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    Feed The Liberian Dialogue http://theliberiandialogue.org Serving you since 2002. Credible. Compelling. Consistent. Provocative. Tue, 19 Jun 2018 20:43:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 CDC’s Pro-Poor Government Hut Tax Historical Amnesia http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/06/19/cdcs-pro-poor-government-hut-tax-historical-amnesia/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/06/19/cdcs-pro-poor-government-hut-tax-historical-amnesia/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 20:29:12 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4967 By Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr.    

     

     

    Pro-Poor Policy of a government usually targets directly poor people’s economic plight, which is due to the poverty they experienced in society. The goal of this policy is to improve their living standard. However, the Hut Tax re-introduced by the traditional Chiefs and Elders in Liberia resembles a reversed ‘Robin Hood’ – intended to TAKE (Steal) from the POOR. Whereas, the Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest took from the abusive and corrupt leaders what they stole from the poor and had it returned.

    My article titled “CDC Pro-Poor Government Hut Tax’s Historical Amnesia” intents to prove that the reintroduction of the notorious and abusive hut tax system of yester year was proposed either out of ignorance of history by the traditional Chiefs and Elders, or out of pure self interest.

    According to the Daily Observer’s Nimba County Correspondent, Ishmael Menkor, the “…15 chiefs representing the Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia have agreed to the reintroduction of HUT TAX to support the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led Government’s “Pro-poor Agenda. …The elders maintained that the hut tax will enhance their participation in the promotion of government’s agenda and development initiatives. They accordingly argued that government cannot be dependent forever, ‘relying on donor support or begging all around the world for help, so in their view, it is good to bring back the collection of hut tax to back up the economy.”

    My question to these Chiefs and Elders is – how will the reintroduction of the hut tax benefit most of the poor people in rural areas; especially, when most of them live on US$1.50 a day? Or is their “…time to eat” as Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor espoused? Perhaps, the “This is our time to eat” comment is

    directed at CDiCians to get ready to receive their share of the BIG ELEPHANT MEAT as Ellen’s Unity Party government, her family and associates had their share.

    Let’s review the history and enforcement of the notorious Hut Tax that Chief Zanzan Kawor and Elders of the Liberian Council of Chiefs failed to acknowledge; either out of ignorance or were seeking favor from President Weah and his CDC Pro-Poor government.

    HUT TAX
    The Hut Tax was first instituted following the administrative reform of 1904 both as a means, on part of the central government, of imposing its writ over “hinterlanders” and “coastal indigenes,” and also as an important revenue source to sustain the newly established auxiliary interior bureaucracy. Initial, it appears, there was a tax of $1.00 per annum on each indigene domicile (hut). In the 1980’s the tax had reached $6.00 per annum per the district commissioner. Each chief received a percentage of the tax collected as his commission. The hut tax is widely viewed as one of the areas of repressive government during the first republic, for the manner in which agents of the state went about collecting constitutes flagrant violations of people’s rights. Tax collectors often accompanied by soldier of the LFF moved into villages, at times terrorizing the inhabitants in order to secure not only the taxes but to requisition food and other local products. Several months following the 1980 coup, the hut tax was abolished by the PRC, but then reportedly reinstituted the following year in modified form. [See TAX MISSION, 1970: 89; Handbook, 325] / [African Historical Dictionaries, p. 91]

    In addition, based on the Area Handbook for Liberia, “Direct money taxes known as hut, health and development taxes are collected annually from the tribal people. Levied on households on the basis of a hut rather than a head count, the taxes totaled $5 per household in the early 1960’s. Tribal communities are also officially required by the government to make annual contributions of rice that may amount to a higher value than money taxes. Informal requisitions of food by agents of the central government and members of the armed forces are common occurrences in some areas of the interior and constitute an indirect form of taxation impossible to measure.” (Area Handbook, p. 325)
    I was told of similar practices by my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. It was a common practice for District Commissioners (DC) and members of the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF) to engage in when they traveled in the hinterland (now counties) to collect taxes and recruit laborers for government projects; such displayed brute behaviors were not unusual.
    Initially, the Armed Forces, known then as the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF) collected Hut taxes, and enforced labor policies against the “native” (indigenous) masses. On many occasions, these natives (African Liberians) were forced to carry loads for government officials for days, while their farms were left unattended and their livestock used to feed the soldiers; their wives and female daughters used as sex objects for the pleasure of these officials and soldiers.
    The novel, Red Dust on the Green Leaves by John Gay, epitomizes this reality:
    “The soldiers had come again every year to get taxes and men to work at Firestone. Flumo (Flomo) still was not sure what Firestone was, even though he knew that men who went there had to clear the ground and plant rubber trees. He also knew that when Saki went to Firestone, he did not make farm but would come back after six months or a year with little other than new clothes and gifts from the coast”.
    President Arthur Barclay too, alluded to this culture of impunity in his Inaugural Address of 1904:
    “…The militia, largely lower-class Americo-Liberians and tribal people drawn from areas other than those in which they were serving was ‘tending to become a greater danger to the loyal citizens, and his property, which it ought to protect”.
    This repressive and humiliating treatment was abolished after the coup of 1980 when the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) repealed the Hut Tax Law. This was one benefit of the PRC that the poor indigenous people considered an achievement at the time. However, the reintroduction of the Hut Tax by the chiefs and elders raised more questions than answers.
    October 15, 2016, I wrote an article which was published in The Perspective. The title of the article is: “Home, Sweet Home and The Significance of the Red Cap”. In the article I narrated a story about a Kpelle Paramount Chief called Zamgba. He was very wicked to his own people. This paramount chief was a very powerful dictator. With the support of the Government, he exercised brute power over his people. Those of you who were around in the late 50s into the early 60s might have heard the popular Santa Clause song regarding his abusive behavior towards the Kpelle people. The chorus of the song goes like this: “Zamgba die, Kpelle people put on shoes; Zamgba die, Kpelle people put on shoes.” Legend has it that because he wore shoes, he did not allow his people to do the same.
    Paramount Chief Zamgba had a partner who possessed similar characters like him. This partner of his was commonly referred to by officials of the Government as Chief Buzzy. Buzzy was chief of the Lorma tribe from Lofa Country. Chief Buzzy joined with the Liberian Government to ‘put down the rebellion and resistance from the coastal tribes’. He too, was powerful and dictatorial. These two chiefs joined forces with the Government to collect Hut Tax by whatever means they deemed necessary, including fighting alongside government forces to put down the so-called rebellious natives – the Klaos (Krus), Grebos and Bassas along the Atlantic Coast. Find below their method of enforcement.

    Compulsory Voluntary Recruitment Practice
    In 1926, the Government ‘picked palava’ with the hinterland tribes; specifically the Kpelles and the Lormas. This palava was not only exploitative; it was abusive to the tribal people. During this year, Industrialist Harvey Firestone of Ohio, USA, established the Firestone Plantation in Liberia. The Firestone Plantation needed workers, Paramount Chief Zamgba and Chief Buzzy were identified by the Government as the source that could be used to provide the needed laborers to plant and tap the rubber trees. Both Chiefs and the LFF got involved in what is known in Liberian history as “compulsory voluntary recruitment practice.” The Kpelles and Lormas were forcibly recruited, sometimes at gunpoint and with threats to work on the Firestone Plantations. This heartless procedure of recruiting these people to work on the Firestone Plantations provided no meaningful compensation to the people who left their own farms’ work unattended to. They were made to abandon their livelihood – their farms, to work like slaves for below minimum wages; living under poor and unacceptable working conditions.

    Due to the brute power that Chief Buzzy exercised over his people, the Government authorities inaccurately referred to the Lorma Tribe as “Buzzy people”. In fact an area in Monrovia is named as “Buzzy Quarter” in honor of Chief Buzzy. This area is located at the intersection of Camp Johnson Road, not far from Bassa Community and Capitol Hill. Today, the Lorma people resent being called Buzzy people; a vivid reminder of Chief Buzzy’s treatment of them.

    Red Cap
    These LFF soldiers wore a Red Cap that was introduced by the British Colonial authorities in Africa. The Igbo tribe of Nigeria adopted it as a symbol of authority. Also, the Red Cap is worn by the Eze (king) or Igwe and his council members and Titled Men. However, in Liberia the Red Cap was part of the official uniform of the LFF and Constables also organized by the British. It was a sign of power and authority. The LFF served as the military of the Liberian Government.

    They collected hut and head taxes from the poor native people in the interior who hardly benefited from their resources and labor. Also, they pay head tax – for having heads on their shoulders. What a dehumanizing way to treat one’s fellow human beings!
    In the book: The Mask Of Anarchy written by Stephen Ellis, he provides example of the historical, political and cultural factors of Liberia’s brutal unlawful practices against the native people. According to him:
    “In the many parts of the country, throughout its history the Liberian system of indirect rule bore the stamp of military means used to establish it in the early twentieth century. It was first established in the Liberian Army, which had a reputation of brutality and for looting, since troops largely lived off the land. In 1910 some chiefs (King Gyude and other Grebo chiefs), in the south-east of the country complained of the activities of the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF), which they termed ‘this execrable force’, and was ‘entirely mobilized’ and wherever they had been sent throughout the country – whether to Rivercess or in the hinterland – their custom has been to plunder the towns through which they pass and rape the women.”
    Liberian authorities and their Western enablers should use cautionary measures and be aware of the fact that politics does not “always” reward the best and brightest, it has the tendency to elevate the most dishonest of men who will lie and cheat without compunction; excellent example of it was found during the Tubman Administration, which was referred to as “Growth Without Development”.

    Growth Without Development
    Sanford J. Ungar, made reference to this underdevelopment in the book titled: Africa, The People and Politics of an Emerging Continent. It reads:

    “…[William V.S. Tubman] established an ‘Open door policy,’ attracting foreign capital to Liberia under unusually favorable conditions. Investors could obtain eighty-year leases for tracts of undeveloped land, and the flow of profits and dividends out of the country was not restricted. Machinery imported for industrial use was exempt from customs duty, and other taxes were low. This did little for the improvement of agriculture, and while the policy did have some beneficial effects
    in the countryside, overall it intensified the contrast between the industrialized coast and the backward Hinterland. In the long run, the open door policy produced what outside analysts (Robert W. Clower et al, Growth Without Development: An Economic Survey, 1966) called ‘growth without development’”.

    CONCLUSION
    Current events in Liberia suggests that we are heading in the wrong direction once more; a direction in which citizens do not have the right to question or challenge their elected officials to behave in accordance to the laws of the land. Groups are found everywhere, especially on ‘Face Book’ who do not have any knowledge of Liberia’s UGLY PAST, and are resuscitating the UGLY days gone by – when RESOLUTIONS to show support for the President and elected officials was the order of the day; and an accused person was considered guilty before his/her case made it to court. Are our memories failing us? If not, why we do not speak against these existing evils? Instead, we are falling back into the practice that almost brought about our demise. Why can’t we learn from our recent history?

    “The truth shall set you free” has been proven by history over and over, and no matter what the power that be attempt to do in restricting telling the truth – truth being a universal principle will remain the same today and tomorrow. Yet, there are always individuals who by choice or influence will tamper with the truth to advance their own individual interests or for those they are loyal to. They need to be told that there is nothing abstract about the truth; in the end, truth with stand the test of time.

    To be frank, Liberia does not require us to be perfect; rather it requires us to be honest with ourselves. As imperfect humans living in these perilous times, we are not immune to the wind of adversity; we have the ability to reverse the course of the wind. To do so, we must acknowledge that there is something morally wrong with us as a people. Having admitted our general fault, we are able to set-up the means by which our fault can be addressed and have our solutions become the way of life to which we are committed and never to be compromised for political favors or government positions.

    This challenge has to be met with our collective efforts in order to bring to an end the practice that have prevented our development with what we have in common as Liberians regardless of class, religion and ethnicity. This is the place to start! Seeking Truth seems to be our best option, though Truth also has consequences. For example, King Darius of Babylon enacted a new law stipulating “Whoever makes a petition to any god or man for thirty days except (the) king should be
    thrown to the lions’ pit” (Daniel 6:7-9). The law was intended to eliminate the King’s real or perceived enemies, notably Daniel. Daniel did not compromise his belief; as a result, he was thrown into the lion’s den for not obeying the new law. But Daniel’s God set him free.

    While we cannot compare ourselves to Daniel in wisdom and statute, we certainly can pursue Truth no matter how corrupt elites and their supporters might fight against our efforts; Truth, being a universal principle, will sustain us to the end. More important, we should bear in mind the fact that there will always be individuals who by choice or influence will tamper with the Truth to advance their own individual interests or the interests of those they are loyal to, not realizing that there is nothing abstract about the Truth, and that those who subscribed to corrupt practices will certainly be caught up with time.

    In addition, I am reminded of the statement by the famous English Dictionary publisher, Dr. Samuel Johnson that reads, “There is no crime more infamous than the violation of truth. It is apparent that men can be social beings no longer than they believe each other. When speech is employed only as the vehicle of falsehood, every man must disunite himself from others.” It means those who engage in deceit and telling lies to please their supporters are operating from what former Senator Joe Lieberman described as “value vacuum.” A place “…where traditional ideas of right and wrong have been gradually worn away.”

    In fact, this phenomenon has redefined what was once held to be universal Truth. Today, Truth is now widely viewed on the basis of an individual’s point of view (or talking points) – even if the facts are overwhelming, like embezzlement, human rights abuse, the denial of free speech, violation of civil and constitutional rights, kangaroo court system, excessive use of force, framed-up charges and incarceration of unarmed civilians by the governments, including Liberia.

    The popular phrase: “If one does not stand for something, he/she will fall for everything”; here lays the dilemma facing many of our people. What Liberia lacks in short supply are principled individuals. In other words, many Liberians are not firm believers in the “principle of right and justice”. They are forever ready to sell their souls for positions or for mere crumbs.

    Finally, as a firm believer in the fact that there is nothing wrong with Liberians, that cannot be cured with what is right; I believe, we have an essential role to play in deciding our present as well as our future. The fact that we have a choice shows that God has given us a measure of control over our lives. The coward who makes
    excuses for not taking a position come Judgment Day will have some explaining to do. As Liberians, if we earnestly want genuine peace and democracy, we will have to earn it the old fashion way, work for it. It means we will have to take positions that are not always popular.

    And for what it’s worth, let’s take the advice by General Colin Powell; it reads: “Where discrimination still exists or where the scars of past discrimination still contaminate and disfigure the present, we must not close our eyes to it, declare a level playing field, and hope it will go away by itself. It did not in the past. It will not in the future.”

    In closing, let me share with you the poem titled: “I Will Not Tote That Hammock Anymore!”

    I
    I am not going to tote that hammock anymore!
    If my great grandparents and relatives did it
    That doesn’t mean I should do the same

    II
    So you better find someone else
    To do your plotor work ‘cause this time for sure
    I am not going to tote you in that hammock!

    III
    Big hellova man like you if you can’t walk by yourself
    Then that’s your own kinja you will have to bear
    You don’t expect me to tote you on my shoulder
    Instead of toting you, I could be attending
    To my rice farm, cassava farm and doing small, small thing
    So let me tell you Joe Blow, this time
    I am not going to tote you in that hammock!

    IV
    Although, I was a small pekin when
    The District Commissioner came to our town
    He humiliated my grandparents and relatives
    In front of their wives and children
    I can still feel pains and sufferings they endured
    Toting Government officials from village to village
    And through thick and thin
    So, let me tell you once and for all, that job is not for me
    You cannot force me this time, I know my rights
    So, you better take your hot sun trouble from here!

    V
    My friend, this time you really juke-o!
    You will kill me dead
    Even then, I will still refuse to tote the hammock.

    VI
    You see, I made up my mind long, long time ago
    Not to tote anybody’s hammock, even the President, self
    ‘Cause the same way God gave you hands, head and feet
    That’s the same way He gave me mine
    And since there’s nothing wrong with yours
    I don’t see why I or my people should be the
    One to do your toting for you.

    VII
    So, Mr. Big Shot or whatever your name is
    You’re really juke this time
    You better try hard!
    Carry your trouble some place else!
    Because if you make me vex, it will be HELL
    To tell the Captain
    ‘Cause I’ll not tote Big Hellova man like you ANYMORE!

    (TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut, from the book of poems by Siahyonkron Nyanseor, published 2014.

    Siahyonkron Jglay Kpa-kay Nyanseor, Sr., is a life-long activist (*troublemaker) in researching the true history of Africa, the people of African origin in the Diaspora. He had dedicated his teaching of African culture; spent over 45 years advocating for human, civil and constitutional rights of all people, especially the Liberian masses. He is a Griot, poet, journalist and an ordained Minister of the Gospel. Mr. Nyanseor is the Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine founded in June 1996. In 2012, he co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology. His current book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is on the market. He can be reached at: siah1947@gmail.com

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    Now we know why Minister Nathaniel McGill took a whopping US$200,000 loan to purchase a luxurious palace http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/05/13/now-we-know-why-minister-nathaniel-mcgill-took-a-whopping-us200000-loan-to-purchase-a-luxurious-palace/ Sun, 13 May 2018 05:00:45 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4959 By Martin K. N. Kollie      

     

    The 2018-2019 budget of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has increased from US$18,689,116 to US$21,539,211. This accounts for a whopping 13.2 percent increment US$2,850,095) even though the government is still struggling to generate an uncollected revenue of US$332 million from fiscal year 2017-2018.

    The nation remains aid-dependent and loan-reliant while the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has budgeted over US$21.5 million just in a period of 12 months. Now we know why Minister McGill secured a loan of US$200,000 to purchase a luxurious home after becoming a Minister just in 3 months. When did Minister McGill get so interested in securing a US$200,000 loan? Is it after becoming Minister for just 90-days?

    Is Hon. McGill a pro-poor Minister or a pro-rich Minister? So coming to power was all about self-enrichment at the expense of the ordinary masses? Now we know why Minister McGill secured a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home. This is the pitiless pay-back our people get when indigenous vampires are in charge of state resources.

    According to the projection of FY2017-2018, this fiscal year’s budget of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs should actually be US$14.4 million due to investor aversion, global macroeconomic shocks, decrease in prices of iron ore and rubber, ebola and election aftershocks, etc. Why then budget over US$21.5 million just for Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs alone.

    What is the rationale of even spending US$580,000 on consultancy and US$180,000 on food and catering services when there is no public high school in Liberia with access to internet, library or science laboratory. This pro-poor mantra seems to be a cliché of charade and contradiction.

    While 48,000 inhabitants of Clara Town live in slum with access to only 6 latrines, this Minister is buying a home costing US$200,000 in just 90-days of this pro-poor government. Is Nathaniel McGill a pro-poor Minister or a pro-rich Minister? Now we know why Minister McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home in the World’s fourth poorest country.

    Even though we will be spending more than half a million just on consultancy, but US$91,814 has also been budgeted for Advisory Board. So, why can’t the advisory board provide consultancy? This ‘pro-poor’ government under President Weah needs to refrain from overspending, wastage, fiscal indiscipline and economic sabotage.

    While 16 percent of Liberian households are food insecure according to FAO and WFP, US$582,592 has been budgeted for Celebration, Commemoration and State Visit, US$100,000 for Residential Property Lease and US$1,395,000 for Special Operation Services.

    Now we know why Minister Nat McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home. As the masses remain hopeless and vulnerable to economic peril, the CDC-led government is spending over 86 percent of our nation’s 2018-2019 budget on recurrent expenditure alone. I wonder what then goes to capital investment.

    The wage bill under former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was US$295m. Unfortunately, it has increased under President George M. Weah to US$303.4m. What difference can this pro-poor government make when the people’s interest has been swept under the carpet so soon?

    There is a huge rush for wealth accumulation. Minister Nat McGill is set to own his first luxurious home by lavishly spending THE PEOPLE’S RESOURCES without any remorse. Now we know why Minister McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home.

    While the nominal wage of civil servants remains very low with real wage being heavily impacted due to inflation, Minister McGill will now have an opportunity to live in a palace. Why have they even budgeted US$13 million again to renovate the Executive Mansion when over US$25 million has already been spent to renovate this same mansion?

    Our ultimate interest is to ensure that our government does what is RIGHT and RIGHTEOUS in the best interest of our PEOPLE. We have a national duty never to economize with THE FACTS but to demonstrate a sense of PATRIOTISM. We have made a solemn pledge to remain loyal to Liberia, and no one else.

    From the largest slum of West Point and the top of Ducor, I see a NEW LIBERIA rising above the African Continent. HOPE is blooming – Change is in sight – Liberia will rise.

     Martin K. N. Kollie is a student studying Economics at the University of Liberia, a youth and student activist, and a global columnist. He is a stalwart of the Student Unification Party. He can be reached via martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com

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    Transforming The Liberian Lone Star Into A Winning Team: An Opinion http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/05/13/transforming-the-liberian-lone-star-into-a-winning-team-an-opinion/ Sun, 13 May 2018 04:54:03 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4956 By Paul J. Albert         

     

    The Liberian Junior Lone Star soccer team was defeated by their Gambian national counter-part on May 6, 2018 at the SKD Sports Complex.

    Nevertheless, it did not come as a total surprise as the episode only re-affirmed the case of another de javu when Liberians have become used to being willing spectators to the defeat of their national teams on their own home grounds.

    And as the nation go through a period of emotional catharsis, the Lone Star coaches and team officials will among other things conduct its old ritual as usual. That is, revisiting the team’s history of wins and losses, and re-examining its tactical approaches with the aim of finding out what went wrong.

    In addition, the team might receive some compliments from well-wishers despite its dismal record of performance. Such gestures may help somewhat to boost morale, but on the other hand they are relegated to a band aid, or just temporary fixes.

    As emotions begins to wear out and the memories of the sport planners begin to fade away, the Lone Star will again recede to its same old state just like a habitual criminal recidivist whose relapses often cause him to repeat the same criminal offenses and make him to suffer even more stiffer penalties.

    To develop the Lone Star into a formidable force within the international sporting arena, calls for a carefully crafted, well planned, and coordinated training program. This program must be persistent and consistent. Training goals and objectives must be set with the aim of statistically analyzing the team’s weaknesses, strengths and identifying avenues for improvement. By this I mean that trainers and coaches do not wait for the eve of a soccer tournament to emphasize training and exercise, eating well, resting well and avoiding counterproductive activities.

    It is a fatal mistake if Liberian soccer team managers continue to accept the status quo as the ultimate way to spur motivation and develop a superior team; if this trend continues, the Liberian soccer spectators and sport enthusiasts will always share more tearful moments as they will always stand to see more mournful defeats of their own beloved team on the home turf.

    To build a superior performing soccer team, the leaders of Liberia’s national teams should consider the fact that the factors that kindle motivation and drive within the team members are not only intrinsic.

    Intrinsic values occur when individuals join a team out of a feeling of self-gratification; nationalism; dedication or patriotism to one’s country; or a desire to promote the country’s self-image. Intrinsic values account for the spontaneous excitement in players that make them want to play and die for their country especially after hearing the sounds of the national anthem of their countries.

    Even though intrinsic values are laudable, however they do not suffice and things do not always work that way. Why? Many individuals who join sporting groups do so with the goal of benefitting from some extrinsic values. Extrinsic values occur when team members are given some benefits as stimuli to boost their performance; morale; self-worth, and a sense that they belong to a special cause.

    One misconception that many leaders of groups often make is to waste their time and energy trying to motivate people. Nobody can motivate another person. One of the better ways of achieving motivation is to create an environment where it can thrive. This objective can be realized by introducing extrinsic values. By this I mean providing incentives to team members.

    Incentives are not the cure-all to solving a team’s under-performance, because studies have shown that sometimes they can become a Pandora box as the morale of certain individuals who are self-driven team members goes through the roof in the short run only. However, in the long run their morale begins to dip because they have become accustomed to associating performance with incentives.

    In spite of this shortcoming studies have revealed that overall, incentives do drive up performance because the players who come to the team always have some critical needs besides scoring goals, creating a sense of nationalism, and promoting Liberia’s self-image. Incentives should include but not limited to: food security, health care benefits, educational scholarships, employment security as some players may have families to take care of, and so forth.

    An argument can be made that a soccer team may be provided with all these benefits and yet lose in the tournament. This is true but notwithstanding, the nature of the game of soccer is unpredictability, and not how well equipped a team might be. Citing a good paradigm in recent memory that re-enforces this point was the 2-1 stunning defeat of the US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) by the Ghana Black Stars on June 22, 2006 in Nuremberg, Germany.

    In contrast to the Ghana Black Stars, the USMNT possesses every unimaginable benefit that a soccer team may have; nevertheless, and to the surprise of the world soccer fans, the Ghana Black Stars defeated them.
    No matter what the circumstances are, unpredictability should not override the importance of being proactive and having our national soccer squad well-prepared to represent us. To build a superior team, team managers must consider both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, because they are equally important.

    Sporting officials and coaches must learn to draw a fine line between players who truly love the game and are willing to get out there and represent Liberia with their fullest potential and those who only sign up for the incentives but show a less-than- stellar performance.
    Liberia can do better.

    Paul J. Albert writes for the Liberian Dialogue. He lives in Spencer, NC, and can be reached at 704-636-7868. Email: albrtpaul@aol.com

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    ‘Peace Was In Heaven Until Kru People Got There’ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/04/21/peace-was-in-heaven-until-kru-people-got-there/ Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:53:50 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4951 By Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor        

    The Meaning of Peace was in Heaven Until Kru People Got There.
    Liberian history is replete with accounts of heroism on the part of Americo-Liberians (Settlers), and the so-called accounts of cowardice on the part of Native-Liberians (aborigines). It is this slanted view of Settlers’ history, and false sense of heroism and cowardice that have been the main source of conflict amongst generations of Liberians on either side of the political and social divide. This portrayal of both groups has undermined true patriotism and nationalism in Liberia. A classic example is the phrase: “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there”. Similarly, it can be said that – “peace was on earth unit JESUS got here”.

    The phrase “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there” is intended to portray the stance taken by the Kru (Klao) ethnic group in dealing with everyone they come in contact with. Within Biblical and historical context, it can be explained as what was meant as NEGATIVE reference to the Klao tribe of Liberia became promotion about the people Europeans referred to as “Africa’s Sailors”; the tribal people who rather die than be captured and made slaves.

    It is recorded in European history that prior to the arrival of the freed-slaves from North America to West Africa, the people known as Krus (Klaos) were involved in trading and had developed mutual relationship with European Merchants and Explores. It is from this relationship the Klao ethnic group in this area was named by Europeans as Kroo or Kru. The name Kru is derived from the word ‘crew’. This name was given to them as the result of their profession. The groups that are referred to as KRU were the Klao, Bassa and the Grebo.

    The phrase: “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there” was used by grown-ups as well as my peers in Monrovia. Many of those who are of my age might have heard this statement used in the 50s and 60s in reference to us. I heard it too many times! Some of them said it as a joke. However, there is this Liberian saying, “Facts come through jokes”. Therefore, I did not take it as a joke. The statement was meant to make mockery of my people without known the true story about the Klao people’s struggle under the Settlers’ government.

    As a young boy in Rocktown, Monrovia – the unpaved side of Clay Street I got into fights with anyone who used the phrase in my presence. That’s how much I resented it. It was not until Sergeant Moore, my cousin under whom I studied and served as Griot (storyteller) told me to accept it with dignity. Here is what he told me! “Jglay Kpa-kay, have you forgotten our (Klao) mottos – Never trouble, trouble until trouble, troubles you” and “Too much of gentility leads to brutality?” Sergeant Moore’s explanation made it crystal clear to me. His advice motivated me to take keen interest in becoming passionate in researching, studying, writing and telling the truth about African Liberians and African Historian in general. First, I owed this interest to the Almighty God, and second to Sergeant Moore, my teacher who taught me the true history about the Klao people. As a matter fact, I give God the glory to have created me as a “Countryman” and a “Troublemaker” who speaks both the Klao and Bassa languages of Liberia.

    As a Christian, I am reminded of Genesis 50:20 NIV “…you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive”. Wow, what a revelation!
    You see, what was intended as a put down, God turned it all for our good. He brought us to the position of advocacy, so we could fight injustice to save our people and humanity. GOD is so good; He made the enemies our footstool. That’s how He works for those who worship and praise him!

    The Klaos (Krus) History & Struggles in Liberia
    There is an African proverb that says, “Until lion have their own historians, the story of the hunt will be told by the hunter.” This is the reason we need to tell our own history.
    The history of the Kroo/Kru (Klao) people, can be traced from their activities with Europeans, such as the Normans who visited the Liberian shores in 1364; Pedro de Cintra in 1461, the English in 1551, 1556, 1562, 1564 and 1567; a German-Swiss by the name of Samuel Braun in 1611, the Dutch in 1626 and 1668, and the French in 1725. During this period, some of the natives were literate; they traded and interacted with the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Germans. Common sense tells us that for the length of time African-Liberians carried out these activities and transactions with Europeans they had to speak their languages. Therefore, to suggest that “The cannon went off (Matilda Newport Story) the sound was so loud; it frightened the attackers who had never seen such a discharge of firing power before.” This is not only a blatant lie but a ridiculous portrayal of African-Liberians.

    More important, earliest reference to Kru (Klao) offshore employment relates to a Spanish vessel that stopped at Elmina on the Gold Coast in February 1645. In the eighteen century, Klao migrated to Freetown and from there they were employed on vessels owned by the Sierra Leone Company. By the end of the 1790s, more than 50 Klao were employed as deckhands and in other jobs on British colonial vessels. Klao participated in contract work in the nineteenth century which was almost always voluntary (Amos C. Sawyer, The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia, Tragedy and Challenge, 1992).

    The Kroo (Klao) Mark of Distinction

    During this period, there was a blue mark on the noses of the Kroos to set them apart from the other tribes. The blue mark was a mark of distinction. During the time when the slave trade was flourishing, the Kroos were ‘useful watermen’. The slavers would, therefore, never purchase one, or only did so to set him at liberty, fearing to incur the hostility of the tribe, and the Kroos adopted the blue mark as a sign of their nationality, which always protected them from purchase by the white men. (Sylomun Weah, Liberia History and Culture).

     
    American Military Intervention
    Due to the apartheid system the Settlers developed in Liberia, it caused serious conflict between them and the indigenous people. This system isolated the indigenous people who first inhibited the land from the Settlers. The Settlers illegally acquired more land through the issuance of bogus treaties, which led to a series of battles. However, during some of these conflicts, the United States military intervened on the side of the Settlers.

    For example:
    In 1843, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, the man credited with opening up Japan to the West a few years later, descended on Kru Coast and Cape Palmas with over 700 American marines, in the vessels, MACEDONIAN, SARATOGA, and DECATUR, to punish the Kru and Grebo people for their alleged attacks on American shipping, and to assist Liberia and Cape Palmas in their struggle against the indigenous people in Kru Coast and Cape Palmas. The series of battles was sanctioned by Governors J.J. Roberts of Liberia and John Russwurm of Cape Palmas.

    In 1875, the U.S.S. Alaska was dispatched by President Ulysses S. Grant to Liberia, after Liberian troops lost a series of battles to Grebo warriors; in 1910, President Howard H. Taft of the United States dispatched the U.S.S. Birmingham to Liberia, when another major war began between Liberian and the Grebo people; and in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, sent the U.S.S Chester with 500 rifles and 250,000 rounds, to assist the Liberian Government when war with the Kru people began over the hut tax, and the forced recruitment of indigenous-Kru labor by the Liberian Government.
    Again in 1915, the United States came to the aid of the Settlers; confronted by a revolt of the Krus:

    The Monrovia government implored the United States to provide it with munitions and to send a cruiser to assist in the suppression of the revolt and to forestall foreign intervention. The United States agreed to do so, and the war Department sent over five hundred Krag carbines and two hundred and fifty thousand rounds of ammunition upon an American cruiser, the Chester. These munitions were sold to Liberia at half-price upon delivery! Thus supplied, the American-organized Frontier Force almost decimated the Kru resistance force (The Liberian Paradox, Raymond, Leslie Buell, March 31, 2010).

    Imposition of Custom Duties
    During the period between 1850 to1860, the government experienced serious difficulty in asserting its sovereignty over some of the coastal tribes, particularly the Kru [Klao] and the Grebo, who resented the government’s attempt to put an end to their continued trade in human beings and the practice of trading directly with passing ships, as they have done for centuries, by bypassing the customs agents. These tribes staged a series of uprisings and raids on Americo-Liberian settlements which are referred to in Liberian history as tribal wars… The Kru [Klao] people along the Southeastern coast continued with lessening intensity until the early 1930’s (Area Handbook for Liberia, 1971, p. 17).

    Land Grab and Custom Duties
    Land Grab and Custom Duties were some of the factors that led the Klao People to earn status of “Troublemaker”. In the “Settlers’ History” written and taught as Liberian History, the Klao (Kru) people were portrayed as “troublemakers”, “war-like”, “hardheaded”, “fussy” people, etc., without first explaining the underlying factors that contributed to their fights for their civil, human and economic rights in Liberia. This article highlights some of the reasons which caused the Klao people to acquire such reputation and inaccurate portrayal their struggles.
    To begin with, we need to know who are the people known in Liberia as Kru (Kroo). Secondly, do they refer to themselves in their language as Krus? If not, how do they refer to themselves?

    Before the Elizabeth and the Alligator, ships that brought the Settlers from North America, the Kwa linguistic speaking group that consisted of Bassa, Dei, Klao, Belle and Krahn were referred to in Liberian history books as KROO or KROOMEN. As noted, this group did not only consist of the Klao (Kru) ethnic group. The KROO referred to by Europeans, consisted of the three ethnic groups who lived along the Atlantic Ocean: Klao (Kru), Bassau or Bassaw (Bassa), and Grebo. There is evidence of their working relationship with European traders, especially Portuguese explorers as far as 1461.
    Within three centuries a flourishing trade developed between the coastal Africans and European Merchants. The Klao (Kru), Bassau (Bassa), and Grebo were employed as crews (laborers) on European ships. It is believed that the name KROO or KRU derived from the English word, CREW. This group served as crews on these ships.

    The so-called Kru people in Liberian History referred to themselves as KLAO, which is also spelled KRAO. The name Kru stuck on them in the same manner that African Liberian leaders were referred to in Liberian (Settlers’) History as: King George, King Freeman, Chief Boatswain, Joe Harris, King Governor, King Peter, and Long Peter. I wonder whether there was a Short Peter! Others references to African Liberian leaders are: King Jimmy, King Jack Ben, and worst of all, a Klao (Kru) man was referred to as “Bottle Beer” (Guannu, Joseph Saye, Liberian History Before 1857, p. 25).

    The Bassa, Kru (Klao) and Grebo lived in permanent settlements along the coast. The Kru people which consisted of the three ethnic groups worked as seamen on European ships. They were so successful that the name Kru became synonymous with sailor among the traders and shipowners (Yekutiel Gershoni, Black Colonialism – 1985, p. 4).
    In the book titled: The Black Republic – Liberia: Its Political and Social Conditions To-Day written in the 1920s by Henry Fenwick Reeve, a British Colonial Secretary in The Gambia made the reference below:
    ‘The Love of Liberty’ which brought the American Negroes to Africa has not worn well in latter years and has never been fully extended to the peoples under their control. The ‘Bush Niggers,’ as the Liberians term their fellow citizens of the Interior, still fight among themselves without interference on the part of Government, while the spoil of battle in prisoners, men, women or children, is still bartered among themselves, and even sold to the Liberians under the euphemism of ‘Boys’ (Wards).
    The term “Boy” is a derogatory reference, which regard people of African origin as child-like. The Americo-Liberian Settlers used it in relation to the African Liberians in the same manner; “boy” was used in reference to them in North America.

    According to Reeve:
    Liberians (Settlers) never liked work since the establishment of the colony; agriculture even has had but slight attraction for the people. It is not strange, all things considered. The ancestors of these people used to work hard in the fields before they went over there; one reason they went was that they wanted to escape field labour. They had always been accustomed to see their masters live in ease, without soiling their hands with toil; when they became their own masters they naturally wanted to be like the men to whom they had been accustomed to look up to with respect. Trade has always been in high repute. It was easy for the new-comers to trade with the natives of the country and rapidly acquired a competence. So far as work was concerned there were plenty of ‘Bush Niggers’ to be had cheaply. There is, however, another way of escape from manual labour besides trade-that is professional life. Everywhere people do not wish to work with their hands may seek a profession; it is so here with us – it is so there with them. The Liberians would rather be ‘reverends’ or doctors or lawyers than work with their hands.

    Of all the professions, however, law seems to be the favourite. The number of lawyers in Liberia is unnecessarily large, and lawyers naturally drift into politics; they aim to become members of Congress (the Legislature) or judges of the Supreme Court, or members of the Cabinet, or President of the Republic. It is unfortunate that so many of them are anxious for that kind of life, but they are skilled in it, and we have nothing to teach them when it comes to politics. (Reeve, The Black Republic, pp. 69-70).

     
    Reeve went on to say:
    The hiring of the Kroo-boys by the Government of Liberia is a matter of common knowledge on the West African coast, and perhaps in the circumstances there is little fault to be found with the principle, as the gentle Kroo-boy is far and away the best labourer to be found, and is especially good in the working of ships and boats, for which purpose our own (Britain) nation has been party to the custom, both in naval and merchant ships. Where a Government is consistently face to face with an empty Treasury it may be forced into hiring out of some of its subjects, even while its own territory requires the labour of every able-bodied man for its industrial development.

    (IBID)
    However, the methods the Settlers adopted in Liberia to raise revenue from this lucrative source, was ruinous to the seagoing Kroo laborers. Rather than adequate measures to regulate the movements of one of the backbones of the economy by allowing emigration in districts where labor was plentiful while disallowing it where minimal, hence ensuring help for home industries, the authorities contracted alien firms which charged the shipping companies high “Head Money” it split with the Government. In this equation, the more men shipped the more money went to the contractor and the Treasury. And were it not for the loyalty of these men for what they call “We Country” which lured them back once yearly, coupled with a desire to adhere to tribal laws, the Kroo coast would have been depopulated.

    The Treasury also benefitted by a condition in the contract with the employer at other ports on the coast under which part of the wages for the yearly service of the Kroo laborer was paid in merchandise. Thus, import duties were levied on his goods in the Colony where he worked, and by the government of Liberia on his return. In the end, returning laborers recouped little profit on the one-half of his year’s work. That’s the baboon work monkey draw syndrome; it’s been an albatross on the powerless in our country forever.

    Formerly, “Boys” could be taken off from their own beach, under a contract with the chief of their tribe, but the embarkation and re-embarkation was made at one of the several ports of the customers on the Liberian coast under heavy penalties on shipmasters. However, for amphibian Kroo laborers, the mile or two of sea separating a ship’s deck from their native village was a trifle, and they occasionally took French leave in those circumstances, pushing their trade boxes while swimming until picked up by canoes. Relatives would then meet them on the beaches, and in accordance with native custom elders would help themselves to a goodly share of their merchandise. This meant that, in the final analysis, the Kroo laborer gained little either way by his love of community and country, so often decided to make his home elsewhere, especially when such migrations were sweetened by incentives from the shipping companies and the colonial administrations in the later Kroo enclaves of Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Liverpool, England (Reeve, The Black Republic, pp. 118-120).
    Another case was reported in the Government Gazette published in Monrovia, January, 1916. It is interest to note the racial enmity existing between the Liberians and the Kru/Klao people, as well as the lack of firm government on the part of the rulers of the Republic:
    Executive Mansion, Monrovia, December 18th, 1915
    To the Citizens of the St. Paul River in general, and Caldwell, Clay Ashland, Virginia, White Plains, and Crozierville in particular.
    Fellow Citizens,
    I regret to inform you that I have heard very unpleasant reports of the actions of certain of my fellow-citizens towards that portion of our citizenship in your midst composed of Kroo people.
    They have complained to me of threats having been made on their lives by citizens in Caldwell, whose names were given to me, that if they were found out after six o’clock p.m. they would be shot; also, that violence has been done to their property in the settlements specifically named, all of which is said to be done in retaliation for the alleged killing in Virginia, supposed to have been done by the Kroos.
    I have to remind you that the Kroos who were accused of the killing in Virginia were tried and acquitted in our own court by a jury composed mostly, if not entirely, of persons from the River.

    I am already overburdened with the responsibility of dealing with the acts of unthinking and irresponsible persons, and have to warn you one and all, good loyal citizens, to raise your voice and lend your aid against any and everything that savours of lawlessness. By so doing you avert the bringing of trouble and frown of God upon you (sic) country, which every citizen is, by his lone actions, capable of doing.

    It is worse than hypocrisy to pray in our churches for God to bring in the native people and deny them the benefit of the law of the land for which we contend so strongly.
    The law, of course, will be rigidly enforced upon violators (sic) without partiality, but I feel that all good and law-abiding citizens should be sufficiently interested in the good name of their townships to see that it is not defamed by reckless persons, and I take this method of calling upon such persons to maintain the dignity of the State and the Constitution which guarantees to all men the right to enjoy life, liberty, and to defend his property.
    Your obedient servant,
    D. E. Howard
    President, R.L.
    (IBID, pp. 74-75).
    From the so-called founding of the Republic of Liberia,
    The natives have never been considered the equals of the emigrants, nor treated as brothers … utilized as house servants. “It is convenient to fill one’s house with (‘Bush Niggers’) servants and the settlers have done so from the early days of settlement”, wrote Professor Starr. He and Reeve noted that the driver of the trouble between the rulers and ruled was because the former arrogated to themselves “the position of white man in Africa yet lacking any sense of right and justice or the power to enforce decisions was a travesty, which the natives recognized as bluster on the part of the Americo-Liberians”. (Reeve, The Black Republic, pp. 58-59)
    These are some of the factors that led to the Kru (Klao) and Grebo revolts against the Settlers that are inaccurately reported in ‘Liberian History’.

    Kangaroo Court System
    Reeve provided a strange example of how the court dispensed justice. He wrote:
    Liberians are not much given to independent speaking. One man spoke out and the Government put him in jail without bail, and a woman was held without bail for ‘talking too much.’ In each case it was an ‘ally’ who got caught. No wonder everybody shut up like clam.

    Another incident Reeve mentioned involved a District Commissioner (DC) who rendered the following decision:
    A. you are in the right to a certain degree, but you are in the wrong also because you took up arms without authority of the Government, you are therefore fined two hundred dollars. B. you were wrong in attacking A. without first reporting the matter to the Government, so you must find the same amount as A.
    The miscarriage of justice was so rampant in Liberia that Graham Greene wrote what he observed in his book titled, Journey Without Map. It reads:
    A case was also reported to me from several sources of a man who had been wounded close to Sasstown (during the Sasstown War) and wished to surrender. Although unarmed and pleading for mercy he was shot down in cold blood by soldiers in the presence of Captain Cole.

    In another case:
    The soldiers crept into the banana plantations, which surround all native villages, and poured volleys into huts. One woman who had that day been delivered of twins was shot in bed, and the infants perished in the flames when the village was fired by the troops. In one village the charred remains of six children were found after the departure of the troops. In this connection, it may be mentioned that a man who had been a political prisoner at New Sasstown stated that he heard soldiers boasting of having cut children down with cutlasses and thrown them into the burning huts.

    Similar incident occurred in 1916, which involved the Klao (Kru) leader known as Juah Nimene (Seyon Juah Nimene – 1869 – 1937). Due to the inhumane treatment Juah Nimene and his people received from the Liberian authorities, he complained in a letter addressed to Lord Cecil of the League of Nations’ Liberia Committee stating that “It is most certain that we will be arrested like Nana Kru Chiefs who are now in custody at Sinoe, and in the end we may be killed like the seventy-five chiefs who were invited to a ‘peace conference’ at Sinoe but who were seized and executed in 1916”.

    Juah Seyon Nimene (Nimely)
    By August 1936, Juah Nimene had defied the government for five years. Two months later, he was taken to Monrovia as a prisoner. Barclay interviewed the popular chief known as “Wonderful Nimene”. He believed that Nimene had been led astray by educated Kru Liberians; he singled out, Didhwo [Didwho] Twe as the “evil genius” behind the resistance. Chief Nimene was then exiled to Gbarnga for several months and in 1937, when he was set free and allowed to return to Sasstown, he died shortly after.

    Didwho Welleh Twe
    In 1950, Twe and others organized a political party called the Reformation Party of which he was selected as its standard bearer. During the 1951 Presidential Campaign, one political commentator wrote, “Didhwo [Didwho] Twe, a Kru running against Tubman for the presidency, used an old distinction to rally his followers, and Tubman found it necessary to deny the implications of the distinction in an election eve broadcast.”
    Find below what Tubman said about Twe:
    …Mr. Twe refers in his acceptance speech to Americo-Liberians and aborigines. Who are or ever were Americo-Liberians? Certainly not that band of stout-hearted men who gave us, under God, this goodly heritage, its name, style, and title! If any set of people were ever full-blooded Liberians and nothing else but Liberians without any other qualifying word or antecedent, it was they.
    Mr. Twe and his adherents complain that for hundred and four years of the independence of this country, no aboriginee had had the honor of being
    President of the Nation. Whom does he call aboriginees, he and his dangling group of a fifth of the Kru Tribe (emphasis are mine)? I protest! I contest his supercilious misconceived notion. H. R. W. Johnson, Daniel Edward Howard, Charles Dunbar Burgess King, Edwin Barclay and William V. S. Tubman are all aboriginees and indigenous people of this country, for we were all born, bred and reared here” (Area Handbook of Liberia, 1972 – 48).

    Cllr. Tuan Wreh wrote in his book: The Love of Liberty the statement below about Twe:
    In the course of his flight, Twe barricaded himself on his rubber estate as Tubman’s security forces combed the territory. The Krus (Klaos) in Monrovia, Twe’s staunch supporters, circulated the tale that during the period when he was being sought, he magically transformed himself into a white cat at his farmhouse and serenely looked on while the security forces searched in vain. After his escape, Twe told the American press that he had literally taken to the woods and remained there for four months, his protectors being ‘two beautiful and trustworthy maidens, whom the friendly African chiefs had provided for me’. The final stage of his flight into British territory was by canoe. (Tuan Wreh, The Love of Liberty: The Rule of President William V.S. Tubman in Liberia, pp. 56-57).

    Jacob Cummings, one of Tubman’s chief informer, and a Deputy Police Director named William Tecumbla Thompson used to conduct searches without warrants, whenever they felt like it. In the process, they would harass, physically and psychologically intimidate and abuse family members, relatives and friends of Twe and Tor, which at times resulted into imprisonment. Victims of Tubman’s Gestapo tactics were, Edwin J. Barclay, S. David Coleman, Paul Dunbar, S. Raymond Horace, Nete-Sie Brownell, J. Gbaflen Davies, Booker T. Bracewell, Thomas Nimene Botoe, S. Othello Coleman, etc. Later on in the 1960s, former Army Chief of Staff, General George Toe Washington, a law student named Frederick Gibson, Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr., and scores of others were his new victims.
    Such Gestapo tactics along with the PRO network was Liberia’s McCarthyism. It was used to destroy the reputations, livelihoods of prominent Liberians such as Didwho Twe, Nete Sie Brownell, Tuan Wreh, S. Raymond Horace, and Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr.
    D. Twe (Didwho Twe) was a progressive. Elected member of the House of Representatives in 1927, Twe introduced several legislations that were considered controversial by the ruling elite. For example, he introduced legislation to abolish the force labor activities, the pawn and porter systems practiced by the government and the ruling class. Twe was expelled from the House of Representatives for sedition, when in fact; he was expelled for his advocacy on behalf of African Liberians’ human and civil rights.
    Journalism Tuan Wreh suffered similar calamity and abuse.
    Tuan Wreh’s Fate
    Mr. Tuan Wreh, who became dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School, Commissioner of Immigration and Senator from Grand Kru County in post-Tubman years, then a 26-year-old journalism graduate from Boston University in Massachusetts, was made to clean Tubman’s toilet bowl with his bare hands and subjected to other forms of brutal human degradation. His crime was in 1955, he had written an article against Tubman’s manipulation of the constitution to perpetuate himself in office.
    These inhumane and illegal practices by the Liberian authorities against African Liberians led to the various revolts between the Settlers, Klao (Kru) and Grebo people in Liberia.

    Unlike other tribes, the Klao and the Grebo fought for justice like the American Patriot Patrick Henry, who when the American colony was being attack chose to act while others were waiting for consensus.
    Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! (Patrick Henry’s Speech: “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”, March 23, 1775 speech in Richmond, Virginia by way of a resolution to the Congress).
    The same is true with Abolitionist Frederick Douglass who said:
    …Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
    …There was an important lesson in the conduct of that noble Krooman (my emphasis) in New York the other day, who, supposing that the American Christians were about to enslave him, betook himself to the masthead and with knife in hand said he would cut his throat before he would be made a slave.
    …This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle (Frederick Douglass’ August 3, 1857 Speech: Power concedes nothing without a demand, delivered to a ‘West India Emancipation’ group in Canandaigua, New York).
    The (Kru/Klao) people in Liberia fought for freedom and justice like Patrick Henry and Frederick Douglas did in their days.

    Train Up A Child in the Way He Should Go…
    At an early age, Klao children were taught to always speak truth and never allow anyone to take advantage of them. They believed freedom and justice were given them by no one other than Sno-Nyesoa (Heavenly Father GOD); and that they should protect others who are abused and taken advantage of; a kind of ‘brothers’ keeper, like the Bible says. This belief is part of our DNA and nothing anyone can do about it!

    Yet, the people who have had extensive interaction with Europeans prior to the arrival of the Settlers (Americo-Liberians) are portrayed as “troublemaker”, “war-like”, “hardheaded”, “fussy”, “savage”, “primitive”, and “belligerent people”! The Settlers did this because the so-called “hardheaded” people resisted them by ‘any means necessary’ to protect their civil, human and economic rights. The portrayal of Klao people in “Liberian history” written by their so-called “historians” and their contemporary “scholars” resembles comic scripts out of Hollywood that depicts Native Americans as dumb and savages, while Cowboys and Scouts are portrayed as smart and intelligent; and always victorious in battles against Native Americans. Similar lies were told in Settlers’ history about African Liberians; a classic example is the Matilda Newport (Matilda Spencer, her name at the time she performed the so-called historic task).
    What a contradiction! The same people the Settlers portrayed as ‘fussy’ are referred to as:
    Morally as well as physically the Krumen are one of the most remarkable races in Africa. They are honest, brave, proud, so passionately fond of freedom that they will starve or drown themselves to escape capture and have never trafficked in slaves. Politically the Krus are divided into small commonwealths, each with a hereditary chief whose duty is simply to represent the people in their dealings with strangers. The real government is vested in the elders, who wear as insignia iron rings on their legs. Their president, the head fetish-man, guards the national symbols, and his house is sanctuary for offenders till their guilt is proved. Personal property is held in common by each family. Land also is communal, but the rights of the actual cultivator cease only when he fails to farm it. (An extraction from the 1911 encyclopedia: KRUMEN (KROOMEN, KROOBOYS, KRUS, or CRoos)
    Professor V. R. Ruggiero states in his book: The Art of Thinking that “If everyone makes his own Truth, then no person’s idea can be better than another’s”. This is the belief system upon which the Settlers ‘founded’ Liberia.

    The Kraos (Krus) are the most persecuted people by the Liberian authorities and their allies; because they will fight for their rights no matter the consequence. As the result, the Liberian government authorities considered them disruptive, and to the point of disrupting peace in heaven when we got there. The heaven they referred to is not the heaven where God resides; it is Liberia, the piece of land loan them in which the excluded the original owners.

    The phrase “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there” resembles the accusation the Sanhedrin (a ruling body composed of both Sadducees and Pharisees) leveled against Christ for preaching the WORD of His Father on earth. His accusers felt that peace was on earth until He (Jesus Christ) came on earth to save mankind from sins.

    The Truth Shall Set You Free
    Each time issues concerning the injustices done to African Liberians are being discussed, benefactors of the system go on the defense, and will accuse African Liberians of practicing tribalism or ‘pushing up fire’. If any group in Liberia is tribalistic, the Americo-Liberian tribe is the architect; because for 133 (up to 1980) years, they were the ones who held to power by tribalistic means.
    We do not seek vengeance; that belongs to the Lord; we do not take matters into our own hands, we simply look to God to vindicate us in His own time and in His own way; praying this way affirms our confidence in God’s ultimate justice. Whether now or later, the truth will win out and hidden evils will be exposed. David prayed many such prayers against his enemies (Psalms 35 and 109).

    Conclusion
    In the Foreword to Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself, President Barack Obama wrote: [Mandela’s] “example helped awaken me to the wider world, and the obligation that we all have to stand up for what is right. Through his choices, Mandala made it clear that we did not have to accept the world as it is – this we could do our part to seek the world as it should be”.
    So as a youth, I too was awaken by the injustices I saw and experienced in Liberia and I promised the Almighty God that up to my last breath, I will seek justice for those who are denied it, especially, the Liberian people by their leaders since the founding of the country. Therefore, no one will ever persuade me from doing that which is RIGHT.

    Cultural Explanation of Word Kwii
    The word Kwii which is used to describe a so-called civilized person is derived from the Klao (Kru), Grebo and the Bassa languages. The original meaning for Kwii – is “spirit”. The word Kwii was later corrupted as a result of African Liberians’ interaction with the Settlers and European missionaries. Today, it is used to refer to a white person or a so-called civilized person. Kwii is plural, while KU is singular. KU means DEAD in Klao; add “Menmen” to Ku, becomes DEAD PERSON in the Klao (Kru) Language. It is a general belief held by the Klao, Grebo, and the Bassa ethnic groups that “White People” are our dead ancestors who had been reincarnated. According to our oral history, when our people die, they go behind the sea to live, and they remained there under the sea. And by living too long under the sea, their skin turned white.
    This Klao/Kru, Grebo, and Bassa live along the Atlantic Ocean; made their living as fishermen and some of them worked as stevedores on European ships. Legend has it that their ancestors who live under the sea provided them protection. So, when they encountered the first white people, they thought their dead ancestors had reincarnated.

     

     Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is a founding member the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), Inc., and its 11th President (1986-1988). He is the historian of the organization; former vice chair & chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. Elder Nyanseor is an ordained Minister of the Gospel. Also, he is a poet, Griot, journalist, a cultural, social and political activist. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is now on the market. His upcoming book: WROH: The Heart of the Matter consists of selected articles, stories and poems will soon be published. He can be reached at: siah1947@gmail.com. 

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    Jonathan Paye-Layleh’s Legitimate Fears http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/04/15/jonathan-paye-laylehs-legitimate-fears/ Sun, 15 Apr 2018 16:29:02 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4947 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh           

     

    There are historical precedents of intimidation, verbal abuse, physical abuse of journalists and the death of a journalist who was killed on the job in Liberia.

    One of the fatal stories of a journalist who was assassinated as he was doing his job occurred in the 1980s when Charles Gbeyon was allegedly ordered killed by President Samuel Kanyon Doe, for asking the dictator a question. 

    As it was in the Gbeyon case in 1985, Paye-Layleh in 2018 also asked a sitting president a question. And as it turned out, Paye-Layleh was met with a barrage of unexpected pushback from a very sensitive and intolerant President Weah, who did not hesitate to intimidate him.

    However, in Mr. Doe’s cowardly mind, it was unwise and even contemptuous for this working young journalist to ask the very powerful Liberian president a question, which meant public execution. 

    The intimidation, imprisonment, harassment, and death of Liberian journalists did not stop with President Samuel Kanyon Doe; but continued with government officials who will not hesitate to use their muscular authority to silence journalists. 

    Remember the legendary Albert Porte and the incomparable Tuan Wreh? Both men had their own run-in with Presidents William V. S. Tubman and William R. Tolbert, Jr. 

    Tuan Wreh’s groundbreaking book, “The Love of Liberty” chronicled Tubman’s repressive 27-year rule; and was openly opposed to Mr. Tubman’s grip on power for which he was tortured and jailed without trial for 131 days. 

    The energizer Albert Porte was fearless, and his legendary activism is forever etched into our collective consciousness.
    We are forever grateful to Albert Porte and Tuan Wreh and other men and women who followed in their footsteps to bring Liberia to where it is today in its rocky journey to democracy and the rule of law. 

    However, as far as I can remember – from the days of the autocratic William V. S. Tubman to the days of Tolbert, Doe, Taylor, and even Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian journalists have never been safe, and they better know what they write or say, else, there will be harsh consequences for doing their job.

    In 2002, journalist Hassan Bility of the Analyst, a frequent critic of the government, was arrested and jailed for months on trump-up charges of attempting to assassinate President Charles Taylor.

    In 2007, the late Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis threatened to imprison journalists for committing such “infractions” for misspelling his name, and giving him wrong and inappropriate titles, and “attaching his photos to stories that have nothing to do with him in their papers”

    In 2011 Rodney Sieh of FrontPage Africa was arrested on contempt of court charges when his newspaper published a reader’s letter to the editor accusing then-Supreme Court Justice Gladys Johnson of bias in a criminal case.

    In 2016, journalist Philipbert Brown was arrested and jailed for libel on the orders of a civil law court when his paper published an interview about a teenage girl who was allegedly raped in 2013 by lawmaker Prince Moye.

    In 2016, journalist Festus Poquie was arrested by plainclothes officers for republishing a story in the New Democrat’s that quoted a political opponent of Equatorial Guinea’s dictatorial president Teodoro Obiang as alleging the president is a cannibal.

    Also, in 2016, journalist Wremongar Joe of radio station Prime FM was beaten by three unknown men, after he refused their request that he delete a video of a brawl between a lawmaker and spectators during a football match.

    These are some of the unfortunate stories (there are many, many more stories) of Liberian journalists who were either intimidated and imprisoned for doing their job, a reminder that in Liberia, the wages of daring to be a journalist is dangerous.

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh committed a ‘crime’ in Liberia against President George Weah when he asked the powerful and undisputed Liberian leader a question that (I guess) embarrassed him so much that he had to vent his displeasure publicly.

    According to Paye-Layley’s open letter, he asked President Weah whether he (Weah) was willing to do what Human Rights Watch had asked him to do – that is to create a space for victims of the civil war to face their alleged perpetrators.

    This is a legitimate question, especially at a time when the Liberian people are demanding that President Weah put his weight and skyrocketing influence behind the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia, to seek justice for the dead and their countless living relatives who are still in excruciating pains over the senseless deaths of their friends and relatives.

    Knowing the chilling history between journalists and government officials in Liberia, it is not insane for Jonathan Paye-Layley, who is BBC and AP Monrovia Correspondent, to raise the specter that his life is in danger after President George Weah said publicly that Paye-Layleh depicted a ‘positive image of the carnage of the war’ and “was one person against him” during his (Weah’s) days as a human rights advocate.

    First of all (1), I am unaware of George Weah ever being a Human Rights advocate, and (2) with all the problems in Liberia facing his fledgling administration, is this issue with Paye-Layley serious enough that it requires his attention?

    Really, Weah?

    This is as petty as it gets.

    And instead of Weah dabbling in such profound pettiness, all he needed to do was to answer the question before him. Instead, he fumes like a child and brings back the past to intimidate this journalist and other journalists.

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh did the right thing when he took his complaint or concerns about Weah to a global audience. Paye-Layleh also did the right thing when he decided to leave the country fearing for his life.

    Liberia is a country where impunity reigns, and there is no rule of law.

    The public execution of journalist Charles Gbeyon allegedly by President Doe, and the mysterious and unsolved death of Harry A. Greaves, Jr., during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, is a constant reminder of our own vulnerabilities as activists, opinion writers, and journalists.

    By intimidating a journalist publicly, and shutting down or threatening to shut down the office of FrontPage Africa, President Weah shows that his administration is just as intolerant and undemocratic as his predecessors.

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    Cecelia Cuffy-Brown Shoots Her Way Through an Incoherent Talk-Fest http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/04/03/cecelia-cuffy-brown-shoots-her-way-through-an-incoherent-talk-fest/ Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:47:55 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4943 “The president is almost the ultimate power (except for the legislate) he could have employed his brothers. I think he was trying to appease the Liberian people by saying your go out your go find your own jobs. I am proud of those men. Let’s go into the best part of it. I am a qualified Liberian woman. Very qualified. I know my job and I am proud, and I am very, very competent of my job. I am very proud of myself. I think it is a blessing for me to work in this country. We should not politicize everything, you know. But you are more concerned about a decent family, decent family who are helping us. They come to work on time, they are very responsible. They blend in. They are very, very humble.” 3/2018. Cecelia Cuffy-Brown, Acting National Port Authority Managing Director.

    By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh 

     

    If I were President George Weah, I will not hesitate to fire Cecelia Cuffy-Brown immediately for making me look way too bad for hiring her as Deputy Managing Director and Acting Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA).

    But then again, why will President Weah want to fire a lady who totes his dirty water publicly, and defended him and his family dutifully the way she did during that painfully combative and incoherent press conference to defend charges of mind-boggling nepotism in his new administration. 

    Ms. Cuffy-Brown’s ill-prepared public performance did not put the issue of nepotism in the Weah administration to rest. And it did not help her public image as arrogant and unfit for her current job either. Her behavior, however, speaks loudly of her lack of understanding of public service in the supposedly pro-poor administration that touts populism as a way forward.

    See, Cecelia Cuffy-Brown is one of those “qualified” (as she touts herself to be) indigenous Liberian women who believe sincerely that by rising above all odds to be where she is today gives her the license to be uncultured and defiant in the public sphere.

    From what I know, humility and respect for others can go a long way, and can drastically transform a person who hailed from an impoverished background to be appreciative of the little things or big things that come their way. It is a personal victory that stems from perseverance and a dogged mindset to make something of themselves.

    What this lady who grew up in the impoverished slums of New Kru Town from humble roots and a wonderful, hardworking family is the obvious lack of humility and the understanding that arrogance and a loud-mouth can quickly derail a career, as the public will now see the arrogance and how out of touch with reality she has been.

    Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf failed to shake off charges of nepotism and massive public-sector corruption during her 12-year term. Like Cecelia Cuffy-Brown, Madame Sirleaf was derisive, eternally in denial, and is now loathed by most Liberians today.

    Sadly, the Weah administration seemed to copy the playbook of his predecessor who left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Liberian people when she failed miserably to control public-sector corruption during the dozen years she served as President of Liberia. 

    At issue is the hiring of President Weah’s relatives at the National Port Authority. But how many of the president’s relatives are currently employed at NPA? From her little talk-fest, Ms. Cuffy-Brown hints there are three relatives of the president working at NPA.

    However, according to Front Page Africa, which first reported the story, the President’s relatives are being paid as ‘Consultants” a monthly salary of $4,500.00 a person.

    It has been reported that Ms. Cecelia Cuffy-Brown also hired her sister, Rebecca Teta Cuffy as Claims Manager. Rebecca Teta Cuffy whose previous salary was $300.00 was given a 300% pay increase bringing her monthly salary to $1,067.00.

    Of course, this is happening in a country where most Liberians are unemployed and cannot afford to buy a cup of rice to eat or feed their family on a daily basis.

    As the issue of nepotism swirled around her like a fast-moving tornado, Ms. Cuffy-Brown took to the podium and held her combative news conference, which by the way President Weah failed to do (as it has been in many other cases) to clarify the ongoing controversy and other pressing national issues in the country.

    However, instead of easing public concerns about the hiring process Ms. Cuffy-Brown even suggested that the Weah family is a “decent family who are helping us.” According to Ms. Cuffy-Brown, “they come to work on time, they are very responsible. They blend in. They are very, very humble.” 

    How arrogant and silly can she be to even say something stupid like that? So, what is wrong with the public knowing about the hiring process and how their money is being spent?

    How did Mr. Weah and Ms. Cuffy-Brown’s relatives get their jobs? Is there a competitive interview and hiring process that gave other Liberians a chance to pursue the same jobs at the National Port Authority, that the Weahs and Rebecca Teta Cuffy now occupy? 

    One thing I know about my Liberian people is their affinity for selective criticism, especially when the person in the Executive Mansion is a beloved figure who is their favorite president.

    Liberians who are quiet today about nepotism in the Weah administration are the same individuals who wanted Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s head for nepotism when she was president.

    Liberia will never be a democratically vibrant and economically prosperous country when we conveniently pick and choose which president we want to criticize for bad governance.

    President Weah is not a demigod as some want him to be. He’s a human. Period. And Liberians must keep him in check to do the right thing.

    There is an urgent need for accountability in Liberia. There is also an urgent need to build strong and lasting institutions in Liberia.

    President Weah, make yourself available to the Liberian people by having a weekly or monthly press conference.

    “Muyan” (Kru) means to move forward. Anything else is to move backward “Muday” (Kru), which is not progress.

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    The Success of Cuba Medical Internationalism – Finding solutions to the Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations Health Care Delivery Systems http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/30/the-success-of-cuba-medical-internationalism-finding-solutions-to-the-liberia-and-the-mano-river-union-nations-health-care-delivery-systems/ Fri, 30 Mar 2018 18:20:12 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4939 By. James B. Jaddah, Sr.     

     

    Liberia our beloved country located on the West Coast of Africa is considered to have the worst health care delivery system in the Mano River Nations and the entire West African Region.

    Liberia, after 170 years of our sovereignty we are considered to have the worst health care delivery system with the doctor to patient ratio of 1 medical doctor to the population of 86,000 by the time of the Ebola pandemic in Liberia.

    Liberia and the Mano River Nations were greatly devastated by the outbreak of the Ebola virus. Liberia was mostly affected by the Ebola virus outbreak than any of the four Mano River Union Nations at which time more than five thousand Liberians lost their lives in less than one year. This is a clear indication that Liberia has the worst health care delivery system in the Mano River Union Nations and within the entire West African Region.
     
    Now let’s look at the patients to a doctor’s Ratio within the Mano Rivers Union Nations and the West African Region.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO) analysis of the basic health care metric doctor to patient’s ratio, the key in helping identify the most vulnerable West African states to ongoing Ebola outbreak; unsurprisingly Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have remained the epicenters of the pandemic, have the worst patients to doctor ratio in West Africa. Liberia has a ratio of about 86,000 patients to 1 medical doctor and Sierra Leone has about 45,000 patients per 1 medical doctor. Now let’s look at the patients to doctor’s ratio in the entire region. 
     
    Country-Total Numbers of doctors — total population — Doctors Patient Ratio population per doctor            
    Liberia 51 doctors 4.4 million people 86,000 persons per doctor
    Sierra Leone  136 doctors 6.2 million people 45, 000 persons per doctor 
    Burkina Fasso 713 doctors 24.3 million people 24,000 persons per doctor
    Togo 349 doctors 7 million people 20,000 persons per
    doctor 
    Benin 542 doctors 10 million people 18,000 persons per doctor
    Senegal 741 doctors 12.8 million people 17,274 persons per doctor
    Cameron 1,346 doctors 20 million people 15,000 persons per doctor
    Guinea Bissau 124 doctors 1.75 million people 14,113 persons per doctor
    Mali 1,291 doctors 15.7 million people 12,000 persons per doctor
    Ghana 2,325 doctors 27 million people 11,634 persons per doctor
    Guinea 940 doctors 10.6 million people 11,277 persons per doctor
    Gambia  175 doctors 1.8 million people 10,723 persons per doctor
    Cote D’Ivoire 2,746 doctors 23.2 million people 8,449 persons per doctor
    Nigeria 58,363 doctors 168 million people 2,879 persons per doctor
    South Africa 39,541 doctors 54 million people 1,320 persons per doctor
    Source: Un/WHO Damina Advisors.
     
    The purpose of this project is intended to urgently propose to the Government of Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations the most and cost-effective way to help improve our health care delivery system which is the worst in the region is to urgently begin to negotiate with the Government of the Republic of Cuba immediately to initiate a scholarship program for the education of our medical students in their country. Cuba has the largest medical institutions in the world with over 19,000 medical students from 103 nations around the world. 

    Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations to begin negotiating with the Cuban Embassies in the region with the possibility of eventually signing an agreement to follow the path taken by other developing nations, including Africa. Many of these nations have had their medical students trained in Cuba as the result of the Cuban’s program of Medical internationalism. This partnership, when established, would help to boost up and develop our health care systems before we encounter another eruption of the pandemic of the Ebola virus or any other communicable disease that may devastate our communities. 
     
    For example, such agreement with the Cuban government could be for Cuba to send doctors and other medical personnel to Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations to help improve the health care delivery system, which could save about thousands of lives annually.  The Cuban doctors upon arrival in Liberia could be dispatched and assigned in our rural communities while the medical students are undergoing their studies. Gradually, these Cuban doctors will be replaced as the medical students complete their studies. Medical education in Cuba is free including room and board.

    The Liberian government will only provide stipends for the medical students while undergoing six years period of studies, which may cost the government not more than 5 to 10 percent of the national budget. Liberia could emulate the government of the Republic of Ghana and other African Nations that have succeeded in training their medical students in Cuba, to help improve their poor health care delivery system. Liberia too could benefit to help improve the health system in the entire West African region. 
     
    Now let’s take look at the Cuban Health Care medical internationalism.
     
    History of Cuba’s Medical Internationalism around the World
    Preceding the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the number of doctors per thousand of the population ranked above Britain, France, and the Netherlands. Yet there were inequalities because most Cuban doctors were based in the prosperous cities, while citizens of the towns saw few doctors. Health care services deteriorated because of the mass exodus of Cuban due to the United States embargo against Cuba as the result, there was an increase in infant mortality.
     
    The urgent needs for better health care services prompted the new government to embark upon the idea of a universal health care delivery system. Based on an essay, “On Revolutionary Medicine” written by Che Guevara, a physician who was one of the architects of the Cuban Revolution in 1960; came up with a program plan which will provide public health services for a greater number of the population.

    The intended goal of the program was preventive health services. The entire population was taught to practice basic hygiene, like handwashing; before the new government enshrined its belief within the Cuba National constitution, it launched the medical internationalism. To be precise, it was done in 1963. Cuban medical internationalism began sending medical personnel overseas, particularly to Latin America, Africa, etc.

    By 2007 Cuba had 42,000 workers in international collaborations in 103 different countries of whom more than 30,000 were health personnel including, no fewer than 19,000 physicians. Cuba provides more medical personnel to developing nations than all G8 countries combined; this comparison does not consider what G8 development spent on developing nations’ health care.

    More important, the Cuban missions have had a substantial positive impact on the population it served. It is widely believed medical workers are Cuba’s most important export commodity.
     Cuba Medical Humanitarianism around the world    
    The Cuban Government driven by their foreign policy and humanitarian objectives dispatched Cuban doctors who worked alongside other local and foreign doctors to achieve their goals.

    For example, in 1972 and 1990 Cuba dispatched emergency assistance teams to Chile, Nicaragua, and Iran following the earthquakes. Similarly, in the wake of the December 1999 mudslides in Vargas State, Venezuela, which killed 20,000, Cuban government sent medical emergency assistance.
     
    In Honduras, the medical personnel had a substantial impact. In the areas they served, infant mortality rates were reduced from 38.8 to 10.1 per 1000 live birth and maternal mortality rates from 48.1 to 22.4 per 1000 live births between 1998 and 2003.

    However, the idea of a nation saving lives and improving the human condition is alien to the traditional statecraft and is therefore discounted as a rationale for the Cuban approached. In 2004 the 1700 medical personnel in Guatemala received the order of the Quetzal, the country highest state honor. In the year 2000, an attempt by Honduras to expel the Cuban mission on the basis that it was threatening Honduras jobs was successfully resisted by the trade union and community organizations.
     The success of Cuban Doctors in Ghana
    In 2013 the government of Ghana invited about 350 Cuban medical doctors in the country to support the national health care under a medical service and educational agreement between Cuban and Ghana.

    The Cuban doctors, according to Ghana Ministry of Health, were not to be paid salaries but rather receive monthly allowances and free accommodation during their stay in the country. As per the Ghanaian Ministry of Health, the Cuban doctors worked in the rural areas where typical Ghanaian doctors will not accept an assignment.

    Medical assistance from Cuba formed part of the efforts by the Ghana government to enhance the doctor patient’s ratio and accordingly improve accessibility to health care delivery. In 2013 there were 2,843 doctors for the population of over 25 million, giving a ratio of one medical doctor to 10,000 patients a situation which affected the delivery of quality healthcare.

    On the training of Ghanaian doctors in Cuba, medical students are selected from deprived districts and communities, would be made to serve in their respective areas after graduation from medical school. The government of Cuba and Ghana signed a partnership agreement a few years ago; that agreement allowed Ghanaian doctors to be trained in Cuba while Cuban would come to Ghana to offer health care services.

    Cuban doctors who were currently in Ghana worked mostly in public hospitals. For almost 20 years Cuban doctors had been working in Ghana to support the efforts by the government to improve the health care delivery system. So far as of 2014, Cuba had trained more than 1,100 Ghanaian doctors in different fields of medicine. When it comes to health care, it is the government responsibility to provide and improve the nation’s health care delivery system.
     
    South African Medical Students in Cuba and Cuban doctors In South Africa
    South Africa has a high-profile program which involved training of medical students in Cuba; it is part of an urgent national drive to increase the number of doctors produced. Meanwhile, the government of South Africa is also pushing for the national Universities to boost the number of homegrown medical graduates.

    South Africa’s high-profile program involved the training of medical students in Cuba which is part of an urgent national drive to increase the number of doctors being produced to augment the shortage of doctors in the country. One of the main draw cards the Cuban system use is placing emphasis on primary health care and prevention in the country with a large rural population like in most African countries. According to the South Africa Ministry of Health, South Africa’s eight medical schools produced roughly 1,200 doctors annually. Since the occurrence of HIV/AIDS together with the loss of qualified doctors to developed countries has exacerbated the shortage of Physicians in the country. The 2010 World Health Organization statistics identified South Africa’s doctor to patient ratio at eight medical doctors for every 10,000 people, which is much better than most African countries.
     
    Since the inception of South Africa and the Cuba Health cooperation agreement in the mid-1990s which selects students from the rural areas to study for six years in Cuba and return to South Africa to take an assignment in the rural areas have made a tremendous impact in health care service delivery in the rural areas. Since 2010 nearly 246 graduates have been produced specially for South Africa Public health sector, another 388 are in the pipeline and will be graduating soon and more are still undergoing studies. 

    Let’s look at the Cuban Medical institutions the largest in the world
    In 1999 the Cuban government established the Escuela Latino Americana de Medicine (ELAM) in Spanish and in English Latin America School of Medicine (LASM) formerly the Latin America School of Medical Sciences.

    This is the major international medical school in Cuba and a prominent part of Cuban health care system. ELAM is operated by the Cuban government and considered the largest medical school in the world by enrollment with about 19,550 students from 110 countries including the USA reported to enroll in 2013. All those enrolled are international students from outside Cuba and mainly Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Africa and Asia. The school accepts students from the United States, 107 enrolled in 2007. Tuition accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided for the student by the Cuban government.
     
    The mission of ELAM is to make competent and cooperative doctors with the degree of MD (Doctor of Medicine) the same degree that is offered to medical schools’ graduates all over the Americas. The educational commission officially recognizes the Latin America School of Medicine for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG); this includes the World Health Organization. It is fully accredited by the Medical Board of the state of California which has the strictest US standard; it means that qualified US graduates of the Latin America School of Medicine are eligible to apply for residency placement in the state of California and the entire USA.
     Admission to the Cuban Medical institutions
    The Cuban government offered new students annual entry to the Latin America School of Medicine. The application is processed through the accredited Cuban diplomatic missions in the student’s home country. It is necessary to contact the Cuban Embassy or Cuban interest section to request for accurate information. The application process has been designed especially for young people from economically disadvantaged families or communities.
     Scholarship Program
    The scholarship program includes full tuition, dormitory housing, three meals per day at the campus cafeteria, textbooks in Spanish for all courses, school uniform, basic toiletries, bedding and small monthly stipend of 100 Cuban pesos, the scholarship does not include travel expenses to and from school which is not necessary in the first three years out of the six years as all classes during those years are walking distance from the dorms, the scholarship also does not include travel to and from Cuba.
    Conclusion and Recommendations 
    I would like to recommend to the government of Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations to urgently begin negotiating with the Cuban Embassies in their respective nations for scholarship agreement from the Cuban government for our medical students to be trained in Cuba. This is the only cost-effective way to help boost and develop our health care delivery system.

    The government of Liberia, the incoming government should take advantage of this opportunity by immediately initiating the negotiation process with the Cuban government for the scholarship for at least 250 Liberian medical students to study in Cuba for six years, and after which another batch of 250 medical students will replace the first graduates.

    This relationship could be established with the Cuban government for the period of 12 years, at the end of which, Liberia would have trained about 500 five hundred medical doctors. Part of the diplomatic and humanitarian agreement should include bringing in about 200 Cuban Medical doctors to Liberia to help with capacity building that will improve the needed health care delivery system to the masses of the Liberian people.   
     
    I will suggest for the government of Liberia and the Ministry of Health to consider relocating the A.M. Diglottic College of Medicine to Fendell Campus from the present location at the Catholic Hospital Campus. The Fendell location has adequate infrastructure, which includes dormitories, better classrooms, well-modernized laboratory with high-speed internet services.

    This would help boost and increase the number of medical students and graduates annually. The Liberia government should also annex the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) to the University of Liberia. Students who intend to enroll at the TNIMA should be recruited from the University of Liberia and other universities who have completed at least 60 credits in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.

    Students that are enrolled at TNIMA would complete the balance 68 credits in the various disciplines such as Nursing, Medical Laboratory Technology, Physician Assistant, Radiology and Environmental Health will be awarded a BS degree. In addition to TNIMA, the government should also consider the possibility of investing in the community colleges around the country to help establish paramedical departments such as Nursing and Medical Laboratory Technology to be taught on the associate degree level.  
     
    For the continued improvement of our medical facilities and institutions, the government should recruit retired A.M. Diglottic College of Medicine medical personnel and others from the Southeast Asian Nations like the Philippine’s India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China to serve as instructors at our universities and medical specialist at our healthcare institutions. Also, the government should promote the establishment of the school of midwifery and Nursing Assistant training program in all the 15 Counties to help contribute towards capacity building on the local levels.
     
    Finally, I honestly believe that with the establishment of the diplomatic partnership with the Cuban government to help train our medical doctors, the relocation of the University of Liberia Medical School to Fendell with the construction of new infrastructure to accommodate and boast the number of our medical school graduates with improving other paramedical institutions around the nation and the recruitment of retired medical specialists to work in our healthcare institutions will help to improve the quality of our healthcare delivery system and save many lives.
     
     Mr. James B. Jaddah, Sr. has BS & MS degrees in Health Services Administration. Diploma Physician Assistant, TNIMA, JFK Medical Center; former Director of Liberia Drug Enforcement Administration, Ministry of Justice, Liberia; he can be contacted at jamesjaddah@aol.com.

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    Choosing “Sick Bush” And Prayer Houses Over Western Medical Care Is A Threat To Community Health http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/30/choosing-sick-bush-and-prayer-houses-over-western-medical-care-is-a-threat-to-community-health/ Fri, 30 Mar 2018 16:51:39 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4936 By. Taiyee N. Quenneh, Ph.D.                  

     

    It is common practice from time in the past in Liberia for people to turn to traditional medicinal practice as a second or last option when western medicines fail them.

    The choice now appears to be reversed where sick bushes, with a method of traditional medicinal practice characterized by supernaturalism and witchcraft, take precedence over the local hospitals.

    It is understandable to seek sick bush treatments or seek healing in prayer houses in parts of the country where access to hospitals or western medical services is limited.

    The practice of opting for sick bushes and prayer houses in large urban areas like Monrovia, Buchanan, Gbarnga, and Ganta where the hospital system is accessible should be alarming to health authorities.

    Many Liberians, including people close to us, have reportedly died prematurely as a result of using sick bushes and prayer houses as options for care. I will mention three cases using fictional names to protect the deceased and their families.

    Tia James was a beautiful young girl who had just graduated from Stella Maris Polytechnic University. Like most young people coming out of undergraduate studies, she had a bright future awaiting her.

    Tia suddenly fell ill a few months after her graduation and without the benefit of a medical diagnosis from JFK Medical Center or one of the several hospitals in Monrovia, she was taken to a sick bush for treatment. Tia died in a couple of weeks while at the sick bush. No post-mortem was conducted to determine the cause of death.

    The most famous of those that have fallen to the hopeless allure of the sick bush was Thomas Kamara. Thomas was a shrewd political operator who was among the cadre of young intellectuals that propelled Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the Liberia presidency. He served in her government as a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance and later as a Minister of State without Portfolio.

    Thomas was no stranger to western medical practice. In fact, he held residence with his family in the United States. Thomas Kamara died while in treatment at a sick bush. Again, no post-mortem was conducted to determine the cause of death.

    Recently a prominent Liberian lecturer at several U. S. and Liberian universities passed away after his condition elevated or turned dire while seeking treatment at a sick bush. The esteemed college lecturer had a pre-existing condition of diabetes mellitus. He was flown to the United States where he later died following surgery.

    The prayer houses have gotten in on the act as well. Pastors and preachers are touting healing powers that are luring the sick and vulnerable into prayer houses. These pastors are not alone in this scheme. They have a willing partner – the sick. It may be daunting to convince the sick who hold to the belief that the source of their illnesses is not a bacteria, a virus or lifestyle, but rather a demonic spirit inflicted on them by their enemies.

    Such illnesses, they harbor, can only be cured by the healing powers of the pastors and preachers of the prayer houses. While the healing powers of God are unquestionable, the dispensation of such powers by men and women of God on one hand, and medical practitioners, on the other hand, are not mutually exclusive.

    It is God’s healing powers that are dispensed through the hands of medical practitioners. The pastors and preachers can exercise their healing powers at the patient’s bedside in a hospital instead of the patient going to the prayer house.

    There are three factors that instantly emerge as drivers of this phenomenon. A robust argument can be made that our penchant for the supernormal and witchcraft practices that are grounded in our cultural space, is a key driving factor. One can also easily speculate that perhaps modern medical practice in Liberia has failed to deliver on its promise. Lastly, the unaffordability of hospital care cannot be understated.

    The former is a psychological manipulation that both the provider and the recipient must believe. It is characterized by rituals such as dancing in the nude mainly at nights; chanting, bathing in boiled herbs, chuck rubbing, and drinking liquids spiced with strange herbs. These rituals are exercised with no consideration for whether the recipient has a pre-existing condition or not.

    The acidity levels and chemical composition of the cocktails ingested by patients are not established nor measured by the providers. Additionally, the efficacies of the treatments and the outcomes are difficult to measure. Authorities seldom go through the burdens of understanding whether deaths in sick bushes are caused by the underlying illnesses of the patients or the iatrogenic outcomes of the sick bush treatments.

    Though the practice is culturally entrenched, the community or society must be weaned off the idea that there is a better health outcome from a sick bush or a prayer house than from the local hospital.

    To date, there is no scientific body of knowledge that supports the efficacy of sick bush treatment. Sick bushes cannot treat diabetes; sick bushes cannot treat hypertension; sick bushes cannot treat renal problems; sick bushes cannot treat HIV/Aids, and sick bushes cannot treat the most common infectious and chronic diseases that afflict our population.

    Yet, purveyors of sick bushes provide no caveat when aggressively peddling the prowess of their treatments. Let it be noted, however, that the argument against sick bush treatment does in no way diminish or devalue herbal treatments as administered by trained/recognized herbalists.

    How do we then address the threats these alternative sources of treatments pose to community health? The threats can be addressed just as we would address any treatment concern with adverse consequences:

    Health authorities must initiate a massive education campaign that will enlighten the public on the value of hospital medicinal therapy over witchcraft therapy. The values of first collecting vital signs, then performing medical diagnosis using MRI, CAT Scan, X-Ray or fluid (blood, urine, etc) testing, before the administration of treatment must be stressed.
    Health authorities must mandate licensure and certification to legitimate traditional herbalists so as to weed out those that practice witchcraft or voodoo medicine.

     The hospital system must adjust its fee-for-service model, which is costly for most Liberians, to a patient-centered model that emphasizes quality outcomes. In order words, the hospital system must ensure an affordable and quality care outcome such that potential patients will be dissuaded from seeking care at sick bushes.

    Perhaps a much more practical measure that is aligned with the Liberian government’s pro-poor agenda would be the enactment of an Emergency Medical Treatment legislation that will require that anyone coming to a hospital emergency room should be stabilized and treated regardless of their ability to pay.

    This will ensure that during health emergencies, patients are not driven away from the hospital system with the desperate hope that their afflictions can be cured by the purveyors of sick bushes and prayer houses.

    Dr. Taiyee N. Quenneh is Adjunct Professor, Healthcare Services, Ashford University, U.S. A. He can be reached at tquenneh@yahoo.com.

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    White House to wind down protected status for Liberians http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/28/white-house-to-wind-down-protected-status-for-liberians/ Wed, 28 Mar 2018 01:09:16 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4933 CBS News      

    President Trump is directing his Departments of State and Homeland Security to bring an end to a humanitarian program that allowed for some Liberian nationals to have temporary residence in the United States.

    The grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians who would otherwise be removed from the U.S. was last extended by President Obama. However, it was due to expire on March 31. Mr. Trump is ordering that the deadline be extended for one more year as part of a “wind-down” effort before DED is official terminated for Liberian nationals.

    In a memo signed by Mr. Trump, the administration now finds that conditions in Liberia have improved and is “no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance.”

    The memo added, “Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals.” 

    A brief history of DED Started in 1991 in part through a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), certain Liberian nationals were eligible for DED, which allowed them to flee their country as a result of armed conflict and civil war and reside in the United States. 

    In 1999, the Clinton administration first authorized DED for a 1-year period after a civil war had ended. According to the White House, after the armed conflict came to a close in 2003, TPS for Liberians effectively ended in 2007, but President Bush then directed that DED be provided for 18 months to certain Liberians in the U.S. whose TPS was due to expire. Bush further directed Homeland Security to issue procedures for granting work authorization to DED-covered Liberians.

    Under the Obama administration, DED was extended several times including in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and in 2016 due to “compelling foreign policy reasons.”

    Who’s qualified?
    According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you are eligible for Liberian DED if you: 

    Are a Liberian national, or someone with no nationality (stateless) who last resided in Liberia;Are in the United States; Have lived in the United States since October 1, 2002; Had TPS on September 30, 2007; Were covered by DED on September 30, 2016; and Are not otherwise ineligible for DED as stated in President Obama’s directive dated September 28, 2016.

    What’s next

    DHS will now conduct a 12-month wind down period in order to provide Liberia’s government time to “reintegrate its returning citizens and to allow DED beneficiaries who are not eligible for other forms of immigration relief to make necessary arrangements and to depart the United States.” 

    During the 12-month window, certain current Liberian DED beneficiaries may remain in the United States, but Liberians are now likely to face deportation after the expiration of their protected status. 

    – 3/27/2018

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    Congratulations, Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr. http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/16/congratulations-dr-morris-t-koffa-sr/ Fri, 16 Mar 2018 01:16:24 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4930 Congratulations, Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr.           

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that our friend (Environmental Engineer) Morris T. Koffa, Sr., was on March 12, 2018 cleared by his Program Chair, Faculty and Board of Directors of Walden University to receive his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Public Policy and Administration, with a concentration in Emergency Management.

    Please refer to Mr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr., as Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr.
    Congratulations, Dr. Koffa. You worked very hard for your doctoral degree and earned it! We are proud of your hard work and scholarly endeavors.

    Dissertation topic:
    “The Efficacy of Disaster/Emergency Management Protocol in Liberia with Focus on Floods in the Bilimah Community, Liberia.” 

    Hooding and graduation ceremonies will be announced later. You can reach Dr. Koffa at 240-417-2545; Email: koffamkoffa@aol.com.

    – Dr. Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
    – 03/15/2018

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    konnte nicht geladen werden!/feed The Liberian Dialogue http://theliberiandialogue.org Serving you since 2002. Credible. Compelling. Consistent. Provocative. Tue, 19 Jun 2018 20:43:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 CDC’s Pro-Poor Government Hut Tax Historical Amnesia http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/06/19/cdcs-pro-poor-government-hut-tax-historical-amnesia/ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/06/19/cdcs-pro-poor-government-hut-tax-historical-amnesia/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 20:29:12 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4967 By Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr.    

     

     

    Pro-Poor Policy of a government usually targets directly poor people’s economic plight, which is due to the poverty they experienced in society. The goal of this policy is to improve their living standard. However, the Hut Tax re-introduced by the traditional Chiefs and Elders in Liberia resembles a reversed ‘Robin Hood’ – intended to TAKE (Steal) from the POOR. Whereas, the Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest took from the abusive and corrupt leaders what they stole from the poor and had it returned.

    My article titled “CDC Pro-Poor Government Hut Tax’s Historical Amnesia” intents to prove that the reintroduction of the notorious and abusive hut tax system of yester year was proposed either out of ignorance of history by the traditional Chiefs and Elders, or out of pure self interest.

    According to the Daily Observer’s Nimba County Correspondent, Ishmael Menkor, the “…15 chiefs representing the Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia have agreed to the reintroduction of HUT TAX to support the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led Government’s “Pro-poor Agenda. …The elders maintained that the hut tax will enhance their participation in the promotion of government’s agenda and development initiatives. They accordingly argued that government cannot be dependent forever, ‘relying on donor support or begging all around the world for help, so in their view, it is good to bring back the collection of hut tax to back up the economy.”

    My question to these Chiefs and Elders is – how will the reintroduction of the hut tax benefit most of the poor people in rural areas; especially, when most of them live on US$1.50 a day? Or is their “…time to eat” as Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor espoused? Perhaps, the “This is our time to eat” comment is

    directed at CDiCians to get ready to receive their share of the BIG ELEPHANT MEAT as Ellen’s Unity Party government, her family and associates had their share.

    Let’s review the history and enforcement of the notorious Hut Tax that Chief Zanzan Kawor and Elders of the Liberian Council of Chiefs failed to acknowledge; either out of ignorance or were seeking favor from President Weah and his CDC Pro-Poor government.

    HUT TAX
    The Hut Tax was first instituted following the administrative reform of 1904 both as a means, on part of the central government, of imposing its writ over “hinterlanders” and “coastal indigenes,” and also as an important revenue source to sustain the newly established auxiliary interior bureaucracy. Initial, it appears, there was a tax of $1.00 per annum on each indigene domicile (hut). In the 1980’s the tax had reached $6.00 per annum per the district commissioner. Each chief received a percentage of the tax collected as his commission. The hut tax is widely viewed as one of the areas of repressive government during the first republic, for the manner in which agents of the state went about collecting constitutes flagrant violations of people’s rights. Tax collectors often accompanied by soldier of the LFF moved into villages, at times terrorizing the inhabitants in order to secure not only the taxes but to requisition food and other local products. Several months following the 1980 coup, the hut tax was abolished by the PRC, but then reportedly reinstituted the following year in modified form. [See TAX MISSION, 1970: 89; Handbook, 325] / [African Historical Dictionaries, p. 91]

    In addition, based on the Area Handbook for Liberia, “Direct money taxes known as hut, health and development taxes are collected annually from the tribal people. Levied on households on the basis of a hut rather than a head count, the taxes totaled $5 per household in the early 1960’s. Tribal communities are also officially required by the government to make annual contributions of rice that may amount to a higher value than money taxes. Informal requisitions of food by agents of the central government and members of the armed forces are common occurrences in some areas of the interior and constitute an indirect form of taxation impossible to measure.” (Area Handbook, p. 325)
    I was told of similar practices by my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. It was a common practice for District Commissioners (DC) and members of the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF) to engage in when they traveled in the hinterland (now counties) to collect taxes and recruit laborers for government projects; such displayed brute behaviors were not unusual.
    Initially, the Armed Forces, known then as the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF) collected Hut taxes, and enforced labor policies against the “native” (indigenous) masses. On many occasions, these natives (African Liberians) were forced to carry loads for government officials for days, while their farms were left unattended and their livestock used to feed the soldiers; their wives and female daughters used as sex objects for the pleasure of these officials and soldiers.
    The novel, Red Dust on the Green Leaves by John Gay, epitomizes this reality:
    “The soldiers had come again every year to get taxes and men to work at Firestone. Flumo (Flomo) still was not sure what Firestone was, even though he knew that men who went there had to clear the ground and plant rubber trees. He also knew that when Saki went to Firestone, he did not make farm but would come back after six months or a year with little other than new clothes and gifts from the coast”.
    President Arthur Barclay too, alluded to this culture of impunity in his Inaugural Address of 1904:
    “…The militia, largely lower-class Americo-Liberians and tribal people drawn from areas other than those in which they were serving was ‘tending to become a greater danger to the loyal citizens, and his property, which it ought to protect”.
    This repressive and humiliating treatment was abolished after the coup of 1980 when the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) repealed the Hut Tax Law. This was one benefit of the PRC that the poor indigenous people considered an achievement at the time. However, the reintroduction of the Hut Tax by the chiefs and elders raised more questions than answers.
    October 15, 2016, I wrote an article which was published in The Perspective. The title of the article is: “Home, Sweet Home and The Significance of the Red Cap”. In the article I narrated a story about a Kpelle Paramount Chief called Zamgba. He was very wicked to his own people. This paramount chief was a very powerful dictator. With the support of the Government, he exercised brute power over his people. Those of you who were around in the late 50s into the early 60s might have heard the popular Santa Clause song regarding his abusive behavior towards the Kpelle people. The chorus of the song goes like this: “Zamgba die, Kpelle people put on shoes; Zamgba die, Kpelle people put on shoes.” Legend has it that because he wore shoes, he did not allow his people to do the same.
    Paramount Chief Zamgba had a partner who possessed similar characters like him. This partner of his was commonly referred to by officials of the Government as Chief Buzzy. Buzzy was chief of the Lorma tribe from Lofa Country. Chief Buzzy joined with the Liberian Government to ‘put down the rebellion and resistance from the coastal tribes’. He too, was powerful and dictatorial. These two chiefs joined forces with the Government to collect Hut Tax by whatever means they deemed necessary, including fighting alongside government forces to put down the so-called rebellious natives – the Klaos (Krus), Grebos and Bassas along the Atlantic Coast. Find below their method of enforcement.

    Compulsory Voluntary Recruitment Practice
    In 1926, the Government ‘picked palava’ with the hinterland tribes; specifically the Kpelles and the Lormas. This palava was not only exploitative; it was abusive to the tribal people. During this year, Industrialist Harvey Firestone of Ohio, USA, established the Firestone Plantation in Liberia. The Firestone Plantation needed workers, Paramount Chief Zamgba and Chief Buzzy were identified by the Government as the source that could be used to provide the needed laborers to plant and tap the rubber trees. Both Chiefs and the LFF got involved in what is known in Liberian history as “compulsory voluntary recruitment practice.” The Kpelles and Lormas were forcibly recruited, sometimes at gunpoint and with threats to work on the Firestone Plantations. This heartless procedure of recruiting these people to work on the Firestone Plantations provided no meaningful compensation to the people who left their own farms’ work unattended to. They were made to abandon their livelihood – their farms, to work like slaves for below minimum wages; living under poor and unacceptable working conditions.

    Due to the brute power that Chief Buzzy exercised over his people, the Government authorities inaccurately referred to the Lorma Tribe as “Buzzy people”. In fact an area in Monrovia is named as “Buzzy Quarter” in honor of Chief Buzzy. This area is located at the intersection of Camp Johnson Road, not far from Bassa Community and Capitol Hill. Today, the Lorma people resent being called Buzzy people; a vivid reminder of Chief Buzzy’s treatment of them.

    Red Cap
    These LFF soldiers wore a Red Cap that was introduced by the British Colonial authorities in Africa. The Igbo tribe of Nigeria adopted it as a symbol of authority. Also, the Red Cap is worn by the Eze (king) or Igwe and his council members and Titled Men. However, in Liberia the Red Cap was part of the official uniform of the LFF and Constables also organized by the British. It was a sign of power and authority. The LFF served as the military of the Liberian Government.

    They collected hut and head taxes from the poor native people in the interior who hardly benefited from their resources and labor. Also, they pay head tax – for having heads on their shoulders. What a dehumanizing way to treat one’s fellow human beings!
    In the book: The Mask Of Anarchy written by Stephen Ellis, he provides example of the historical, political and cultural factors of Liberia’s brutal unlawful practices against the native people. According to him:
    “In the many parts of the country, throughout its history the Liberian system of indirect rule bore the stamp of military means used to establish it in the early twentieth century. It was first established in the Liberian Army, which had a reputation of brutality and for looting, since troops largely lived off the land. In 1910 some chiefs (King Gyude and other Grebo chiefs), in the south-east of the country complained of the activities of the Liberian Frontier Force (LFF), which they termed ‘this execrable force’, and was ‘entirely mobilized’ and wherever they had been sent throughout the country – whether to Rivercess or in the hinterland – their custom has been to plunder the towns through which they pass and rape the women.”
    Liberian authorities and their Western enablers should use cautionary measures and be aware of the fact that politics does not “always” reward the best and brightest, it has the tendency to elevate the most dishonest of men who will lie and cheat without compunction; excellent example of it was found during the Tubman Administration, which was referred to as “Growth Without Development”.

    Growth Without Development
    Sanford J. Ungar, made reference to this underdevelopment in the book titled: Africa, The People and Politics of an Emerging Continent. It reads:

    “…[William V.S. Tubman] established an ‘Open door policy,’ attracting foreign capital to Liberia under unusually favorable conditions. Investors could obtain eighty-year leases for tracts of undeveloped land, and the flow of profits and dividends out of the country was not restricted. Machinery imported for industrial use was exempt from customs duty, and other taxes were low. This did little for the improvement of agriculture, and while the policy did have some beneficial effects
    in the countryside, overall it intensified the contrast between the industrialized coast and the backward Hinterland. In the long run, the open door policy produced what outside analysts (Robert W. Clower et al, Growth Without Development: An Economic Survey, 1966) called ‘growth without development’”.

    CONCLUSION
    Current events in Liberia suggests that we are heading in the wrong direction once more; a direction in which citizens do not have the right to question or challenge their elected officials to behave in accordance to the laws of the land. Groups are found everywhere, especially on ‘Face Book’ who do not have any knowledge of Liberia’s UGLY PAST, and are resuscitating the UGLY days gone by – when RESOLUTIONS to show support for the President and elected officials was the order of the day; and an accused person was considered guilty before his/her case made it to court. Are our memories failing us? If not, why we do not speak against these existing evils? Instead, we are falling back into the practice that almost brought about our demise. Why can’t we learn from our recent history?

    “The truth shall set you free” has been proven by history over and over, and no matter what the power that be attempt to do in restricting telling the truth – truth being a universal principle will remain the same today and tomorrow. Yet, there are always individuals who by choice or influence will tamper with the truth to advance their own individual interests or for those they are loyal to. They need to be told that there is nothing abstract about the truth; in the end, truth with stand the test of time.

    To be frank, Liberia does not require us to be perfect; rather it requires us to be honest with ourselves. As imperfect humans living in these perilous times, we are not immune to the wind of adversity; we have the ability to reverse the course of the wind. To do so, we must acknowledge that there is something morally wrong with us as a people. Having admitted our general fault, we are able to set-up the means by which our fault can be addressed and have our solutions become the way of life to which we are committed and never to be compromised for political favors or government positions.

    This challenge has to be met with our collective efforts in order to bring to an end the practice that have prevented our development with what we have in common as Liberians regardless of class, religion and ethnicity. This is the place to start! Seeking Truth seems to be our best option, though Truth also has consequences. For example, King Darius of Babylon enacted a new law stipulating “Whoever makes a petition to any god or man for thirty days except (the) king should be
    thrown to the lions’ pit” (Daniel 6:7-9). The law was intended to eliminate the King’s real or perceived enemies, notably Daniel. Daniel did not compromise his belief; as a result, he was thrown into the lion’s den for not obeying the new law. But Daniel’s God set him free.

    While we cannot compare ourselves to Daniel in wisdom and statute, we certainly can pursue Truth no matter how corrupt elites and their supporters might fight against our efforts; Truth, being a universal principle, will sustain us to the end. More important, we should bear in mind the fact that there will always be individuals who by choice or influence will tamper with the Truth to advance their own individual interests or the interests of those they are loyal to, not realizing that there is nothing abstract about the Truth, and that those who subscribed to corrupt practices will certainly be caught up with time.

    In addition, I am reminded of the statement by the famous English Dictionary publisher, Dr. Samuel Johnson that reads, “There is no crime more infamous than the violation of truth. It is apparent that men can be social beings no longer than they believe each other. When speech is employed only as the vehicle of falsehood, every man must disunite himself from others.” It means those who engage in deceit and telling lies to please their supporters are operating from what former Senator Joe Lieberman described as “value vacuum.” A place “…where traditional ideas of right and wrong have been gradually worn away.”

    In fact, this phenomenon has redefined what was once held to be universal Truth. Today, Truth is now widely viewed on the basis of an individual’s point of view (or talking points) – even if the facts are overwhelming, like embezzlement, human rights abuse, the denial of free speech, violation of civil and constitutional rights, kangaroo court system, excessive use of force, framed-up charges and incarceration of unarmed civilians by the governments, including Liberia.

    The popular phrase: “If one does not stand for something, he/she will fall for everything”; here lays the dilemma facing many of our people. What Liberia lacks in short supply are principled individuals. In other words, many Liberians are not firm believers in the “principle of right and justice”. They are forever ready to sell their souls for positions or for mere crumbs.

    Finally, as a firm believer in the fact that there is nothing wrong with Liberians, that cannot be cured with what is right; I believe, we have an essential role to play in deciding our present as well as our future. The fact that we have a choice shows that God has given us a measure of control over our lives. The coward who makes
    excuses for not taking a position come Judgment Day will have some explaining to do. As Liberians, if we earnestly want genuine peace and democracy, we will have to earn it the old fashion way, work for it. It means we will have to take positions that are not always popular.

    And for what it’s worth, let’s take the advice by General Colin Powell; it reads: “Where discrimination still exists or where the scars of past discrimination still contaminate and disfigure the present, we must not close our eyes to it, declare a level playing field, and hope it will go away by itself. It did not in the past. It will not in the future.”

    In closing, let me share with you the poem titled: “I Will Not Tote That Hammock Anymore!”

    I
    I am not going to tote that hammock anymore!
    If my great grandparents and relatives did it
    That doesn’t mean I should do the same

    II
    So you better find someone else
    To do your plotor work ‘cause this time for sure
    I am not going to tote you in that hammock!

    III
    Big hellova man like you if you can’t walk by yourself
    Then that’s your own kinja you will have to bear
    You don’t expect me to tote you on my shoulder
    Instead of toting you, I could be attending
    To my rice farm, cassava farm and doing small, small thing
    So let me tell you Joe Blow, this time
    I am not going to tote you in that hammock!

    IV
    Although, I was a small pekin when
    The District Commissioner came to our town
    He humiliated my grandparents and relatives
    In front of their wives and children
    I can still feel pains and sufferings they endured
    Toting Government officials from village to village
    And through thick and thin
    So, let me tell you once and for all, that job is not for me
    You cannot force me this time, I know my rights
    So, you better take your hot sun trouble from here!

    V
    My friend, this time you really juke-o!
    You will kill me dead
    Even then, I will still refuse to tote the hammock.

    VI
    You see, I made up my mind long, long time ago
    Not to tote anybody’s hammock, even the President, self
    ‘Cause the same way God gave you hands, head and feet
    That’s the same way He gave me mine
    And since there’s nothing wrong with yours
    I don’t see why I or my people should be the
    One to do your toting for you.

    VII
    So, Mr. Big Shot or whatever your name is
    You’re really juke this time
    You better try hard!
    Carry your trouble some place else!
    Because if you make me vex, it will be HELL
    To tell the Captain
    ‘Cause I’ll not tote Big Hellova man like you ANYMORE!

    (TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut, from the book of poems by Siahyonkron Nyanseor, published 2014.

    Siahyonkron Jglay Kpa-kay Nyanseor, Sr., is a life-long activist (*troublemaker) in researching the true history of Africa, the people of African origin in the Diaspora. He had dedicated his teaching of African culture; spent over 45 years advocating for human, civil and constitutional rights of all people, especially the Liberian masses. He is a Griot, poet, journalist and an ordained Minister of the Gospel. Mr. Nyanseor is the Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine founded in June 1996. In 2012, he co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology. His current book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is on the market. He can be reached at: siah1947@gmail.com

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    Now we know why Minister Nathaniel McGill took a whopping US$200,000 loan to purchase a luxurious palace http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/05/13/now-we-know-why-minister-nathaniel-mcgill-took-a-whopping-us200000-loan-to-purchase-a-luxurious-palace/ Sun, 13 May 2018 05:00:45 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4959 By Martin K. N. Kollie      

     

    The 2018-2019 budget of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has increased from US$18,689,116 to US$21,539,211. This accounts for a whopping 13.2 percent increment US$2,850,095) even though the government is still struggling to generate an uncollected revenue of US$332 million from fiscal year 2017-2018.

    The nation remains aid-dependent and loan-reliant while the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs has budgeted over US$21.5 million just in a period of 12 months. Now we know why Minister McGill secured a loan of US$200,000 to purchase a luxurious home after becoming a Minister just in 3 months. When did Minister McGill get so interested in securing a US$200,000 loan? Is it after becoming Minister for just 90-days?

    Is Hon. McGill a pro-poor Minister or a pro-rich Minister? So coming to power was all about self-enrichment at the expense of the ordinary masses? Now we know why Minister McGill secured a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home. This is the pitiless pay-back our people get when indigenous vampires are in charge of state resources.

    According to the projection of FY2017-2018, this fiscal year’s budget of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs should actually be US$14.4 million due to investor aversion, global macroeconomic shocks, decrease in prices of iron ore and rubber, ebola and election aftershocks, etc. Why then budget over US$21.5 million just for Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs alone.

    What is the rationale of even spending US$580,000 on consultancy and US$180,000 on food and catering services when there is no public high school in Liberia with access to internet, library or science laboratory. This pro-poor mantra seems to be a cliché of charade and contradiction.

    While 48,000 inhabitants of Clara Town live in slum with access to only 6 latrines, this Minister is buying a home costing US$200,000 in just 90-days of this pro-poor government. Is Nathaniel McGill a pro-poor Minister or a pro-rich Minister? Now we know why Minister McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home in the World’s fourth poorest country.

    Even though we will be spending more than half a million just on consultancy, but US$91,814 has also been budgeted for Advisory Board. So, why can’t the advisory board provide consultancy? This ‘pro-poor’ government under President Weah needs to refrain from overspending, wastage, fiscal indiscipline and economic sabotage.

    While 16 percent of Liberian households are food insecure according to FAO and WFP, US$582,592 has been budgeted for Celebration, Commemoration and State Visit, US$100,000 for Residential Property Lease and US$1,395,000 for Special Operation Services.

    Now we know why Minister Nat McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home. As the masses remain hopeless and vulnerable to economic peril, the CDC-led government is spending over 86 percent of our nation’s 2018-2019 budget on recurrent expenditure alone. I wonder what then goes to capital investment.

    The wage bill under former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was US$295m. Unfortunately, it has increased under President George M. Weah to US$303.4m. What difference can this pro-poor government make when the people’s interest has been swept under the carpet so soon?

    There is a huge rush for wealth accumulation. Minister Nat McGill is set to own his first luxurious home by lavishly spending THE PEOPLE’S RESOURCES without any remorse. Now we know why Minister McGill took a loan of US$200,000 to purchase an expensive home.

    While the nominal wage of civil servants remains very low with real wage being heavily impacted due to inflation, Minister McGill will now have an opportunity to live in a palace. Why have they even budgeted US$13 million again to renovate the Executive Mansion when over US$25 million has already been spent to renovate this same mansion?

    Our ultimate interest is to ensure that our government does what is RIGHT and RIGHTEOUS in the best interest of our PEOPLE. We have a national duty never to economize with THE FACTS but to demonstrate a sense of PATRIOTISM. We have made a solemn pledge to remain loyal to Liberia, and no one else.

    From the largest slum of West Point and the top of Ducor, I see a NEW LIBERIA rising above the African Continent. HOPE is blooming – Change is in sight – Liberia will rise.

     Martin K. N. Kollie is a student studying Economics at the University of Liberia, a youth and student activist, and a global columnist. He is a stalwart of the Student Unification Party. He can be reached via martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com

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    Transforming The Liberian Lone Star Into A Winning Team: An Opinion http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/05/13/transforming-the-liberian-lone-star-into-a-winning-team-an-opinion/ Sun, 13 May 2018 04:54:03 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4956 By Paul J. Albert         

     

    The Liberian Junior Lone Star soccer team was defeated by their Gambian national counter-part on May 6, 2018 at the SKD Sports Complex.

    Nevertheless, it did not come as a total surprise as the episode only re-affirmed the case of another de javu when Liberians have become used to being willing spectators to the defeat of their national teams on their own home grounds.

    And as the nation go through a period of emotional catharsis, the Lone Star coaches and team officials will among other things conduct its old ritual as usual. That is, revisiting the team’s history of wins and losses, and re-examining its tactical approaches with the aim of finding out what went wrong.

    In addition, the team might receive some compliments from well-wishers despite its dismal record of performance. Such gestures may help somewhat to boost morale, but on the other hand they are relegated to a band aid, or just temporary fixes.

    As emotions begins to wear out and the memories of the sport planners begin to fade away, the Lone Star will again recede to its same old state just like a habitual criminal recidivist whose relapses often cause him to repeat the same criminal offenses and make him to suffer even more stiffer penalties.

    To develop the Lone Star into a formidable force within the international sporting arena, calls for a carefully crafted, well planned, and coordinated training program. This program must be persistent and consistent. Training goals and objectives must be set with the aim of statistically analyzing the team’s weaknesses, strengths and identifying avenues for improvement. By this I mean that trainers and coaches do not wait for the eve of a soccer tournament to emphasize training and exercise, eating well, resting well and avoiding counterproductive activities.

    It is a fatal mistake if Liberian soccer team managers continue to accept the status quo as the ultimate way to spur motivation and develop a superior team; if this trend continues, the Liberian soccer spectators and sport enthusiasts will always share more tearful moments as they will always stand to see more mournful defeats of their own beloved team on the home turf.

    To build a superior performing soccer team, the leaders of Liberia’s national teams should consider the fact that the factors that kindle motivation and drive within the team members are not only intrinsic.

    Intrinsic values occur when individuals join a team out of a feeling of self-gratification; nationalism; dedication or patriotism to one’s country; or a desire to promote the country’s self-image. Intrinsic values account for the spontaneous excitement in players that make them want to play and die for their country especially after hearing the sounds of the national anthem of their countries.

    Even though intrinsic values are laudable, however they do not suffice and things do not always work that way. Why? Many individuals who join sporting groups do so with the goal of benefitting from some extrinsic values. Extrinsic values occur when team members are given some benefits as stimuli to boost their performance; morale; self-worth, and a sense that they belong to a special cause.

    One misconception that many leaders of groups often make is to waste their time and energy trying to motivate people. Nobody can motivate another person. One of the better ways of achieving motivation is to create an environment where it can thrive. This objective can be realized by introducing extrinsic values. By this I mean providing incentives to team members.

    Incentives are not the cure-all to solving a team’s under-performance, because studies have shown that sometimes they can become a Pandora box as the morale of certain individuals who are self-driven team members goes through the roof in the short run only. However, in the long run their morale begins to dip because they have become accustomed to associating performance with incentives.

    In spite of this shortcoming studies have revealed that overall, incentives do drive up performance because the players who come to the team always have some critical needs besides scoring goals, creating a sense of nationalism, and promoting Liberia’s self-image. Incentives should include but not limited to: food security, health care benefits, educational scholarships, employment security as some players may have families to take care of, and so forth.

    An argument can be made that a soccer team may be provided with all these benefits and yet lose in the tournament. This is true but notwithstanding, the nature of the game of soccer is unpredictability, and not how well equipped a team might be. Citing a good paradigm in recent memory that re-enforces this point was the 2-1 stunning defeat of the US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) by the Ghana Black Stars on June 22, 2006 in Nuremberg, Germany.

    In contrast to the Ghana Black Stars, the USMNT possesses every unimaginable benefit that a soccer team may have; nevertheless, and to the surprise of the world soccer fans, the Ghana Black Stars defeated them.
    No matter what the circumstances are, unpredictability should not override the importance of being proactive and having our national soccer squad well-prepared to represent us. To build a superior team, team managers must consider both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, because they are equally important.

    Sporting officials and coaches must learn to draw a fine line between players who truly love the game and are willing to get out there and represent Liberia with their fullest potential and those who only sign up for the incentives but show a less-than- stellar performance.
    Liberia can do better.

    Paul J. Albert writes for the Liberian Dialogue. He lives in Spencer, NC, and can be reached at 704-636-7868. Email: albrtpaul@aol.com

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    ‘Peace Was In Heaven Until Kru People Got There’ http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/04/21/peace-was-in-heaven-until-kru-people-got-there/ Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:53:50 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4951 By Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor        

    The Meaning of Peace was in Heaven Until Kru People Got There.
    Liberian history is replete with accounts of heroism on the part of Americo-Liberians (Settlers), and the so-called accounts of cowardice on the part of Native-Liberians (aborigines). It is this slanted view of Settlers’ history, and false sense of heroism and cowardice that have been the main source of conflict amongst generations of Liberians on either side of the political and social divide. This portrayal of both groups has undermined true patriotism and nationalism in Liberia. A classic example is the phrase: “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there”. Similarly, it can be said that – “peace was on earth unit JESUS got here”.

    The phrase “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there” is intended to portray the stance taken by the Kru (Klao) ethnic group in dealing with everyone they come in contact with. Within Biblical and historical context, it can be explained as what was meant as NEGATIVE reference to the Klao tribe of Liberia became promotion about the people Europeans referred to as “Africa’s Sailors”; the tribal people who rather die than be captured and made slaves.

    It is recorded in European history that prior to the arrival of the freed-slaves from North America to West Africa, the people known as Krus (Klaos) were involved in trading and had developed mutual relationship with European Merchants and Explores. It is from this relationship the Klao ethnic group in this area was named by Europeans as Kroo or Kru. The name Kru is derived from the word ‘crew’. This name was given to them as the result of their profession. The groups that are referred to as KRU were the Klao, Bassa and the Grebo.

    The phrase: “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there” was used by grown-ups as well as my peers in Monrovia. Many of those who are of my age might have heard this statement used in the 50s and 60s in reference to us. I heard it too many times! Some of them said it as a joke. However, there is this Liberian saying, “Facts come through jokes”. Therefore, I did not take it as a joke. The statement was meant to make mockery of my people without known the true story about the Klao people’s struggle under the Settlers’ government.

    As a young boy in Rocktown, Monrovia – the unpaved side of Clay Street I got into fights with anyone who used the phrase in my presence. That’s how much I resented it. It was not until Sergeant Moore, my cousin under whom I studied and served as Griot (storyteller) told me to accept it with dignity. Here is what he told me! “Jglay Kpa-kay, have you forgotten our (Klao) mottos – Never trouble, trouble until trouble, troubles you” and “Too much of gentility leads to brutality?” Sergeant Moore’s explanation made it crystal clear to me. His advice motivated me to take keen interest in becoming passionate in researching, studying, writing and telling the truth about African Liberians and African Historian in general. First, I owed this interest to the Almighty God, and second to Sergeant Moore, my teacher who taught me the true history about the Klao people. As a matter fact, I give God the glory to have created me as a “Countryman” and a “Troublemaker” who speaks both the Klao and Bassa languages of Liberia.

    As a Christian, I am reminded of Genesis 50:20 NIV “…you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive”. Wow, what a revelation!
    You see, what was intended as a put down, God turned it all for our good. He brought us to the position of advocacy, so we could fight injustice to save our people and humanity. GOD is so good; He made the enemies our footstool. That’s how He works for those who worship and praise him!

    The Klaos (Krus) History & Struggles in Liberia
    There is an African proverb that says, “Until lion have their own historians, the story of the hunt will be told by the hunter.” This is the reason we need to tell our own history.
    The history of the Kroo/Kru (Klao) people, can be traced from their activities with Europeans, such as the Normans who visited the Liberian shores in 1364; Pedro de Cintra in 1461, the English in 1551, 1556, 1562, 1564 and 1567; a German-Swiss by the name of Samuel Braun in 1611, the Dutch in 1626 and 1668, and the French in 1725. During this period, some of the natives were literate; they traded and interacted with the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Germans. Common sense tells us that for the length of time African-Liberians carried out these activities and transactions with Europeans they had to speak their languages. Therefore, to suggest that “The cannon went off (Matilda Newport Story) the sound was so loud; it frightened the attackers who had never seen such a discharge of firing power before.” This is not only a blatant lie but a ridiculous portrayal of African-Liberians.

    More important, earliest reference to Kru (Klao) offshore employment relates to a Spanish vessel that stopped at Elmina on the Gold Coast in February 1645. In the eighteen century, Klao migrated to Freetown and from there they were employed on vessels owned by the Sierra Leone Company. By the end of the 1790s, more than 50 Klao were employed as deckhands and in other jobs on British colonial vessels. Klao participated in contract work in the nineteenth century which was almost always voluntary (Amos C. Sawyer, The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia, Tragedy and Challenge, 1992).

    The Kroo (Klao) Mark of Distinction

    During this period, there was a blue mark on the noses of the Kroos to set them apart from the other tribes. The blue mark was a mark of distinction. During the time when the slave trade was flourishing, the Kroos were ‘useful watermen’. The slavers would, therefore, never purchase one, or only did so to set him at liberty, fearing to incur the hostility of the tribe, and the Kroos adopted the blue mark as a sign of their nationality, which always protected them from purchase by the white men. (Sylomun Weah, Liberia History and Culture).

     
    American Military Intervention
    Due to the apartheid system the Settlers developed in Liberia, it caused serious conflict between them and the indigenous people. This system isolated the indigenous people who first inhibited the land from the Settlers. The Settlers illegally acquired more land through the issuance of bogus treaties, which led to a series of battles. However, during some of these conflicts, the United States military intervened on the side of the Settlers.

    For example:
    In 1843, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, the man credited with opening up Japan to the West a few years later, descended on Kru Coast and Cape Palmas with over 700 American marines, in the vessels, MACEDONIAN, SARATOGA, and DECATUR, to punish the Kru and Grebo people for their alleged attacks on American shipping, and to assist Liberia and Cape Palmas in their struggle against the indigenous people in Kru Coast and Cape Palmas. The series of battles was sanctioned by Governors J.J. Roberts of Liberia and John Russwurm of Cape Palmas.

    In 1875, the U.S.S. Alaska was dispatched by President Ulysses S. Grant to Liberia, after Liberian troops lost a series of battles to Grebo warriors; in 1910, President Howard H. Taft of the United States dispatched the U.S.S. Birmingham to Liberia, when another major war began between Liberian and the Grebo people; and in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, sent the U.S.S Chester with 500 rifles and 250,000 rounds, to assist the Liberian Government when war with the Kru people began over the hut tax, and the forced recruitment of indigenous-Kru labor by the Liberian Government.
    Again in 1915, the United States came to the aid of the Settlers; confronted by a revolt of the Krus:

    The Monrovia government implored the United States to provide it with munitions and to send a cruiser to assist in the suppression of the revolt and to forestall foreign intervention. The United States agreed to do so, and the war Department sent over five hundred Krag carbines and two hundred and fifty thousand rounds of ammunition upon an American cruiser, the Chester. These munitions were sold to Liberia at half-price upon delivery! Thus supplied, the American-organized Frontier Force almost decimated the Kru resistance force (The Liberian Paradox, Raymond, Leslie Buell, March 31, 2010).

    Imposition of Custom Duties
    During the period between 1850 to1860, the government experienced serious difficulty in asserting its sovereignty over some of the coastal tribes, particularly the Kru [Klao] and the Grebo, who resented the government’s attempt to put an end to their continued trade in human beings and the practice of trading directly with passing ships, as they have done for centuries, by bypassing the customs agents. These tribes staged a series of uprisings and raids on Americo-Liberian settlements which are referred to in Liberian history as tribal wars… The Kru [Klao] people along the Southeastern coast continued with lessening intensity until the early 1930’s (Area Handbook for Liberia, 1971, p. 17).

    Land Grab and Custom Duties
    Land Grab and Custom Duties were some of the factors that led the Klao People to earn status of “Troublemaker”. In the “Settlers’ History” written and taught as Liberian History, the Klao (Kru) people were portrayed as “troublemakers”, “war-like”, “hardheaded”, “fussy” people, etc., without first explaining the underlying factors that contributed to their fights for their civil, human and economic rights in Liberia. This article highlights some of the reasons which caused the Klao people to acquire such reputation and inaccurate portrayal their struggles.
    To begin with, we need to know who are the people known in Liberia as Kru (Kroo). Secondly, do they refer to themselves in their language as Krus? If not, how do they refer to themselves?

    Before the Elizabeth and the Alligator, ships that brought the Settlers from North America, the Kwa linguistic speaking group that consisted of Bassa, Dei, Klao, Belle and Krahn were referred to in Liberian history books as KROO or KROOMEN. As noted, this group did not only consist of the Klao (Kru) ethnic group. The KROO referred to by Europeans, consisted of the three ethnic groups who lived along the Atlantic Ocean: Klao (Kru), Bassau or Bassaw (Bassa), and Grebo. There is evidence of their working relationship with European traders, especially Portuguese explorers as far as 1461.
    Within three centuries a flourishing trade developed between the coastal Africans and European Merchants. The Klao (Kru), Bassau (Bassa), and Grebo were employed as crews (laborers) on European ships. It is believed that the name KROO or KRU derived from the English word, CREW. This group served as crews on these ships.

    The so-called Kru people in Liberian History referred to themselves as KLAO, which is also spelled KRAO. The name Kru stuck on them in the same manner that African Liberian leaders were referred to in Liberian (Settlers’) History as: King George, King Freeman, Chief Boatswain, Joe Harris, King Governor, King Peter, and Long Peter. I wonder whether there was a Short Peter! Others references to African Liberian leaders are: King Jimmy, King Jack Ben, and worst of all, a Klao (Kru) man was referred to as “Bottle Beer” (Guannu, Joseph Saye, Liberian History Before 1857, p. 25).

    The Bassa, Kru (Klao) and Grebo lived in permanent settlements along the coast. The Kru people which consisted of the three ethnic groups worked as seamen on European ships. They were so successful that the name Kru became synonymous with sailor among the traders and shipowners (Yekutiel Gershoni, Black Colonialism – 1985, p. 4).
    In the book titled: The Black Republic – Liberia: Its Political and Social Conditions To-Day written in the 1920s by Henry Fenwick Reeve, a British Colonial Secretary in The Gambia made the reference below:
    ‘The Love of Liberty’ which brought the American Negroes to Africa has not worn well in latter years and has never been fully extended to the peoples under their control. The ‘Bush Niggers,’ as the Liberians term their fellow citizens of the Interior, still fight among themselves without interference on the part of Government, while the spoil of battle in prisoners, men, women or children, is still bartered among themselves, and even sold to the Liberians under the euphemism of ‘Boys’ (Wards).
    The term “Boy” is a derogatory reference, which regard people of African origin as child-like. The Americo-Liberian Settlers used it in relation to the African Liberians in the same manner; “boy” was used in reference to them in North America.

    According to Reeve:
    Liberians (Settlers) never liked work since the establishment of the colony; agriculture even has had but slight attraction for the people. It is not strange, all things considered. The ancestors of these people used to work hard in the fields before they went over there; one reason they went was that they wanted to escape field labour. They had always been accustomed to see their masters live in ease, without soiling their hands with toil; when they became their own masters they naturally wanted to be like the men to whom they had been accustomed to look up to with respect. Trade has always been in high repute. It was easy for the new-comers to trade with the natives of the country and rapidly acquired a competence. So far as work was concerned there were plenty of ‘Bush Niggers’ to be had cheaply. There is, however, another way of escape from manual labour besides trade-that is professional life. Everywhere people do not wish to work with their hands may seek a profession; it is so here with us – it is so there with them. The Liberians would rather be ‘reverends’ or doctors or lawyers than work with their hands.

    Of all the professions, however, law seems to be the favourite. The number of lawyers in Liberia is unnecessarily large, and lawyers naturally drift into politics; they aim to become members of Congress (the Legislature) or judges of the Supreme Court, or members of the Cabinet, or President of the Republic. It is unfortunate that so many of them are anxious for that kind of life, but they are skilled in it, and we have nothing to teach them when it comes to politics. (Reeve, The Black Republic, pp. 69-70).

     
    Reeve went on to say:
    The hiring of the Kroo-boys by the Government of Liberia is a matter of common knowledge on the West African coast, and perhaps in the circumstances there is little fault to be found with the principle, as the gentle Kroo-boy is far and away the best labourer to be found, and is especially good in the working of ships and boats, for which purpose our own (Britain) nation has been party to the custom, both in naval and merchant ships. Where a Government is consistently face to face with an empty Treasury it may be forced into hiring out of some of its subjects, even while its own territory requires the labour of every able-bodied man for its industrial development.

    (IBID)
    However, the methods the Settlers adopted in Liberia to raise revenue from this lucrative source, was ruinous to the seagoing Kroo laborers. Rather than adequate measures to regulate the movements of one of the backbones of the economy by allowing emigration in districts where labor was plentiful while disallowing it where minimal, hence ensuring help for home industries, the authorities contracted alien firms which charged the shipping companies high “Head Money” it split with the Government. In this equation, the more men shipped the more money went to the contractor and the Treasury. And were it not for the loyalty of these men for what they call “We Country” which lured them back once yearly, coupled with a desire to adhere to tribal laws, the Kroo coast would have been depopulated.

    The Treasury also benefitted by a condition in the contract with the employer at other ports on the coast under which part of the wages for the yearly service of the Kroo laborer was paid in merchandise. Thus, import duties were levied on his goods in the Colony where he worked, and by the government of Liberia on his return. In the end, returning laborers recouped little profit on the one-half of his year’s work. That’s the baboon work monkey draw syndrome; it’s been an albatross on the powerless in our country forever.

    Formerly, “Boys” could be taken off from their own beach, under a contract with the chief of their tribe, but the embarkation and re-embarkation was made at one of the several ports of the customers on the Liberian coast under heavy penalties on shipmasters. However, for amphibian Kroo laborers, the mile or two of sea separating a ship’s deck from their native village was a trifle, and they occasionally took French leave in those circumstances, pushing their trade boxes while swimming until picked up by canoes. Relatives would then meet them on the beaches, and in accordance with native custom elders would help themselves to a goodly share of their merchandise. This meant that, in the final analysis, the Kroo laborer gained little either way by his love of community and country, so often decided to make his home elsewhere, especially when such migrations were sweetened by incentives from the shipping companies and the colonial administrations in the later Kroo enclaves of Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Liverpool, England (Reeve, The Black Republic, pp. 118-120).
    Another case was reported in the Government Gazette published in Monrovia, January, 1916. It is interest to note the racial enmity existing between the Liberians and the Kru/Klao people, as well as the lack of firm government on the part of the rulers of the Republic:
    Executive Mansion, Monrovia, December 18th, 1915
    To the Citizens of the St. Paul River in general, and Caldwell, Clay Ashland, Virginia, White Plains, and Crozierville in particular.
    Fellow Citizens,
    I regret to inform you that I have heard very unpleasant reports of the actions of certain of my fellow-citizens towards that portion of our citizenship in your midst composed of Kroo people.
    They have complained to me of threats having been made on their lives by citizens in Caldwell, whose names were given to me, that if they were found out after six o’clock p.m. they would be shot; also, that violence has been done to their property in the settlements specifically named, all of which is said to be done in retaliation for the alleged killing in Virginia, supposed to have been done by the Kroos.
    I have to remind you that the Kroos who were accused of the killing in Virginia were tried and acquitted in our own court by a jury composed mostly, if not entirely, of persons from the River.

    I am already overburdened with the responsibility of dealing with the acts of unthinking and irresponsible persons, and have to warn you one and all, good loyal citizens, to raise your voice and lend your aid against any and everything that savours of lawlessness. By so doing you avert the bringing of trouble and frown of God upon you (sic) country, which every citizen is, by his lone actions, capable of doing.

    It is worse than hypocrisy to pray in our churches for God to bring in the native people and deny them the benefit of the law of the land for which we contend so strongly.
    The law, of course, will be rigidly enforced upon violators (sic) without partiality, but I feel that all good and law-abiding citizens should be sufficiently interested in the good name of their townships to see that it is not defamed by reckless persons, and I take this method of calling upon such persons to maintain the dignity of the State and the Constitution which guarantees to all men the right to enjoy life, liberty, and to defend his property.
    Your obedient servant,
    D. E. Howard
    President, R.L.
    (IBID, pp. 74-75).
    From the so-called founding of the Republic of Liberia,
    The natives have never been considered the equals of the emigrants, nor treated as brothers … utilized as house servants. “It is convenient to fill one’s house with (‘Bush Niggers’) servants and the settlers have done so from the early days of settlement”, wrote Professor Starr. He and Reeve noted that the driver of the trouble between the rulers and ruled was because the former arrogated to themselves “the position of white man in Africa yet lacking any sense of right and justice or the power to enforce decisions was a travesty, which the natives recognized as bluster on the part of the Americo-Liberians”. (Reeve, The Black Republic, pp. 58-59)
    These are some of the factors that led to the Kru (Klao) and Grebo revolts against the Settlers that are inaccurately reported in ‘Liberian History’.

    Kangaroo Court System
    Reeve provided a strange example of how the court dispensed justice. He wrote:
    Liberians are not much given to independent speaking. One man spoke out and the Government put him in jail without bail, and a woman was held without bail for ‘talking too much.’ In each case it was an ‘ally’ who got caught. No wonder everybody shut up like clam.

    Another incident Reeve mentioned involved a District Commissioner (DC) who rendered the following decision:
    A. you are in the right to a certain degree, but you are in the wrong also because you took up arms without authority of the Government, you are therefore fined two hundred dollars. B. you were wrong in attacking A. without first reporting the matter to the Government, so you must find the same amount as A.
    The miscarriage of justice was so rampant in Liberia that Graham Greene wrote what he observed in his book titled, Journey Without Map. It reads:
    A case was also reported to me from several sources of a man who had been wounded close to Sasstown (during the Sasstown War) and wished to surrender. Although unarmed and pleading for mercy he was shot down in cold blood by soldiers in the presence of Captain Cole.

    In another case:
    The soldiers crept into the banana plantations, which surround all native villages, and poured volleys into huts. One woman who had that day been delivered of twins was shot in bed, and the infants perished in the flames when the village was fired by the troops. In one village the charred remains of six children were found after the departure of the troops. In this connection, it may be mentioned that a man who had been a political prisoner at New Sasstown stated that he heard soldiers boasting of having cut children down with cutlasses and thrown them into the burning huts.

    Similar incident occurred in 1916, which involved the Klao (Kru) leader known as Juah Nimene (Seyon Juah Nimene – 1869 – 1937). Due to the inhumane treatment Juah Nimene and his people received from the Liberian authorities, he complained in a letter addressed to Lord Cecil of the League of Nations’ Liberia Committee stating that “It is most certain that we will be arrested like Nana Kru Chiefs who are now in custody at Sinoe, and in the end we may be killed like the seventy-five chiefs who were invited to a ‘peace conference’ at Sinoe but who were seized and executed in 1916”.

    Juah Seyon Nimene (Nimely)
    By August 1936, Juah Nimene had defied the government for five years. Two months later, he was taken to Monrovia as a prisoner. Barclay interviewed the popular chief known as “Wonderful Nimene”. He believed that Nimene had been led astray by educated Kru Liberians; he singled out, Didhwo [Didwho] Twe as the “evil genius” behind the resistance. Chief Nimene was then exiled to Gbarnga for several months and in 1937, when he was set free and allowed to return to Sasstown, he died shortly after.

    Didwho Welleh Twe
    In 1950, Twe and others organized a political party called the Reformation Party of which he was selected as its standard bearer. During the 1951 Presidential Campaign, one political commentator wrote, “Didhwo [Didwho] Twe, a Kru running against Tubman for the presidency, used an old distinction to rally his followers, and Tubman found it necessary to deny the implications of the distinction in an election eve broadcast.”
    Find below what Tubman said about Twe:
    …Mr. Twe refers in his acceptance speech to Americo-Liberians and aborigines. Who are or ever were Americo-Liberians? Certainly not that band of stout-hearted men who gave us, under God, this goodly heritage, its name, style, and title! If any set of people were ever full-blooded Liberians and nothing else but Liberians without any other qualifying word or antecedent, it was they.
    Mr. Twe and his adherents complain that for hundred and four years of the independence of this country, no aboriginee had had the honor of being
    President of the Nation. Whom does he call aboriginees, he and his dangling group of a fifth of the Kru Tribe (emphasis are mine)? I protest! I contest his supercilious misconceived notion. H. R. W. Johnson, Daniel Edward Howard, Charles Dunbar Burgess King, Edwin Barclay and William V. S. Tubman are all aboriginees and indigenous people of this country, for we were all born, bred and reared here” (Area Handbook of Liberia, 1972 – 48).

    Cllr. Tuan Wreh wrote in his book: The Love of Liberty the statement below about Twe:
    In the course of his flight, Twe barricaded himself on his rubber estate as Tubman’s security forces combed the territory. The Krus (Klaos) in Monrovia, Twe’s staunch supporters, circulated the tale that during the period when he was being sought, he magically transformed himself into a white cat at his farmhouse and serenely looked on while the security forces searched in vain. After his escape, Twe told the American press that he had literally taken to the woods and remained there for four months, his protectors being ‘two beautiful and trustworthy maidens, whom the friendly African chiefs had provided for me’. The final stage of his flight into British territory was by canoe. (Tuan Wreh, The Love of Liberty: The Rule of President William V.S. Tubman in Liberia, pp. 56-57).

    Jacob Cummings, one of Tubman’s chief informer, and a Deputy Police Director named William Tecumbla Thompson used to conduct searches without warrants, whenever they felt like it. In the process, they would harass, physically and psychologically intimidate and abuse family members, relatives and friends of Twe and Tor, which at times resulted into imprisonment. Victims of Tubman’s Gestapo tactics were, Edwin J. Barclay, S. David Coleman, Paul Dunbar, S. Raymond Horace, Nete-Sie Brownell, J. Gbaflen Davies, Booker T. Bracewell, Thomas Nimene Botoe, S. Othello Coleman, etc. Later on in the 1960s, former Army Chief of Staff, General George Toe Washington, a law student named Frederick Gibson, Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr., and scores of others were his new victims.
    Such Gestapo tactics along with the PRO network was Liberia’s McCarthyism. It was used to destroy the reputations, livelihoods of prominent Liberians such as Didwho Twe, Nete Sie Brownell, Tuan Wreh, S. Raymond Horace, and Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr.
    D. Twe (Didwho Twe) was a progressive. Elected member of the House of Representatives in 1927, Twe introduced several legislations that were considered controversial by the ruling elite. For example, he introduced legislation to abolish the force labor activities, the pawn and porter systems practiced by the government and the ruling class. Twe was expelled from the House of Representatives for sedition, when in fact; he was expelled for his advocacy on behalf of African Liberians’ human and civil rights.
    Journalism Tuan Wreh suffered similar calamity and abuse.
    Tuan Wreh’s Fate
    Mr. Tuan Wreh, who became dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School, Commissioner of Immigration and Senator from Grand Kru County in post-Tubman years, then a 26-year-old journalism graduate from Boston University in Massachusetts, was made to clean Tubman’s toilet bowl with his bare hands and subjected to other forms of brutal human degradation. His crime was in 1955, he had written an article against Tubman’s manipulation of the constitution to perpetuate himself in office.
    These inhumane and illegal practices by the Liberian authorities against African Liberians led to the various revolts between the Settlers, Klao (Kru) and Grebo people in Liberia.

    Unlike other tribes, the Klao and the Grebo fought for justice like the American Patriot Patrick Henry, who when the American colony was being attack chose to act while others were waiting for consensus.
    Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! (Patrick Henry’s Speech: “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”, March 23, 1775 speech in Richmond, Virginia by way of a resolution to the Congress).
    The same is true with Abolitionist Frederick Douglass who said:
    …Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
    …There was an important lesson in the conduct of that noble Krooman (my emphasis) in New York the other day, who, supposing that the American Christians were about to enslave him, betook himself to the masthead and with knife in hand said he would cut his throat before he would be made a slave.
    …This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle (Frederick Douglass’ August 3, 1857 Speech: Power concedes nothing without a demand, delivered to a ‘West India Emancipation’ group in Canandaigua, New York).
    The (Kru/Klao) people in Liberia fought for freedom and justice like Patrick Henry and Frederick Douglas did in their days.

    Train Up A Child in the Way He Should Go…
    At an early age, Klao children were taught to always speak truth and never allow anyone to take advantage of them. They believed freedom and justice were given them by no one other than Sno-Nyesoa (Heavenly Father GOD); and that they should protect others who are abused and taken advantage of; a kind of ‘brothers’ keeper, like the Bible says. This belief is part of our DNA and nothing anyone can do about it!

    Yet, the people who have had extensive interaction with Europeans prior to the arrival of the Settlers (Americo-Liberians) are portrayed as “troublemaker”, “war-like”, “hardheaded”, “fussy”, “savage”, “primitive”, and “belligerent people”! The Settlers did this because the so-called “hardheaded” people resisted them by ‘any means necessary’ to protect their civil, human and economic rights. The portrayal of Klao people in “Liberian history” written by their so-called “historians” and their contemporary “scholars” resembles comic scripts out of Hollywood that depicts Native Americans as dumb and savages, while Cowboys and Scouts are portrayed as smart and intelligent; and always victorious in battles against Native Americans. Similar lies were told in Settlers’ history about African Liberians; a classic example is the Matilda Newport (Matilda Spencer, her name at the time she performed the so-called historic task).
    What a contradiction! The same people the Settlers portrayed as ‘fussy’ are referred to as:
    Morally as well as physically the Krumen are one of the most remarkable races in Africa. They are honest, brave, proud, so passionately fond of freedom that they will starve or drown themselves to escape capture and have never trafficked in slaves. Politically the Krus are divided into small commonwealths, each with a hereditary chief whose duty is simply to represent the people in their dealings with strangers. The real government is vested in the elders, who wear as insignia iron rings on their legs. Their president, the head fetish-man, guards the national symbols, and his house is sanctuary for offenders till their guilt is proved. Personal property is held in common by each family. Land also is communal, but the rights of the actual cultivator cease only when he fails to farm it. (An extraction from the 1911 encyclopedia: KRUMEN (KROOMEN, KROOBOYS, KRUS, or CRoos)
    Professor V. R. Ruggiero states in his book: The Art of Thinking that “If everyone makes his own Truth, then no person’s idea can be better than another’s”. This is the belief system upon which the Settlers ‘founded’ Liberia.

    The Kraos (Krus) are the most persecuted people by the Liberian authorities and their allies; because they will fight for their rights no matter the consequence. As the result, the Liberian government authorities considered them disruptive, and to the point of disrupting peace in heaven when we got there. The heaven they referred to is not the heaven where God resides; it is Liberia, the piece of land loan them in which the excluded the original owners.

    The phrase “Peace was in heaven until Kru People got there” resembles the accusation the Sanhedrin (a ruling body composed of both Sadducees and Pharisees) leveled against Christ for preaching the WORD of His Father on earth. His accusers felt that peace was on earth until He (Jesus Christ) came on earth to save mankind from sins.

    The Truth Shall Set You Free
    Each time issues concerning the injustices done to African Liberians are being discussed, benefactors of the system go on the defense, and will accuse African Liberians of practicing tribalism or ‘pushing up fire’. If any group in Liberia is tribalistic, the Americo-Liberian tribe is the architect; because for 133 (up to 1980) years, they were the ones who held to power by tribalistic means.
    We do not seek vengeance; that belongs to the Lord; we do not take matters into our own hands, we simply look to God to vindicate us in His own time and in His own way; praying this way affirms our confidence in God’s ultimate justice. Whether now or later, the truth will win out and hidden evils will be exposed. David prayed many such prayers against his enemies (Psalms 35 and 109).

    Conclusion
    In the Foreword to Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself, President Barack Obama wrote: [Mandela’s] “example helped awaken me to the wider world, and the obligation that we all have to stand up for what is right. Through his choices, Mandala made it clear that we did not have to accept the world as it is – this we could do our part to seek the world as it should be”.
    So as a youth, I too was awaken by the injustices I saw and experienced in Liberia and I promised the Almighty God that up to my last breath, I will seek justice for those who are denied it, especially, the Liberian people by their leaders since the founding of the country. Therefore, no one will ever persuade me from doing that which is RIGHT.

    Cultural Explanation of Word Kwii
    The word Kwii which is used to describe a so-called civilized person is derived from the Klao (Kru), Grebo and the Bassa languages. The original meaning for Kwii – is “spirit”. The word Kwii was later corrupted as a result of African Liberians’ interaction with the Settlers and European missionaries. Today, it is used to refer to a white person or a so-called civilized person. Kwii is plural, while KU is singular. KU means DEAD in Klao; add “Menmen” to Ku, becomes DEAD PERSON in the Klao (Kru) Language. It is a general belief held by the Klao, Grebo, and the Bassa ethnic groups that “White People” are our dead ancestors who had been reincarnated. According to our oral history, when our people die, they go behind the sea to live, and they remained there under the sea. And by living too long under the sea, their skin turned white.
    This Klao/Kru, Grebo, and Bassa live along the Atlantic Ocean; made their living as fishermen and some of them worked as stevedores on European ships. Legend has it that their ancestors who live under the sea provided them protection. So, when they encountered the first white people, they thought their dead ancestors had reincarnated.

     

     Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is a founding member the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), Inc., and its 11th President (1986-1988). He is the historian of the organization; former vice chair & chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. Elder Nyanseor is an ordained Minister of the Gospel. Also, he is a poet, Griot, journalist, a cultural, social and political activist. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is now on the market. His upcoming book: WROH: The Heart of the Matter consists of selected articles, stories and poems will soon be published. He can be reached at: siah1947@gmail.com. 

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    Jonathan Paye-Layleh’s Legitimate Fears http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/04/15/jonathan-paye-laylehs-legitimate-fears/ Sun, 15 Apr 2018 16:29:02 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4947 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh           

     

    There are historical precedents of intimidation, verbal abuse, physical abuse of journalists and the death of a journalist who was killed on the job in Liberia.

    One of the fatal stories of a journalist who was assassinated as he was doing his job occurred in the 1980s when Charles Gbeyon was allegedly ordered killed by President Samuel Kanyon Doe, for asking the dictator a question. 

    As it was in the Gbeyon case in 1985, Paye-Layleh in 2018 also asked a sitting president a question. And as it turned out, Paye-Layleh was met with a barrage of unexpected pushback from a very sensitive and intolerant President Weah, who did not hesitate to intimidate him.

    However, in Mr. Doe’s cowardly mind, it was unwise and even contemptuous for this working young journalist to ask the very powerful Liberian president a question, which meant public execution. 

    The intimidation, imprisonment, harassment, and death of Liberian journalists did not stop with President Samuel Kanyon Doe; but continued with government officials who will not hesitate to use their muscular authority to silence journalists. 

    Remember the legendary Albert Porte and the incomparable Tuan Wreh? Both men had their own run-in with Presidents William V. S. Tubman and William R. Tolbert, Jr. 

    Tuan Wreh’s groundbreaking book, “The Love of Liberty” chronicled Tubman’s repressive 27-year rule; and was openly opposed to Mr. Tubman’s grip on power for which he was tortured and jailed without trial for 131 days. 

    The energizer Albert Porte was fearless, and his legendary activism is forever etched into our collective consciousness.
    We are forever grateful to Albert Porte and Tuan Wreh and other men and women who followed in their footsteps to bring Liberia to where it is today in its rocky journey to democracy and the rule of law. 

    However, as far as I can remember – from the days of the autocratic William V. S. Tubman to the days of Tolbert, Doe, Taylor, and even Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian journalists have never been safe, and they better know what they write or say, else, there will be harsh consequences for doing their job.

    In 2002, journalist Hassan Bility of the Analyst, a frequent critic of the government, was arrested and jailed for months on trump-up charges of attempting to assassinate President Charles Taylor.

    In 2007, the late Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis threatened to imprison journalists for committing such “infractions” for misspelling his name, and giving him wrong and inappropriate titles, and “attaching his photos to stories that have nothing to do with him in their papers”

    In 2011 Rodney Sieh of FrontPage Africa was arrested on contempt of court charges when his newspaper published a reader’s letter to the editor accusing then-Supreme Court Justice Gladys Johnson of bias in a criminal case.

    In 2016, journalist Philipbert Brown was arrested and jailed for libel on the orders of a civil law court when his paper published an interview about a teenage girl who was allegedly raped in 2013 by lawmaker Prince Moye.

    In 2016, journalist Festus Poquie was arrested by plainclothes officers for republishing a story in the New Democrat’s that quoted a political opponent of Equatorial Guinea’s dictatorial president Teodoro Obiang as alleging the president is a cannibal.

    Also, in 2016, journalist Wremongar Joe of radio station Prime FM was beaten by three unknown men, after he refused their request that he delete a video of a brawl between a lawmaker and spectators during a football match.

    These are some of the unfortunate stories (there are many, many more stories) of Liberian journalists who were either intimidated and imprisoned for doing their job, a reminder that in Liberia, the wages of daring to be a journalist is dangerous.

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh committed a ‘crime’ in Liberia against President George Weah when he asked the powerful and undisputed Liberian leader a question that (I guess) embarrassed him so much that he had to vent his displeasure publicly.

    According to Paye-Layley’s open letter, he asked President Weah whether he (Weah) was willing to do what Human Rights Watch had asked him to do – that is to create a space for victims of the civil war to face their alleged perpetrators.

    This is a legitimate question, especially at a time when the Liberian people are demanding that President Weah put his weight and skyrocketing influence behind the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia, to seek justice for the dead and their countless living relatives who are still in excruciating pains over the senseless deaths of their friends and relatives.

    Knowing the chilling history between journalists and government officials in Liberia, it is not insane for Jonathan Paye-Layley, who is BBC and AP Monrovia Correspondent, to raise the specter that his life is in danger after President George Weah said publicly that Paye-Layleh depicted a ‘positive image of the carnage of the war’ and “was one person against him” during his (Weah’s) days as a human rights advocate.

    First of all (1), I am unaware of George Weah ever being a Human Rights advocate, and (2) with all the problems in Liberia facing his fledgling administration, is this issue with Paye-Layley serious enough that it requires his attention?

    Really, Weah?

    This is as petty as it gets.

    And instead of Weah dabbling in such profound pettiness, all he needed to do was to answer the question before him. Instead, he fumes like a child and brings back the past to intimidate this journalist and other journalists.

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh did the right thing when he took his complaint or concerns about Weah to a global audience. Paye-Layleh also did the right thing when he decided to leave the country fearing for his life.

    Liberia is a country where impunity reigns, and there is no rule of law.

    The public execution of journalist Charles Gbeyon allegedly by President Doe, and the mysterious and unsolved death of Harry A. Greaves, Jr., during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, is a constant reminder of our own vulnerabilities as activists, opinion writers, and journalists.

    By intimidating a journalist publicly, and shutting down or threatening to shut down the office of FrontPage Africa, President Weah shows that his administration is just as intolerant and undemocratic as his predecessors.

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    Cecelia Cuffy-Brown Shoots Her Way Through an Incoherent Talk-Fest http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/04/03/cecelia-cuffy-brown-shoots-her-way-through-an-incoherent-talk-fest/ Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:47:55 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4943 “The president is almost the ultimate power (except for the legislate) he could have employed his brothers. I think he was trying to appease the Liberian people by saying your go out your go find your own jobs. I am proud of those men. Let’s go into the best part of it. I am a qualified Liberian woman. Very qualified. I know my job and I am proud, and I am very, very competent of my job. I am very proud of myself. I think it is a blessing for me to work in this country. We should not politicize everything, you know. But you are more concerned about a decent family, decent family who are helping us. They come to work on time, they are very responsible. They blend in. They are very, very humble.” 3/2018. Cecelia Cuffy-Brown, Acting National Port Authority Managing Director.

    By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh 

     

    If I were President George Weah, I will not hesitate to fire Cecelia Cuffy-Brown immediately for making me look way too bad for hiring her as Deputy Managing Director and Acting Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA).

    But then again, why will President Weah want to fire a lady who totes his dirty water publicly, and defended him and his family dutifully the way she did during that painfully combative and incoherent press conference to defend charges of mind-boggling nepotism in his new administration. 

    Ms. Cuffy-Brown’s ill-prepared public performance did not put the issue of nepotism in the Weah administration to rest. And it did not help her public image as arrogant and unfit for her current job either. Her behavior, however, speaks loudly of her lack of understanding of public service in the supposedly pro-poor administration that touts populism as a way forward.

    See, Cecelia Cuffy-Brown is one of those “qualified” (as she touts herself to be) indigenous Liberian women who believe sincerely that by rising above all odds to be where she is today gives her the license to be uncultured and defiant in the public sphere.

    From what I know, humility and respect for others can go a long way, and can drastically transform a person who hailed from an impoverished background to be appreciative of the little things or big things that come their way. It is a personal victory that stems from perseverance and a dogged mindset to make something of themselves.

    What this lady who grew up in the impoverished slums of New Kru Town from humble roots and a wonderful, hardworking family is the obvious lack of humility and the understanding that arrogance and a loud-mouth can quickly derail a career, as the public will now see the arrogance and how out of touch with reality she has been.

    Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf failed to shake off charges of nepotism and massive public-sector corruption during her 12-year term. Like Cecelia Cuffy-Brown, Madame Sirleaf was derisive, eternally in denial, and is now loathed by most Liberians today.

    Sadly, the Weah administration seemed to copy the playbook of his predecessor who left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Liberian people when she failed miserably to control public-sector corruption during the dozen years she served as President of Liberia. 

    At issue is the hiring of President Weah’s relatives at the National Port Authority. But how many of the president’s relatives are currently employed at NPA? From her little talk-fest, Ms. Cuffy-Brown hints there are three relatives of the president working at NPA.

    However, according to Front Page Africa, which first reported the story, the President’s relatives are being paid as ‘Consultants” a monthly salary of $4,500.00 a person.

    It has been reported that Ms. Cecelia Cuffy-Brown also hired her sister, Rebecca Teta Cuffy as Claims Manager. Rebecca Teta Cuffy whose previous salary was $300.00 was given a 300% pay increase bringing her monthly salary to $1,067.00.

    Of course, this is happening in a country where most Liberians are unemployed and cannot afford to buy a cup of rice to eat or feed their family on a daily basis.

    As the issue of nepotism swirled around her like a fast-moving tornado, Ms. Cuffy-Brown took to the podium and held her combative news conference, which by the way President Weah failed to do (as it has been in many other cases) to clarify the ongoing controversy and other pressing national issues in the country.

    However, instead of easing public concerns about the hiring process Ms. Cuffy-Brown even suggested that the Weah family is a “decent family who are helping us.” According to Ms. Cuffy-Brown, “they come to work on time, they are very responsible. They blend in. They are very, very humble.” 

    How arrogant and silly can she be to even say something stupid like that? So, what is wrong with the public knowing about the hiring process and how their money is being spent?

    How did Mr. Weah and Ms. Cuffy-Brown’s relatives get their jobs? Is there a competitive interview and hiring process that gave other Liberians a chance to pursue the same jobs at the National Port Authority, that the Weahs and Rebecca Teta Cuffy now occupy? 

    One thing I know about my Liberian people is their affinity for selective criticism, especially when the person in the Executive Mansion is a beloved figure who is their favorite president.

    Liberians who are quiet today about nepotism in the Weah administration are the same individuals who wanted Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s head for nepotism when she was president.

    Liberia will never be a democratically vibrant and economically prosperous country when we conveniently pick and choose which president we want to criticize for bad governance.

    President Weah is not a demigod as some want him to be. He’s a human. Period. And Liberians must keep him in check to do the right thing.

    There is an urgent need for accountability in Liberia. There is also an urgent need to build strong and lasting institutions in Liberia.

    President Weah, make yourself available to the Liberian people by having a weekly or monthly press conference.

    “Muyan” (Kru) means to move forward. Anything else is to move backward “Muday” (Kru), which is not progress.

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    The Success of Cuba Medical Internationalism – Finding solutions to the Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations Health Care Delivery Systems http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/30/the-success-of-cuba-medical-internationalism-finding-solutions-to-the-liberia-and-the-mano-river-union-nations-health-care-delivery-systems/ Fri, 30 Mar 2018 18:20:12 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4939 By. James B. Jaddah, Sr.     

     

    Liberia our beloved country located on the West Coast of Africa is considered to have the worst health care delivery system in the Mano River Nations and the entire West African Region.

    Liberia, after 170 years of our sovereignty we are considered to have the worst health care delivery system with the doctor to patient ratio of 1 medical doctor to the population of 86,000 by the time of the Ebola pandemic in Liberia.

    Liberia and the Mano River Nations were greatly devastated by the outbreak of the Ebola virus. Liberia was mostly affected by the Ebola virus outbreak than any of the four Mano River Union Nations at which time more than five thousand Liberians lost their lives in less than one year. This is a clear indication that Liberia has the worst health care delivery system in the Mano River Union Nations and within the entire West African Region.
     
    Now let’s look at the patients to a doctor’s Ratio within the Mano Rivers Union Nations and the West African Region.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO) analysis of the basic health care metric doctor to patient’s ratio, the key in helping identify the most vulnerable West African states to ongoing Ebola outbreak; unsurprisingly Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have remained the epicenters of the pandemic, have the worst patients to doctor ratio in West Africa. Liberia has a ratio of about 86,000 patients to 1 medical doctor and Sierra Leone has about 45,000 patients per 1 medical doctor. Now let’s look at the patients to doctor’s ratio in the entire region. 
     
    Country-Total Numbers of doctors — total population — Doctors Patient Ratio population per doctor            
    Liberia 51 doctors 4.4 million people 86,000 persons per doctor
    Sierra Leone  136 doctors 6.2 million people 45, 000 persons per doctor 
    Burkina Fasso 713 doctors 24.3 million people 24,000 persons per doctor
    Togo 349 doctors 7 million people 20,000 persons per
    doctor 
    Benin 542 doctors 10 million people 18,000 persons per doctor
    Senegal 741 doctors 12.8 million people 17,274 persons per doctor
    Cameron 1,346 doctors 20 million people 15,000 persons per doctor
    Guinea Bissau 124 doctors 1.75 million people 14,113 persons per doctor
    Mali 1,291 doctors 15.7 million people 12,000 persons per doctor
    Ghana 2,325 doctors 27 million people 11,634 persons per doctor
    Guinea 940 doctors 10.6 million people 11,277 persons per doctor
    Gambia  175 doctors 1.8 million people 10,723 persons per doctor
    Cote D’Ivoire 2,746 doctors 23.2 million people 8,449 persons per doctor
    Nigeria 58,363 doctors 168 million people 2,879 persons per doctor
    South Africa 39,541 doctors 54 million people 1,320 persons per doctor
    Source: Un/WHO Damina Advisors.
     
    The purpose of this project is intended to urgently propose to the Government of Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations the most and cost-effective way to help improve our health care delivery system which is the worst in the region is to urgently begin to negotiate with the Government of the Republic of Cuba immediately to initiate a scholarship program for the education of our medical students in their country. Cuba has the largest medical institutions in the world with over 19,000 medical students from 103 nations around the world. 

    Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations to begin negotiating with the Cuban Embassies in the region with the possibility of eventually signing an agreement to follow the path taken by other developing nations, including Africa. Many of these nations have had their medical students trained in Cuba as the result of the Cuban’s program of Medical internationalism. This partnership, when established, would help to boost up and develop our health care systems before we encounter another eruption of the pandemic of the Ebola virus or any other communicable disease that may devastate our communities. 
     
    For example, such agreement with the Cuban government could be for Cuba to send doctors and other medical personnel to Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations to help improve the health care delivery system, which could save about thousands of lives annually.  The Cuban doctors upon arrival in Liberia could be dispatched and assigned in our rural communities while the medical students are undergoing their studies. Gradually, these Cuban doctors will be replaced as the medical students complete their studies. Medical education in Cuba is free including room and board.

    The Liberian government will only provide stipends for the medical students while undergoing six years period of studies, which may cost the government not more than 5 to 10 percent of the national budget. Liberia could emulate the government of the Republic of Ghana and other African Nations that have succeeded in training their medical students in Cuba, to help improve their poor health care delivery system. Liberia too could benefit to help improve the health system in the entire West African region. 
     
    Now let’s take look at the Cuban Health Care medical internationalism.
     
    History of Cuba’s Medical Internationalism around the World
    Preceding the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the number of doctors per thousand of the population ranked above Britain, France, and the Netherlands. Yet there were inequalities because most Cuban doctors were based in the prosperous cities, while citizens of the towns saw few doctors. Health care services deteriorated because of the mass exodus of Cuban due to the United States embargo against Cuba as the result, there was an increase in infant mortality.
     
    The urgent needs for better health care services prompted the new government to embark upon the idea of a universal health care delivery system. Based on an essay, “On Revolutionary Medicine” written by Che Guevara, a physician who was one of the architects of the Cuban Revolution in 1960; came up with a program plan which will provide public health services for a greater number of the population.

    The intended goal of the program was preventive health services. The entire population was taught to practice basic hygiene, like handwashing; before the new government enshrined its belief within the Cuba National constitution, it launched the medical internationalism. To be precise, it was done in 1963. Cuban medical internationalism began sending medical personnel overseas, particularly to Latin America, Africa, etc.

    By 2007 Cuba had 42,000 workers in international collaborations in 103 different countries of whom more than 30,000 were health personnel including, no fewer than 19,000 physicians. Cuba provides more medical personnel to developing nations than all G8 countries combined; this comparison does not consider what G8 development spent on developing nations’ health care.

    More important, the Cuban missions have had a substantial positive impact on the population it served. It is widely believed medical workers are Cuba’s most important export commodity.
     Cuba Medical Humanitarianism around the world    
    The Cuban Government driven by their foreign policy and humanitarian objectives dispatched Cuban doctors who worked alongside other local and foreign doctors to achieve their goals.

    For example, in 1972 and 1990 Cuba dispatched emergency assistance teams to Chile, Nicaragua, and Iran following the earthquakes. Similarly, in the wake of the December 1999 mudslides in Vargas State, Venezuela, which killed 20,000, Cuban government sent medical emergency assistance.
     
    In Honduras, the medical personnel had a substantial impact. In the areas they served, infant mortality rates were reduced from 38.8 to 10.1 per 1000 live birth and maternal mortality rates from 48.1 to 22.4 per 1000 live births between 1998 and 2003.

    However, the idea of a nation saving lives and improving the human condition is alien to the traditional statecraft and is therefore discounted as a rationale for the Cuban approached. In 2004 the 1700 medical personnel in Guatemala received the order of the Quetzal, the country highest state honor. In the year 2000, an attempt by Honduras to expel the Cuban mission on the basis that it was threatening Honduras jobs was successfully resisted by the trade union and community organizations.
     The success of Cuban Doctors in Ghana
    In 2013 the government of Ghana invited about 350 Cuban medical doctors in the country to support the national health care under a medical service and educational agreement between Cuban and Ghana.

    The Cuban doctors, according to Ghana Ministry of Health, were not to be paid salaries but rather receive monthly allowances and free accommodation during their stay in the country. As per the Ghanaian Ministry of Health, the Cuban doctors worked in the rural areas where typical Ghanaian doctors will not accept an assignment.

    Medical assistance from Cuba formed part of the efforts by the Ghana government to enhance the doctor patient’s ratio and accordingly improve accessibility to health care delivery. In 2013 there were 2,843 doctors for the population of over 25 million, giving a ratio of one medical doctor to 10,000 patients a situation which affected the delivery of quality healthcare.

    On the training of Ghanaian doctors in Cuba, medical students are selected from deprived districts and communities, would be made to serve in their respective areas after graduation from medical school. The government of Cuba and Ghana signed a partnership agreement a few years ago; that agreement allowed Ghanaian doctors to be trained in Cuba while Cuban would come to Ghana to offer health care services.

    Cuban doctors who were currently in Ghana worked mostly in public hospitals. For almost 20 years Cuban doctors had been working in Ghana to support the efforts by the government to improve the health care delivery system. So far as of 2014, Cuba had trained more than 1,100 Ghanaian doctors in different fields of medicine. When it comes to health care, it is the government responsibility to provide and improve the nation’s health care delivery system.
     
    South African Medical Students in Cuba and Cuban doctors In South Africa
    South Africa has a high-profile program which involved training of medical students in Cuba; it is part of an urgent national drive to increase the number of doctors produced. Meanwhile, the government of South Africa is also pushing for the national Universities to boost the number of homegrown medical graduates.

    South Africa’s high-profile program involved the training of medical students in Cuba which is part of an urgent national drive to increase the number of doctors being produced to augment the shortage of doctors in the country. One of the main draw cards the Cuban system use is placing emphasis on primary health care and prevention in the country with a large rural population like in most African countries. According to the South Africa Ministry of Health, South Africa’s eight medical schools produced roughly 1,200 doctors annually. Since the occurrence of HIV/AIDS together with the loss of qualified doctors to developed countries has exacerbated the shortage of Physicians in the country. The 2010 World Health Organization statistics identified South Africa’s doctor to patient ratio at eight medical doctors for every 10,000 people, which is much better than most African countries.
     
    Since the inception of South Africa and the Cuba Health cooperation agreement in the mid-1990s which selects students from the rural areas to study for six years in Cuba and return to South Africa to take an assignment in the rural areas have made a tremendous impact in health care service delivery in the rural areas. Since 2010 nearly 246 graduates have been produced specially for South Africa Public health sector, another 388 are in the pipeline and will be graduating soon and more are still undergoing studies. 

    Let’s look at the Cuban Medical institutions the largest in the world
    In 1999 the Cuban government established the Escuela Latino Americana de Medicine (ELAM) in Spanish and in English Latin America School of Medicine (LASM) formerly the Latin America School of Medical Sciences.

    This is the major international medical school in Cuba and a prominent part of Cuban health care system. ELAM is operated by the Cuban government and considered the largest medical school in the world by enrollment with about 19,550 students from 110 countries including the USA reported to enroll in 2013. All those enrolled are international students from outside Cuba and mainly Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Africa and Asia. The school accepts students from the United States, 107 enrolled in 2007. Tuition accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided for the student by the Cuban government.
     
    The mission of ELAM is to make competent and cooperative doctors with the degree of MD (Doctor of Medicine) the same degree that is offered to medical schools’ graduates all over the Americas. The educational commission officially recognizes the Latin America School of Medicine for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG); this includes the World Health Organization. It is fully accredited by the Medical Board of the state of California which has the strictest US standard; it means that qualified US graduates of the Latin America School of Medicine are eligible to apply for residency placement in the state of California and the entire USA.
     Admission to the Cuban Medical institutions
    The Cuban government offered new students annual entry to the Latin America School of Medicine. The application is processed through the accredited Cuban diplomatic missions in the student’s home country. It is necessary to contact the Cuban Embassy or Cuban interest section to request for accurate information. The application process has been designed especially for young people from economically disadvantaged families or communities.
     Scholarship Program
    The scholarship program includes full tuition, dormitory housing, three meals per day at the campus cafeteria, textbooks in Spanish for all courses, school uniform, basic toiletries, bedding and small monthly stipend of 100 Cuban pesos, the scholarship does not include travel expenses to and from school which is not necessary in the first three years out of the six years as all classes during those years are walking distance from the dorms, the scholarship also does not include travel to and from Cuba.
    Conclusion and Recommendations 
    I would like to recommend to the government of Liberia and the Mano River Union Nations to urgently begin negotiating with the Cuban Embassies in their respective nations for scholarship agreement from the Cuban government for our medical students to be trained in Cuba. This is the only cost-effective way to help boost and develop our health care delivery system.

    The government of Liberia, the incoming government should take advantage of this opportunity by immediately initiating the negotiation process with the Cuban government for the scholarship for at least 250 Liberian medical students to study in Cuba for six years, and after which another batch of 250 medical students will replace the first graduates.

    This relationship could be established with the Cuban government for the period of 12 years, at the end of which, Liberia would have trained about 500 five hundred medical doctors. Part of the diplomatic and humanitarian agreement should include bringing in about 200 Cuban Medical doctors to Liberia to help with capacity building that will improve the needed health care delivery system to the masses of the Liberian people.   
     
    I will suggest for the government of Liberia and the Ministry of Health to consider relocating the A.M. Diglottic College of Medicine to Fendell Campus from the present location at the Catholic Hospital Campus. The Fendell location has adequate infrastructure, which includes dormitories, better classrooms, well-modernized laboratory with high-speed internet services.

    This would help boost and increase the number of medical students and graduates annually. The Liberia government should also annex the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) to the University of Liberia. Students who intend to enroll at the TNIMA should be recruited from the University of Liberia and other universities who have completed at least 60 credits in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.

    Students that are enrolled at TNIMA would complete the balance 68 credits in the various disciplines such as Nursing, Medical Laboratory Technology, Physician Assistant, Radiology and Environmental Health will be awarded a BS degree. In addition to TNIMA, the government should also consider the possibility of investing in the community colleges around the country to help establish paramedical departments such as Nursing and Medical Laboratory Technology to be taught on the associate degree level.  
     
    For the continued improvement of our medical facilities and institutions, the government should recruit retired A.M. Diglottic College of Medicine medical personnel and others from the Southeast Asian Nations like the Philippine’s India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China to serve as instructors at our universities and medical specialist at our healthcare institutions. Also, the government should promote the establishment of the school of midwifery and Nursing Assistant training program in all the 15 Counties to help contribute towards capacity building on the local levels.
     
    Finally, I honestly believe that with the establishment of the diplomatic partnership with the Cuban government to help train our medical doctors, the relocation of the University of Liberia Medical School to Fendell with the construction of new infrastructure to accommodate and boast the number of our medical school graduates with improving other paramedical institutions around the nation and the recruitment of retired medical specialists to work in our healthcare institutions will help to improve the quality of our healthcare delivery system and save many lives.
     
     Mr. James B. Jaddah, Sr. has BS & MS degrees in Health Services Administration. Diploma Physician Assistant, TNIMA, JFK Medical Center; former Director of Liberia Drug Enforcement Administration, Ministry of Justice, Liberia; he can be contacted at jamesjaddah@aol.com.

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    Choosing “Sick Bush” And Prayer Houses Over Western Medical Care Is A Threat To Community Health http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/30/choosing-sick-bush-and-prayer-houses-over-western-medical-care-is-a-threat-to-community-health/ Fri, 30 Mar 2018 16:51:39 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4936 By. Taiyee N. Quenneh, Ph.D.                  

     

    It is common practice from time in the past in Liberia for people to turn to traditional medicinal practice as a second or last option when western medicines fail them.

    The choice now appears to be reversed where sick bushes, with a method of traditional medicinal practice characterized by supernaturalism and witchcraft, take precedence over the local hospitals.

    It is understandable to seek sick bush treatments or seek healing in prayer houses in parts of the country where access to hospitals or western medical services is limited.

    The practice of opting for sick bushes and prayer houses in large urban areas like Monrovia, Buchanan, Gbarnga, and Ganta where the hospital system is accessible should be alarming to health authorities.

    Many Liberians, including people close to us, have reportedly died prematurely as a result of using sick bushes and prayer houses as options for care. I will mention three cases using fictional names to protect the deceased and their families.

    Tia James was a beautiful young girl who had just graduated from Stella Maris Polytechnic University. Like most young people coming out of undergraduate studies, she had a bright future awaiting her.

    Tia suddenly fell ill a few months after her graduation and without the benefit of a medical diagnosis from JFK Medical Center or one of the several hospitals in Monrovia, she was taken to a sick bush for treatment. Tia died in a couple of weeks while at the sick bush. No post-mortem was conducted to determine the cause of death.

    The most famous of those that have fallen to the hopeless allure of the sick bush was Thomas Kamara. Thomas was a shrewd political operator who was among the cadre of young intellectuals that propelled Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the Liberia presidency. He served in her government as a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance and later as a Minister of State without Portfolio.

    Thomas was no stranger to western medical practice. In fact, he held residence with his family in the United States. Thomas Kamara died while in treatment at a sick bush. Again, no post-mortem was conducted to determine the cause of death.

    Recently a prominent Liberian lecturer at several U. S. and Liberian universities passed away after his condition elevated or turned dire while seeking treatment at a sick bush. The esteemed college lecturer had a pre-existing condition of diabetes mellitus. He was flown to the United States where he later died following surgery.

    The prayer houses have gotten in on the act as well. Pastors and preachers are touting healing powers that are luring the sick and vulnerable into prayer houses. These pastors are not alone in this scheme. They have a willing partner – the sick. It may be daunting to convince the sick who hold to the belief that the source of their illnesses is not a bacteria, a virus or lifestyle, but rather a demonic spirit inflicted on them by their enemies.

    Such illnesses, they harbor, can only be cured by the healing powers of the pastors and preachers of the prayer houses. While the healing powers of God are unquestionable, the dispensation of such powers by men and women of God on one hand, and medical practitioners, on the other hand, are not mutually exclusive.

    It is God’s healing powers that are dispensed through the hands of medical practitioners. The pastors and preachers can exercise their healing powers at the patient’s bedside in a hospital instead of the patient going to the prayer house.

    There are three factors that instantly emerge as drivers of this phenomenon. A robust argument can be made that our penchant for the supernormal and witchcraft practices that are grounded in our cultural space, is a key driving factor. One can also easily speculate that perhaps modern medical practice in Liberia has failed to deliver on its promise. Lastly, the unaffordability of hospital care cannot be understated.

    The former is a psychological manipulation that both the provider and the recipient must believe. It is characterized by rituals such as dancing in the nude mainly at nights; chanting, bathing in boiled herbs, chuck rubbing, and drinking liquids spiced with strange herbs. These rituals are exercised with no consideration for whether the recipient has a pre-existing condition or not.

    The acidity levels and chemical composition of the cocktails ingested by patients are not established nor measured by the providers. Additionally, the efficacies of the treatments and the outcomes are difficult to measure. Authorities seldom go through the burdens of understanding whether deaths in sick bushes are caused by the underlying illnesses of the patients or the iatrogenic outcomes of the sick bush treatments.

    Though the practice is culturally entrenched, the community or society must be weaned off the idea that there is a better health outcome from a sick bush or a prayer house than from the local hospital.

    To date, there is no scientific body of knowledge that supports the efficacy of sick bush treatment. Sick bushes cannot treat diabetes; sick bushes cannot treat hypertension; sick bushes cannot treat renal problems; sick bushes cannot treat HIV/Aids, and sick bushes cannot treat the most common infectious and chronic diseases that afflict our population.

    Yet, purveyors of sick bushes provide no caveat when aggressively peddling the prowess of their treatments. Let it be noted, however, that the argument against sick bush treatment does in no way diminish or devalue herbal treatments as administered by trained/recognized herbalists.

    How do we then address the threats these alternative sources of treatments pose to community health? The threats can be addressed just as we would address any treatment concern with adverse consequences:

    Health authorities must initiate a massive education campaign that will enlighten the public on the value of hospital medicinal therapy over witchcraft therapy. The values of first collecting vital signs, then performing medical diagnosis using MRI, CAT Scan, X-Ray or fluid (blood, urine, etc) testing, before the administration of treatment must be stressed.
    Health authorities must mandate licensure and certification to legitimate traditional herbalists so as to weed out those that practice witchcraft or voodoo medicine.

     The hospital system must adjust its fee-for-service model, which is costly for most Liberians, to a patient-centered model that emphasizes quality outcomes. In order words, the hospital system must ensure an affordable and quality care outcome such that potential patients will be dissuaded from seeking care at sick bushes.

    Perhaps a much more practical measure that is aligned with the Liberian government’s pro-poor agenda would be the enactment of an Emergency Medical Treatment legislation that will require that anyone coming to a hospital emergency room should be stabilized and treated regardless of their ability to pay.

    This will ensure that during health emergencies, patients are not driven away from the hospital system with the desperate hope that their afflictions can be cured by the purveyors of sick bushes and prayer houses.

    Dr. Taiyee N. Quenneh is Adjunct Professor, Healthcare Services, Ashford University, U.S. A. He can be reached at tquenneh@yahoo.com.

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    White House to wind down protected status for Liberians http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/28/white-house-to-wind-down-protected-status-for-liberians/ Wed, 28 Mar 2018 01:09:16 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4933 CBS News      

    President Trump is directing his Departments of State and Homeland Security to bring an end to a humanitarian program that allowed for some Liberian nationals to have temporary residence in the United States.

    The grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians who would otherwise be removed from the U.S. was last extended by President Obama. However, it was due to expire on March 31. Mr. Trump is ordering that the deadline be extended for one more year as part of a “wind-down” effort before DED is official terminated for Liberian nationals.

    In a memo signed by Mr. Trump, the administration now finds that conditions in Liberia have improved and is “no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance.”

    The memo added, “Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals.” 

    A brief history of DED Started in 1991 in part through a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), certain Liberian nationals were eligible for DED, which allowed them to flee their country as a result of armed conflict and civil war and reside in the United States. 

    In 1999, the Clinton administration first authorized DED for a 1-year period after a civil war had ended. According to the White House, after the armed conflict came to a close in 2003, TPS for Liberians effectively ended in 2007, but President Bush then directed that DED be provided for 18 months to certain Liberians in the U.S. whose TPS was due to expire. Bush further directed Homeland Security to issue procedures for granting work authorization to DED-covered Liberians.

    Under the Obama administration, DED was extended several times including in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and in 2016 due to “compelling foreign policy reasons.”

    Who’s qualified?
    According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you are eligible for Liberian DED if you: 

    Are a Liberian national, or someone with no nationality (stateless) who last resided in Liberia;Are in the United States; Have lived in the United States since October 1, 2002; Had TPS on September 30, 2007; Were covered by DED on September 30, 2016; and Are not otherwise ineligible for DED as stated in President Obama’s directive dated September 28, 2016.

    What’s next

    DHS will now conduct a 12-month wind down period in order to provide Liberia’s government time to “reintegrate its returning citizens and to allow DED beneficiaries who are not eligible for other forms of immigration relief to make necessary arrangements and to depart the United States.” 

    During the 12-month window, certain current Liberian DED beneficiaries may remain in the United States, but Liberians are now likely to face deportation after the expiration of their protected status. 

    – 3/27/2018

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    Congratulations, Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr. http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/03/16/congratulations-dr-morris-t-koffa-sr/ Fri, 16 Mar 2018 01:16:24 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4930 Congratulations, Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr.           

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that our friend (Environmental Engineer) Morris T. Koffa, Sr., was on March 12, 2018 cleared by his Program Chair, Faculty and Board of Directors of Walden University to receive his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Public Policy and Administration, with a concentration in Emergency Management.

    Please refer to Mr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr., as Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr.
    Congratulations, Dr. Koffa. You worked very hard for your doctoral degree and earned it! We are proud of your hard work and scholarly endeavors.

    Dissertation topic:
    “The Efficacy of Disaster/Emergency Management Protocol in Liberia with Focus on Floods in the Bilimah Community, Liberia.” 

    Hooding and graduation ceremonies will be announced later. You can reach Dr. Koffa at 240-417-2545; Email: koffamkoffa@aol.com.

    – Dr. Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
    – 03/15/2018

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