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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must address Woewiyu’s damaging allegations

From the Archives of The Liberian Dialogue


Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian civil warBy Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

September 17, 2005


Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu is not the kind of source one would like to cite in any analysis or news story, because of his own checkered and troubled past.

Then again, Woewiyu’s bad boy image as a shameless profiteer and a master player who understands the game of manipulation and dirty tricks to achieve his goals, are enough reasons to find him to tell his side of the story.

Woewiyu, who can be both calculative and blind to his surroundings, and at times callous, does not pursue his objectives with the mindset of not hurting innocent people. However, as a dangerously shrewd insider, Woewiyu can be at his best like we saw during the Liberian civil war when he helped his pal, Taylor not to save Liberia but to reap the financial windfall from the civil war at the expense of the entire population.

However, if one ever wants to understand the genesis of the Liberian civil war, the roles of the key actors, the mysterious disappearance of Jackson F. Doe, Ellen’s abrupt resignation from the Liberian Action Party (LAP) to the Unity Party (UP), the brutal killings of the Dokies and Moses Duopu, and the financing of a war that sent over 200,000 Liberians to their graves and left many homeless, then one must briefly get over their hatred and hostility of Woewiyu and listen to his story as told in his “open letter to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Woewiyu’s story is a chronicled and explosive account of power, greed and the total disregard of human lives, the destruction of a country we called home, and the wanton killings of loved ones whose senseless deaths we are still mourning today, and just cannot forget.

While it is true that Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu is part and parcel of the chaos we associate with the civil war, he, like the other criminals he uncovered in his expose’ cannot and should not be exonerated from the holocaust-like treatment they handed out to Liberians through their actions.

If the accounts by Tom can be verified and corroborated by other sources, the individuals involved must be arrested and put on trial. And if they are convicted, they should be held accountable and put behind bars forever.

At the center of it all, of course, is presidential candidate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who apologized for not making the pointed remarks “Level Monrovia and we will build it.”

Ms. Sirleaf however, kept us in the dark about her pre-civil war activities, her dislike and intolerance of those she disagrees with, her financial contributions to her brainchild, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), and her die-hard support of Charles Taylor, all in the name of securing political power at any cost.

Tom Woewiyu’s open letter revealed that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf fully supported, coordinated and participated in the civil war. And as leader of the pack, she contributed her personal finances towards the war planning, and received financial contributions from what he termed her “consortium.”

“Let me refresh your memory,” he writes “on the financial contributions from your sources. Twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) was the initial contribution by your consortium (Clarence Simpson and Taylor Major), when the war started. I am the founding Chairman of the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL).” “Let me not forget the $50,000.00 contribution that you passed through Mr. Allen Brown Sr. who was then running an insurance business in the Ivory Coast. You had earmarked the money specifically to buy rice for the fighting men and it was done.

Another $150,000.00 was contributed by some of your friends and delivered to Dew Mayson, Ethelbert Cooper and Emmanuel Shaw to be forwarded to the NPFL. If you recalled, those bad boys ate the money and we were only able to recover $75,000.00 of it six months later.”

“ My first trip to the Ivory Coast,” Woewiyu asserts, “to meet with Taylor, Harry Yuan, Moses Duopo and others to assess the level of military plan of action for the purpose of removing Doe was a major role.”

“At the time, you were personally supporting Harry Yuan in the rapid re-recruitment of his fellow Nimbaians and Clarence Simpson was supporting Moses Duopo, the late Counselor Gbaydiah and others in the Ivory Coast to launch another arm attack on the Doe regime following the botched Quinwonkpa coup,” he noted.

“ Woweiyu even went into details about how Ellen gave the orders to launch the “notorious Octopus” meant to wreak havoc and take Monrovia by force. Sadly, that bloody event was one of the deadliest military strikes on the city of Monrovia, giving credence to Ellen’s now famous “Level Monrovia and we will build it” comment.

With his first-hand detailed knowledge of events in the region during the time in question, I see no reason why Thomas Woweiyu should be making up things for the sake of making up things “only to hurt Ellen,” (as some would assert) who supposed to be this fearless heroine who wants to transformed Liberia into a shinning and prosperous country on the hill when she’s finally elected president.

What I learned from Woewiyu’s revelations about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is that she’s cold, feisty, dangerously cunning and ambitious, and like many Liberian politicians she craves presidential powers, and will not hesitate to go out of her way to do whatever it takes to win or seize state power. And if she cannot achieve that dream, there is nothing on earth that will prevent Ellen from pursuing her presidential aspirations.

I always believed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was a force in a race where she’s the only well-known female candidate against a tide of powerful and culturally dominant men. With her international appeal and financial expertise, I concluded that she could be the medication the doctor prescribed for Liberia’s problems.

Ellen however has a lot of explanation to do from now on through Election Day, in calming down voters’ fears about her alleged bloody past. She cannot continue to dance around the issue by rudely shutting down her critics who have legitimate questions they want to ask a lady who wants to be President of Liberia.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must work hard and answer those lingering questions succinctly, with the hopes of convincing and instilling confidence in those who would like to vote for her, and those who haven’t made up their minds yet.

With the explosive revelations all over the place in less than a month to the actual general and presidential elections, it will be a tough sell, of course, for Ellen and her camp to convince those on the sidelines who haven’t made up their minds yet to vote for her come October 11.

Is Ellen a Teflon candidate? Only time will tell.

Category: Editorial, Featured Articles, News Headlines

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