The Liberian Dialogue http://theliberiandialogue.org Serving you since 2002. Credible. Compelling. Consistent. Provocative. Sat, 27 May 2017 14:23:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 What’s Wrong with Liberian Politics and the 2017 Presidential Candidates? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/27/whats-wrong-with-liberian-politics-and-the-2017-presidential-candidates/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/27/whats-wrong-with-liberian-politics-and-the-2017-presidential-candidates/#respond Sat, 27 May 2017 14:22:08 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4723    By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh     

 

 I am sick of politics – Liberian politics for that matter.

 Liberian politics is not only sickening and inferior, it is irritating and lacking substance.

Except for the tabloid-like coverage of the presidential candidates from the dominant FrontPageAfrica, there are no debates between the presidential candidates, and there are no hard-hitting, non-pandering interviews from the press that explains what these individuals will do if one of them is elected President of Liberia.

Some members of the Monrovia-based press is not helping the issue either, but made it their duty to sell the only character they have to just about anybody, any Liberian politician for pieces of silver and gold, just to survive in Liberia’s tough economy.

This is frustrating and a mockery of Liberia’s fledgling democracy.

However, to be a “serious” Liberian politician or presidential candidate, the bar has to be much lower to be a contender.

In order to be seen as a serious contender for the Liberian presidency, the individual must be a painfully reticent and slumberous septuagenarian incumbent vice president who is running on whatever record (if any) he can seriously claim.

Not all.

You also must be a painfully inept and reticent runaway former football star with no intellectual curiosity, whose only claim to politics or fame is his football exploits; or be a former president pro-temporo of the Liberian senate, who once represented the dark values of a former rebel leader-killer-turned president, who is now sitting in prison for war crime.

If you are also a boisterous former rebel leader-turned-Senator whose name generates fear in hordes of people for his disreputable legacy of being a serial killer, you can make noise and be heard and taken seriously by some as a presidential candidate.

Also, to run for President of Liberia, remain silent and be unaccountable to the electorates, and you will probably be elected on your own recognizance.

However, if any of the individuals is not your choice for president, you can choose from the extensive list of wannabe candidates whom you probably know in-person by now, or whose names you probably already know.

The presidential candidates are making the rounds in Monrovia and in some parts of the country by not answering tough questions from the press, but are trying to get the votes that will eventually take the individual to the Executive Mansion, come 2018.

After the presidential and legislative elections are over, and as is customary in Liberia, the loosing candidates will pack up and leave the country for the United States or elsewhere, as if the Liberian presidency is a seasonal lottery for those that are trying their luck to win.

Some of the presidential candidates are naturalized U.S citizens or perhaps naturalized citizens elsewhere; and their spouses, children, their Victorian homes, mortgages and other family members not in Liberia, but overseas. The individuals are running for President of Liberia in violation of the nation’s anti-dual citizenship laws.

Just recently, it was reported that the current chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome G. Korkoya, the guy who’s supposed to oversee the nation’s elections, is a naturalized U.S. citizen, in violation of the country’s election’s law.

During the 2011 presidential election, incumbent Ellen Johnson who was running for re-election that year, reportedly appointed members of the National Elections Commissions.

We know what happened during and after that election with the president’s appointed Chairman, James Fromoyan, who reportedly tampered with the election and tilted the results in favor of Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Mr. Fromoyan fled the country only to return later.

How credible can the upcoming elections be?

Truth is, I am uninterested in the presidential candidates and the 2017 presidential election. I am not even interested in their circuitous and repetitious display of outright lies and unaccountability, either.  

I am interested in proven results from grown-ups who will put people and country first; a serious person who is willing to sign a 200-day agreement with the Liberian people – that in the president’s first 200 days in office, he or she will do X or Y for the Liberian people and nation.

If the new president cannot fulfill this agreement, he or she must be held accountable by the Liberian people and be recalled from office.

Let the Liberian people decide what can and should be done to the president for breaking that promise.

The country and the Liberian people cannot afford to be played by individuals whose only contributions to the country is to run for president every election season, and leave the country immediately after the election is over.

Our country is broken. Corruption is way too high. Unemployment is way too high. There is no economic prosperity, and there is no development either.

The Liberian people are suffering too much.

My Liberian people, it just cannot be politics as usual.

For me, those days are long gone!

I am tired!

 

 

]]>
http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/27/whats-wrong-with-liberian-politics-and-the-2017-presidential-candidates/feed/ 0
Where are the Legislative delegation from Southeastern Liberia? Missing in Action? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/26/where-are-the-legislative-delegation-from-southeastern-liberia-missing-in-action/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/26/where-are-the-legislative-delegation-from-southeastern-liberia-missing-in-action/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 02:41:57 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4719 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh    

 

Bong and Nimba counties and other neighboring counties near Monrovia are lucky to be in their geographic location. At least, they get to have presidential visits and ministerial retreats and government projects such as hospitals and colleges.

If you are southeastern counties named Sinoe, River Gee, Grand Kru, Maryland and Grand Gedeh? – that is (if Grand Gedeh County is geographically located in the southeast, which I don’t think it is but close enough), you are in a drought for those anticipated presidential and vice presidential visits and pork barrel projects.

From my recollection, I believe Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made either one or a couple of visits to those areas during her entire presidency.

Vice President Joseph N. Boakai?

Well, you make the call, because I don’t think that part of Liberia is Mr. Boakai’s traveling route.

The vice president of Liberia is quite known to visit northern or Northwestern Liberia, mid- Liberia, the United States and other western countries more than he visits the southeastern counties in the country he supposedly represents as the second in command, or the country he desperately wants to represent.

True enough, the nation’s capital, Monrovia and the counties that are not too far from Monrovia (with the exception of Grand Gedeh County), are fortunate to get community colleges, hospitals and clinics, and a correctional facility from the Sirleaf administration.

It was reported in the media recently that a community college is finally in the making for Sinoe County. Sinoe County? Are we dreaming? Too good to be true.

I have not read or heard anything being built for River Gee and Maryland counties yet?

Since community colleges – or having one in one’s backyard is now a fad in these modern Liberian times – whether they are accredited or not; I want to believe River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru and other counties that once felt forgotten or neglected in these days of Ellen, will soon be getting their own.  

Even though I am one of those individuals who will blame the national political leadership for not paying attention to Sinoe, River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru and other counties, I will not hesitate a bit to criticize the county’s two-by-four, bench-warming legislative delegation.

Where are the county’s legislative delegation when our people really need them?

Where is Senator Joseph Nagbe of Sinoe County? Instead of this guy genuinely representing his people in Sinoe County, he’s busy sitting in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island.

 Like Joseph Nagbe, Liberian legislators are known to sit in Monrovia and receive their fat pay checks and do nothing. These individuals would rather live in Monrovia than reside in the county and the district that elected them.

Where is Senator Conmany Wesseh? Is he really representing his people in River Gee County or a cheerleader for the Sirleaf administration and bad governance? I believe the latter.

Milton Teahjay? Another monumental disappointment!

How about Dr. Peter Coleman? The brother is missing in action.

Jefferson Karmoh? You will easily see Mr. Karmoh in a western country than in his district in Sinoe County.

The other Senators and Representatives from the southeast?

Well, I will not waste my time naming them publicly because they are like the rest of their colleagues from Sinoe, River Gee and Maryland counties. They are missing in action too.

All of them are legislators in name only for the money, the paycheck. They are not Senators and Representatives who are really interested in the business of representing their suffering people.

Folks, the stories are the same. They are sad stories about the lack of roads or paved roads to travel or take produce to the market. The story is also about sea erosion in the coastal southeastern counties; namely, Sinoe and Maryland. Don’t forget New Kru Town, Bushrod Island. D-Twe High School, the only high school in that community is nearly under water due to sea erosion.

However, as the annual torrential rainfall takes over in a brutal way, rural roads become impassable to travel or sell anything; or for even a bus, a 4-wheel drive, or a truck to get through it.

Residents in those areas are not accessible to roads to get to see a nurse, a doctor or a health practitioner in their part of the country, let along get to Monrovia for needed health care.

Some of the areas don’t even have high schools; as students have to walk miles and miles to another town to get in a classroom to learn. At times on hungry stomachs.

The Liberian people in the areas in question are the ones who are feeling the pain; and are the ones who are supposed to scream the loudest to get their legislative delegation to honestly represent them.

Had Liberia truly being a real democracy, those deadbeats would have been thrown out of office by now.

Screaming the loudest means booting the rascals out of office.

Do it for your children, your grandchildren, your family and for the Republic of Liberia.

Vote the jokers out of office now, in 2017!

]]>
http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/26/where-are-the-legislative-delegation-from-southeastern-liberia-missing-in-action/feed/ 0
RIVER GEE COUNTY DEVELOPMENT FUND’S AUDIT REPORT AND SENATOR CONMANY WESSEH’S GRADA http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/13/river-gee-county-development-funds-audit-report-and-senator-conmany-wessehs-grada/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/13/river-gee-county-development-funds-audit-report-and-senator-conmany-wessehs-grada/#respond Sat, 13 May 2017 22:38:37 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4714                                River Gee Redemption Movement  
 

This memo goes to all citizens of River Gee County. The River Gee Redemption Movement which is a cross-sections of River Gee County Citizens, is pleased to inform every citizens of our county irrespective of where they live that
Senator Conmany Wesseh is being officially invited to dialogue with all citizens of River Gee Citizens on May 21, 2017; to clarify major issues of concern regarding the alleged corruption practices of our county’s development fund and his company GRADA. The official invitation packaged to Senator Conmany Wesseh, which included a formal letter of invitation, and a complete copy of the Audit Report alleging rampant corruption by Senator Conmany Wesseh’s company called GRADA, was hand delivered to Senator Conmany Wesseh at his Capital Building Office on Monday, May 8, 2017. 
As a courtesy to the sons of River Gee County currently serving in very high- profile positions in government, the River Gee Redemption Movement on behalf of River Gee Citizens in Liberia and the diaspora served copies of Senator Conmany Wesseh’s communication from the people of River Gee County to the River Gee Caucus and the Honorable Justice Minister Fred Cherue.
The citizens of River Gee County are eagerly awaiting to meet with Senator Conmany Wesseh on May 21, 2017 at 2:00pm at Bala Casa Hotel, in Monrovia. The River Gee Redemption Movement wants to assure each and every River Gee County Citizens that the Movement will not relent but to continue to work tirelessly in the supreme interest of us all until justice, accountability and transparency are realized regarding this Audit Report by the General Auditing Commission (GAC), even though we are very well aware of the difficulties ahead.
For those of you in the diaspora, please call back home and tell your families to be in attendance.
 ALL CITIZENS CONCERN MUST TURN OUT TO GET CLARTY FROM SENATOR CONMANY WESSEH’s mouth….
Signed: Gabriel Slobert  

Interim General Secretary

 Approved:                                    
 Alexander Young   

                                                

 
                                                   

]]>
http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/13/river-gee-county-development-funds-audit-report-and-senator-conmany-wessehs-grada/feed/ 0
The Tragedy of Liberian Media http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/06/the-tragedy-of-liberian-media/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/06/the-tragedy-of-liberian-media/#respond Sat, 06 May 2017 14:05:40 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4710 By Martin K. N. Kollie                        

Former U.S. Senator, Christopher Dodd once said: “When the public’s right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered. The media in Liberia remains an integral and indispensable embodiment of our democracy. Allowing World Press Freedom Day to pass on without honoring the legacy, courage and resilience of Liberian Journalists would be a disservice.

May 3rd of every year is set aside to pay homage to journalists who have gone beyond the call of duty to unveil hidden truths and disseminate accurate, balance and credible reports on global, regional and local issues. This day renews the inspiration and strength of those who have steadfastly stood in defense of press freedom and freedom of expression. It salutes outstanding institutions and individuals that have made immense contribution to promoting a free press amidst coercion and censorship.

The media in every nation is a crucial stratum of nation-building and democratization. It drives or destroys the overall agenda of any country. The media in Liberia has been playing a very pivotal role in transforming our nation, consolidating our fragile peace, sustaining our emerging democracy and promoting genuine national development. A prosperous nation is anchored to press freedom and free speech. No one should be subjected to criminal charges for expressing his/her view on a specific issue.

Whenever state-actors and politicians gruesomely pursue journalists for independently reporting all forms of unethical practices in government, it hampers genuine progress. Even though the government of Liberia under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has made some gains to ensure Press Freedom, but this year’s ranking proves that Liberia is fast declining in terms of protecting press freedom and free speech. The government needs to take stronger and more proactive steps toward ensuring the freedom of journalists and critics.

Liberia has dropped in ranking from the 89th to 94th position on the 2017 World Press Freedom Index with a global score of 31.12. Countries like Sierra Leone (ranking: 85), Ivory Coast (ranking: 81), Benin (ranking: 78), Niger (ranking: 61) and Senegal (ranking: 58) are topping Liberia. I hope the government of Liberia has not forgotten that the June 2007 Table Mountain Declaration and the May 1991 Declaration of Windhoek are still in force and every provision in these international instruments must be adhered to.

Liberian Journalists have been through a lot even though JOURNALISM is not a CRIME. There are voluminous of untold stories and terrifying accounts. For more than seven (7) decades now, press freedom has been and continues to be muzzled. Journalists in Liberia have stood up as watchdogs and gatekeepers of our society. They continue to make ultimate sacrifices for the growth and development of our nation. Sometimes, they and their families even become targets of political and military repression. Surely, Liberian journalists deserve a golden space in our national Gazette.  

It is a tragedy for a Liberian journalist to be severely whipped for reporting the truth. It is a tragedy for a newspaper to be banned simply because it exposed corruption. It is a tragedy for a radio station to be shut-down for broadcasting critical news/views. It is a tragedy to detain and jail a journalist for speaking against bad governance. It is a tragedy to target the family members of investigative reporters. It is a tragedy to invade printing houses for publishing credible and balance news. It is a national tragedy for our judiciary system to be used as a conduit of manipulation to muzzle free press.

It is a tragedy for Editor Roland Worwee of the Corruption Watch Newspaper and Television Manager Joe Wandah of Truth FM to be imprisoned on charges of libel and defamation. It is a tragedy when publishers, editors, columnists, newscasters, talk-show hosts and political commentators are chased, handcuffed and sometimes beaten with gun-butts for speaking truth to power. It is a tragedy for our government to remain tightlipped on repealing the libel and defamation law in Liberia, but at the same time brags about signing the Declaration of Table Mountain. The tragedies of the Liberian media are too despicable to narrate.

These tragedies continue to weaken our democracy and threaten our overall stability. These tragedies are even visible today. If we truly desire an all-inclusive CHANGE in our country, we must consider these tragedies as common enemies. We must confront them together as a nation and a people. Too often, press freedom and freedom of expression have been restricted. It is time for all of us (ordinary and prominent citizens) to stand up in defense of press freedom. If our government fails to immediately revise laws criminalizing press freedom and free speech, our nation stands to risk a lot.

We must stand with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) to ensure the decriminalization of antiquated and vicious laws that tend to muzzle press freedom and free speech. We must march together with Liberian journalists and lift our banners up high against those draconian policies that continue to pierce our democracy. The teeth of these outdated laws are even sharper than a two-edged sword. They are used to protect the interest of politicians and shield corruption. They are used to protect the rich and influential against the overall agenda of the country. These statutes continue to stifle Liberian journalists and strangulate press freedom.  They are completely contrary to the Table Mountain Declaration which President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf signed in July 2012. 

On this World Press Freedom Day in post-conflict Liberia, the ink of my pen cannot flow further without eulogizing a national hero like Albert Porte. Albert Porte was a journalist par excellence with uncompromising principles and ethics. While serving as Chief Editor of the Crozerville Observer, he was sent to jail several times for exposing bad governance under the hegemony of the True Whig Party. His pen was never bought by bourgeoisies; neither was his voice used to protect the parochial interest of greedy politicians and big-shots. With professionalism, patriotism and high ethical standards, Porte’s pamphlets reflected the hard truths.     

Porte’s pen was a powerful tool he used to broadcast prevailing realities amidst intimidation and harassment. The following publications are famous memories of Porte’s powerful pen: Thinking about Unthinkable Things—The Democratic Way (1967), Liberianization or Gobbling Business? (1975), Explaining Why (1976), Thoughts on Change (1977) and The Day Monrovia Stood Still (1979). As a result of Porte’s invaluable contribution to journalism, this generation of Liberian journalists now has unique space to at least practice a profession that was totally seen by despotic and dictatorial regimes as a taboo. 

The celebration of this year’s World Press Freedom Day in Liberia would have no meaning if Charles Gbenyon is not remembered. The death of this fallen Liberian broadcast journalist who worked for ELBC still remains a mystery since November 14, 1985. Gbenyon is no more simply because he chose to be a journalist, which was never a wrong path to have pursued. The blood of Gbenyon continues to cry out for justice. Those in political offices and high places need to understand that JOURNALISM is not TABOO. For decades now, the press in Liberia has been muzzled by successive regimes. 

Overtime, Liberian journalists have been severely intimidated, flogged, harassed and censored by State security for performing their reportorial duties. Yesteryear, some of them were even killed for publicizing factual information on critical issues while others were imprisoned at Belle Yalla and the Post Stockade for a crime they did not commit. The media in Liberia has endured tough times to reach this far. In 1955 under Tubman’s administration, 9 Liberian journalists were arrested and imprisoned for publishing editorials against President William V. S. Tubman and his True Whig Party.  

The attack on the media by Tubman’s administration created a gloomy cloud over press freedom in Liberia. This horrifying approach gave rise to serious media restriction and repression. Press Freedom and Freedom of Speech were no longer seen as fundamental instruments to solidify our democracy. Those in authority saw journalists as frontline impediments to their socio-economic and political interest. As a result, they did everything humanly possible to slaughter the media and exterminate free speech.

Under the presidency of William R. Tolbert, the Liberian media became a direct victim of political censorship, subjugation and machination. The brother of President Tolbert and other higher-ups in government misused public offices to castrate the media through widespread intimidation. The primary motive of Stephen A. Tolbert who served as Minister of Finance was to isolate the media and subdue free speech. The Revelation newspaper was shut down for publishing an editorial about his growing business interest and abuse of public resources. 

Even though Liberian journalists were compelled to undergo harsh and hostile treatment during the domineering era of the True Whig Party, but history could not allow terror to extinct this noble profession. All through these difficult days, the media remained unshaken in pursuing a new Liberia of equal opportunities for all. Determined as Liberian journalists were, nothing could undermine their collective sense of duty to Liberia – not even guns, flogging, imprisonment or death.

As our nation was transitioning towards a period of military rule after a bloody coup by 17 enlisted men of the armed forces on April 12, 1980, some saw this transition as an era of relief and democratic renaissance after many years of media clampdown. Notwithstanding, this was never the case as journalists were even targeted more under the regime of Master Sergeant Doe. The administration of Doe can be widely remembered for torturing and murdering journalists. During an interview in June 1986, President Doe said to Editor Rufus Darpoh of the Sun Times newspaper “God has given you long life, but you are acting careless with it.”

Journalists who were perceived to have been critical of the government were apprehended and maltreated by security forces loyal to ex-President Doe. Some of these journalists who suffered such treatment include: Momolu Sirleaf, publisher of Footprints Today; Kenneth Best, manager director of the Daily Observer; Rufus Darpoh, editor of the Sun Times; Willis Knuckles, reporter of the Daily Observer; Charles Gbenyon, broadcaster of ELBC; James Momoh of the Inquirer newspaper; Tom Kamara, editor-in-chief of the New Liberian newspaper; Isaac D. E. Bantu, BBC-Liberia correspondent; etc.

After almost 9 years of despotic rule under Doe’s control, the nation was plunged into another crisis due to anti-democratic precedents. This ‘revolution’ led to the ascendancy of an ex-warlord Charles Taylor as President of Liberia. During the NPP led government, journalists as well as citizens were harassed by ATU and SOD for speaking freely. Journalist Hassan Bility, an editor of The Analyst newspaper, was a direct victim of Taylor’s crackdown on the media. Several other journalists received death threats through phone calls and text messages. Some of them were arbitrarily arrested and detained.  

Even in post-conflict Liberia, there are emerging challenges facing the media and free speech. After almost 14 years of uninterrupted peace, journalists are still being threatened for reporting accurate, balance and credible stories that reveal wrongdoings in public service. In 2012, Seward Korner of the Daily Observer and Edward Mortee of the National Chronicle were picked up, handcuffed and put behind bars by police officers. In 2013, the former head of security (EPS Director Othello Warrick) for President Sirleaf said “The Executive Protection Service will go after journalists because they are terrorists without facts. You have your pens, we have our guns.” On August 21, 2013, the Publisher of FrontPage Africa, Rodney Sieh was jailed for libel.

It is time to institute a more collective action in order to protect Liberian journalists and ensure their overall safety. Article 15 of the Liberian Constitution guarantees press freedom and free speech. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration also guarantees media freedom. The Declaration of Windhoek signed in Namibia on May 3, 1991 promotes a free, independent and pluralistic media in Africa and the World. We must use these laws to adequately enhance press freedom across Liberia. This generation of Liberian journalists and even the next generation must not suffer continuous persecution.

Journalism is a distinct and respectable profession. Liberian journalists must be treated with respect, pride and dignity. Liberian journalists are the least paid in Africa, and perhaps the World. The least paid journalist in America gets US$40,000 per annum. The least paid journalist in Europe gets US$29,830.77 (£23,152). The minimum wage for journalists in South Africa is US$9,158.34 (R123,512) in a period of 12 months. In Liberia, most journalists are paid just anything by owners of media houses. It is time to promote media dignity. It is time to set the standard high. It is time to set an appreciable minimum wage for Liberian journalists. It is time to stand up for Liberian Journalists and fight for them. As youth ambassador of the International Human Rights Commission, I shall continue to pursue this path. We call on UNESCO, CARTER CENTER, OSIWA, IFES, WORLD BANK, AfDB, RSF and other partners to invest more in the Liberian media.

As the carnival of this year’s World Press Freedom Day continues, I wish all media practitioners in Liberia a wonderful celebration. May you never forget this year’s 2017 theme “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”

 

 Martin K. N. Kollie is a Liberian youth activist, a columnist and an emerging economist.  He currently studies Economics at the University of Liberia and is a Lux-in-Tenebris Scholar. Martin is a youth ambassador of the International Human Rights Commission and a loyal stalwart of the Student Unification Party (SUP).  He can be reached at: martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com

]]>
http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/06/the-tragedy-of-liberian-media/feed/ 0
Where is our moral outrage when George Weah, Prince Johnson and other Liberian politicians violate us and betray our trust? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/02/where-is-our-moral-outrage-when-george-weah-prince-johnson-and-other-liberian-politicians-violate-us-and-betray-our-trust/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/02/where-is-our-moral-outrage-when-george-weah-prince-johnson-and-other-liberian-politicians-violate-us-and-betray-our-trust/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 00:48:02 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4706 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

 

George Manneh Weah, the celebrated former football star, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) hero, Montserrado County Senator and perennial presidential candidate, made a startling revelation recently when he told the Liberian people that he spoke with the disgraced killer, con man and mastermind of the Liberian civil war, Charles Taylor, who is serving perhaps his entire life in a European prison for crimes against humanity.

“I was in a gathering and one of Mr. Taylor’s relative was in conversation with him (Taylor), and the guy walk up to me and gave me the phone saying President Taylor wants to talk to you. So, I held the phone and spoke to him,” Weah reportedly said.

Really?

Why will Mr. Taylor want to talk to Mr. Weah, and how did Mr. Taylor got to know that Weah was in that gathering on that day? Why Weah and not another person? However, according to reports, this is not the first time Weah has communicated with Mr. Taylor.

Why did Weah – this high-profile politician and sports legend put his character and everything on the line to be in contact with a man who helped to destroy his country and masterminded a war that killed thousands, and inflicted heartbreaks and irreparable damage and injuries to countless Liberians and Sierra Leoneans in his reckless, often delusional and adventurous quest to rule the region, and also be President of Liberia?

Why didn’t the Liberian legislature of which George Weah is a member, call Weah before his peers to explain his reasons for communicating with Charles Taylor, and to also explain to the nation what he and the former NPFL rebel leader talked about?

Is it a coincidence that George Weah later chose Jewel Howard Taylor, the ex-wife of Mr. Taylor as his vice-presidential running mate?

Do we trust a President George Manneh Weah at the helm of political leadership; and the ex-wife of an imprisoned leader, Jewel Howard Taylor as his second in command in a troubled and dysfunctional country where there is no rule of law and accountability – a lawless country where a powerful President Weah could singlehandedly seek the eventual release of Charles Taylor from prison?

Just as Liberians are struggling with abject poverty and the strange and scary revelation that Weah is in communication by phone with the imprisoned Charles Taylor, Weah’s running mate, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor made it clear that she needs an increase in her monthly salary of over $10,000.00 to carry out her official duties as a lawmaker.

“For me, $10,000.00 salary not enough,” Senator Jewel Howard Taylor reportedly said.

In my honest opinion, this is the height of insensitivity and tone deafness.

Can this lady not see the suffering around her, when ordinary Liberians cannot feed their kids or send them to school because of no funds?

Can Jewel Howard Taylor not see the suffering around her when her neighbors – the average ‘Joe Blow” or a “Sieh Dee” cannot afford to see a doctor to get treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes or the common cold?

What’s wrong with these people?

How can this ex-wife of a felon who held our country hostage and sent Liberians to their early graves – a lady whom as a privileged spouse who once enjoyed the amenities of the presidency from the suffering of the Liberian people, claimed in the face of mounting poverty to not be making enough money to sustain herself as a sitting senator?

Where’s our moral outrage?

How can these individuals get away with what seems to be political murder?

The other presidential candidate, Prince Y. Johnson, who honestly should be in prison right now for his deadly role in the Liberian civil war as a notorious rebel, did not disappoint when he publicly bragged about helping people during the civil war who do not appreciate him today.

“Today in Liberia a lot of people who do not appreciate the good things God has done for them call me a murderer, a killer, but let me say to these blind people, everyone in life has his or her own record,” Prince Johnson reportedly said.

Mr. Johnson also said, “Thomas Jefferson fought war and became President, George Bush fought a bitter civil war and became President, Abraham Bambageda (Ibrahim Babangida) overthrew, executed so many people and became head of state of Nigeria.”

Is this the time for Prince Johnson to make such dubious comparisons and silly pronouncements? Did George Bush fight any civil war? How about Mr. Johnson asking for genuine national forgiveness and reconciliation from the Liberian people?

I don’t see it coming from him because Prince Johnson, like other violators, wants to be President of Liberia.

Narcissistic?

Perhaps, because this grandiose view of himself (Prince Johnson) as the ‘savior’ of the Liberian people instead of the unrepentant killer he is, is terrifying.

The Chairman of the government-run and highly manipulated and untrusted National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome G. Korkoya, is reportedly a naturalized U.S. citizen. This shouldn’t be a problem since most Liberians working in the Sirleaf administration are U.S citizens.

 It is a problem in this election year because Liberia does not recognize dual citizenship. And Korkoya is in violation of the law because he’s technically not a citizen of Liberia. So why is Korkoya, a citizen of the United States working as the chief elections officer of the Republic of Liberia?

Alex Cummings admittedly is also a naturalized U.S. citizen who is also running for President of Liberia.

Do we need a national referendum to change the law, or do we need an ombudsman who could easily be manipulated and remote-controlled from the Executive Mansion or elsewhere to do for us what we could do for ourselves? I certainly don’t trust the latter.

As the confusion around Korkoya’s citizenship spirals out of control and sinks into our consciousness, one would think President Sirleaf will do the right thing by asking Mr. Korkoya to resign.

No, President Sirleaf did not, and Mr. Korkoya is still Chairman of the National Elections Commission.

Why are Liberians not in the streets demanding change?

Where is our moral outrage when George Weah, Prince Johnson and other Liberian politicians violate us and betray our trust?

 

]]>
http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/05/02/where-is-our-moral-outrage-when-george-weah-prince-johnson-and-other-liberian-politicians-violate-us-and-betray-our-trust/feed/ 0
Open Letter To Inspector General Gregory Coleman of Liberia National Police http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/04/24/open-letter-to-inspector-general-gregory-coleman-of-liberia-national-police/ Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:31:28 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4702 By Martin K. N. Kollie             

 

Dear Col. Coleman:

With a deep sense of solidarity and empathy for an enterprising young lady who fell prey to police brutality in January of this year, I am overly constrained to pen this open letter to your office.

Since your appointment and confirmation as Inspector General in line with Section 22.76 of the National Police Act 2015, this is the first communication I am directly addressing to your office though I have been highlighting other issues pertinent to police brutality, insecurity and public safety.  

Cognizant of your influence and herculean duties which are vividly enshrined in Section 22.78 of the National Police Act 2015, I thought to forward this grave matter in such manner. With optimism, your intervention would certainly guarantee a speedy redress.

Col. Coleman, on January 4, 2017 precisely, a young and industrious Liberian woman whose name is Sonah James, 26 years old, was severely brutalized by some officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) around Buchanan Street, central Monrovia.

Sonah, a vendor of sandwich bread, had come from selling after the County Sports Meet on the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) when this unfortunate incident occurred. While enroute to her residence almost 40 feet away from Buchanan Street, she was raided, knocked down and whipped with a rattan in her right eye.

Col. Coleman, it is essential to note that L$5,800.00 along with a cell phone costing US$35.00 was clandestinely snatched away by officers of PSU during this vicious and arbitrary operation. After some days of public pressure, the police finally restituted Sonah’s L$5,800 along with a new cell phone.

Though I am not a paralegal and have no intention to prejudge, but isn’t this action a clear demonstration of guilt and admittance to wrongdoing? I am wondering why would any police officer(s) choose to stoop so low after obtaining advance knowledge in public safety, rule of law and professional ethics.

After these police officers had accomplished this vile act against a peaceful civilian and a single mother, Police Spokesman Sam Collins claimed that Sonah James was in the wrong place at the wrong time even though he was never present during the incident. According to many eye witnesses, Sonah was never selling on the street, but enroute to her residence when she was ruthlessly beaten.    

In an interview with Mae Azango of FrontPage Africa, Tete Geebro of UNMIL radio and another reporter of Heritage Newspaper, Sonah disproved the second-hand claim made by the Police Spokesman and said that she was never in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is a link to her interview with FPA (http://frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/news/2976-i-felt-someone-knock-me-from-the-back-liberia-police-brutalizes-woman-street-vendor). 

Col. Coleman, since Sonah had this despicable encounter with police officers, she has been neglected by LNP to cater for herself.  Though L$2,000 was spent initially by the LNP for Sonah’s medication (eye drops) at SDA Cooper Hospital when she was bleeding with blood from her right eye, but since then, no genuine step has been taken by the LNP to prevent Sonah from going blind.

Since January up to date, we have been taking full responsibility for the medical expenses and sustenance of Sonah James and her family.  Sonah has been on medication for almost 3 months now at the New Eye Sight Center in Paynesville. We are particularly grateful to the former MD of NPA Matilda Parker, Florence Efua Aikins, Jerry Wion, Alvin Tonnelle, Tetee Gebro and Abdullah Swaray for contributing towards Sonah’s medical and the livelihood of her family.   

While seeking medication, Sonah was seen and treated by two professional ophthalmologists (eye doctors), namely: Dr. Catherine Bestman and Dr. Gaisie of the New Eye Sight Center. According to Sonah’s medical report which was released to us recently, she is suffering from traumatic Uveitis and poor visual acuity as a result of a hole in her macula. Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea or uveal tract. It can cause severe eye pain, redness, blurred vision and lead to vision loss.

Col. Coleman, the 4-page medical report recommends that Sonah needs to see a Vitero-Retino Ophthalmologist for effective treatment otherwise she could go blind for lifetime. A copy of this report is already en route to your office for perusal. Beyond every word I have penned, Dr. Bestman told me that if immediate action is not taken to rescue Sonah’s sight, the aftermath could be grave.

When I visited Sonah yesterday, she said to me “Martin, tears continue to leak from my right eye especially during night hours. I am still feeling pain inside. I cannot see afar as a result of this. The police really hurt me and I have nobody to stand up for me, besides you and others who are doing well to keep me up. I hope to get better soon and only God will pay back those who did this to me.”

Col. Coleman, when Sonah spoke in such an aching and dejecting manner, I was broken down and provoked to have written you this letter. It is a pain that I and many others share with her. I know anyone of us could be in Sonah’s shoe. Sir, it is no secret that police brutality is increasing across Liberia. Sonah is just one of the many victims.

Col. Coleman, the action of Sonah’s accusers is a gross breach of duties and it clearly contravenes the following provisions of the 2015 National Police Act of Liberia:

  1. Section 22.72 subsection a(i) which guarantees public safety
  2. Section 22.90 subsection b(x) which points to misconduct of police officers
  3. Section 22.90 subsection b(vi) which frowns against any act of corruption
  4. Section 22.72 subsection a(iv) which guarantees the protection of a citizen’s life.

It is our hope that this communication will also claim the attention of the Liberia National Police Civilian Complaints Review Board and the Professional Standard Department in accordance with their functions which are enshrined in Section 22.85 and Section 22.91(d-e) respectively. After 15 years of civil crisis, Liberia deserves a disciplined and professional police force that is non-lethal and civilian-friendly. The Rule of Law must remain the basis for Police-Civilian engagement.   

 We are making an SOS call to the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), UN Women, WHO, Female Legislative Caucus, Foundation for Women International, Samaritan Purse, US Embassy, Chinese Embassy and any organization to assist Sonah James in whatever way as she goes through this very difficult period of her life. We are particularly concern about Sonah’s health and the need for her to meet a Vitero-Retino Ophthalmologist for advanced medical treatment as recommended. These are Sonah’s contact details:

Address: Carey & Lynch Street Intersection – Central Monrovia

Phone number: (+231) 886-632-906

Col. Coleman, as I look forward to your timely response, it is my hope that God shall intervene in Sonah’s behalf through your office.

Shalom,

 

Martin K. N. Kollie is Youth Ambassador, International Human Advocate. He can be reached at E-mail: martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com. Phone #: (+231) 776-572-334

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
Liberian poets assemble for Monrovia 2.0 this weekend in Monrovia http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/04/20/liberian-poets-assemble-for-monrovia-2-0-this-weekend-in-monrovia/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:06:05 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4699 By Ralph Geeplay                        
Monrovia will come alive this weekend when the much anticipated and
expected poetry reading takes place on the Congo Town Back Road, behind the Ministry of Health, and right opposite the Chinese Restaurant. Liberian writer and poetry enthusiast Forte Otheniel, who is headlining the event,
says some of Liberia’s finest writers will be reading in
what is expected to be an eventful night. Recent attempts to make Monrovia
and adjacent cities the center of multiple readings is gradually paying
off. These efforts are geared towards growing the cultural scene, in an
effort for Liberians to appreciate the rich history of their society and
history through readings. The ongoing effort is gradually thriving, and
residents are warming up to the theater, reports say.

Dubbed Monrovia Reads 2.0, the reading will take place on Friday April 21,
this weekend to much fanfare. Liberia of late has seen a wave of fresh
talents emerging on the national scene; and weekends such as what this
event aims to accomplish, Mr. Forte says, is to give residents a festive
educational, but entertaining nights to look forward to, instead of the
usual night club scenes which has dominated the capital sea side city of
Monrovia and adjacent cities. Events like these are also intended to
expose and endear Liberian writers to the local and burgeoning tourist
audience, especially in a society where politics is king. The event is also
expected to explore Liberia’s collective memory and its history while
bringing to bear the challenges of contemporary thoughts of  Liberia’s
tradition and identity, much needed in a country where officialdom over the
years has given the arts lip service—with no support, according to
reports.

The organizer and brains behind Monrovia reads 2.0, Othniel Forte is a
Liberian author and folklorist. His poems are lively and does tell the
Liberian story by weaving a tapestry of a resilient people who have lived
through peacetime, war and are rebuilding.

The Liberian native hails from Montserrado County, Virginia, and began
writing at an early age. His 2013 paper back, “Famous Liberian Folklore: A
collection of Short Stories from across Liberia” told a telling narrative
of the country and the “wealth of knowledge lodged in the great minds of
[it’s] elders. The characters [were] in every sense [a compilation of]
ordinary people who did the extraordinary [things].” Foretelling the “pain
and sorrows, joy and happiness they experienced” which remains the same today on the landscape inhibited by a new generation of Liberians, now eager to learn and celebrate their forebears and ancestors.

Monrovia Reads 2.0, this Friday will be fun and entertaining, with local
cuisine, drinks and an assortment of different eateries on display. It will
be a great opportunity to meet new people of like minds interested in
Liberian literature and arts, with plenty of laughter, learning and meet
and greet in toll. The event is expected to last for two hours [6-8pm].

]]>
A Boakai Coronation? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/04/16/a-boakai-coronation/ Sun, 16 Apr 2017 19:32:14 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4692 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

 

Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai is back in the United States.

This is for the nth time, perhaps more than any Liberian vice president. At least more than any of the major presidential candidates in the 2017 race.

Like his boss, Madame Sirleaf, who has visited the United States more since she became president – even for the common cold when Liberian clinics and hospitals could have been the preferred and sensible choice to treat that common cold to save the country some money, visiting the United States seems to be the “mother of all visits” outside of Liberia for key Liberian government officials.

I don’t have the exact numbers to make a case about the president or the vice president’s countless visits to the United States to attend to “official business.”

But from press reports, and from my naked eyes and ears (since I reside in the United States), Mr. Boikai could be on the verge of tying or surpassing President Sirleaf for the number of visits he has made to the United States since he became vice president of Liberia.

In my home state of Georgia, metro Atlanta was once the preferred route of the vice president whenever he wanted the attention and the press – pre-LAMA Community center days.

Since the Liberian Community in metro Atlanta lost their building for lack of funds – a LAMA center that vice president Boakai helped to give birth to, that carried his name but he did not help to keep afloat when he was approached to do so financially, it is unknown whether Vice President Joseph Boakai will visit metro Atlanta any time soon.

I could be wrong.

Mr. Boikai’s attention for now is set on winning the Liberian presidency in 2017.

Friends of Vice President Boakai dubbed the “Coalition of JNB Supporters” gathered at a hotel in suburban Philadelphia on April 15, 2017, to do just that.

Looking at the pictures from the event on Facebook, I saw individuals whom I didn’t think would be in the crowd, to support a seemingly incompetent, uninspiring and stealth vice president who hasn’t demonstrated a walking knowledge of the job he now holds (since he reportedly often sleeps in gatherings), and hasn’t even articulated his vision for the country that he desperately wants to lead.

The individuals – some rabid critic of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and other opportunists, are waiting in the wing to run to Liberia just in case Boakai wins the presidency, to get their share of the pie.

What’s the difference between the government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a future Joseph N. Boakai administration? What’s Boakai going to do differently from the Sirleaf administration? Why hasn’t Boakai put forth his platform and his vision for the country? Can Boakai sign an agreement – a contract with the Liberian people that will hold him accountable if he cannot deliver those promises in 200 days of his presidency?

Even ULAA’s president Wilmot Kunney and his faithful and cheering squad of known supporters stood in attention to give their brand of North Korea-like collective salute and applause to their “chief” who apparently was carrying out his duty.

What a damn shame!

Looking at the pictures of Boakai’s faithful and blind supporters (mostly indigenous Liberians), and that is the danger and tragedy, I am reminded of the Tubman-Tolbert-True Whig Party and Doe era, etc., when blind and opportunistic supporters waved or carried banners and proclamations urging their president to seek another term; even though their president’s record of achievements and human rights/development records were visibly reckless and terrible.

Can Boakai win the presidency? Yes, he can. Because he is the sitting vice president who have access to the state bureaucratic network – funds, security, state-controlled National Elections Commission, the press, etc.

It is also a tall order for vice president Boakai because of the competitive nature of the race, with more than dozen candidates vying for the singular presidency.

Some of the presidential candidates, one or two, even though have not spelled out their programs, platforms and vision for the country, and have not made a compelling case why the individuals want to be president, are outstanding individuals who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps to be who and what they are today in society.

Of course, Mr. Boakai can be defeated.

Boakai cannot win the presidency on a silver platter with a staged coronation in the United States, far away from the electoral battlefront of Liberia.

This is perhaps the reasons behind his many visits to the United States to win over a friendly, opportunistic and compliant audience.

 

]]>
A Marriage Between Promise and Pretense: Cabinet Retreat Without Action Is Worthless http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/04/06/a-marriage-between-promise-and-pretense-cabinet-retreat-without-action-is-worthless/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 00:02:44 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4689 By Martin K. N. Kollie         

 

Liberia has a lot to learn from Tanzania especially under the administration of a patriot par excellence, President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli. The United Nations made no mistake to have named Magufuli as the best President on planet earth just in a period of 12 months of his presidency. This global and prestigious accolade came as a result of “Less Talking” and “More Action”. It came as a result of setting proactive public policies, people-centered priorities and achievable targets.

Upon Magufuli’s ascendancy in November 2015, he administered a divorce between PROMISE and PRETENSE. The ‘Bulldozer’ as he is affectionately called has done far more in just 1 year than most African leaders who have spent over a decade in power. As a leader of integrity, patriotism and humility, Magufuli has:

Set-up 1,423 industries

  1. Diverted Independence Day funding to fight cholera and buy hospital beds
  2. Auctioned expensive cars of senior government officials and banned any future purchase of such vehicles
  3. Reduced government ministries from 30 to 19
  4. banned the purchase of first air tickets for ministers
  5. Ordered government meetings and conferences to be held in state buildings instead of expensive hotels
  6. Cut down the number of ministers and their deputies by nearly a half from 60
  7. Banned cabinet retreat in order to cut costs and this measure has saved Sh2 billion.
  8. Built new homes, roads, health centers, schools, etc.

Without having a single Cabinet Retreat, Magufuli has achieved a lot. Even though Retreat for cabinet members and heads of public agencies is a regular phenomenon in some countries, but its outcome must meet up with public demand(s). During this time, key stakeholders within the Executive Branch of government meet to review government’s overall performance with specific focus on sectorial successes and challenges.  In addition, forecasting of achievable development targets and operational goals is done.

Unfortunately in Liberia, our cabinet ministers and heads of public agencies are best known for setting undoable targets and projecting unrealistic plans. This false impression is taking us nowhere. Deception only creates more harm for those who are at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Liberia is a country of pseudo dreamers whose vision is driven by barren promises and pretense.

Every time they congregate at such meeting, most of them give fake progress reports that do not even reflect existing and practical realities. The major concern of some of them is how they will be retained. Instead of giving more attention to the essence of the retreat, they are found searching for unmerited favor by creating false impression about who they are, what they have done and what they intend to do. This is really sad and our leaders must graduate from this lowly and insincere plain!
 
Even though Liberia under President Sirleaf has had almost 11 cabinet retreats, but the impact of these gatherings are far less than the resources and energy applied/spent. Even after all these extravagant retreats, Liberia is still ranked as the fourth poorest country by Global Finance and eighth unhappiest country by the United Nations. The UN Habitat Report rated Monrovia as the least city with a City Prosperity Index (CPI) of -0.313. Sadly, 81.86% of Liberia’s population is poor while 83.76% live on US$1.25 a day according to UNDP 2015 Human Development Report. Have these ‘retreats’ really been Cabinet Retreats or Cabinet Recreations?  

During each cabinet retreat of government officials in Liberia, a marriage between promise and pretense does exist. Everyone becomes concern about who stays or goes. What good does it make for ministers and heads of agencies to attend retreat every year when they make no big difference or impact after such an event is held? I thought occasion as this is intended to critically review the past and advance realistic strategies to improve the present and prepare for the future. It makes no sense to misuse thousands of tax-dollars to conduct an annual retreat that continues to bring fruitless and/or minimum outcome(s).

It is just unwise to do one thing over and over without reaping any concrete result. A shift in paradigm through genuine and sustainable measures is crucial to ensuring an eternal divorce between PROMISE and PRETENSE. Where are the socio-economic dividends as a result of the many retreats this government has had? What can Liberians show after spending huge amount of US dollars on hosting Cabinet Retreats? Nothing substantive for Liberians, especially THE POOR, has come out of this occasion since its inception. This gathering in my mind is only meant to satisfy the socio-economic appetite of top government officials and deceive those who are unaware about their sinister agenda. Liberia does not need bunch of ‘copy and paste’ theories, but a genuine recovery plan that reflects public participation and national interest.

The people need action and not empty promises or plenty talks. They are weary with sweet words, long-winded speeches, attractive PowerPoint presentations and accurate pronunciations. Good governance goes far beyond rhetoric and until those who call themselves leaders can recognize this fact, our country’s developmental agenda shall forever shift downward. It is no longer about what you have learned and what your credentials are, but it is about what the people can benefit as a result of what you have learned. Impact and not impression!

The first precondition to national leadership is Patriotism. An unpatriotic educated President, Vice President, Minister or Director is the most dangerous citizen of any country. An unnationalistic educated Lawmaker or any public official for that matter is the most terrible steward any nation can have. I careless about how many degrees a person has, but care more about what impact those degrees can make to uplift ordinary lives out of acute poverty and abject adversity. 

The meaning of cabinet retreat has lost its real essence or taste in Liberia as key State actors within the Executive Branch continue to misuse this medium to merry-make. Even though there has been series of such assembly, but nothing has really changed. Almost every sector of government remains weak today as a result of non-implementation and non-adherence to public policy(ies). The developmental objectives of Liberia are yet too far from realization due to policy failure and fiscal indiscipline. The two-day retreat that was recently held in Julijuah Town, Bomi County was not only a mere bluff, but another means for this regime to further expose its real image of deception and insincerity to the people. Nothing new was said that we have not heard since 2006. The same old story was told by unreliable voices. The solution to any national problem cannot come through rhetoric, but genuine deeds.

Liberians are anxiously waiting to benefit from the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Lift Liberia, Agenda for Transformation, Vision 2030 and other socio-economic plans of this government, but to no avail. Poverty is increasing daily as access to basic social services remains a serious challenge. The purchasing power, life-expectancy and food security of our people remain very low while the rate of unemployment and illiteracy remains high. Least to mention health and sanitation!

Our concern now is, “why must they continue to attend cabinet retreats when nothing is changing?” Are they not aware that Liberia is one of the four poorest countries on earth? We are tired with too many meetings and plenty promises that are not germinating concrete deliverables. The creation of more policies without implementation is a waste of time and resources. Policies can only become good and complete when policy-makers ensure they are fully implemented. What good does it make to develop a framework without achieving its targets?  It is time for our leaders to rethink their strategy in order to liberate Liberia from its current status of poverty and misery. The pursuit and accomplishment of an aggressive pro-poor agenda would ensure economic expansion, political stability and social coherence throughout Liberia. The paradigm needs to change if Liberia must make genuine progress. It is time to put an end to the longstanding marriage between promise and pretense.

The period to finally divorce deception from public service is now. The primitive relationship between deprivation and discrimination must cease to exist. It is time to bury greed and unpatriotism forever. For too long hypocrisy and conspiracy have slept in the same bed. For more than 11 years now, corruption and nepotism are still dinning on the same table together. After two successive democratic elections, elitism and sectarianism are marching hand in hand. We must do all we can to put a halt to bad governance. The chain of poverty and unemployment must be broken if Liberia must truly be considered THE SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY.   

From the largest slum of West Point to the top of Ducor, I see a NEW LIBERIA rising above the African Continent.

 Martin K. N. Kollie is a Liberian youth and student activist who hails from central Liberia specifically Bong County. He is currently a student of the University of Liberia studying Economics and a Lux-In-Tenebris Scholar. Martin is also the West Africa Bureau Chief / Editor of Globe Afrique, a Global Columnist of The African Exponent and a contributor to dozens of media outlets locally and internationally. He can be reached at martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com

]]>
Charles Brumskine and the Nimba (County) Factor http://theliberiandialogue.org/2017/03/31/charles-brumskine-and-the-nimba-county-factor/ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 02:42:00 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4682 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh                  

 

Charles Walker Brumskine is a lawyer and a Liberian politician.

I don’t even know whether Mr. Brumskine wants to be known as a politician first, a lawyer second, or verse visa.

What I know is that he’s known as one of Liberia’s best legal minds.

On the political front, however, Mr. Brumskine hasn’t shown the brilliance that some saw in him as a lawyer, which propelled him from an asterisk to a household name and on to the national political scene as a one-time serious presidential candidate.

From one opportunistic political miscalculation to another; Mr. Brumskine seems to be ‘trying his luck’ in a desperate attempt to win the Liberian presidency, by any means necessary.  

Mr. Brumskine tried his luck in government once in the 2000s as a reliable legislative floor leader to the disgraced Charles Taylor, during the heyday of Mr. Taylor’s tyrannical rule as a “Senator representing” Grand Bassa County.

The most unconscionable part of Mr. Brumskine’s politics during that painful period is his selfishness and the insensitivity he showed the Liberian people when he sacrificed his soul (if there is any left in him), and everything he stands for as the shining public face representing tyranny, corruption, greed, deaths and destruction.

Brumskine’s self-centered politics has once again shown its face in his latest move when he chose as his running mate Harrison S. Kanwea, Sr., amid the 2017 ruling by the Supreme Court of Liberia, which upheld Article 56 (a) of the Code of Conduct law signed by President Sirleaf in 2014 and passed by the national legislature.

According to article 56 (a) “all officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia are not to engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices, use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities or serve on a campaign team of any political party or the campaign of an independent candidate for two years.”  Article 56 (a) of the same code also states: “Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections.”

Harrison S. Kanwea, Sr., formerly of the ruling Unity Party, and now a convenient member of Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party, resigned his post in the Sirleaf administration as Manager Director of the Forestry Development Authority as recent as March 12, 2017, to be the running mate of Charles Walker Brumskine.

So, the Code of Conduct law does not apply to vice presidential candidates?

Well, the so-called “Nimba County Factor” perhaps is the apparent reasons behind Charles Brumskine’s about-face – or his pivot from heading in the right direction of abiding by the law of the land; to pandering to Nimba County, in a dishonest attempt to win the Liberian presidency at any cost.

Is there a Nimba County factor?

Are the citizens of Nimba County like herds kind of easy to get, and easy to be driven to the polls to vote for a candidate – any candidate who does not share their values and their politics?

Are they capable of voting for the best candidate who shares their values, their dreams and their aspirations, and not because the person is a Nimba County citizen?

Are the people of Nimba County monolithic in their politics?

I don’t want to believe the latter.

That’s because the numbers from recent elections in which a native-Nimbanian was in a race against another native-Nimbanian is as revealing as the analysis that comes out of the mouths and pens of Liberian political observers.

Running as an Independent candidate for the senate in October 18, 2005 in a three-way race between Adolphus Dolo and Evans Vaye Koah, perennial candidate Prince Johnson received 33.8% of the votes, way below the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff.

Also during the November 8, 2005 (national) presidential runoff elections, and in a three-way race, Charles Brumskine and his running mate, Amelia Ward received 13.9% of the votes; not even 50%.

The numbers are even huge when non-Nimbanians are in the race against Prince Johnson in a national election.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received 43.9% of the votes to Prince Johnson’s 11.6%, and Winston Tubman’s 11.6%, in the October 11, 2011 presidential elections.

All I am saying is Prince Johnson is not invincible in Nimba County. He surely can be defeated in Nimba County. Period!

 The ticket of Charles Brumskine and Harrison Karnwea can also be defeated in Nimba County.

 Both Charles Brumskine and Harrison Karnwea, Sr., can be defeated in Nimba County if the opposing side can take a winning bread and butter message to the people, can project strength and an inspiring message that resonates hope, unity and inclusion in an age of hunger, poverty and human suffering, in the era of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  

Like in all of Liberia, the people of Nimba County are not to be taken for granted politically, and shouldn’t fall for anybody because the person is from their part of town.

The Liberian people cannot afford to vote for bad, corrupt, insensitive, uncaring and unaccountable candidates and leaders.

We have a bunch around already.

]]>