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    Feed The Liberian Dialogue http://theliberiandialogue.org Serving you since 2002. Credible. Compelling. Consistent. Provocative. Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:30:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 The Missing Container http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/09/18/the-missing-container/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:30:15 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=5014 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

     

    Did it, or did it not happen? That’s the million-dollar question.

    The answer is, a container full of money is missing. 

    The exact amount is presumed to be L$9 billion, US$60 million.

    No, I am not making it up, and I am not writing this piece to willfully malign the Weah administration, either.

    According to a Press Release from the office of Frank Musah Dean, Jr., Minister of Justice, “initial findings indicate that the container and bags of moneys allegedly arrived between November 2017, prior to the inauguration of the current Government, and August 18. Evidence available to the Investigative Team has established that the current administration was not informed about the arrival of the containers and bags of money into the country.”

    Reports from Monrovia also indicated that the container full of money was signed off by staffs of the Central Bank of Liberia. And a request to enter the port and take delivery of the printed materials occurred on March 31, 2018, by Mrs. Mariea E. Grisby-Toe, Director, General Services, Musulyn R B. Jackson, Oldada Deshield and five individuals from the Central Bank of Liberia, who took delivery of the container. Lawrence Sirleaf and Ms. Elise G.N. Jolo of JVS Enterprise Inc reportedly were the brokers.

    The Weah administration obviously is in a damage control mode and is also playing the blame game – their words against the Sirleaf administration’s, and the general public, weighing in from all spheres of the globe, is aware that something’s wrong with Liberia and its political leaders.

    All of this perhaps could have been avoided had Mr. Weah agree to audit the Sirleaf administration after he publicly admitted that he inherited a government that had no money in its coffers.

    If he inherited a government that was broke, why did Mr. Weah refused to audit the Sirleaf administration?
    Can it be said that Mr. Weah refused to audit the Sirleaf administration because Madame Sirleaf probably had damaging information on him that could have compromised Weah?

    However, for corruption to go from the stealing of thousands of dollars to the stealing of a container full of money-billions ($16B, some estimates), is mind-boggling, and is something that does not only steer up the mind but diminishes all level of credibility and confidence in the Weah administration.

    It is also a national security issue for a nation that just came out of a 14-year civil war to have security breached in this manner, and for a container that arrived at the nation’s port of entrance/departure, the National Port Authority, to suddenly disappear, is a major concern.

    How did it happen? Where was security at the time? Was security compromised or security paid off with a share of the money to let the perpetrators escape?

    In order to get to the bottom of this matter, first investigate and identify the five anonymous individuals from the Central Bank of Liberia. Also, investigate Mrs. Mariea E. Grisby-Toe, Director, General Services, Musulyn R B. Jackson and Oldada Deshield. These individuals asked to enter the port and take delivery of the printed materials on March 31, 2018. Lawrence Sirleaf and Ms. Elise G.N. Jolo of JVS Enterprise Inc., must also be investigated. 

    As usual, Weah has not addressed the nation yet but is hiding behind his Minister of Justice (Frank Musah Dean, Jr.) and a press release from the Ministry of Justice to discuss this major criminal activity that has taken all breaths out of a struggling nation and its suffering people.

    Truth is, President George Manneh Weah is part of the problem and Liberians are suffering in their own country.

    Parents are having a hard time buying uniforms and paying tuitions to send their children to school. Liberian parents are also finding it difficult feeding their children. The same is true with ordinary Liberians who are finding it very difficult to buy a cup of rice to eat from day to day. Also, university students can barely afford a cab or bus fares to go to school daily, and lacked the money to pay school fees.

    President Weah owes the Liberian people an explanation, and he needs to take charge of this issue immediately.

    See, the Weah administration supposedly a “Pro-Poor” administration, is far from being on the side of the poor for its extravagant spending and high-end traveling habits, negotiating bad loans, poor judgment, incompetence and lack of leadership.

    That’s what a country and its citizens gets when they elect an inexperienced George Manneh Weah, who then brings into his governing inner circle hustlers and rejects from the United States and elsewhere whose modus operandi is not public service but to find a way to work in the Liberian government to steal and get rich.

    The history of public-sector corruption in Liberia is a menace that a new government must work hard to tackle head-on in order to stay on course. 

    George Manneh Weah has so far failed to stay on course.

    Mr. Weah, please find the missing container full of money and stop the blame game.

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    Weah’s Governing Problem http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/09/16/weahs-governing-problem/ Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:40:21 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=5005 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh        

     

    George Manneh Weah is your everyday Liberian who shockingly became President of Liberia.

    It is the first in the history of the republic for an everyday Liberian, especially an inexperienced and clueless one for that matter to run for president, let alone, win the presidency based solely on football credentials alone.

    As the nation’s reigning past-time, football can be blamed for giving the Liberian people the politically ambitious and inexperienced Weah who exploited his football past and his stratospheric popularity to first convince himself that he is a presidential material, and shrewdly convinced a football-crazy nation to take him seriously.

    To get to the presidency, Weah and his opportunistic handlers plotted his path via the Liberian Senate to expose him to legislating, and to also give him the talking point that he is prepared to govern the nation based on his prior experience as a legislator.

    To some observers, it was a winning strategy and a brilliant political move since their guy had zero experience in leading anything that resembles a government, and zero managerial experience running a football organization.

    To others, however, the forever taciturn Weah doesn’t have any history of crafting any groundbreaking legislation during his tenure as a Senator that lifted his constituents and Montserrado County (as former President Tolbert would say) from “mat to mattress.”

    George Manneh Weah only decided to run for the Senate to prepare for the presidency since his obvious lack of experience in government, and his lack of a college degree was perhaps two requirements that could have derailed his dream of becoming President of Liberia.

    Like a student who had to take a makeup test to meet a school’s passing requirements, Weah hurriedly enrolls in school to get his college degree in the United States only to later return to Liberia to run for the Liberian Senate.

    All of this obviously was a sign of desperation and a red flag for Liberians who were desirous of Weah becoming President of Liberia by any means, knowing that he is hugely unprepared to be the nation’s leader at this crucial time of nation-building.

    These rabid Weah supporters, aware that their man is unprepared for the Liberian presidency, are amnesic of the nation’s problems as they continue to invoke the delusional leadership qualities of Weah and the name of God for his election to the presidency, even as the country continues to fall apart on his presidential watch.

    Shockingly, some even see his coming as “messianic.”

    Weah’s ineptitude and absolute lack of leadership are on display from day to day as he inoculates himself from the pains and suffering of his people even as he proudly and shamelessly dabbles into the imperial presidency as if things are normal in the country.

    However, Weah’s imperial leadership style, like his despotic predecessors, which is based on singularism and a powerful presidency as prescribed in the nation’s constitution, are the reasons Liberia is ancient and backward in development and progress today.

    These are the reasons Liberians need to work very hard to decrease the imperial powers of the President of Liberia to be accountable to the people, decentralize local government, build democratic institutions that are genuinely independent of the President of Liberia and elected officials, and empower the Liberian people to decide their own future.

    President Weah’s governing style was on display recently when he takes nearly his entire cabinet on a trip to China (even if the Chinese government had sponsored the trip, as reported unofficially) as if it were a winter retreat.

    President Weah reportedly shuts down the Liberian government to retire his #14 jersey, which is a personal feat and not a national one, and he reportedly sheds $2,000 a piece to each Nigerian player after the game. Is it Weah’s own money or the nation’s money?

    This is happening at a time when Liberians can barely afford a cup of rice to eat, afford to go to the clinic when they are sick, or can afford to send their kids to school.

    Mr. Weah should have celebrated the occasion with his family, his teammates and his team, and not use the nation’s money to celebrate his personal achievements.

    This does not warrant a national celebration.

    Self-absorbed dictators and want-to-be dictators are the ones who often engage in these kinds of personal worship ceremonies.

    Weah who often mixed politics with his personal accomplishments honored his former coach Arsene Wenger with The Humane Order of African Redemption, one of Liberia’s highest honors, for nurturing him and other players.

    Again, these are Mr. Weah’s personal accomplishments that do not warrant a national celebration. Self-absorbed dictators and want-to-be dictators are the ones who often engage in these kinds of personal worship ceremonies.

    The recent physical fight between Representative Edwin Snowe and Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahgon shows the toxic climate in the country, which is a poor reflection on Weah’s-laid-back leadership style.

    This is also a reflection on the climate of intolerance in the country, which is a threat to safety and security in the country.

    Where is the Ministry of Justice? Where’s President Weah on these issues? As usual, there wasn’t a press conference and no address to the nation.

    The $536 million loan from Singapore-based Eton Finance which was hurriedly negotiated without transparency and a genuine debate, is a problem.

    Knowing that some shady characters from the Taylor era (Emmanuel Shaw and others) are now working in the Weah government, and knowing how corrupt this government and the previous governments have been over the years, is troubling.

    Just recently, a Nigerian Manager, Aojedi Bejide at the Guaranty Bank in Monrovia allegedly assaulted a Liberian who works at the bank. I am not going to go into details as to why he physically assaulted the Liberian. What Mr. Bejide shouldn’t have done is lay his hands on a Liberian, or throw an object at another human being.

    The Weah Ministry of Justice jailed the Nigerian. What the Weah Ministry of Justice should have done after jailing this idiot is to deport him to Nigeria immediately never to return to Liberia after he served his few days in jail.

    Knowing Liberia and how relaxed the government is in terms of not adhering to the rule of law and equal justice for all, this guy will remain in Liberia and will go back to his old job to continue to physically and emotionally abuse Liberians.

    As a stickler for the rule of law, accountability, building institutions and respecting institutions, I am hoping that the  Liberian people and their leaders will one day collaborate to reduce the powers of the imperial presidency so that the President of Liberia and elected officials will be accountable to the people.

    When that happens, Weah and future Liberian presidents and government officials will not trample on the rights of the Liberian people by doing things their way.

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    Opposition Politicians or (Opportunistic) Enablers? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/08/18/opposition-politicians-or-opportunistic-enablers/ Sat, 18 Aug 2018 15:45:14 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4998 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

     

    President George Manneh Weah is not a talker. I don’t know if he is a doer, either.

    The president’s diehard supporters believe he is a doer and wants us to believe them, even though dire events in Liberia – in his administration are the opposite of an administration that understands governance and domestic policy. 

    Truth is, Liberians are suffering and there is no end to their painful conditions.

    The price of rice, the nation’s staple, has skyrocketed. The Liberian dollar is valueless, yet the government demands that Liberians do business in U. S. dollars. There are no jobs, but the do-nothing legislators are being paid astronomically as if they are working. Public-sector corruption is up significantly. There is no accountability in government. Nepotism in government is a booming industry. University students are failing in record numbers. Loans are negotiated without a genuine and healthy public debate to know what is in it and how it will be paid for. Wetlands are being destroyed to build homes. President Weah is even planning to destroy the wetlands in Bali Island to build a city. 

    With all that, the opposition politicians are not challenging President Weah, but are sitting around and waiting for the next legislative and presidential elections to chase the singular presidency, and to fill the legislative slots with their token and opportunistic party members. Just recently, however, the opposition met with President Weah in a closed-door meeting that did not produce any significant results.

    President Weah hardly makes policy statements in public or in private (that I am aware of), and he comes across as a guy who has no idea of governance but aspired to be president out of a bloated ego that is as large as the Atlantic Ocean next door that increasing stares at the country.

    Mr. Weah’s obvious reticence came through during the presidential campaign when he hardly said anything policy-related about where he wants to take the country, and he did not give any policy speech that reflects his vision for the country as to how he intends to solve some of the crucial problems that plagued the Liberian people and the Liberian nation.

    However, the so-called opposition politicians and their party bosses did not push back against Mr. Weah since he was the presumed frontrunner at the time. The opposition politicians focused on their own chances of becoming President of Liberia, and their party bosses were only interested in fortifying their own positions to reap whatever political benefits that awaited them after the election. 

    At the end of the day, or after the election ended and Weah became president nearly eight months ago, some party bosses and some of their members (as is painfully customary in Liberian politics), switched from their own political parties to the incoming president’s political party as quickly as a chameleon can change its color to fit in and reap whatever benefits that show up in their new surroundings. 

    The Liberian opposition politicians and their party bosses are the equivalents of a chameleon, the slow-moving lizard with the long extensible tongue and the cunning ability to change color to prey on unsuspected neighbors and those that are not paying attention to the chameleon’s presence. 

    With nothing in common politically with the ruling party and its leaders and this president and other presidents in terms of ideology and values, these party bosses and some of their members – with their impulsive and often opportunistic bearings that defined them have jumped ships to upkeep their greedy bellies and watery mouths with the corrupt earnings they yanked from the Liberian people. 

    I took on Mr. Weah’s lack of words, and Mr. Weah not having press conferences, not giving policy speeches to address the issues of the day that plagued the nation, and his unaccountability, in an article I wrote recently about his uncommunicative presidency. 

    I am unaware whether the President read my article, or whether any of his staffers read it. However, days after I published my piece, President Weah finally addressed the nation and gave his State of the Economy speech, which addressed the low foreign reserves and high unemployment in the country. 

    A brief excerpt of President Weah’s speech.

    “We were very aware of these systemic problems when we decided to run for the high office of President of Liberia, and so we are not surprised. we intend to encourage and empower Liberian businessmen and Liberian-owned businesses to lead the transformation of the Liberian economy.

    1. We will enable them to become more competitive, by providing affirmative policies and support, including ready access to finance and expertise. An immediate infusion by the Central Bank of Twenty-Five Million United States Dollars into the economy to mop up the excess liquidity of Liberian dollars. 

    2. A mandate to the Central Bank to provide more effective supervision and regulation of money-changers or foreign exchange bureau.
    3. A mandate to the Central Bank to provide more robust oversight of banks under its supervision
    4. Conduct a comprehensive review of regulations on the hoarding of both Liberian dollars and U.S. dollars outside the banking system, and provide incentives and safeguards to encourage the utilization of the banking system, including financial instruments.“

    There hasn’t been a robust response from the opposition leaders and their party bosses about the president’s economic speech and the issues he raised – an issue like the financial crisis in the country that he Mr. Weah either inherited from his predecessor President Sirleaf, or the ones he created during the short time he has been in office.

    There are countless other issues in the country (like the ones I cited below) that the opposition leaders could take on with the president, except that they are concerned with their own livelihoods and a meeting with the president during a closed-door meeting that proved unsubstantive and a waste of time.

    1. Western Union’s remittances to Liberians from their overseas relatives that are illegally divided 25% to 75% into U. S. dollars and Liberian dollars by the government.
    2. The destruction of wetlands (swampland) by Liberians to build homes, and the recent decision by President Weah to destroyed the wetlands in Bali Island and the decision to turn Bali Island into a city.
    3. The huge and crazy over-the-top legislative salaries estimated to be in the thousands of dollars, while ordinary Liberians can barely find food or money to send their children to school.
    4. Record unemployment, and the lack of vacation jobs for students
    5. Garbage disposal and the piles of garbage in the City of Monrovia. Why not get with global companies to sell the garbage for recycling? There are multinational companies that are recycling garbage. Get with them. Sell the darn thing, and make money from it.
    6. Nepotism at the National Port Authority (NPA).
    7. The lack of accountability and transparency in government
    8. The huge government payroll.
    9. And other issues. 

    It seems President Weah is always nominating people to work in his government, however, look at the country and the City of Monrovia. Are these people doing any work for which they were appointed and are being paid?

    Liberia needs a miracle for a compassionate leader, for a leader who understands pain and suffering and development, and is willing to genuinely work to improve the lives of his or her people.

    The country is too old to be underdeveloped.

    Liberia is bleeding, and the Liberian people are suffering.

    Where are the real opposition politicians?

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    Sinoe County Politicians Are the Problem – Unseat Them http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/08/16/sinoe-county-politicians-are-the-problem-unseat-them/ Thu, 16 Aug 2018 00:41:41 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4995 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh       

     

     

    Sinoe County is a beautiful place to live.

    It is quiet, uncongested, environmentally-friendly, rich in natural resources, and boasts some of the most beautiful natural sceneries in the country.

    With the volatile Atlantic Ocean serving as a natural backdrop in the county’s capital of Greenville, and obviously, the engine that could have propelled growth and development in that part of Liberia if the political leaders were uncorrupt, compassionate and effective, Sinoe County could become an economically viable partner in its own development efforts and the nation’s development efforts.

    Like other parts of Liberia with their own bad, selfish, incompetent, and corrupt political leaders, Sinoe County is right there with its share of bad, selfish, incompetent, and corrupt political leaders, who are not ready to provide thoughtful, ethical, inspiring and compassionate leadership for their people, but are there in name only and for themselves.

    Sinoe County is always in the news for all the wrong reasons, or, for all the right reasons depending on the day and time, and with whom one is discussing the many problems that continue to take the county backward.

    Whether it is public-sector corruption, the obvious lack of jobs, the lack of vision to take infrastructure development projects to the county, political infighting and backstabbing, the lack of accountability, and the silly decision to have a self-serving “peace” summit in Bamako to end the political infighting between the politicians when there are villages in Sinoe County that could have hosted them, are all reasons Sinoe County is not moving forward, and will never move forward with Teahjay, Zarzar and the rest of the clowns still in office. 

    Instead of providing jobs, economic development, funding the paving of streets and roads, and vacation jobs for the countless students who are bouncing around the county and their districts frustratingly with no hope for the future, the politicians who are not accountable to their constituents returned home from their ‘Bamako Peace Accord’ to the internecine infighting that defined them and the little values left in them. 

    Certainly, there are problems in the county, but Nagbe, Teahjay, Zarzar (newcomer) Sloh, and others in the Sinoe County legislative caucus are also the problem for the county because they are missing in action in terms of delivering goods and services for their people. 

    Senator Joseph Nagbe who was recently nominated by President Weah to replace Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks at the Supreme Court is part of the problem. And the childish infighting between him and some in his caucus that stalled progress and add to the problems in the county exposed him for the ineffective legislator he has become. 

    Unfortunately, Senator Joseph Nagbe who was first elected to his Senate seat in 2006, is unable to show his people what he has done for them during his decade-plus tenure in that chamber.

    The questions to President Weah are, what are Senator Nagbe’s contributions to Sinoe County since 2006 that warrants him a seat in the Supreme Court?

    Did Senator Nagbe help to find the funds to build a modern road system from Sinoe County to Grand Gedeh County? Did Senator Nagbe find the funds to pave the streets in Greenville? Any significant (postal) mail system in the county that he spearheaded? Did Senator Nagbe find the funds to expand and pave the airfield in (Po-River) Greenville?

    Did Senator Nagbe help to create jobs and economic development in Sinoe County? When was the last time the bridge that connects Greenville and Seebeh and the Port, ever saw any form of maintenance? 

    What are his contributions to health and education in the county?

    As Senator, how many students did he help with summer jobs? Did Senator Nagbe fund the construction of bridges in the county?

    The same with former Senator Mobutu Nyenpan, who was elected to the Senate in 2006 with Senator Nagbe, and served until 2015. As a Senator, what did Senator Mobutu Nyenpan do for his people? What are his legislative accomplishments for his county and people? President Weah appointed the former Senator to be his Public Works Minister.

    I always thought you get a promotion in school, in your community, and on your job based on hard work and your invaluable contributions to those institutions and society.

    You cannot be a part of the problem that stymied growth and development in your county only to get a promotion to the Supreme Court because you are a sitting senator who has a law degree and other credentials, which are personal achievements.

    It is customary – the ‘Liberian way’ I guess for Liberians to write or speak harshly about others, non-relatives in government whom they believe are not effective, but are quiet when it is their friends, relatives and their tribal people in government.

    These Liberians are good at jumping and joining the bandwagon of praise singers who will go above and beyond to support their corrupt and ineffective relatives and friends who are promoted by the President of Liberia.

    As a believer in accountability and transparency in government, I am not one who believes in tribal and ethnic politics to turn a blind eye to the corrupt and unproductive acts of my own tribal folks in government.

    Instead of embracing and applauding these politicians (our relatives and friends) when they are appointed by the President of Liberia to a higher office, let’s call them out for betraying the trust of our people.

    Sinoe County politicians are the problem. Unseat them!

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    What is July 26 Celebration to Americo-Liberians & Indigenous Liberians? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/08/10/what-is-july-26-celebration-to-americo-liberians-indigenous-liberians/ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 22:41:18 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4992 By Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr.  

       

    Seal proposed by J Patrick Flomo to the Dunn Commission in 2016.

     

    I was born on July 22nd (1947), four days short of being born on Independence Day, July 26th. It is a “Big Holiday” second to Christmas celebration in Liberia. Had I been born on Independence Day, I would have been named by my Bassa side of the family as “Twenty-six”. But that did not stop some of my Bassa relatives from referring to me as “Centene” (Centennial); because I was born on the 100 Anniversary of the independence of Liberia. My sister Jugbeh Menia Nyanseor almost suffered a similar fate. She was born on December 1st, a day established to honor Matilda Newport. If it was not for our mother’s intervention,     her name would have been MATILDA, that’s how many of us got these Kwii (civilized) names.

    Liberia, my country of birth is fond of replacing tribal names of places and persons with names like Compounds Number 1, Number 2, and Number 3 in Grand Bassa County; including traditional leaders names such as: Bassa King Kadasie (Bob Gray); Bassa King Zolu Duma (King Peter); Mandingo King Sao Boso (Chief Boatswain), etc.

    July 26 is celebrated by Liberians at home and throughout the world with picnic-like feasts, formal programs with guest speakers, fundraising activities, and dinner climaxed with a “Grand March” (dance). The celebration featured ‘who’s who’ in these communities.

    While writing this article, I came across several Liberians who professed to know Liberian History. However, to my surprise I found out they know very little about African History; and for that matter, world history. Some of them blamed the current problems of Liberia on the Progressives who advocated for democracy, human rights and social justice in the 70s and the 80s. I find their arguments quite interesting! Their line of argument is similar to the Jewish High Priests of the Sanhedrin’s accusation brought against Jesus and his Twelve Disciples of causing trouble for speaking the truth that changed the corrupt world of the day. The French aristocrats accused the Black Jacobins led by Toussaint L’Ouverture of Haiti for freeing the slaves from the French oppressors. This is a classic case of blaming the victim!

    Critical Thinking
    This July 26 holiday, I would like to know if Liberians who celebrate the Independence Day truly understand the purpose of the celebration. I did so by conducting a survey that included ‘one-on-one conversations along with questions. The respondents were Liberians from all backgrounds who were asked to explain their understanding of the purpose or historical significance of the July 26 Independence Day holiday. My topic for this exercise is: “What is July 26 Celebration to Americo-Liberians & Indigenous Liberians?” In order to truly arrive at the proper understanding by both groups, I decided to ask them the following questions:

    1. From what country or organization did Liberia receive independence?
    2. With whom did the Settlers’ fight to gain their independence?
    a) Was it America, the American Colonization Society (ACS)?
    b) Or was it the Indigenous tribes?
    3. Were the Indigenous tribes included in the Declaration of Independence written by Hilary Teage; if not, why were they not included?
    4. What does July 26th mean to the tribal people?

    A question like ‘Question Number 4’ was addressed by Abolitionist Frederick Douglass in his speech titled: What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

    “…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

    “Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as a hart.”

    “But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were an inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin!…

    I similarly ask the question, as Frederick Douglass queried, “What is the July 26th
    Celebration to Americo-Liberians & Indigenous Liberians” to find out what Liberians think about the holiday. The general response, to my surprise, left me with the feeling that ‘ignorance of history’ is an illness that can be cured only with an education based on the true history. If not, individuals or groups will continue to pass on false narratives like mechanical robots.

    Respondents’ Answers
    Here are some of the answers provided by the respondents from my one-on-one conversations. A few of them said: “My man, why are you asking such a question about 26 when you know very well that is our country’s Independence Day? Even babies born today know the answer!” Another said to me, “Nyanseor, what are you going to do with the answer?” To which I said I only want to know your opinion about the day! In summary, the majority of the respondents felt it is a holiday that patriotic Liberians celebrate. What really surprised me was most of them did not see anything wrong with celebrating the holiday. In fact, no one saw the July 26 celebration as only for the Settlers.

    Myths and History
    From here on, let me make it indisputably clear that those of us who advocate correcting wrongs done in the past, and even today; do so NOT to change history; rather it is to correct injustices done to a group of people by those who held power and where those injustices violated the human and civil rights of others. However, due to continued advocacy throughout the world for justice, we are witnessing, for example, the amending of unjust laws such as removing Confederate flags, statues and renaming parks in the United States. Another case in point is former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the National Football League (NFL), who started a protest which was joined by other players to take a knee when the U.S. National Anthem is being played — a protest due to extrajudicial lynching and other injustices against African-Americans and other racial minorities.

    According to historian Richard Poe, (World) “History was designed to justify European domination;” and a similar case can be made that Liberian history (Settlers) was written to promote antebellum southern plantation culture and religious heritage without regards to the indigenous population (natives) who first occupied the land.

    As is evident, Liberia’s social and political systems are carbon copies of America. The sad thing about it is that subsequent governments continue to maintain these divisive practices that make it difficult or impossible for Liberians to unite due to the European racist Christian origin upon which country was established. The so-called ‘Father of the Nation,” Hilary Teage and leaders of the infant colony are responsible for this divide. How could one who suffered indignities of exclusion under the Constitution of the United States write a Declaration of Independence for Liberia which then excludes the country’s indigenous people? The document reads:

    “We the people of the Republic of Liberia were originally the inhabitants of the United States of America. In some parts of that country, we were debarred by law from all the rights and privileges of men in other parts, a public sentiment more powerful than law frowned us down.

    We were everywhere shut out from all civil office. We were excluded from all participation in the government. We were taxed without our consent. We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country which gave us no protection. We were made a separate and distinct class and against us, every avenue to improvement was officially closed.

    Strangers from all lands of a different color from ours were preferred before us. We uttered our complaints but they were unattended to or only met by alleging the peculiar institutions of the country. All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly extinguished in our bosoms, and we looked with anxiety abroad for some asylum from the deep degradation.

    The West coast of Africa was the place selected by American benevolence and philanthropy for our future home. Removed beyond those influences, it was hoped we would be enabled to enjoy those rights and privileges and exercise and improve those faculties, which the God of nature has given us in common with the rest of mankind”.

    A more inclusive ‘Declaration of Independence’ could have been written to unite both groups. Instead, the Settlers copied the racist practices of their former slave masters to the exclusion of the Indigenous tribes in the Declaration of Independence written by Teage. Yet, they are portrayed by Liberian (Settlers) historians as Christians and humanitarians.

    Falsehood and myth played a misleading role in recording and passing on history. According to Arthur R. Thompson: “History is not only ‘written by the victors,’ but by ‘the ignorant,’ ‘the biased,’ and ‘the devious.’ …To the Victor Go the Myths and Monuments.”

    In the book, To the Victor Go the Myths & Monuments: The History; of the First 100 Years of the War Against God and the Constitution, 1776-1876, and Its Modern Impact, Thompson stated further:
    “History can also be restricted to selected portions of the true story because of an author’s bias, his agenda, or because he is serving the agenda of others. A history in which facts are deliberately ignored or in which the author creates “facts” distorts the true picture of past events. Such distortions, built up over time, can have deadly effects on a people and on nations. As George Orwell (whom the author quotes on the title page) put it many years ago, “The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    I intend to prove how Thompson’s statement applied to the history written from the perspective of the Settlers of Liberia. To support my point, I draw from eminent historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s description of history. To him:
    “History is the clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography…history tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. Most importantly, an understanding of history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be.”

    That being the case, we in Liberia were taught FALSE history (one-sided). The history we were taught in Liberia promoted ONLY the Settlers’ activities. They did so as if the TRIBES were invisible or never existed. Let me cite here an account of an outsider.

    An Outsider’s View
    David Lamb, author of The Africans in his description the early history of Liberia. He writes:
    “The new settlers adopted the only desirable lifestyle they knew – that of the antebellum whites who had ruled them – and they turned the sixteen indigenous tribes into an underprivileged majority, referring to them until the 1950s as ‘aborigines’. The pioneers and their ‘Americo-Liberian’ descendants became a black colonial aristocracy. They controlled the commerce, ran the government and sent their sons abroad to be educated. The men wore morning coats and top hats, drank bourbon, joined the Masons… They passed on to their children their American names such as Christian Maxwell, George Browne, and Barton Bliss – army’s chief of staff in the late 1960s was General George Washington – and a member of their True Whig Party was as conservative as any Southern Republican back in the United States.

    “Even today, urban Liberia seems more like William Faulkner’s South than Africa. The official currency is the U.S. dollar bills used in New York or Chicago – though they are faded and wrinkled and long were taken out of circulation by American banks. Policemen wear summer uniforms discarded by New York City Police Department, and townships have names such as Louisiana, New Georgia and Maryland. On Sundays, when the strip joints on Broad Street and Gurley streets in Monrovia are closed, American gospel music fills the radio stations, and the accents in the packed Baptist Church on Center Street are distinctly Deep South.

    “For a long time, Africans poked fun at Liberia, disparaging it for adopting attitudes and importing values, not in keeping with African tradition.” (David Lamb, The Africans, New York: Vintage Books, 1987, pp. 124-125).
    Mr. Ossie Davis, an African-American who was assigned to the all-black 25th Station Hospital stationed in Liberia at Robertsfield during World War II, made the following observation:

    “The Americo-Liberians, black though they were, tended to live like Europeans or Americans, and that surprised me. They had new cars; they regularly sent their children off to Europe or America to college, and they fraternized with their peers at Firestone. They seldom mixed with the natives, with whom I had already bonded, who were authentic Africans and much more fun. I was not only uneasy with the class conflict I felt was brewing in Liberia, I was disturbed by it. But most of the soldiers on the post were not. They, too, quite easily, took to treating all the natives, not as brothers and comrades, but like servants, in much the same way white folks treated black folks down in Georgia.

    “This arrogance disturbed me, too, and I began to entertain a horrible suspicion. For most of my life, I had believed that black folks were in many ways morally superior to white folks, especially in our dealings with each other. I was profoundly disappointed that the Americo-Liberians, the children of slaves themselves, would come to Africa and behave as if they themselves were the slaveholders now” (Davis, Ossie & Dee, Ruby (2000). With Ossie And Ruby In This Life Together). New York, U.S.A.

    There is this account by a noted Liberian historian, Abayomi Karnga. In 1923, he classified the status divisions among Liberians into four distinct caste systems. “At the top were the Americo-Liberian officials, consisting largely of light-complexioned people of mixed Black and White ancestry. They were followed by darker skinned Americo-Liberians, consisting mostly of laborers and small farmers. Then the recaptives, Africans who had been rescued by the U.S. Navy while aboard U.S.-bound slave ships and brought to Liberia (referred to as Congoes). The indigenous African Liberians were at the bottom of the hierarchy. These divisions led to de facto segregation amongst the various groups, specifically affected were the indigenous population.” (Donald A Ranard, editor, Liberians: An Introduction to their History and Culture, Culture Profile No. 19, April 2005).

    President Arthur Barclay’s Native Plan
    President Arthur Barclay had a ‘Native Plan’ with certain requirements and qualifications that an indigenous person had to meet before he or she could be accepted as a citizen of Liberia. These requirements were:
    “The willingness of applicants to qualify for Liberian citizen by adopting the Christian faith, Western living conditions, and Western standards of conduct, dress, and general appearance. An African, in effect, would have to detach himself from his own customs by completely accepting the Americo-Liberian set of values. Citizenship and voting rights might then follow.” (Gershoni, Yekutiel (1985) Black Colonialism: The Americo-Liberian Scramble for the Hinterland, 1985, pp. 37-38).

    It was based on these requirements and conditions the indigenous population was allowed to become citizens in their own land. Citizenship was extended to them in 1904; 57 years after independence.

    Liberia Had False Start
    Someone once said ‘anything that had a false start has the tendency to remain in a false state’. Perhaps, this is the curse that is haunting Liberia. The history of Liberia had a false start and, I find, a painful similarity between Lord Macaulay, an Englishman, and Hilary Teage who wrote Liberia’s Declaration of Independence.
    On February 2, 1835, Lord Macaulay addressed the British Parliament on how to deal with African people.

    Find below excerpts of his address:
    “I have travelled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

    I cannot help but conclude that Hilary Teage might have gotten some of the racist divides from Lord Macaulay’s address to the British Parliament which served as the basis of the Settlers’ treatment of the Indigenous people of Liberia.

    It was in 1835 that Lord Macaulay came up with the ‘racist proposal’ on how to treat Africans. In the same 1835, Teage became secretary for the colony. Four years (1839) later, “he became clerk of the convention that presented the settlers’ positions to the American Colonization Society (ACS) regarding constitutional reforms …He was later an instrumental figure at the Constitutional Convention of 1847 – representing Montserrado County – in both debating and ratifying Liberia’s constitution, and wrote the country’s Declaration of Independence. Although Teage, in 1853, was the country’s first Secretary of State after Liberia declared independence, he served as attorney general as well.”

    He established the nation’s first newspaper known as Liberia Herald. He used the newspaper as a platform to advocate for independence. Teage knew what he was doing when he wrote the Declaration of Independence that excluded the Indigenous population. I believe, he was a segregationist like Abraham Lincoln!
    It was based on a philosophy of segregation, the Settlers referred to themselves as Americo-Liberians; took on the behavior of their slave masters; ran the country as their personal property. Everything in the country was named to honor them. For example, a mountain was named Finley; rivers, cities, counties, national symbols, honors, monuments, etc. How then can the celebration of July 26 Independence Day be meaningful to the tribal people?

    Failure to form a more perfect union
    For a moment, let us take a look at Hilary Teage within a historical context as it relates to his role in establishing the nation of Liberia. Teage and the leadership of the Settlers missed a golden opportunity to have established a united nation. Instead, they chose the racist European colonial approach, Master-Servant: subjugating the Indigenous population to the position of servants in their own native land.

    I agree Hilary Teage made tremendous contributions to the Republic of Liberia, but his contributions benefited to the larger extent the Settlers and not the Indigenous people. Until this missed opportunity is accepted, I find it difficult to celebrate and even glorify Teage’s contributions. Teage and leaders of the colony had the opportunity to ‘form a perfect union’, but failed.

    On this 171st anniversary of ‘Liberia’s Independence’, instead of Liberians of diverse backgrounds coming together to find solutions to the reason(s) we are still divided or questioning the philosophy of Hilary Teage’s who is credited with the divide, his colonial legacy is being promoted. There is something wrong with this picture. Although, there have been some improvements between the Settlers and the Natives’ relationship, much has not been done in these 171 years. The little that has been achieved is not enough to warrant the continued glorifying of the Settlers’ contributions when those of Clan Chief Madame Suakoko (Suacoco), Chief ‘Wonderful’ Juah Seyon Nimene (Nimley), or Didwho Welleh Twe (D. Twe), and others roles are assigned to the dustbin of history.

    In the stage play titled, “Citizen Teage: A Historical Drama,” Mr. Owusu Dahnsaw, the actor who plays Hilary Teage states: Every Liberian has a lot to learn from Hilary Teage. It is outstanding and outclasses all stage performances I have ever acted in. It is in a class of its own totally …It is intriguing, informative, emotionally enticing and renewing. Hilary Teage was a great example of what it means to be a citizen. He was a servant-leader.”
    Really???
    There is the tendency to accuse those of us who speak of the pregnant problems of Liberians with passion as practicing tribalism or ‘pushing up fire’. I honestly believe by presenting and discussing these issues in the open will free our people from historical amnesia.

    Efforts Made In The Past To Unite Liberians Were Not Genuine
    I believe efforts made in the past were not genuine. Leaders of the country did not make fundamental changes to resolve the age-old conflict between the two major groups; the Americo-Liberians and the “Natives.” Yet, succeeding governments of Liberia continue to repeat similar mistakes by enacting policies that benefit those who trace their ancestral roots to North America, some through receptive Africans, emigrants from the Caribbean, and other African countries — specifically, West Africa — at the expense of the vast majority— indigenous African Liberians.

    For example, William V.S. Tubman’s policy of “Unification and Integration” was nothing more than an extension of the cult of the presidency and Monrovia rule and dominance over the hinterland. No real changes were made after the death of Tubman. William R. Tolbert continues Tubman’s policy but added his, such as “Total Involvement for Higher Heights” or “Mat-to-Mattress”, which were mere window dressing, immersed more in rhetoric than in reality. Under Tolbert, the socio-economic gap widened. While he preached “Total Involvement”, the country’s wealth and power remained concentrated in the hands of a few families, friends, and the Americo-Liberian elite. Since the system did not undergo any major change, Samuel K. Doe came up with his version of the rhetoric, “In the cause of the people” by providing for his ethnic Krahn members with positions and power; while Taylor and Bryant followed the path of what in Liberian parlance, we refer to as “What Monkey see, Monkey do”; a tradition of accumulating power and wealth for personal use. As for Ellen, she did more harm than all the presidents “put together.” . . . and if Weah does not cut his ties from Ellen and company, his downfall will come soon.

    History makes strange bedfellows! With the passage of time, the elites – many of whom are indigenous Liberians have failed to depart from Liberia’s ugly tradition – the master-servant relationship brought over from the antebellum south. As the result, several opportunities have been missed to change the system. The failures which eventually led to 1980 overthrowing of the True Whig Party oligarchy, and subsequently brought about the civil wars, are still intact. “It is new wine in old bottles.”

    This brings me to ask the question: What is the purpose of July 26 Independence Day National Orations when these orators’ recommendations are not given serious consideration? These orators can be classified into two categories: the first group consists of speakers who regurgitate the same old one-sided scripted history without making any meaningful recommendations; whereas, the second group engages in indisputable evaluation of Liberian history, leadership, and government policies as they impact the people, and go on to suggest ways they can be improved. Yet, nothing is done about the recommendations offered. As a result, the entire exercise is useless and a waste of resources.

    National Awards
    Other areas of concern are Liberia’s National Awards and the Liberian National Anthem. The awards are named only in honor of the Pioneers! None are named in honor of the Indigenous tribes. For example, the highest award, “The Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers with the Grade of Grand Cordon”, etc., is awarded each year. Descendants of Indigenous Liberians cannot continue to celebrate July 26 Independence Day each year accepting awards that do not recognize the Indigenous people’s contributions. The National Anthem is another area of concern. The tribal people cannot continue to sing the National Anthem that makes reference only to the struggle of the Settlers. But every July 26 Independence Day, National Orator takes “good for nothing pride” in repeating so-called achievements such as:

    “We were at the founding of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, now African Union, and hosted its annual meeting in 1979. We were at the founding of the African Development Bank. We inspired the formation of the Mano River Union and the Economic Community of West African States. It was President William V. S. Tubman who proposed an Economic Union of West Africa.

    “A beacon of black self-government, we did battle alongside with black brothers in South Africa to dismantle the gargoyle of Apartheid. We were a haven for peoples all over Africa: Sudanese, Ethiopians, Gambians, Ghanaians and many more even long before they opened their doors to our people fleeing the collapse of our nation-state…” (Tweah)
    How can most of the orators continue to mention what Liberia has done for others when at home there is a practice of black apartheid — the division between the Settlers and the Indigenous population? Yet, we pretend it is not a serious problem! What is more disturbing is that the political and economic systems continue to give
    exclusive rights and privileges to a few at the expense of the rest of the society. This practice has undermined economic growth, replaced it with never-ending poverty, social injustice, discrimination, oppression ridden by greed, and corruption for the sole attainment of ill-gotten material wealth for a select few.

    Correctly so, we have had national indigenous leaders, including presidents. Currently, we have an indigenous president who is from Grand Kru County. Nothing, however, has changed significantly in terms of the political system and structure. Fundamental change is not possible if the system that creates the problems remains in place; it becomes like “putting new wine in old bottle”.

    This brings us to the troublesome issue of our country’s National Motto: “The Love Of Liberty Brought Us Here”. J. Patrick Flomo makes a good argument why the symbols should be revisited. According to him, “A motto is considered an apothegm, adopted as a guiding principle or the summarization of the general conviction or purpose of an organized entity, whether it is a society, corporation, or social organization. Every nation has a motto; each nation’s motto defines the conscience of its people.

    The motto expresses, defines, and intertwines the collective sense of oneness and direction. Moreover, a motto seems to project an intellectual soul and conscience. For example, the American motto is, “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out of Many, One;” the French motto is, “Liberté’, Egalite’, Fraternité’,” or “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity;” the Ghana Motto is “Freedom and Justice.” These three examples express a sense of oneness and purpose for each country. Liberia’s motto seems to lack soul, conscience, or the spirit of intellectualism. Moreover, the motto expresses no sense of oneness or a collective purpose. In fact, it continues to express a divided people: the descendants of former American slaves (Americo-Liberians) and the indigenous population (natives).” (J. Patrick Flomo, “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” published on August 23, 2013 edition of TheLiberianJournal).

    The Civil Wars
    If history is any guide to understanding the genesis of a country’s vexed-palaver and how such major national concerns as ethnicity, reconciliation and national unity have been addressed, the Liberian experience leaves much to be desired or appreciated.

    The Civil wars have left deep scars on all of us due to the indiscriminate and ruthless nature of the perpetrators. Therefore, to find lasting solutions to the many problems we are faced with, we must do so by bringing the perpetrators to justice. Even former President Johnson Sirleaf is on record: “Our nation cannot afford to evade justice and protection of human rights throughout…That myth, mysteries, and the individualized arrogation of truth will serve no useful purpose; rather, it will reinforce divisions, suspicions, and smoldering anger.”

    The greatest challenge confronting us today is to face the truth in order to do the right thing; failure to do so will continue to haunt us into the future. As Liberians, the right thing is to correct the wrongs in the society that continue to divide us. The place to start is with our national symbols and awards. They remain roadblocks to the belief we profess: “One people under God, with Liberty and Justice for All.”

    Conclusion & Recommendations
    Today, there are calls being made in Liberia and the Diaspora to forget the past so as to reconcile our differences. There are those who go as far as to say we should forgive those that committed these heinous crimes against the Liberian people in the name of peace. Also, there are others who feel the Weah administration should concentrate on present issues and “let a sleeping dog lie”. This position brought back memories of what we were told in the late 50s and the 60s by our parents and older folks to mind our business and to “leave the people’s thing alone.”
    But I am convinced it was the culture of “leave the people’s thing alone” that led our country into the present deplorable state. This culture of a mere expression of concern about a social, economic or political issue was like committing a cardinal sin. And those that had the guts to question the ills that exist in the society were dismissed as being Cranky – a Liberian expression, which means –crazy.

    I honestly believe the past cannot be forgotten because the past gave birth to the future. To reconcile our differences, those who commit wrongs against others must confess and repent because reconciliation without confession and repentance is meaningless. In fact, reconciliation is good, but confession and repentance for doing wrong to others are better. It is regarding this approach, history serves as a constant reminder of a people’s past and present events, and without finding resolutions to our national divides such as INJUSTICE and INEQUALITY; we will not be able to achieve UNITY. Based on all of these concerns and issues, I call upon the Almighty God to touch our hearts and direct our path to do what is pleasing to Him, alone and beneficial to His people.
    Recommendations: Previous governments realized the Matilda Newport story was a myth laced with lies; therefore, the holiday (December 1st) in her honor was discontinued, including Pioneer Day; a day set aside to celebrate the arrival of Settlers.

    I recommend the following to be amended or changed:
    1. The Seal and the motto: “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” to be replaced by the Seal *J. Patrick Flomo presented to the D. Elwood Dunn Commission; and the motto to read: “Ku Ka Tonor”- ‘We are One’ in Kpelle.
    2. When the Liberian National Anthem was written, the Natives were not citizens, therefore, the phrase that reads: “In Union Strong, Success Is Sure, We Cannot Fail” was about the Settlers and not the Natives. It should be replaced with: “In Unity, Success Is Sure, We Cannot Fail”.
    3. Construct monuments to honor indigenous Clan Chief like Madam Suakoko, and Paramount Juah Nimely Senyon, etc.
    4. There are twelve persons who signed the Declaration of Independence, not eleven as it stated in Liberian History. It should be corrected.
    5. The name Kru should be changed in Liberian History; evidence shows that the three ethnic groups, Klao (Kru), Bassa and Grebo worked with European traders as far as 1793. They were employed as crews (laborers) on these European ships. The name KROO or KRU is derived from the word CREW. (Coombs (1993), The Black Experience in America –p. 26).
    6. Based on a story written by Rodney D. Sieh, published in FrontPage Africa on July 19, 2017:
    …In April 2008, police forcibly disbursed students of Kendeja high school, which had been demolished to make room for the hotel.

    The Kendeja Culture Center was established in the early 1960’s as a means of showcasing Liberia’s rich cultural heritage through performing arts. For years, it was the home of the Liberian National Cultural Troupe (LNCT) till 2008 when the RLJ & Companies demolished the shrine to build a hotel resort there. A year earlier, in early 2007, Johnson visited Liberia, and Johnson Sirleaf asked him to consider building a hotel.
    “Given the long historical relationship between our two countries,” Johnson was quoted by the Post, “I believe passionately that African Americans have a responsibility to support Liberia much like Jewish Americans back Israel.”

    The Sirleaf administration was instrumental in finding the site at Kendeja which was greeted by a fiery storm.
    The government through Andrew Tehmeh, an Assistant Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism(MICAT) during a 2009 visit to US, defended the move at the time by stating that the “RLJ & Companies” owner of Kendeja Hotel Resort would pay an annual fee of “US$800.000 to the government of Liberia” for a period of 50 years, beginning the year 2008, meaning the first contract is expected to end 2057, with a possibility for renewal just like the case with Liberia and the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company in Margibi.

    It is unclear whether the new management will follow through on the deal as the reported sale has been conducted under a cloud of secrecy. But in 2015, several artists from Liberia residing in the U.S. threatened to begin a legal process aimed at recovering the country’s National Cultural Shrine – Kendeja, sold to the US billionaire.
    The hotel was reportedly sold previously to a South African company a few years ago, also under a cloud of secrecy, although FrontPageAfrica has been unable to verify as management and the government has remained tight-lipped.
    The Concordia Academy based in Roseville, Minnesota has been trying to start the process by filing a petition against Johnson-Sirleaf’s government.

    James Fasuekoi, one of the advocates for the suit told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday that organizers are waiting to get the group’s next festival underway and put things together. Fasuekoi says a lot of former artists who were brought up at Kendeja including Fatu Gayflor and Tarloh Quiwonkpa have expressed their support.
    As part of an arrangement, the government agreed to build a new cultural center but that project in Boys’ Town has reportedly been abandoned…

    While the Pioneers’ Providence Island is preserved, the Indigenous people’s National Cultural Shrine was demolished in other to build a hotel resort. This is a total disregard to Indigenous Liberians by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the National Legislature. ‘The palava is NOT OVER yet’! We will soon renew our efforts by initiating a lawsuit against the Liberian government to restore our National Cultural Shrine.
    Furthermore, efforts to pursue and bring to justice perpetrators of war and economic crimes will continue until every one of them is persecuted. They have not shown any remorse whatsoever for their barbaric acts against innocent civilians; instead, they want Liberians to ignore them while they occupied decision making positions in the government and go on enjoying the wealth of the nation.

    Finally, all of us should speak with one voice to fight INJUSTICE and have the leaders of our country to make the right decisions that will benefit the entire population. I believe it can be done through the collective efforts of the citizenry. With a united front, leaders of our country will bow to our wishes; and will not ignore or deny the will of the people.

    Until these issues are fully addressed, we cannot see ourselves as part of the: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. On this note, let me close with a poem titled, Liberia, the Beautiful:
    Liberia the Beautiful
    I
    In search of freedom and liberty
    The Settlers returned
    United with their brethren
    At Cape Montserrado
    This glorious reunion
    Gave birth to Liberia
    The land of diverse people
    Like its natural resources
    So when we think of home
    We think of Liberia
    The beautiful.
    II
    Oh home, sweet home
    Of thee, we sing these praises!
    To the land both old and young
    But yet indivisible
    Where the love of liberty
    Will unite all of our people
    For in complete unity
    Our progress is assured
    For our land of beauty
    And pride for which we long
    Long live Liberia, the beautiful
    Forever and ever!
    III
    In spite of the many problems
    That has hurt our national pride
    We have finally resolved
    Never again to fight one another
    Also, agreed to live together
    Under the Lone Star forever
    United in purpose
    To protect the land
    That is God given
    So when we talk about home
    We talk about Liberia
    The beautiful.
    IV
    Oh home, sweet home
    Of thee, we sing these praises!
    To the land both old and young
    But yet indivisible
    Where the love of liberty
    Will unite all of our people
    For in complete unity
    Our progress is assured
    For our land of beauty
    And pride for which we long
    Long live Liberia, the beautiful
    Forever and ever!
    V
    Oh God Almighty
    Please forgive us
    For our many misgivings
    And restore our native land
    To its intended grace and beauty
    To let freedom ring
    From Cape Mount to Cape Palmas
    And throughout Cape Montserrado
    For the land so sacred
    And dear to us
    To be at peace forever
    And remain a national monument
    For us to love, cherish
    And protect.
    VI
    Oh home, sweet home
    Of thee, we sing these praises!
    To the land both old and young
    But yet indivisible
    Where the love of liberty
    Will unite all of our people
    For in complete unity
    Our progress is assured
    For our land of beauty
    And pride for which we long
    Long live Liberia, the beautiful
    Forever and ever!
    Copyright © August 19, 1985, Siahyonkron Nyanseor – All Rights Reserved.
    Gweh Feh Kpeh (the Struggle Continues!). 

    I remain a Progressive today, tomorrow and forever!
    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 that was established 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

    Recommended Readings to Acquaint Readers with Liberia’s Insurmountable Issues:
    1. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “The Liberian Flag, Designed or Copied?”
    ThePerspective, September 4, 2015
    2. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Putting the Matilda Newport Myth to Rest, Parts I & II”
    ThePerspective, December 1, 2003
    3. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Peace Was In Heaven Until Kru People Got There”:
    ThePerspective, February 12, 2018
    4. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “The African Slave Trade: Driven By Racism, Greed and
    Economics”, Parts I & II: February 20 & 28, 2004
    5. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Colonialism is the Same Anywhere, No Matter its Many
    Disguises” ThePerspective July 3, 2018
    6. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Americo-Liberians: The 17th Tribe of Liberia, Parts I & II”
    The Liberian Dialogue, May 22, 2013
    7. Johnson, Joseph: “Liberia’s 170th Independence Day Oration, ‘Sustaining the
    Peace’” by Herman Brown, ThePerspective August 14, 2017
    8. Twe, Didwho (“D. Twe”) July 26, 1944, National Independence Day Oration at the
    Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia – Nyanseor’s Archive
    9. Blyden, Dr. Edward Wilmot: “The Elements of Permanent Influence” Discourse
    Delivered in the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.,
    February 16, 1890 – Nyanseor’s Archive
    10. Blyden, Dr. Edward Wilmot: “Liberia as She is; and the Present Duty of her Citizens”,
    An Independence Day Address given in Monrovia, July 27, 1857 – Nyanseor’s Archive
    11. Blyden, Dr. Edward Wilmot: “The Three Needs of Liberia”, Lecture Delivered in
    Grand Bassa County, January 26, 1908 – Nyanseor’s Archive
    12. Karnga, Abayomi Wilfrid (1926). History of Liberia. Virginia: Publisher D. H. Tyte
    13. Taryor, Sr., Nya Kwiawon (1985). Justice, Justice: A Cry of My People. Chicago, ILL,
    U.S.A.: Strugglers’ Community Press
    14. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Liberian Supreme Court And Legislature: ‘Bulldogs
    With No Teeth’, Globe Afrique, December 23, 2017
    15. Lindberg, Tod (2007). The Political Teachings of Jesus. New York, NY: HarperCollins
    Publishers
    16. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Continuing Liberia’s Ugly Past”, ThePerspective September 14,
    2017
    17. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron (2014). TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut. Providence, RI:
    Kiiton Press
    18. Tipoteh, Togba-Nah (1981). Democracy, the Call of the Liberian People: The Struggle for
    Economic Progress and Social Justice in Liberia During the 1970s. Monrovia, Liberia:
    Publisher, Susukuu Corporation
    19. Fahnbulleh, H. Boima (2004). Voices of Protest: Liberia on the Edge, 1974 – 1980.
    United Kingdom: Universal-Publisher, Inc.

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    President George Weah’s Uncommunicative and Unaccountable Style is Not Leadership. It is Arrogance http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/07/09/president-george-weahs-uncommunicative-and-unaccountable-style-is-not-leadership-it-is-arrogance/ Mon, 09 Jul 2018 17:45:56 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4988 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh               

     

    The story is the same about hardship in Liberia.

    It is not getting better in Liberia, and it doesn’t matter who is President of that country, either.

    When you think there is hope because of a new administration, you are deceiving yourself to have that overwhelming sense of optimism of a better and prosperous life in Liberia.

    Truth is, it is not worth living or even raising a child or owning a dog in Liberia, because it is too difficult to live in Liberia.

    See, when a new administration comes in (like the Weah administration), there is hope that the new administration will surpass the good deeds of the last administration, to make life and living conditions better for the citizens.

    Since the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration failed miserably to lift the Liberian people out of poverty in twelve years, and left the Liberian people with a heinous legacy of evil and massive corruption, and did not improve their living conditions, does that mean that Mr. Weah cannot do better through competent, effective and compassionate leadership to prove to his critics that he is not Madam Sirleaf? 

    However, from one administration to the other, we’ve heard the same sad stories about the country’s bad, corrupt and ineffective leaders, about the lack of jobs, about abject poverty, about hopelessness, about rampant and uncontrollable public-sector corruption, about hunger, and underdevelopment.

    With these chronic historical issues starring incessantly at the citizenry, members of society or individuals of voting age can decide how to vote for a particular candidate based on those issues.

    During the last presidential election that brought George Weah to power, however, most voters did not vote on pocketbook and survival issues and care less about what the next president will do for them and their country.

    Instead, voters romanticized George Weah former football exploits – his dribbling and scoring abilities, not governance – so much that they didn’t bother to ask him questions, and he did not care to answer serious questions about the country’s problems and how he intended to tackle those problems when he’s elected President of Liberia.

    Weah traveled around the country and the world awaiting the presidency to be given to him as if it was an inheritance from his parents.

    At least, had voters and the press asked Mr. Weah tough questions about his plans for Liberia during the campaign, we all would have known his positions on these issues.

    As it is now, Liberians are stuck with Weah’s trademark reticence on key national issues.

    The national issues that Weah failed to address are enormous. And there is a need for this President (Weah) and other Liberian Presidents to be accountable to the Liberian people.

    Why will a government think about borrowing money when its own house is not in order – when there is no accountability, and when public-sector corruption is high as it is in Liberia?

    Any lesson learned from the NOCAL experience?

    Even before the crippling high inflation issue became a national topic, Liberians were required to use the so-called Liberian currency to transact business, while government officials were using U.S. dollars to travel out of the country and do their own business transactions.

    Why will a national government not have confidence in its own currency but expects its citizens to use it to transact business?

    High inflation and the nation’s worthless currency issue deserves a policy speech from the President to the nation. Healthcare, coastal erosion, education, students failing the recent national exam on a massive scale, and the recent mass demonstration by university students, also deserves the president’s attention and a policy speech with a roadmap that spells out how his administration will solve these issues.

    A policy speech from President Weah to the nation to also address the loan, war crimes court in Liberia, Woewiyu’s indictment and conviction, and many other national issues, will be uplifting.

    Mr. Weah’s uncommunicative style is not leadership. It is arrogance.

    Mr. Weah, please say something!

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    Woewiyu’s (War) Crimes – But Is He Alone? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/07/05/woewiyus-war-crimes-but-is-he-alone/ Thu, 05 Jul 2018 13:38:53 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4983 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

     

    Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, the once flamboyant spokesman of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), was found guilty on 11 charges including criminal immigration fraud and war crimes and could be spending the rest of his life in a federal prison in the United States.

    Even though he hasn’t been sentenced yet, Woewiyu faces up to 110 years in prison and a fine of $4m. And when he is sentenced in October on those 11 counts, at age 72, Woewiyu will be one of many seniors who will call home a U. S. federal prison.

    See, during the heyday of the civil war to ‘liberate’ Liberia and Liberians from the brutal hands of dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe, Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu was unmatched during his tenure for his flair for the ridiculous.

    Woewiyu’s shameless utterances and unrestrained globetrotting to promote himself and his chief patron, Charles Taylor, exposed his senseless bloodletting campaign for state power, even as Liberians were murdered, maimed and raped in the name of liberation.

    Woewiyu’s self-indulging exercise did not only expose his countrymen and women to the worst form of senseless violence ever perpetrated against human beings on the Liberian soil, it left Liberians – those that are alive poor, hopeless and homeless and in perpetual pain, and took away the pride and dignity of countless other Liberians who became beggars in their own country.

    Did Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu commit these war crimes by himself?

    No.

    While it is so true that Charles Taylor, Chucky Taylor, Mohammed Jabbateh, and George Boley were put on trial in the United States, convicted, and either jailed or deported to Liberia for their roles in the Liberian civil war, a key co-conspirator, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who rode to fame for her fierce opposition to Samuel Kanyon Doe and her involvement in the civil war, is untouchable.

    Woewiyu’s 2005 “Open Letter to Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf,” which is a treasure of information is available on this website for anyone wishing to know Madam Sirleaf’s deep role in the Liberian civil war.

    However, Woewiyu’s 2005 letter showed that Madam Sirleaf wasn’t an innocent bystander or an angel who was praying for the war to end so that Liberians will not be raped, maimed and die. The letter chronicled Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s full involvement in the planning, financing, recruiting and implementing stages of the civil war.

    Woewiyu writes: (an excerpt).

    “Preparation for Invasion”
    “ My first trip to the Ivory Coast to meet with Charles Taylor, Harry Yuan, Moses Duopu and others to assess the level of military plan of action for the purpose of removing Doe was sponsored by you and others in the wake of the failed Quinwonkpa coupe in which you played a major role. At the time, you were personally supporting Harry Yuan in the rapid re-recruitment of his fellow Nimbaians and Clarence Simpson was supporting Moses Duopu, the late Counselor Gbaydiah and others in the Ivory Coast to launch another armed attack on the Doe Regime following the botched Quinwonkpa coupe.”

    Only Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, a key participant in the planning of the civil war, could have known details as thorough as he wrote in this breathtaking open letter to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    This is the kind of letter or testimony you get in court from a witness or a co-conspirator who is so unhappy with his or her partner that the individual wants to say it all to get a minimized break from prosecution.

    To prosecute Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her role in the civil war, Woewiyu’s Open (and detailed) Letter to Madam Sirleaf must be corroborated and be a key source for prosecutors, who must take on this woman to not be seen as scapegoating Woewiyu and being selective in the prosecution of Liberian war criminals.

    Liberians are thankful to the United States and the Europeans for prosecuting these war criminals, a feat George Weah has been aimlessly dribbling around like a football since he became President of Liberia.

    Woewiyu did not commit these war crimes all by himself. Other co-conspirators including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must be arrested and put on trial, to give credence to having a war crimes court in Liberia.

    There is a need for a war crimes court in Liberia to prosecute these criminals on Liberian soil.

    Good leaders are those individuals who will listen to the wishes and aspirations of their people, and act on them.

    Mr. George Weah, the ball is in your corner.

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    When Loyalty is paid back with Disloyalty – The Harsh Reality of Neglect: A Eulogy To Comrade Adu Dorley http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/07/01/when-loyalty-is-paid-back-with-disloyalty-the-harsh-reality-of-neglect-a-eulogy-to-comrade-adu-dorley/ Sun, 01 Jul 2018 12:48:48 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4971 By Martin K. N. Kollie     

     

    Greet comrade James Gray for us, another firebrand young soldier who was axed by death as a result of utter neglect. As we share our sentiments over your passing, say hi to Brother Gray and all conscious fighters who have been down this tragic lane. Like James who cried out for help, you too did the same during your last hours on earth.

    Neither could our poor health system save you nor those you stood up for. Your hope to remain alive was let down even by those you became so loyal to and served with utmost diligence. It is all over now. Like James Gray, your loyalty was paid back with disloyalty. This is the harsh reality of neglect. It bleeds one’s soul with anguish and grief. Weep no more and sleep on, young Adu. Your pains are over.

    Even our country’s largest referral hospital failed you. The faith you had in JFK and SOS was let down. I know you could recover if timely intervention was made to fly you out. But neglect became your closest companion in your final days. Bidding you goodbye could have been avoided. Yes, I know it could!

    But blame not your enemies, but those you considered your ‘allies’. For they too were invisible and insensitive to give you hope and reason(s) to stay alive. Even while you wrestled with death, your cry for foreign medical aid seemed immaterial to them. Probably your loyalty didn’t worth it in the opinion of your ‘allies’.

    The story would had been different if you were flown without any further delay to Ghana, South Africa, India, Kenya or USA for advanced medical care. They knew that your medical problem could not be resolved in Liberia. They knew that JFK and SOS had no answer or solution. Yet, you were taken there for treatment.

    When they were sick, they used tax-dollars to seek foreign medical care. But they were unable to do the same for you. This is the hypocrisy of those political elites you defended with every fiber of your being. It is all about them and their families. It is all about their wellbeing, and not yours. It is not about the peasants and proletarians.

    You once sought their interest, but they could not seek yours even when you needed them the most. You risked your life, image, and integrity for them but they could not risk their cash to fly you out even when you were on your dying bed in dire need.

    That’s just who they are – The hypocrites and betrayals of this dispensation and generation! They only become your true allies when you are dead and gone. They only become your allies when they need you to protect their parochial interest. But what good is it for them to post RIP on Facebook when they had every opportunity in their reach to avoid posting RIP. We give no credence to such hypocrisy and midday deception.

    Weep no more Adu. For your pains are over. When no one could come to your rescue, I know you felt betrayed like James Gray and Julius Caesar who was betrayed by Cassius and Brutus– you felt isolated, dejected and grieved. You didn’t deserve to be abandoned – not even by an establishment you fearlessly fought to create.

    Maybe your loyalty didn’t worth foreign medical care in your allies’ opinion. But it is all over now. Your loyalty has been paid back with disloyalty. Like James Gray, you too were abandoned on the lonely and harsh shores of NEGLECT. Until your demise, I learn that you kept on calling for help but no one could come to your aid.

    We cannot hide from these facts and realities. We cannot continue to march in the shadows of pretense. Because even when all of us are gone, history will still remember these harsh realities. Like James, Adu built trust in his ‘allies’ but his trust was paid back with distrust – his allegiance was paid back with abandonment – his devotion was paid back with dejection. These are the harsh realities of NEGLECT, not politics.

    Yes, Adu’s allies erred in my opinion! They had everything in their reach, including resources, to save his life. They have become unsettled by their collective guilt. But who am I to judge the living. But who am I to question the power or authority of the Deity. In his loving arms, we seek solace and comfort. Let his grace and mercy overflow.

    Young Adu has finally laid down his baton. As a fallen young soldier in arm, his voice won’t be heard anymore. The energy he had to defend his belief, ideology and allies is no more. No number of ‘RIP’, even from his ‘allies’, can bring him back.

    Weep no more because your pains are over. Sleep on comrade Adu. The time you shared with us on Carey Street specifically at CEIO will remain memorable. Often, we didn’t agree on issues but tolerance was our guiding principle upon which we cross-pollinated our thoughts and ideas.

    We’ve learned 3 basic lessons from your demise:

    1. Liberia’s ruining health sector is undependable, and offers no real hope

    2. Loyalty is paid back with disloyalty not necessarily by our enemies, but by those we usually consider our allies and friends

    3. Neglect becomes our final end when we are more loyal to people who are more disloyal to our welfare.

    Heather Brewer was scrupulously concise when she said “The worst pain in the world goes beyond physical. Even further beyond any other emotional pain one can feel. It is in the betrayal of our friends and the disloyalty of our allies.”

    As we bid you farewell, seek vengeance not against your adversaries. With lamentation, we mourn with your family, friends and love ones. Our condolences to them for this loss!

    May I now console all of us with these words “Death is our final end. Whenever it comes, we bow down powerless, choiceless, and voiceless. It ends our dream and leaves behind sad memories. Sometimes, we tend to find answer(s) for our NEGLECT even by our closest allies while traveling down this tragic lane.”

    So it is with comrade Adu Dorley – So it was with comrade James Gray. It is finally over – Your pains are now over. Sleep on in peace, young Adu. When loyalty is paid back with disloyalty, then the harsh reality of neglect sets in.

    In Swahili, I am sympathetically bidding you goodbye “Mpaka tukutane tena, usingie kwenye Adu mdogo” meaning in English “Until we meet again, sleep on young Adu.”

    Martin is a Liberian youth and student activist studying Economics at the University of Liberia. He is a columnist and an emerging Economist. He currently serves as Secretary General of the Student Unification Party.

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    CDC’s Pro-Poor Government Hut Tax Historical Amnesia http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/06/19/cdcs-pro-poor-government-hut-tax-historical-amnesia/ 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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    konnte nicht geladen werden!/feed The Liberian Dialogue http://theliberiandialogue.org Serving you since 2002. Credible. Compelling. Consistent. Provocative. Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:30:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 The Missing Container http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/09/18/the-missing-container/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:30:15 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=5014 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

     

    Did it, or did it not happen? That’s the million-dollar question.

    The answer is, a container full of money is missing. 

    The exact amount is presumed to be L$9 billion, US$60 million.

    No, I am not making it up, and I am not writing this piece to willfully malign the Weah administration, either.

    According to a Press Release from the office of Frank Musah Dean, Jr., Minister of Justice, “initial findings indicate that the container and bags of moneys allegedly arrived between November 2017, prior to the inauguration of the current Government, and August 18. Evidence available to the Investigative Team has established that the current administration was not informed about the arrival of the containers and bags of money into the country.”

    Reports from Monrovia also indicated that the container full of money was signed off by staffs of the Central Bank of Liberia. And a request to enter the port and take delivery of the printed materials occurred on March 31, 2018, by Mrs. Mariea E. Grisby-Toe, Director, General Services, Musulyn R B. Jackson, Oldada Deshield and five individuals from the Central Bank of Liberia, who took delivery of the container. Lawrence Sirleaf and Ms. Elise G.N. Jolo of JVS Enterprise Inc reportedly were the brokers.

    The Weah administration obviously is in a damage control mode and is also playing the blame game – their words against the Sirleaf administration’s, and the general public, weighing in from all spheres of the globe, is aware that something’s wrong with Liberia and its political leaders.

    All of this perhaps could have been avoided had Mr. Weah agree to audit the Sirleaf administration after he publicly admitted that he inherited a government that had no money in its coffers.

    If he inherited a government that was broke, why did Mr. Weah refused to audit the Sirleaf administration?
    Can it be said that Mr. Weah refused to audit the Sirleaf administration because Madame Sirleaf probably had damaging information on him that could have compromised Weah?

    However, for corruption to go from the stealing of thousands of dollars to the stealing of a container full of money-billions ($16B, some estimates), is mind-boggling, and is something that does not only steer up the mind but diminishes all level of credibility and confidence in the Weah administration.

    It is also a national security issue for a nation that just came out of a 14-year civil war to have security breached in this manner, and for a container that arrived at the nation’s port of entrance/departure, the National Port Authority, to suddenly disappear, is a major concern.

    How did it happen? Where was security at the time? Was security compromised or security paid off with a share of the money to let the perpetrators escape?

    In order to get to the bottom of this matter, first investigate and identify the five anonymous individuals from the Central Bank of Liberia. Also, investigate Mrs. Mariea E. Grisby-Toe, Director, General Services, Musulyn R B. Jackson and Oldada Deshield. These individuals asked to enter the port and take delivery of the printed materials on March 31, 2018. Lawrence Sirleaf and Ms. Elise G.N. Jolo of JVS Enterprise Inc., must also be investigated. 

    As usual, Weah has not addressed the nation yet but is hiding behind his Minister of Justice (Frank Musah Dean, Jr.) and a press release from the Ministry of Justice to discuss this major criminal activity that has taken all breaths out of a struggling nation and its suffering people.

    Truth is, President George Manneh Weah is part of the problem and Liberians are suffering in their own country.

    Parents are having a hard time buying uniforms and paying tuitions to send their children to school. Liberian parents are also finding it difficult feeding their children. The same is true with ordinary Liberians who are finding it very difficult to buy a cup of rice to eat from day to day. Also, university students can barely afford a cab or bus fares to go to school daily, and lacked the money to pay school fees.

    President Weah owes the Liberian people an explanation, and he needs to take charge of this issue immediately.

    See, the Weah administration supposedly a “Pro-Poor” administration, is far from being on the side of the poor for its extravagant spending and high-end traveling habits, negotiating bad loans, poor judgment, incompetence and lack of leadership.

    That’s what a country and its citizens gets when they elect an inexperienced George Manneh Weah, who then brings into his governing inner circle hustlers and rejects from the United States and elsewhere whose modus operandi is not public service but to find a way to work in the Liberian government to steal and get rich.

    The history of public-sector corruption in Liberia is a menace that a new government must work hard to tackle head-on in order to stay on course. 

    George Manneh Weah has so far failed to stay on course.

    Mr. Weah, please find the missing container full of money and stop the blame game.

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    Weah’s Governing Problem http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/09/16/weahs-governing-problem/ Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:40:21 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=5005 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh        

     

    George Manneh Weah is your everyday Liberian who shockingly became President of Liberia.

    It is the first in the history of the republic for an everyday Liberian, especially an inexperienced and clueless one for that matter to run for president, let alone, win the presidency based solely on football credentials alone.

    As the nation’s reigning past-time, football can be blamed for giving the Liberian people the politically ambitious and inexperienced Weah who exploited his football past and his stratospheric popularity to first convince himself that he is a presidential material, and shrewdly convinced a football-crazy nation to take him seriously.

    To get to the presidency, Weah and his opportunistic handlers plotted his path via the Liberian Senate to expose him to legislating, and to also give him the talking point that he is prepared to govern the nation based on his prior experience as a legislator.

    To some observers, it was a winning strategy and a brilliant political move since their guy had zero experience in leading anything that resembles a government, and zero managerial experience running a football organization.

    To others, however, the forever taciturn Weah doesn’t have any history of crafting any groundbreaking legislation during his tenure as a Senator that lifted his constituents and Montserrado County (as former President Tolbert would say) from “mat to mattress.”

    George Manneh Weah only decided to run for the Senate to prepare for the presidency since his obvious lack of experience in government, and his lack of a college degree was perhaps two requirements that could have derailed his dream of becoming President of Liberia.

    Like a student who had to take a makeup test to meet a school’s passing requirements, Weah hurriedly enrolls in school to get his college degree in the United States only to later return to Liberia to run for the Liberian Senate.

    All of this obviously was a sign of desperation and a red flag for Liberians who were desirous of Weah becoming President of Liberia by any means, knowing that he is hugely unprepared to be the nation’s leader at this crucial time of nation-building.

    These rabid Weah supporters, aware that their man is unprepared for the Liberian presidency, are amnesic of the nation’s problems as they continue to invoke the delusional leadership qualities of Weah and the name of God for his election to the presidency, even as the country continues to fall apart on his presidential watch.

    Shockingly, some even see his coming as “messianic.”

    Weah’s ineptitude and absolute lack of leadership are on display from day to day as he inoculates himself from the pains and suffering of his people even as he proudly and shamelessly dabbles into the imperial presidency as if things are normal in the country.

    However, Weah’s imperial leadership style, like his despotic predecessors, which is based on singularism and a powerful presidency as prescribed in the nation’s constitution, are the reasons Liberia is ancient and backward in development and progress today.

    These are the reasons Liberians need to work very hard to decrease the imperial powers of the President of Liberia to be accountable to the people, decentralize local government, build democratic institutions that are genuinely independent of the President of Liberia and elected officials, and empower the Liberian people to decide their own future.

    President Weah’s governing style was on display recently when he takes nearly his entire cabinet on a trip to China (even if the Chinese government had sponsored the trip, as reported unofficially) as if it were a winter retreat.

    President Weah reportedly shuts down the Liberian government to retire his #14 jersey, which is a personal feat and not a national one, and he reportedly sheds $2,000 a piece to each Nigerian player after the game. Is it Weah’s own money or the nation’s money?

    This is happening at a time when Liberians can barely afford a cup of rice to eat, afford to go to the clinic when they are sick, or can afford to send their kids to school.

    Mr. Weah should have celebrated the occasion with his family, his teammates and his team, and not use the nation’s money to celebrate his personal achievements.

    This does not warrant a national celebration.

    Self-absorbed dictators and want-to-be dictators are the ones who often engage in these kinds of personal worship ceremonies.

    Weah who often mixed politics with his personal accomplishments honored his former coach Arsene Wenger with The Humane Order of African Redemption, one of Liberia’s highest honors, for nurturing him and other players.

    Again, these are Mr. Weah’s personal accomplishments that do not warrant a national celebration. Self-absorbed dictators and want-to-be dictators are the ones who often engage in these kinds of personal worship ceremonies.

    The recent physical fight between Representative Edwin Snowe and Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahgon shows the toxic climate in the country, which is a poor reflection on Weah’s-laid-back leadership style.

    This is also a reflection on the climate of intolerance in the country, which is a threat to safety and security in the country.

    Where is the Ministry of Justice? Where’s President Weah on these issues? As usual, there wasn’t a press conference and no address to the nation.

    The $536 million loan from Singapore-based Eton Finance which was hurriedly negotiated without transparency and a genuine debate, is a problem.

    Knowing that some shady characters from the Taylor era (Emmanuel Shaw and others) are now working in the Weah government, and knowing how corrupt this government and the previous governments have been over the years, is troubling.

    Just recently, a Nigerian Manager, Aojedi Bejide at the Guaranty Bank in Monrovia allegedly assaulted a Liberian who works at the bank. I am not going to go into details as to why he physically assaulted the Liberian. What Mr. Bejide shouldn’t have done is lay his hands on a Liberian, or throw an object at another human being.

    The Weah Ministry of Justice jailed the Nigerian. What the Weah Ministry of Justice should have done after jailing this idiot is to deport him to Nigeria immediately never to return to Liberia after he served his few days in jail.

    Knowing Liberia and how relaxed the government is in terms of not adhering to the rule of law and equal justice for all, this guy will remain in Liberia and will go back to his old job to continue to physically and emotionally abuse Liberians.

    As a stickler for the rule of law, accountability, building institutions and respecting institutions, I am hoping that the  Liberian people and their leaders will one day collaborate to reduce the powers of the imperial presidency so that the President of Liberia and elected officials will be accountable to the people.

    When that happens, Weah and future Liberian presidents and government officials will not trample on the rights of the Liberian people by doing things their way.

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    Opposition Politicians or (Opportunistic) Enablers? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/08/18/opposition-politicians-or-opportunistic-enablers/ Sat, 18 Aug 2018 15:45:14 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4998 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

     

    President George Manneh Weah is not a talker. I don’t know if he is a doer, either.

    The president’s diehard supporters believe he is a doer and wants us to believe them, even though dire events in Liberia – in his administration are the opposite of an administration that understands governance and domestic policy. 

    Truth is, Liberians are suffering and there is no end to their painful conditions.

    The price of rice, the nation’s staple, has skyrocketed. The Liberian dollar is valueless, yet the government demands that Liberians do business in U. S. dollars. There are no jobs, but the do-nothing legislators are being paid astronomically as if they are working. Public-sector corruption is up significantly. There is no accountability in government. Nepotism in government is a booming industry. University students are failing in record numbers. Loans are negotiated without a genuine and healthy public debate to know what is in it and how it will be paid for. Wetlands are being destroyed to build homes. President Weah is even planning to destroy the wetlands in Bali Island to build a city. 

    With all that, the opposition politicians are not challenging President Weah, but are sitting around and waiting for the next legislative and presidential elections to chase the singular presidency, and to fill the legislative slots with their token and opportunistic party members. Just recently, however, the opposition met with President Weah in a closed-door meeting that did not produce any significant results.

    President Weah hardly makes policy statements in public or in private (that I am aware of), and he comes across as a guy who has no idea of governance but aspired to be president out of a bloated ego that is as large as the Atlantic Ocean next door that increasing stares at the country.

    Mr. Weah’s obvious reticence came through during the presidential campaign when he hardly said anything policy-related about where he wants to take the country, and he did not give any policy speech that reflects his vision for the country as to how he intends to solve some of the crucial problems that plagued the Liberian people and the Liberian nation.

    However, the so-called opposition politicians and their party bosses did not push back against Mr. Weah since he was the presumed frontrunner at the time. The opposition politicians focused on their own chances of becoming President of Liberia, and their party bosses were only interested in fortifying their own positions to reap whatever political benefits that awaited them after the election. 

    At the end of the day, or after the election ended and Weah became president nearly eight months ago, some party bosses and some of their members (as is painfully customary in Liberian politics), switched from their own political parties to the incoming president’s political party as quickly as a chameleon can change its color to fit in and reap whatever benefits that show up in their new surroundings. 

    The Liberian opposition politicians and their party bosses are the equivalents of a chameleon, the slow-moving lizard with the long extensible tongue and the cunning ability to change color to prey on unsuspected neighbors and those that are not paying attention to the chameleon’s presence. 

    With nothing in common politically with the ruling party and its leaders and this president and other presidents in terms of ideology and values, these party bosses and some of their members – with their impulsive and often opportunistic bearings that defined them have jumped ships to upkeep their greedy bellies and watery mouths with the corrupt earnings they yanked from the Liberian people. 

    I took on Mr. Weah’s lack of words, and Mr. Weah not having press conferences, not giving policy speeches to address the issues of the day that plagued the nation, and his unaccountability, in an article I wrote recently about his uncommunicative presidency. 

    I am unaware whether the President read my article, or whether any of his staffers read it. However, days after I published my piece, President Weah finally addressed the nation and gave his State of the Economy speech, which addressed the low foreign reserves and high unemployment in the country. 

    A brief excerpt of President Weah’s speech.

    “We were very aware of these systemic problems when we decided to run for the high office of President of Liberia, and so we are not surprised. we intend to encourage and empower Liberian businessmen and Liberian-owned businesses to lead the transformation of the Liberian economy.

    1. We will enable them to become more competitive, by providing affirmative policies and support, including ready access to finance and expertise. An immediate infusion by the Central Bank of Twenty-Five Million United States Dollars into the economy to mop up the excess liquidity of Liberian dollars. 

    2. A mandate to the Central Bank to provide more effective supervision and regulation of money-changers or foreign exchange bureau.
    3. A mandate to the Central Bank to provide more robust oversight of banks under its supervision
    4. Conduct a comprehensive review of regulations on the hoarding of both Liberian dollars and U.S. dollars outside the banking system, and provide incentives and safeguards to encourage the utilization of the banking system, including financial instruments.“

    There hasn’t been a robust response from the opposition leaders and their party bosses about the president’s economic speech and the issues he raised – an issue like the financial crisis in the country that he Mr. Weah either inherited from his predecessor President Sirleaf, or the ones he created during the short time he has been in office.

    There are countless other issues in the country (like the ones I cited below) that the opposition leaders could take on with the president, except that they are concerned with their own livelihoods and a meeting with the president during a closed-door meeting that proved unsubstantive and a waste of time.

    1. Western Union’s remittances to Liberians from their overseas relatives that are illegally divided 25% to 75% into U. S. dollars and Liberian dollars by the government.
    2. The destruction of wetlands (swampland) by Liberians to build homes, and the recent decision by President Weah to destroyed the wetlands in Bali Island and the decision to turn Bali Island into a city.
    3. The huge and crazy over-the-top legislative salaries estimated to be in the thousands of dollars, while ordinary Liberians can barely find food or money to send their children to school.
    4. Record unemployment, and the lack of vacation jobs for students
    5. Garbage disposal and the piles of garbage in the City of Monrovia. Why not get with global companies to sell the garbage for recycling? There are multinational companies that are recycling garbage. Get with them. Sell the darn thing, and make money from it.
    6. Nepotism at the National Port Authority (NPA).
    7. The lack of accountability and transparency in government
    8. The huge government payroll.
    9. And other issues. 

    It seems President Weah is always nominating people to work in his government, however, look at the country and the City of Monrovia. Are these people doing any work for which they were appointed and are being paid?

    Liberia needs a miracle for a compassionate leader, for a leader who understands pain and suffering and development, and is willing to genuinely work to improve the lives of his or her people.

    The country is too old to be underdeveloped.

    Liberia is bleeding, and the Liberian people are suffering.

    Where are the real opposition politicians?

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    Sinoe County Politicians Are the Problem – Unseat Them http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/08/16/sinoe-county-politicians-are-the-problem-unseat-them/ Thu, 16 Aug 2018 00:41:41 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4995 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh       

     

     

    Sinoe County is a beautiful place to live.

    It is quiet, uncongested, environmentally-friendly, rich in natural resources, and boasts some of the most beautiful natural sceneries in the country.

    With the volatile Atlantic Ocean serving as a natural backdrop in the county’s capital of Greenville, and obviously, the engine that could have propelled growth and development in that part of Liberia if the political leaders were uncorrupt, compassionate and effective, Sinoe County could become an economically viable partner in its own development efforts and the nation’s development efforts.

    Like other parts of Liberia with their own bad, selfish, incompetent, and corrupt political leaders, Sinoe County is right there with its share of bad, selfish, incompetent, and corrupt political leaders, who are not ready to provide thoughtful, ethical, inspiring and compassionate leadership for their people, but are there in name only and for themselves.

    Sinoe County is always in the news for all the wrong reasons, or, for all the right reasons depending on the day and time, and with whom one is discussing the many problems that continue to take the county backward.

    Whether it is public-sector corruption, the obvious lack of jobs, the lack of vision to take infrastructure development projects to the county, political infighting and backstabbing, the lack of accountability, and the silly decision to have a self-serving “peace” summit in Bamako to end the political infighting between the politicians when there are villages in Sinoe County that could have hosted them, are all reasons Sinoe County is not moving forward, and will never move forward with Teahjay, Zarzar and the rest of the clowns still in office. 

    Instead of providing jobs, economic development, funding the paving of streets and roads, and vacation jobs for the countless students who are bouncing around the county and their districts frustratingly with no hope for the future, the politicians who are not accountable to their constituents returned home from their ‘Bamako Peace Accord’ to the internecine infighting that defined them and the little values left in them. 

    Certainly, there are problems in the county, but Nagbe, Teahjay, Zarzar (newcomer) Sloh, and others in the Sinoe County legislative caucus are also the problem for the county because they are missing in action in terms of delivering goods and services for their people. 

    Senator Joseph Nagbe who was recently nominated by President Weah to replace Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks at the Supreme Court is part of the problem. And the childish infighting between him and some in his caucus that stalled progress and add to the problems in the county exposed him for the ineffective legislator he has become. 

    Unfortunately, Senator Joseph Nagbe who was first elected to his Senate seat in 2006, is unable to show his people what he has done for them during his decade-plus tenure in that chamber.

    The questions to President Weah are, what are Senator Nagbe’s contributions to Sinoe County since 2006 that warrants him a seat in the Supreme Court?

    Did Senator Nagbe help to find the funds to build a modern road system from Sinoe County to Grand Gedeh County? Did Senator Nagbe find the funds to pave the streets in Greenville? Any significant (postal) mail system in the county that he spearheaded? Did Senator Nagbe find the funds to expand and pave the airfield in (Po-River) Greenville?

    Did Senator Nagbe help to create jobs and economic development in Sinoe County? When was the last time the bridge that connects Greenville and Seebeh and the Port, ever saw any form of maintenance? 

    What are his contributions to health and education in the county?

    As Senator, how many students did he help with summer jobs? Did Senator Nagbe fund the construction of bridges in the county?

    The same with former Senator Mobutu Nyenpan, who was elected to the Senate in 2006 with Senator Nagbe, and served until 2015. As a Senator, what did Senator Mobutu Nyenpan do for his people? What are his legislative accomplishments for his county and people? President Weah appointed the former Senator to be his Public Works Minister.

    I always thought you get a promotion in school, in your community, and on your job based on hard work and your invaluable contributions to those institutions and society.

    You cannot be a part of the problem that stymied growth and development in your county only to get a promotion to the Supreme Court because you are a sitting senator who has a law degree and other credentials, which are personal achievements.

    It is customary – the ‘Liberian way’ I guess for Liberians to write or speak harshly about others, non-relatives in government whom they believe are not effective, but are quiet when it is their friends, relatives and their tribal people in government.

    These Liberians are good at jumping and joining the bandwagon of praise singers who will go above and beyond to support their corrupt and ineffective relatives and friends who are promoted by the President of Liberia.

    As a believer in accountability and transparency in government, I am not one who believes in tribal and ethnic politics to turn a blind eye to the corrupt and unproductive acts of my own tribal folks in government.

    Instead of embracing and applauding these politicians (our relatives and friends) when they are appointed by the President of Liberia to a higher office, let’s call them out for betraying the trust of our people.

    Sinoe County politicians are the problem. Unseat them!

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    What is July 26 Celebration to Americo-Liberians & Indigenous Liberians? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/08/10/what-is-july-26-celebration-to-americo-liberians-indigenous-liberians/ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 22:41:18 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4992 By Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr.  

       

    Seal proposed by J Patrick Flomo to the Dunn Commission in 2016.

     

    I was born on July 22nd (1947), four days short of being born on Independence Day, July 26th. It is a “Big Holiday” second to Christmas celebration in Liberia. Had I been born on Independence Day, I would have been named by my Bassa side of the family as “Twenty-six”. But that did not stop some of my Bassa relatives from referring to me as “Centene” (Centennial); because I was born on the 100 Anniversary of the independence of Liberia. My sister Jugbeh Menia Nyanseor almost suffered a similar fate. She was born on December 1st, a day established to honor Matilda Newport. If it was not for our mother’s intervention,     her name would have been MATILDA, that’s how many of us got these Kwii (civilized) names.

    Liberia, my country of birth is fond of replacing tribal names of places and persons with names like Compounds Number 1, Number 2, and Number 3 in Grand Bassa County; including traditional leaders names such as: Bassa King Kadasie (Bob Gray); Bassa King Zolu Duma (King Peter); Mandingo King Sao Boso (Chief Boatswain), etc.

    July 26 is celebrated by Liberians at home and throughout the world with picnic-like feasts, formal programs with guest speakers, fundraising activities, and dinner climaxed with a “Grand March” (dance). The celebration featured ‘who’s who’ in these communities.

    While writing this article, I came across several Liberians who professed to know Liberian History. However, to my surprise I found out they know very little about African History; and for that matter, world history. Some of them blamed the current problems of Liberia on the Progressives who advocated for democracy, human rights and social justice in the 70s and the 80s. I find their arguments quite interesting! Their line of argument is similar to the Jewish High Priests of the Sanhedrin’s accusation brought against Jesus and his Twelve Disciples of causing trouble for speaking the truth that changed the corrupt world of the day. The French aristocrats accused the Black Jacobins led by Toussaint L’Ouverture of Haiti for freeing the slaves from the French oppressors. This is a classic case of blaming the victim!

    Critical Thinking
    This July 26 holiday, I would like to know if Liberians who celebrate the Independence Day truly understand the purpose of the celebration. I did so by conducting a survey that included ‘one-on-one conversations along with questions. The respondents were Liberians from all backgrounds who were asked to explain their understanding of the purpose or historical significance of the July 26 Independence Day holiday. My topic for this exercise is: “What is July 26 Celebration to Americo-Liberians & Indigenous Liberians?” In order to truly arrive at the proper understanding by both groups, I decided to ask them the following questions:

    1. From what country or organization did Liberia receive independence?
    2. With whom did the Settlers’ fight to gain their independence?
    a) Was it America, the American Colonization Society (ACS)?
    b) Or was it the Indigenous tribes?
    3. Were the Indigenous tribes included in the Declaration of Independence written by Hilary Teage; if not, why were they not included?
    4. What does July 26th mean to the tribal people?

    A question like ‘Question Number 4’ was addressed by Abolitionist Frederick Douglass in his speech titled: What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

    “…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

    “Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as a hart.”

    “But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were an inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin!…

    I similarly ask the question, as Frederick Douglass queried, “What is the July 26th
    Celebration to Americo-Liberians & Indigenous Liberians” to find out what Liberians think about the holiday. The general response, to my surprise, left me with the feeling that ‘ignorance of history’ is an illness that can be cured only with an education based on the true history. If not, individuals or groups will continue to pass on false narratives like mechanical robots.

    Respondents’ Answers
    Here are some of the answers provided by the respondents from my one-on-one conversations. A few of them said: “My man, why are you asking such a question about 26 when you know very well that is our country’s Independence Day? Even babies born today know the answer!” Another said to me, “Nyanseor, what are you going to do with the answer?” To which I said I only want to know your opinion about the day! In summary, the majority of the respondents felt it is a holiday that patriotic Liberians celebrate. What really surprised me was most of them did not see anything wrong with celebrating the holiday. In fact, no one saw the July 26 celebration as only for the Settlers.

    Myths and History
    From here on, let me make it indisputably clear that those of us who advocate correcting wrongs done in the past, and even today; do so NOT to change history; rather it is to correct injustices done to a group of people by those who held power and where those injustices violated the human and civil rights of others. However, due to continued advocacy throughout the world for justice, we are witnessing, for example, the amending of unjust laws such as removing Confederate flags, statues and renaming parks in the United States. Another case in point is former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the National Football League (NFL), who started a protest which was joined by other players to take a knee when the U.S. National Anthem is being played — a protest due to extrajudicial lynching and other injustices against African-Americans and other racial minorities.

    According to historian Richard Poe, (World) “History was designed to justify European domination;” and a similar case can be made that Liberian history (Settlers) was written to promote antebellum southern plantation culture and religious heritage without regards to the indigenous population (natives) who first occupied the land.

    As is evident, Liberia’s social and political systems are carbon copies of America. The sad thing about it is that subsequent governments continue to maintain these divisive practices that make it difficult or impossible for Liberians to unite due to the European racist Christian origin upon which country was established. The so-called ‘Father of the Nation,” Hilary Teage and leaders of the infant colony are responsible for this divide. How could one who suffered indignities of exclusion under the Constitution of the United States write a Declaration of Independence for Liberia which then excludes the country’s indigenous people? The document reads:

    “We the people of the Republic of Liberia were originally the inhabitants of the United States of America. In some parts of that country, we were debarred by law from all the rights and privileges of men in other parts, a public sentiment more powerful than law frowned us down.

    We were everywhere shut out from all civil office. We were excluded from all participation in the government. We were taxed without our consent. We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country which gave us no protection. We were made a separate and distinct class and against us, every avenue to improvement was officially closed.

    Strangers from all lands of a different color from ours were preferred before us. We uttered our complaints but they were unattended to or only met by alleging the peculiar institutions of the country. All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly extinguished in our bosoms, and we looked with anxiety abroad for some asylum from the deep degradation.

    The West coast of Africa was the place selected by American benevolence and philanthropy for our future home. Removed beyond those influences, it was hoped we would be enabled to enjoy those rights and privileges and exercise and improve those faculties, which the God of nature has given us in common with the rest of mankind”.

    A more inclusive ‘Declaration of Independence’ could have been written to unite both groups. Instead, the Settlers copied the racist practices of their former slave masters to the exclusion of the Indigenous tribes in the Declaration of Independence written by Teage. Yet, they are portrayed by Liberian (Settlers) historians as Christians and humanitarians.

    Falsehood and myth played a misleading role in recording and passing on history. According to Arthur R. Thompson: “History is not only ‘written by the victors,’ but by ‘the ignorant,’ ‘the biased,’ and ‘the devious.’ …To the Victor Go the Myths and Monuments.”

    In the book, To the Victor Go the Myths & Monuments: The History; of the First 100 Years of the War Against God and the Constitution, 1776-1876, and Its Modern Impact, Thompson stated further:
    “History can also be restricted to selected portions of the true story because of an author’s bias, his agenda, or because he is serving the agenda of others. A history in which facts are deliberately ignored or in which the author creates “facts” distorts the true picture of past events. Such distortions, built up over time, can have deadly effects on a people and on nations. As George Orwell (whom the author quotes on the title page) put it many years ago, “The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    I intend to prove how Thompson’s statement applied to the history written from the perspective of the Settlers of Liberia. To support my point, I draw from eminent historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s description of history. To him:
    “History is the clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography…history tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. Most importantly, an understanding of history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be.”

    That being the case, we in Liberia were taught FALSE history (one-sided). The history we were taught in Liberia promoted ONLY the Settlers’ activities. They did so as if the TRIBES were invisible or never existed. Let me cite here an account of an outsider.

    An Outsider’s View
    David Lamb, author of The Africans in his description the early history of Liberia. He writes:
    “The new settlers adopted the only desirable lifestyle they knew – that of the antebellum whites who had ruled them – and they turned the sixteen indigenous tribes into an underprivileged majority, referring to them until the 1950s as ‘aborigines’. The pioneers and their ‘Americo-Liberian’ descendants became a black colonial aristocracy. They controlled the commerce, ran the government and sent their sons abroad to be educated. The men wore morning coats and top hats, drank bourbon, joined the Masons… They passed on to their children their American names such as Christian Maxwell, George Browne, and Barton Bliss – army’s chief of staff in the late 1960s was General George Washington – and a member of their True Whig Party was as conservative as any Southern Republican back in the United States.

    “Even today, urban Liberia seems more like William Faulkner’s South than Africa. The official currency is the U.S. dollar bills used in New York or Chicago – though they are faded and wrinkled and long were taken out of circulation by American banks. Policemen wear summer uniforms discarded by New York City Police Department, and townships have names such as Louisiana, New Georgia and Maryland. On Sundays, when the strip joints on Broad Street and Gurley streets in Monrovia are closed, American gospel music fills the radio stations, and the accents in the packed Baptist Church on Center Street are distinctly Deep South.

    “For a long time, Africans poked fun at Liberia, disparaging it for adopting attitudes and importing values, not in keeping with African tradition.” (David Lamb, The Africans, New York: Vintage Books, 1987, pp. 124-125).
    Mr. Ossie Davis, an African-American who was assigned to the all-black 25th Station Hospital stationed in Liberia at Robertsfield during World War II, made the following observation:

    “The Americo-Liberians, black though they were, tended to live like Europeans or Americans, and that surprised me. They had new cars; they regularly sent their children off to Europe or America to college, and they fraternized with their peers at Firestone. They seldom mixed with the natives, with whom I had already bonded, who were authentic Africans and much more fun. I was not only uneasy with the class conflict I felt was brewing in Liberia, I was disturbed by it. But most of the soldiers on the post were not. They, too, quite easily, took to treating all the natives, not as brothers and comrades, but like servants, in much the same way white folks treated black folks down in Georgia.

    “This arrogance disturbed me, too, and I began to entertain a horrible suspicion. For most of my life, I had believed that black folks were in many ways morally superior to white folks, especially in our dealings with each other. I was profoundly disappointed that the Americo-Liberians, the children of slaves themselves, would come to Africa and behave as if they themselves were the slaveholders now” (Davis, Ossie & Dee, Ruby (2000). With Ossie And Ruby In This Life Together). New York, U.S.A.

    There is this account by a noted Liberian historian, Abayomi Karnga. In 1923, he classified the status divisions among Liberians into four distinct caste systems. “At the top were the Americo-Liberian officials, consisting largely of light-complexioned people of mixed Black and White ancestry. They were followed by darker skinned Americo-Liberians, consisting mostly of laborers and small farmers. Then the recaptives, Africans who had been rescued by the U.S. Navy while aboard U.S.-bound slave ships and brought to Liberia (referred to as Congoes). The indigenous African Liberians were at the bottom of the hierarchy. These divisions led to de facto segregation amongst the various groups, specifically affected were the indigenous population.” (Donald A Ranard, editor, Liberians: An Introduction to their History and Culture, Culture Profile No. 19, April 2005).

    President Arthur Barclay’s Native Plan
    President Arthur Barclay had a ‘Native Plan’ with certain requirements and qualifications that an indigenous person had to meet before he or she could be accepted as a citizen of Liberia. These requirements were:
    “The willingness of applicants to qualify for Liberian citizen by adopting the Christian faith, Western living conditions, and Western standards of conduct, dress, and general appearance. An African, in effect, would have to detach himself from his own customs by completely accepting the Americo-Liberian set of values. Citizenship and voting rights might then follow.” (Gershoni, Yekutiel (1985) Black Colonialism: The Americo-Liberian Scramble for the Hinterland, 1985, pp. 37-38).

    It was based on these requirements and conditions the indigenous population was allowed to become citizens in their own land. Citizenship was extended to them in 1904; 57 years after independence.

    Liberia Had False Start
    Someone once said ‘anything that had a false start has the tendency to remain in a false state’. Perhaps, this is the curse that is haunting Liberia. The history of Liberia had a false start and, I find, a painful similarity between Lord Macaulay, an Englishman, and Hilary Teage who wrote Liberia’s Declaration of Independence.
    On February 2, 1835, Lord Macaulay addressed the British Parliament on how to deal with African people.

    Find below excerpts of his address:
    “I have travelled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

    I cannot help but conclude that Hilary Teage might have gotten some of the racist divides from Lord Macaulay’s address to the British Parliament which served as the basis of the Settlers’ treatment of the Indigenous people of Liberia.

    It was in 1835 that Lord Macaulay came up with the ‘racist proposal’ on how to treat Africans. In the same 1835, Teage became secretary for the colony. Four years (1839) later, “he became clerk of the convention that presented the settlers’ positions to the American Colonization Society (ACS) regarding constitutional reforms …He was later an instrumental figure at the Constitutional Convention of 1847 – representing Montserrado County – in both debating and ratifying Liberia’s constitution, and wrote the country’s Declaration of Independence. Although Teage, in 1853, was the country’s first Secretary of State after Liberia declared independence, he served as attorney general as well.”

    He established the nation’s first newspaper known as Liberia Herald. He used the newspaper as a platform to advocate for independence. Teage knew what he was doing when he wrote the Declaration of Independence that excluded the Indigenous population. I believe, he was a segregationist like Abraham Lincoln!
    It was based on a philosophy of segregation, the Settlers referred to themselves as Americo-Liberians; took on the behavior of their slave masters; ran the country as their personal property. Everything in the country was named to honor them. For example, a mountain was named Finley; rivers, cities, counties, national symbols, honors, monuments, etc. How then can the celebration of July 26 Independence Day be meaningful to the tribal people?

    Failure to form a more perfect union
    For a moment, let us take a look at Hilary Teage within a historical context as it relates to his role in establishing the nation of Liberia. Teage and the leadership of the Settlers missed a golden opportunity to have established a united nation. Instead, they chose the racist European colonial approach, Master-Servant: subjugating the Indigenous population to the position of servants in their own native land.

    I agree Hilary Teage made tremendous contributions to the Republic of Liberia, but his contributions benefited to the larger extent the Settlers and not the Indigenous people. Until this missed opportunity is accepted, I find it difficult to celebrate and even glorify Teage’s contributions. Teage and leaders of the colony had the opportunity to ‘form a perfect union’, but failed.

    On this 171st anniversary of ‘Liberia’s Independence’, instead of Liberians of diverse backgrounds coming together to find solutions to the reason(s) we are still divided or questioning the philosophy of Hilary Teage’s who is credited with the divide, his colonial legacy is being promoted. There is something wrong with this picture. Although, there have been some improvements between the Settlers and the Natives’ relationship, much has not been done in these 171 years. The little that has been achieved is not enough to warrant the continued glorifying of the Settlers’ contributions when those of Clan Chief Madame Suakoko (Suacoco), Chief ‘Wonderful’ Juah Seyon Nimene (Nimley), or Didwho Welleh Twe (D. Twe), and others roles are assigned to the dustbin of history.

    In the stage play titled, “Citizen Teage: A Historical Drama,” Mr. Owusu Dahnsaw, the actor who plays Hilary Teage states: Every Liberian has a lot to learn from Hilary Teage. It is outstanding and outclasses all stage performances I have ever acted in. It is in a class of its own totally …It is intriguing, informative, emotionally enticing and renewing. Hilary Teage was a great example of what it means to be a citizen. He was a servant-leader.”
    Really???
    There is the tendency to accuse those of us who speak of the pregnant problems of Liberians with passion as practicing tribalism or ‘pushing up fire’. I honestly believe by presenting and discussing these issues in the open will free our people from historical amnesia.

    Efforts Made In The Past To Unite Liberians Were Not Genuine
    I believe efforts made in the past were not genuine. Leaders of the country did not make fundamental changes to resolve the age-old conflict between the two major groups; the Americo-Liberians and the “Natives.” Yet, succeeding governments of Liberia continue to repeat similar mistakes by enacting policies that benefit those who trace their ancestral roots to North America, some through receptive Africans, emigrants from the Caribbean, and other African countries — specifically, West Africa — at the expense of the vast majority— indigenous African Liberians.

    For example, William V.S. Tubman’s policy of “Unification and Integration” was nothing more than an extension of the cult of the presidency and Monrovia rule and dominance over the hinterland. No real changes were made after the death of Tubman. William R. Tolbert continues Tubman’s policy but added his, such as “Total Involvement for Higher Heights” or “Mat-to-Mattress”, which were mere window dressing, immersed more in rhetoric than in reality. Under Tolbert, the socio-economic gap widened. While he preached “Total Involvement”, the country’s wealth and power remained concentrated in the hands of a few families, friends, and the Americo-Liberian elite. Since the system did not undergo any major change, Samuel K. Doe came up with his version of the rhetoric, “In the cause of the people” by providing for his ethnic Krahn members with positions and power; while Taylor and Bryant followed the path of what in Liberian parlance, we refer to as “What Monkey see, Monkey do”; a tradition of accumulating power and wealth for personal use. As for Ellen, she did more harm than all the presidents “put together.” . . . and if Weah does not cut his ties from Ellen and company, his downfall will come soon.

    History makes strange bedfellows! With the passage of time, the elites – many of whom are indigenous Liberians have failed to depart from Liberia’s ugly tradition – the master-servant relationship brought over from the antebellum south. As the result, several opportunities have been missed to change the system. The failures which eventually led to 1980 overthrowing of the True Whig Party oligarchy, and subsequently brought about the civil wars, are still intact. “It is new wine in old bottles.”

    This brings me to ask the question: What is the purpose of July 26 Independence Day National Orations when these orators’ recommendations are not given serious consideration? These orators can be classified into two categories: the first group consists of speakers who regurgitate the same old one-sided scripted history without making any meaningful recommendations; whereas, the second group engages in indisputable evaluation of Liberian history, leadership, and government policies as they impact the people, and go on to suggest ways they can be improved. Yet, nothing is done about the recommendations offered. As a result, the entire exercise is useless and a waste of resources.

    National Awards
    Other areas of concern are Liberia’s National Awards and the Liberian National Anthem. The awards are named only in honor of the Pioneers! None are named in honor of the Indigenous tribes. For example, the highest award, “The Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers with the Grade of Grand Cordon”, etc., is awarded each year. Descendants of Indigenous Liberians cannot continue to celebrate July 26 Independence Day each year accepting awards that do not recognize the Indigenous people’s contributions. The National Anthem is another area of concern. The tribal people cannot continue to sing the National Anthem that makes reference only to the struggle of the Settlers. But every July 26 Independence Day, National Orator takes “good for nothing pride” in repeating so-called achievements such as:

    “We were at the founding of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, now African Union, and hosted its annual meeting in 1979. We were at the founding of the African Development Bank. We inspired the formation of the Mano River Union and the Economic Community of West African States. It was President William V. S. Tubman who proposed an Economic Union of West Africa.

    “A beacon of black self-government, we did battle alongside with black brothers in South Africa to dismantle the gargoyle of Apartheid. We were a haven for peoples all over Africa: Sudanese, Ethiopians, Gambians, Ghanaians and many more even long before they opened their doors to our people fleeing the collapse of our nation-state…” (Tweah)
    How can most of the orators continue to mention what Liberia has done for others when at home there is a practice of black apartheid — the division between the Settlers and the Indigenous population? Yet, we pretend it is not a serious problem! What is more disturbing is that the political and economic systems continue to give
    exclusive rights and privileges to a few at the expense of the rest of the society. This practice has undermined economic growth, replaced it with never-ending poverty, social injustice, discrimination, oppression ridden by greed, and corruption for the sole attainment of ill-gotten material wealth for a select few.

    Correctly so, we have had national indigenous leaders, including presidents. Currently, we have an indigenous president who is from Grand Kru County. Nothing, however, has changed significantly in terms of the political system and structure. Fundamental change is not possible if the system that creates the problems remains in place; it becomes like “putting new wine in old bottle”.

    This brings us to the troublesome issue of our country’s National Motto: “The Love Of Liberty Brought Us Here”. J. Patrick Flomo makes a good argument why the symbols should be revisited. According to him, “A motto is considered an apothegm, adopted as a guiding principle or the summarization of the general conviction or purpose of an organized entity, whether it is a society, corporation, or social organization. Every nation has a motto; each nation’s motto defines the conscience of its people.

    The motto expresses, defines, and intertwines the collective sense of oneness and direction. Moreover, a motto seems to project an intellectual soul and conscience. For example, the American motto is, “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out of Many, One;” the French motto is, “Liberté’, Egalite’, Fraternité’,” or “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity;” the Ghana Motto is “Freedom and Justice.” These three examples express a sense of oneness and purpose for each country. Liberia’s motto seems to lack soul, conscience, or the spirit of intellectualism. Moreover, the motto expresses no sense of oneness or a collective purpose. In fact, it continues to express a divided people: the descendants of former American slaves (Americo-Liberians) and the indigenous population (natives).” (J. Patrick Flomo, “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” published on August 23, 2013 edition of TheLiberianJournal).

    The Civil Wars
    If history is any guide to understanding the genesis of a country’s vexed-palaver and how such major national concerns as ethnicity, reconciliation and national unity have been addressed, the Liberian experience leaves much to be desired or appreciated.

    The Civil wars have left deep scars on all of us due to the indiscriminate and ruthless nature of the perpetrators. Therefore, to find lasting solutions to the many problems we are faced with, we must do so by bringing the perpetrators to justice. Even former President Johnson Sirleaf is on record: “Our nation cannot afford to evade justice and protection of human rights throughout…That myth, mysteries, and the individualized arrogation of truth will serve no useful purpose; rather, it will reinforce divisions, suspicions, and smoldering anger.”

    The greatest challenge confronting us today is to face the truth in order to do the right thing; failure to do so will continue to haunt us into the future. As Liberians, the right thing is to correct the wrongs in the society that continue to divide us. The place to start is with our national symbols and awards. They remain roadblocks to the belief we profess: “One people under God, with Liberty and Justice for All.”

    Conclusion & Recommendations
    Today, there are calls being made in Liberia and the Diaspora to forget the past so as to reconcile our differences. There are those who go as far as to say we should forgive those that committed these heinous crimes against the Liberian people in the name of peace. Also, there are others who feel the Weah administration should concentrate on present issues and “let a sleeping dog lie”. This position brought back memories of what we were told in the late 50s and the 60s by our parents and older folks to mind our business and to “leave the people’s thing alone.”
    But I am convinced it was the culture of “leave the people’s thing alone” that led our country into the present deplorable state. This culture of a mere expression of concern about a social, economic or political issue was like committing a cardinal sin. And those that had the guts to question the ills that exist in the society were dismissed as being Cranky – a Liberian expression, which means –crazy.

    I honestly believe the past cannot be forgotten because the past gave birth to the future. To reconcile our differences, those who commit wrongs against others must confess and repent because reconciliation without confession and repentance is meaningless. In fact, reconciliation is good, but confession and repentance for doing wrong to others are better. It is regarding this approach, history serves as a constant reminder of a people’s past and present events, and without finding resolutions to our national divides such as INJUSTICE and INEQUALITY; we will not be able to achieve UNITY. Based on all of these concerns and issues, I call upon the Almighty God to touch our hearts and direct our path to do what is pleasing to Him, alone and beneficial to His people.
    Recommendations: Previous governments realized the Matilda Newport story was a myth laced with lies; therefore, the holiday (December 1st) in her honor was discontinued, including Pioneer Day; a day set aside to celebrate the arrival of Settlers.

    I recommend the following to be amended or changed:
    1. The Seal and the motto: “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” to be replaced by the Seal *J. Patrick Flomo presented to the D. Elwood Dunn Commission; and the motto to read: “Ku Ka Tonor”- ‘We are One’ in Kpelle.
    2. When the Liberian National Anthem was written, the Natives were not citizens, therefore, the phrase that reads: “In Union Strong, Success Is Sure, We Cannot Fail” was about the Settlers and not the Natives. It should be replaced with: “In Unity, Success Is Sure, We Cannot Fail”.
    3. Construct monuments to honor indigenous Clan Chief like Madam Suakoko, and Paramount Juah Nimely Senyon, etc.
    4. There are twelve persons who signed the Declaration of Independence, not eleven as it stated in Liberian History. It should be corrected.
    5. The name Kru should be changed in Liberian History; evidence shows that the three ethnic groups, Klao (Kru), Bassa and Grebo worked with European traders as far as 1793. They were employed as crews (laborers) on these European ships. The name KROO or KRU is derived from the word CREW. (Coombs (1993), The Black Experience in America –p. 26).
    6. Based on a story written by Rodney D. Sieh, published in FrontPage Africa on July 19, 2017:
    …In April 2008, police forcibly disbursed students of Kendeja high school, which had been demolished to make room for the hotel.

    The Kendeja Culture Center was established in the early 1960’s as a means of showcasing Liberia’s rich cultural heritage through performing arts. For years, it was the home of the Liberian National Cultural Troupe (LNCT) till 2008 when the RLJ & Companies demolished the shrine to build a hotel resort there. A year earlier, in early 2007, Johnson visited Liberia, and Johnson Sirleaf asked him to consider building a hotel.
    “Given the long historical relationship between our two countries,” Johnson was quoted by the Post, “I believe passionately that African Americans have a responsibility to support Liberia much like Jewish Americans back Israel.”

    The Sirleaf administration was instrumental in finding the site at Kendeja which was greeted by a fiery storm.
    The government through Andrew Tehmeh, an Assistant Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism(MICAT) during a 2009 visit to US, defended the move at the time by stating that the “RLJ & Companies” owner of Kendeja Hotel Resort would pay an annual fee of “US$800.000 to the government of Liberia” for a period of 50 years, beginning the year 2008, meaning the first contract is expected to end 2057, with a possibility for renewal just like the case with Liberia and the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company in Margibi.

    It is unclear whether the new management will follow through on the deal as the reported sale has been conducted under a cloud of secrecy. But in 2015, several artists from Liberia residing in the U.S. threatened to begin a legal process aimed at recovering the country’s National Cultural Shrine – Kendeja, sold to the US billionaire.
    The hotel was reportedly sold previously to a South African company a few years ago, also under a cloud of secrecy, although FrontPageAfrica has been unable to verify as management and the government has remained tight-lipped.
    The Concordia Academy based in Roseville, Minnesota has been trying to start the process by filing a petition against Johnson-Sirleaf’s government.

    James Fasuekoi, one of the advocates for the suit told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday that organizers are waiting to get the group’s next festival underway and put things together. Fasuekoi says a lot of former artists who were brought up at Kendeja including Fatu Gayflor and Tarloh Quiwonkpa have expressed their support.
    As part of an arrangement, the government agreed to build a new cultural center but that project in Boys’ Town has reportedly been abandoned…

    While the Pioneers’ Providence Island is preserved, the Indigenous people’s National Cultural Shrine was demolished in other to build a hotel resort. This is a total disregard to Indigenous Liberians by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the National Legislature. ‘The palava is NOT OVER yet’! We will soon renew our efforts by initiating a lawsuit against the Liberian government to restore our National Cultural Shrine.
    Furthermore, efforts to pursue and bring to justice perpetrators of war and economic crimes will continue until every one of them is persecuted. They have not shown any remorse whatsoever for their barbaric acts against innocent civilians; instead, they want Liberians to ignore them while they occupied decision making positions in the government and go on enjoying the wealth of the nation.

    Finally, all of us should speak with one voice to fight INJUSTICE and have the leaders of our country to make the right decisions that will benefit the entire population. I believe it can be done through the collective efforts of the citizenry. With a united front, leaders of our country will bow to our wishes; and will not ignore or deny the will of the people.

    Until these issues are fully addressed, we cannot see ourselves as part of the: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. On this note, let me close with a poem titled, Liberia, the Beautiful:
    Liberia the Beautiful
    I
    In search of freedom and liberty
    The Settlers returned
    United with their brethren
    At Cape Montserrado
    This glorious reunion
    Gave birth to Liberia
    The land of diverse people
    Like its natural resources
    So when we think of home
    We think of Liberia
    The beautiful.
    II
    Oh home, sweet home
    Of thee, we sing these praises!
    To the land both old and young
    But yet indivisible
    Where the love of liberty
    Will unite all of our people
    For in complete unity
    Our progress is assured
    For our land of beauty
    And pride for which we long
    Long live Liberia, the beautiful
    Forever and ever!
    III
    In spite of the many problems
    That has hurt our national pride
    We have finally resolved
    Never again to fight one another
    Also, agreed to live together
    Under the Lone Star forever
    United in purpose
    To protect the land
    That is God given
    So when we talk about home
    We talk about Liberia
    The beautiful.
    IV
    Oh home, sweet home
    Of thee, we sing these praises!
    To the land both old and young
    But yet indivisible
    Where the love of liberty
    Will unite all of our people
    For in complete unity
    Our progress is assured
    For our land of beauty
    And pride for which we long
    Long live Liberia, the beautiful
    Forever and ever!
    V
    Oh God Almighty
    Please forgive us
    For our many misgivings
    And restore our native land
    To its intended grace and beauty
    To let freedom ring
    From Cape Mount to Cape Palmas
    And throughout Cape Montserrado
    For the land so sacred
    And dear to us
    To be at peace forever
    And remain a national monument
    For us to love, cherish
    And protect.
    VI
    Oh home, sweet home
    Of thee, we sing these praises!
    To the land both old and young
    But yet indivisible
    Where the love of liberty
    Will unite all of our people
    For in complete unity
    Our progress is assured
    For our land of beauty
    And pride for which we long
    Long live Liberia, the beautiful
    Forever and ever!
    Copyright © August 19, 1985, Siahyonkron Nyanseor – All Rights Reserved.
    Gweh Feh Kpeh (the Struggle Continues!). 

    I remain a Progressive today, tomorrow and forever!
    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 that was established 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

    Recommended Readings to Acquaint Readers with Liberia’s Insurmountable Issues:
    1. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “The Liberian Flag, Designed or Copied?”
    ThePerspective, September 4, 2015
    2. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Putting the Matilda Newport Myth to Rest, Parts I & II”
    ThePerspective, December 1, 2003
    3. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Peace Was In Heaven Until Kru People Got There”:
    ThePerspective, February 12, 2018
    4. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “The African Slave Trade: Driven By Racism, Greed and
    Economics”, Parts I & II: February 20 & 28, 2004
    5. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Colonialism is the Same Anywhere, No Matter its Many
    Disguises” ThePerspective July 3, 2018
    6. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Americo-Liberians: The 17th Tribe of Liberia, Parts I & II”
    The Liberian Dialogue, May 22, 2013
    7. Johnson, Joseph: “Liberia’s 170th Independence Day Oration, ‘Sustaining the
    Peace’” by Herman Brown, ThePerspective August 14, 2017
    8. Twe, Didwho (“D. Twe”) July 26, 1944, National Independence Day Oration at the
    Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia – Nyanseor’s Archive
    9. Blyden, Dr. Edward Wilmot: “The Elements of Permanent Influence” Discourse
    Delivered in the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.,
    February 16, 1890 – Nyanseor’s Archive
    10. Blyden, Dr. Edward Wilmot: “Liberia as She is; and the Present Duty of her Citizens”,
    An Independence Day Address given in Monrovia, July 27, 1857 – Nyanseor’s Archive
    11. Blyden, Dr. Edward Wilmot: “The Three Needs of Liberia”, Lecture Delivered in
    Grand Bassa County, January 26, 1908 – Nyanseor’s Archive
    12. Karnga, Abayomi Wilfrid (1926). History of Liberia. Virginia: Publisher D. H. Tyte
    13. Taryor, Sr., Nya Kwiawon (1985). Justice, Justice: A Cry of My People. Chicago, ILL,
    U.S.A.: Strugglers’ Community Press
    14. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Liberian Supreme Court And Legislature: ‘Bulldogs
    With No Teeth’, Globe Afrique, December 23, 2017
    15. Lindberg, Tod (2007). The Political Teachings of Jesus. New York, NY: HarperCollins
    Publishers
    16. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron: “Continuing Liberia’s Ugly Past”, ThePerspective September 14,
    2017
    17. Nyanseor, Siahyonkron (2014). TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut. Providence, RI:
    Kiiton Press
    18. Tipoteh, Togba-Nah (1981). Democracy, the Call of the Liberian People: The Struggle for
    Economic Progress and Social Justice in Liberia During the 1970s. Monrovia, Liberia:
    Publisher, Susukuu Corporation
    19. Fahnbulleh, H. Boima (2004). Voices of Protest: Liberia on the Edge, 1974 – 1980.
    United Kingdom: Universal-Publisher, Inc.

    ]]>
    President George Weah’s Uncommunicative and Unaccountable Style is Not Leadership. It is Arrogance http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/07/09/president-george-weahs-uncommunicative-and-unaccountable-style-is-not-leadership-it-is-arrogance/ Mon, 09 Jul 2018 17:45:56 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4988 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh               

     

    The story is the same about hardship in Liberia.

    It is not getting better in Liberia, and it doesn’t matter who is President of that country, either.

    When you think there is hope because of a new administration, you are deceiving yourself to have that overwhelming sense of optimism of a better and prosperous life in Liberia.

    Truth is, it is not worth living or even raising a child or owning a dog in Liberia, because it is too difficult to live in Liberia.

    See, when a new administration comes in (like the Weah administration), there is hope that the new administration will surpass the good deeds of the last administration, to make life and living conditions better for the citizens.

    Since the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration failed miserably to lift the Liberian people out of poverty in twelve years, and left the Liberian people with a heinous legacy of evil and massive corruption, and did not improve their living conditions, does that mean that Mr. Weah cannot do better through competent, effective and compassionate leadership to prove to his critics that he is not Madam Sirleaf? 

    However, from one administration to the other, we’ve heard the same sad stories about the country’s bad, corrupt and ineffective leaders, about the lack of jobs, about abject poverty, about hopelessness, about rampant and uncontrollable public-sector corruption, about hunger, and underdevelopment.

    With these chronic historical issues starring incessantly at the citizenry, members of society or individuals of voting age can decide how to vote for a particular candidate based on those issues.

    During the last presidential election that brought George Weah to power, however, most voters did not vote on pocketbook and survival issues and care less about what the next president will do for them and their country.

    Instead, voters romanticized George Weah former football exploits – his dribbling and scoring abilities, not governance – so much that they didn’t bother to ask him questions, and he did not care to answer serious questions about the country’s problems and how he intended to tackle those problems when he’s elected President of Liberia.

    Weah traveled around the country and the world awaiting the presidency to be given to him as if it was an inheritance from his parents.

    At least, had voters and the press asked Mr. Weah tough questions about his plans for Liberia during the campaign, we all would have known his positions on these issues.

    As it is now, Liberians are stuck with Weah’s trademark reticence on key national issues.

    The national issues that Weah failed to address are enormous. And there is a need for this President (Weah) and other Liberian Presidents to be accountable to the Liberian people.

    Why will a government think about borrowing money when its own house is not in order – when there is no accountability, and when public-sector corruption is high as it is in Liberia?

    Any lesson learned from the NOCAL experience?

    Even before the crippling high inflation issue became a national topic, Liberians were required to use the so-called Liberian currency to transact business, while government officials were using U.S. dollars to travel out of the country and do their own business transactions.

    Why will a national government not have confidence in its own currency but expects its citizens to use it to transact business?

    High inflation and the nation’s worthless currency issue deserves a policy speech from the President to the nation. Healthcare, coastal erosion, education, students failing the recent national exam on a massive scale, and the recent mass demonstration by university students, also deserves the president’s attention and a policy speech with a roadmap that spells out how his administration will solve these issues.

    A policy speech from President Weah to the nation to also address the loan, war crimes court in Liberia, Woewiyu’s indictment and conviction, and many other national issues, will be uplifting.

    Mr. Weah’s uncommunicative style is not leadership. It is arrogance.

    Mr. Weah, please say something!

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    Woewiyu’s (War) Crimes – But Is He Alone? http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/07/05/woewiyus-war-crimes-but-is-he-alone/ Thu, 05 Jul 2018 13:38:53 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4983 By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh      

     

    Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, the once flamboyant spokesman of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), was found guilty on 11 charges including criminal immigration fraud and war crimes and could be spending the rest of his life in a federal prison in the United States.

    Even though he hasn’t been sentenced yet, Woewiyu faces up to 110 years in prison and a fine of $4m. And when he is sentenced in October on those 11 counts, at age 72, Woewiyu will be one of many seniors who will call home a U. S. federal prison.

    See, during the heyday of the civil war to ‘liberate’ Liberia and Liberians from the brutal hands of dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe, Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu was unmatched during his tenure for his flair for the ridiculous.

    Woewiyu’s shameless utterances and unrestrained globetrotting to promote himself and his chief patron, Charles Taylor, exposed his senseless bloodletting campaign for state power, even as Liberians were murdered, maimed and raped in the name of liberation.

    Woewiyu’s self-indulging exercise did not only expose his countrymen and women to the worst form of senseless violence ever perpetrated against human beings on the Liberian soil, it left Liberians – those that are alive poor, hopeless and homeless and in perpetual pain, and took away the pride and dignity of countless other Liberians who became beggars in their own country.

    Did Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu commit these war crimes by himself?

    No.

    While it is so true that Charles Taylor, Chucky Taylor, Mohammed Jabbateh, and George Boley were put on trial in the United States, convicted, and either jailed or deported to Liberia for their roles in the Liberian civil war, a key co-conspirator, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who rode to fame for her fierce opposition to Samuel Kanyon Doe and her involvement in the civil war, is untouchable.

    Woewiyu’s 2005 “Open Letter to Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf,” which is a treasure of information is available on this website for anyone wishing to know Madam Sirleaf’s deep role in the Liberian civil war.

    However, Woewiyu’s 2005 letter showed that Madam Sirleaf wasn’t an innocent bystander or an angel who was praying for the war to end so that Liberians will not be raped, maimed and die. The letter chronicled Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s full involvement in the planning, financing, recruiting and implementing stages of the civil war.

    Woewiyu writes: (an excerpt).

    “Preparation for Invasion”
    “ My first trip to the Ivory Coast to meet with Charles Taylor, Harry Yuan, Moses Duopu and others to assess the level of military plan of action for the purpose of removing Doe was sponsored by you and others in the wake of the failed Quinwonkpa coupe in which you played a major role. At the time, you were personally supporting Harry Yuan in the rapid re-recruitment of his fellow Nimbaians and Clarence Simpson was supporting Moses Duopu, the late Counselor Gbaydiah and others in the Ivory Coast to launch another armed attack on the Doe Regime following the botched Quinwonkpa coupe.”

    Only Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, a key participant in the planning of the civil war, could have known details as thorough as he wrote in this breathtaking open letter to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    This is the kind of letter or testimony you get in court from a witness or a co-conspirator who is so unhappy with his or her partner that the individual wants to say it all to get a minimized break from prosecution.

    To prosecute Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her role in the civil war, Woewiyu’s Open (and detailed) Letter to Madam Sirleaf must be corroborated and be a key source for prosecutors, who must take on this woman to not be seen as scapegoating Woewiyu and being selective in the prosecution of Liberian war criminals.

    Liberians are thankful to the United States and the Europeans for prosecuting these war criminals, a feat George Weah has been aimlessly dribbling around like a football since he became President of Liberia.

    Woewiyu did not commit these war crimes all by himself. Other co-conspirators including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must be arrested and put on trial, to give credence to having a war crimes court in Liberia.

    There is a need for a war crimes court in Liberia to prosecute these criminals on Liberian soil.

    Good leaders are those individuals who will listen to the wishes and aspirations of their people, and act on them.

    Mr. George Weah, the ball is in your corner.

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    When Loyalty is paid back with Disloyalty – The Harsh Reality of Neglect: A Eulogy To Comrade Adu Dorley http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/07/01/when-loyalty-is-paid-back-with-disloyalty-the-harsh-reality-of-neglect-a-eulogy-to-comrade-adu-dorley/ Sun, 01 Jul 2018 12:48:48 +0000 http://theliberiandialogue.org/?p=4971 By Martin K. N. Kollie     

     

    Greet comrade James Gray for us, another firebrand young soldier who was axed by death as a result of utter neglect. As we share our sentiments over your passing, say hi to Brother Gray and all conscious fighters who have been down this tragic lane. Like James who cried out for help, you too did the same during your last hours on earth.

    Neither could our poor health system save you nor those you stood up for. Your hope to remain alive was let down even by those you became so loyal to and served with utmost diligence. It is all over now. Like James Gray, your loyalty was paid back with disloyalty. This is the harsh reality of neglect. It bleeds one’s soul with anguish and grief. Weep no more and sleep on, young Adu. Your pains are over.

    Even our country’s largest referral hospital failed you. The faith you had in JFK and SOS was let down. I know you could recover if timely intervention was made to fly you out. But neglect became your closest companion in your final days. Bidding you goodbye could have been avoided. Yes, I know it could!

    But blame not your enemies, but those you considered your ‘allies’. For they too were invisible and insensitive to give you hope and reason(s) to stay alive. Even while you wrestled with death, your cry for foreign medical aid seemed immaterial to them. Probably your loyalty didn’t worth it in the opinion of your ‘allies’.

    The story would had been different if you were flown without any further delay to Ghana, South Africa, India, Kenya or USA for advanced medical care. They knew that your medical problem could not be resolved in Liberia. They knew that JFK and SOS had no answer or solution. Yet, you were taken there for treatment.

    When they were sick, they used tax-dollars to seek foreign medical care. But they were unable to do the same for you. This is the hypocrisy of those political elites you defended with every fiber of your being. It is all about them and their families. It is all about their wellbeing, and not yours. It is not about the peasants and proletarians.

    You once sought their interest, but they could not seek yours even when you needed them the most. You risked your life, image, and integrity for them but they could not risk their cash to fly you out even when you were on your dying bed in dire need.

    That’s just who they are – The hypocrites and betrayals of this dispensation and generation! They only become your true allies when you are dead and gone. They only become your allies when they need you to protect their parochial interest. But what good is it for them to post RIP on Facebook when they had every opportunity in their reach to avoid posting RIP. We give no credence to such hypocrisy and midday deception.

    Weep no more Adu. For your pains are over. When no one could come to your rescue, I know you felt betrayed like James Gray and Julius Caesar who was betrayed by Cassius and Brutus– you felt isolated, dejected and grieved. You didn’t deserve to be abandoned – not even by an establishment you fearlessly fought to create.

    Maybe your loyalty didn’t worth foreign medical care in your allies’ opinion. But it is all over now. Your loyalty has been paid back with disloyalty. Like James Gray, you too were abandoned on the lonely and harsh shores of NEGLECT. Until your demise, I learn that you kept on calling for help but no one could come to your aid.

    We cannot hide from these facts and realities. We cannot continue to march in the shadows of pretense. Because even when all of us are gone, history will still remember these harsh realities. Like James, Adu built trust in his ‘allies’ but his trust was paid back with distrust – his allegiance was paid back with abandonment – his devotion was paid back with dejection. These are the harsh realities of NEGLECT, not politics.

    Yes, Adu’s allies erred in my opinion! They had everything in their reach, including resources, to save his life. They have become unsettled by their collective guilt. But who am I to judge the living. But who am I to question the power or authority of the Deity. In his loving arms, we seek solace and comfort. Let his grace and mercy overflow.

    Young Adu has finally laid down his baton. As a fallen young soldier in arm, his voice won’t be heard anymore. The energy he had to defend his belief, ideology and allies is no more. No number of ‘RIP’, even from his ‘allies’, can bring him back.

    Weep no more because your pains are over. Sleep on comrade Adu. The time you shared with us on Carey Street specifically at CEIO will remain memorable. Often, we didn’t agree on issues but tolerance was our guiding principle upon which we cross-pollinated our thoughts and ideas.

    We’ve learned 3 basic lessons from your demise:

    1. Liberia’s ruining health sector is undependable, and offers no real hope

    2. Loyalty is paid back with disloyalty not necessarily by our enemies, but by those we usually consider our allies and friends

    3. Neglect becomes our final end when we are more loyal to people who are more disloyal to our welfare.

    Heather Brewer was scrupulously concise when she said “The worst pain in the world goes beyond physical. Even further beyond any other emotional pain one can feel. It is in the betrayal of our friends and the disloyalty of our allies.”

    As we bid you farewell, seek vengeance not against your adversaries. With lamentation, we mourn with your family, friends and love ones. Our condolences to them for this loss!

    May I now console all of us with these words “Death is our final end. Whenever it comes, we bow down powerless, choiceless, and voiceless. It ends our dream and leaves behind sad memories. Sometimes, we tend to find answer(s) for our NEGLECT even by our closest allies while traveling down this tragic lane.”

    So it is with comrade Adu Dorley – So it was with comrade James Gray. It is finally over – Your pains are now over. Sleep on in peace, young Adu. When loyalty is paid back with disloyalty, then the harsh reality of neglect sets in.

    In Swahili, I am sympathetically bidding you goodbye “Mpaka tukutane tena, usingie kwenye Adu mdogo” meaning in English “Until we meet again, sleep on young Adu.”

    Martin is a Liberian youth and student activist studying Economics at the University of Liberia. He is a columnist and an emerging Economist. He currently serves as Secretary General of the Student Unification Party.

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    CDC’s Pro-Poor Government Hut Tax Historical Amnesia http://theliberiandialogue.org/2018/06/19/cdcs-pro-poor-government-hut-tax-historical-amnesia/ 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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