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The Day the Lights Really Went Out in Liberia

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh


The Liberian people are used to being in the darkness.     

It doesn’t matter whether it is in their country or their homes where some have been without lights for years, or when their government and elected officials intentionally lie to them to keep them in the darkness, they are used to living in darkness.

Lies, dishonesty, rampant corruption and unaccountability are the norms in Liberian politics and the Sirleaf administration, which has replaced honesty, accountability, the rule of law and the delivery of service to the Liberian people.

As the crown jewel of electoral politics in Liberia, winning the Liberian presidency or trying to win it by any means can bring people of conflicting alliances, egos and values together.

The recent announcement that George Oppong Manneh Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) chose Jewel Howard Taylor of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) as his running mate in the 2017 presidential elections, explains the sad and unusual state of affairs in Liberian politics.

Truth is, this is the day the lights really went out in Liberia.

At a time when the Liberian people are still searching for closure that has eluded them, and still reeling from the pains of the two civil wars that lasted for 14 years killing thousands and thousands of their innocent relatives, friends and loved ones, destroying their country and rendering countless other homeless, orphaned and beggars to this day, any mention of a name that is associated with the mastermind of the conflict is nauseating.

Even more callous is the way Liberian politicians – starting with president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf handled the aftermath of the conflict by exploiting the civil war and capitalizing on the deaths of her fellow countrymen and women and the destruction of the country to run for president, not once, but twice after she shoved the Truth and Reconciliation report under the rug, is revealing.

When a sitting president who once played a key role in a civil war of that magnitude that changed lives in a drastic way, and ignores a major report that calls for justice, and normalized such barbarity by allowing other co-conspirators to run for office as she did, makes it difficult to have genuine national closure and collective forgiveness.

The odd political couple, Weah and Howard-Taylor, emboldened by the insensitive political atmosphere that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf created, see their dubious alliance, Coalition for Democratic Change as a form of coalition politics that is suppose to propel them to the Executive Mansion come 2017, just as Ellen did in 2005.

Making matter even painfully laughable is the addition of the disgraced Alex Tyler, formerly of the ruling Unity Party, who was under investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly ratifying billions in bogus agreements.

Mr. Tyler went on to resign the speaker position in the bribery case involving Sable Mining, which also alleges that Mr. Tyler demanded $250,000 to influence the Public Procurement Concession Commission Act that would have made it easy for Sable Mining to do business in Liberia.

After flirting with his own presidential run, Mr. Tyler added his name and his political party, Liberian People Democratic Party to what is now known as the Coalition of Democratic Change headed by perpetual presidential candidate George Weah.

Most Liberians see the ticket that have Jewel Howard Taylor as a presidential candidate or a vice presidential running mate to Mr. Weah or any other person as insensitive, cold-heartedly opportunistic, ego-driven and unpatriotic.

Since her ex-husband, Charles Taylor is in prison and is not around to run for president of Liberia for another torturous term, who else can resuscitate the Taylor name and bring back the pains it caused us but his ex-wife, the shamelessly ambitious Jewel Howard Taylor.

How can it not be when Jewel Howard Taylor, as First Lady during her husband’s tyrannical and deadly regime lived with the international pariah, honored her matrimonial role as a loving and loyal wife, and even traveled abroad for him when Charles Taylor couldn’t travel out of the country because of the travel ban the UN had on him for his role in both Liberian civil wars, and the war in neighboring Sierra Leone?

As a loyal wife who had the ears of Charles Taylor, Jewel Howard Taylor wasn’t a figurehead First Lady during that time. She was an unofficial advisor to her killer husband, and an influential person who played a major in Mr. Taylor’s heinous regime.

This is not guilt by association, my people.

It is the second coming of Charles Taylor.

What’s wrong with George Weah and some of our Liberian people, anyway?

For too long I have counted George Weah out as an unserious person who’s unprepared to be president of Liberia.

This is another reason why George Weah should be overwhelmingly rejected by the Liberian people.

Not fit, not ready!





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