed Taylor’s term, in an unprecedented 2003 UN-backed transitional arrangement that also gave way to the interim Gyude Bryant.

Even though Blah was Taylor’s revolutionary colleague who stood with him in the jungles of Liberia and in foreign countries when both men planned the killings of innocent Liberians and the destruction of Liberia, Blah was not Taylor’s first choice for vice president.

With an abnormally obsessive preoccupation with Nimba County, Taylor first choice for vice president was Enoch Dokolea, another son of Nimba County, who took the bait and served Taylor with unquestioned loyalty during part of the Liberian civil war, and until his death in 2000. Enoch Dogolea was rumored to have been poisoned by Taylor.

During his three-year stint as Vice President in the Taylor administration, Blah had ample opportunity to make history as the one who boldly fought to reform the nation’s pension plan for retired presidents and other civil servants.

Because most Liberian civil servants are forgotten once they leave the system, Blah’s reform gesture would have made an impact by helping those who truly needed it most – poor and disabled Liberians.

Blah’s reform plan would have also provided pension, affordable and accessible healthcare and housing to people like Moses Zeh Blah, who also looked up to receiving government’s pension until his last days on this Earth.

Sadly, Blah looked the other way.

Blah, however, made his position clear during a legislative debate regarding a request from Charles Taylor that he (Taylor) be paid an annual pension of $25,000.

During the national debate in Liberia that reverberated in Diaspora Liberian communities across the Atlantic, Blah was quoted as saying that he receives a monthly financial stipend from President Sirleaf.

“She is paying me $2,000 a month,” Blah reportedly said.

At a time when some Liberians (including this writer) are advocating radical reform in the centralized system of government that gives imperial powers to the President of Liberia, Blah’s shallow comments did not help the issue.

Blah’s comments, however, were selfish and ignorant, and proved that the Liberian nation and people are in trouble; to have a leader like this man who care less about the future of his people, and zero vision for his country.

Moses Zeh Blah is gone, and was fortunate to have received a monthly pension from the President of Liberia. What becomes of those other retired Liberian civil servants who lacked the political clout and connections to have a President provide them a monthly stipend?

Do we continue this corrupt ancient path that allows Sirleaf and future Liberian Presidents to continually and single handedly provide private funds to selective Liberians, or do we advocate a Civil Service Pension Board that sets the rules that governs the issuance of pensions to retired Liberians?

I prefer the appointment of an independent and neutral Civil Service Board.

Liberians cannot continue to allow Ellen Johnson Sirleaf or any President to manipulate the pension system, the National Elections Commission (NEC), and other institutions in the country.

Just recently, Sirleaf reportedly appointed new members of the National Elections Commission. Where is neutrality and independence?

As the 2014 mid term election approaches, is it fair for a President who have vested political interests in the election appoint election officials that oversees it?

The current political system in Liberia that gives sweeping power to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and future Liberian Presidents, is not nation building. It is about maintaining the status quo.

Again Liberians, nation building is not only about building infrastructure. Nation building is also about changing attitudes, and reforming and building lasting institutions.

Moses Zeh Blah had the opportunity to make a difference, but left behind a painful legacy of reticence and political opportunism.

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