October 10, 2017, a Presidential and Legislative election was held; the Liberty Party claimed there were several irregularities for which the election was not fair; therefore, the case was taken to the Supreme Court for resolution. The Court reviewed the case and handed down its decision, yet, the problem was not resolved. In this case, how do we resolve the problem? In order to solve the problem or the issue, we need to study the root cause(s) and not the symptom(s). In order to do so, we need to honestly look at the political system and how previous elections were conducted and who influenced those elections.
This article is intended to address the historical and contemporary roots of the election problem we are faced with today. Based on the reactions in the news and social media regarding the Supreme Court’s decision, and how Liberians have been treated by the Sirleaf Administration these 12 years; the Liberian people ought to find lasting solutions. The Supreme Court ruling in the case, which involved the National Elections Commission (NEC), Liberty Party and Unity Party added insults to injury. However, some well-placed Liberians say it was expected; because this is how issues that the President has interest have been handled. We inherited this political culture since 1847; a system that does not exercise “Separation of Powers”. The Supreme Court’s decision is in line with this old-age tradition, therefore, the decision was what most Liberians expected.
It is a system in which a President exercised excessive and unlimited power, and decisions are reached in favor of the President. Based on our system of government, power is not distributed equally between the three branches. Power is monopolized by the Executive Branch. As a result, both the Supreme Court and the Legislature functioned like “Toothless Bulldogs”. In the twelve years of the Sirleaf Administration, the Supreme Court, and Legislature have served as ‘loyal cheerleaders of the Ellen government’; “Whatever Ellen wants, she gets”, observed one opposition leader.
Government with No 'Checks and Balances'
The Liberian government modeled its political system after the United States government, which is known as the principle of 'separation of powers'. This means that power is spread between three institutions of the state – the executive (President and Cabinet), the legislature (Congress: Representative and Senate), and the judiciary (Supreme Court and Federal Circuits) – no one institution has too much power and no individual can be a member of more than one institution. Each of the three branches of the state has some authority to act on its own; some have authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches.
Not only is power spread between the different branches; the members of those branches are deliberately granted by the Constitution different terms of office which is a further brake on rapid political change. In Liberia, the President has a term of six years, while members of the Senate serve for nine years and members of the House of Representatives serve for six years. Members of the Supreme Court serve for life, which means, their member can only be removed by impeachment through the House of Representatives.
The six years term for the president, nine years term for senators, and six years terms for representatives were added in the Constitution for selfish reason to benefit the greedy and corrupt elites of the country, with no consideration for the majority. Lost in the new arrangement is the benefit the original system provided – where power is equally shared between the three branches of government.
An excellent example of tempering with the Constitution started with Head of State Samuel K. Doe. The Liberia 1986 Constitution replaced the 1847 Constitution which was suspended on April 12, 1980, following the coup d’état which overthrew the presidency of President William Richard Tolbert, Jr. The process of writing a new constitution began on April 12, 1981. Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, a political scientist at the University of Liberia, was appointed chairman of the National Constitution Committee (NCC); a 25-member body was given the responsibility of drafting a new Constitution for Liberia.
The NCC completed its work in December 1982; submitted the draft constitution to the People's Redemption Council (PRC) in March 1983; subsequently, the PRC published the draft of the Constitution for public debate. Later on, the PRC appointed another 59-member Constitutional Advisory Committee (CAC) to review the draft constitution. The CAC made several changes to favor Head of State Doe. They completed their work on October 19, 1983. On July 3, 1984, the new constitution was submitted to a national referendum, and it was approved. On January 6, 1986, the Constitution came into force. The culture of interference continued!
Sirleaf’s National Code of Conduct
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf continued this selfish practice. She introduced a National Code of Conduct (CoC) for all public and government officials. The Liberian Legislature made it a law in March 2014. Find below Al bakri Nyei May 4, 2014 observation:
“…28 years had elapsed since the legislation was first mandated by Article 90 of the 1986 Constitution. The originators of the 1986 basic law included this provision to protect the integrity of public service and guard against conflicts of interest among officials holding public office. The CoC contains an exhaustive list of actions – including bribery, nepotism, lobbying and unethical behaviour – that could give rise to a conflict of interest or undermine the credibility of public policy. Ahead of the 2017 elections some of its provisions are proving particularly controversial.”
Despite the concerns raised by the Liberian people, the Legislature made it law of the land; again, Ellen got her way.
A referendum to amend the Constitution of Liberia was held on August 23, 2011. Voters chose whether to ratify four amendments regarding judge tenure, elections scheduling, presidential candidate requirements and the electoral system. The National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) oversaw the referendum. Following the referendum, the NEC announced on August 31, 2011 that none of the four amendments had been ratified by the necessary two-thirds of voters. Unity Party Chairman Varney Sherman and Senator Fredrick Cherue of River Gee County filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the NEC's certification of Proposition 4 which was defeated. Both senators argued that the change from absolute majority to simple majority in all non-presidential elections conducted by the NEC was unconstitutionally because it included invalid ballots in its computation of the results. The Supreme Court ruled on September 20, 2011 that the NEC had erred in its calculation of the vote and declared that Proposition 4 had passed. Again, the President and the ruling elites got their way.
A Teaching Moment!
What a child sees his parents do; he/she will repeat! This personal cult of leadership has followed Liberian organizations in the Diaspora. Re-writing or changing Diaspora Liberian community and county organizations’ constitutions become a common practice. In changing or amending these organizations’ constitutions, living original framers are not consulted. Moreover, they disregard the amendment clause. Where did these leaders get this practice? Liberia, of course!
More often, this practice takes place right after an election and a new leadership takes over the organization. Their first act of business has been the introduction of new programs by the incoming leadership. These new programs do not include previous programs that were not completed. Their next assault is the constitution for it being too broad and not specific; failing to make use of the amendment clause. Based on my 49 years’ experience in the Diaspora, I have come to the conclusion that it is done for personal reason reasons is for the new leaders to get the credit. I often wonder whether it is a blessing or a curse is!
The ULAA (or Union)
The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, Inc. (ULAA) was founded in 1974. For example, the new ULAA (1990) changed the original logo (seal) of the organized to a logo that looks like a bird flying. Their new slogan reads, “The ULAA We Can Believe In” as if the original ULAA was never believed in; a somewhat Trumpian slogan; “Make American Great Again!” In addition, a new practice this one august organization affixed photo of its National President to press releases and position statements; a critique that is not being overlooked.
This brings us to the history of elections, perceived enemies of the president and ruling elites against opposition leaders.
History of Stolen Elections and the Practice of Power Consolidation
The Supreme Court’s recent decision brings back memory of General Election between President Charles Dunbar Burgess King of the True Whig Party (TWP) and presidential candidate Thomas J. R. Faulkner of the People’s Party (PP) in the 1927. The election resulted in a dispute between President King (TWP) and Honorable Faulkner, yet, King was declared the winner.
The factor in that election was fraud. The election results were challenged in court, alleging inflated poll results, illegal voter registration practices, ballot tampering, etc. The investigation revealed that ballots had been uncounted or destroyed, and that sheriffs, judges and voters had been intimidated. President King prevailed however, the Legislature and the Judiciary participating in a massive cover-up allowed President King to enter into his third term without explanation of the obvious discrepancies in the numbers of registered voters and election results.
During the election, there were fewer than 15,000 registered voters; yet, President King received around 243,000 votes, compared to 9,000 for Faulkner. The election made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most fraudulent election ever.
Honorable Faulkner had no confidence in the judicial system of Liberia; in order to get even with President King and the corrupt political system, he took another complaint to the League of Nation (precursor of the United Nations); this brought about an investigation that eventually led to the resignations of both King and Vice President Allen N. Yancy.
Nothing has changed since Charlie King’s time. In fact, President Tubman perfected the system of the unlimited power of the president.
As a country, we suffer from the “Curse of False Start”. This curse produced the “Cult of Personality” instead of nationalism and institution building. Most Liberians are only concern about the individual benefits they can derive from the system – no matter the consequences! This chronic practice is what we are experiencing in 2017. Positioning of individuals and political parties is a classic example of “Cult of Personality or the Presidency” – ‘what is in it for me’ and not about the country and the Liberian people. That’s our problem!
Political Power Consolidation
During the upheavals of the Cold War and African decolonization, President William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman (1895-1971) was often cited by the international human rights community for violating the rights of Liberians, such as the disbarment of former attorney general Christian Abayomi Cassell because of his exercise of free speech, or the 1955 political crisis when, on the allegation of a coup plot, scores of Liberians were denied civil and political right, and prominent politician Samuel David Coleman and his son John David Coleman were brutally murdered by state security forces.
President William Richard Tolbert, Jr. was held to be in violation of human rights during an inconclusive libel trial in 1974 which involved his brother, then finance minister Stephen A. Tolbert, and the pamphleteer Albert Porte. The government was cited with political altercation with the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) and the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) after 1978, in April 14, 1979 with the so-called famous “rice riots”.
The power of the Liberian President is so powerful that he/she can call for the removal of an elected representative from Congress or disbarred a lawyer from practicing law in the country. In addition, whenever privileges of the ruling elites are threatened or the President doesn’t like an elected or appointed official, he/she can manufacture a bogus charge to have the person dismissed or impeached. The examples listed below are individuals that were expelled from Congress or removed from their positions and another barred because that’s what the President or elites wanted:
Rep. Francis W. M. Morais (Congress) was arrested on the charge of sedition, deprived of his seat in the Legislator and imprisoned at Belle Yella because he and Hon. Nete Sie Brownell represented the leadership of the Kru and Grebo to the League of Nations in Geneva (August 1931) due to political reprisals against indigenous Liberians.
Rep. Didwho Twe (Congress) was charged with sedition and expelled (1930) for introducing legislation intended to put an end to certain practices of slavery and forced labor in Liberia.
Ambassador Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr. was Liberian Embassy to East Africa. He was accused of harboring ‘political ambition and for having meetings with Communist diplomats at the Liberian Embassy. He was charged with treason, arrested and convicted. He represented himself during the trial because no lawyer in Liberia was brave enough to serve as his defense council. The only group that was braved to show their support in public for him was university and local high schools’ students. The year was 1968; he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to a twenty-year prison term.
Sen. Chea Job Cheapoo (Senate) was impeached and removed from office on December 2, 1987 for accusing President Samuel K. Doe of unconstitutionally releasing the couple – probate judge Harper S. Bailey and his wife who tried to bribe him with $2,000.00.
Attorney General Cllr. Christian Abayomi Cassell was disbarred from practicing law in the Republic because he apologized on behalf of his forefathers. Excerpts of his 1985 apology read:
"Over the years, however, some of my forefathers have wronged yours [forefathers]. If you feel that this is the case, and if it disturbs you, then please allow me to apologize for any injustice done your forebearers by mine, which may come between us. The condition of our country must come first in whatever we do. Our personal and ethnic differences must not stand in the way of our desire to resolve more pressing national issues. And to this end, I am asking you to accept, on behalf of my forefathers, my apology."
Chief Juah Senyon Nimley (also, spelled Nimene), leader of the Kru (Klao) resistance movement whom the Liberian authorities referred to as “rebel chief”; was arrested and exiled to Bopolu (from the sea coast to the hinterland of the country) due to his opposition and for testifying before the Christy Commission of the League of Nations in Geneva to present the indigenous people’s grievances.
Doe, Taylor and Sirleaf’s administrations: Instead of dismissed, removed, disbarred, these people are ERASED or KILLED and are involved in unexplained ACCIDENTS only to SHOWED UP DEAD on the BEACH with no credible explanation(s).
The Cold War Period
During the Cold War, presidential and the power of the ruling elites intensified their crackdown against the Progressives to support their external patrons, which in this case was the WEST. This assault targeted Tipoteh because he was the face of the Progressives, he even has a slippers named in honor of him.
Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh encountered lots of problems from 1970s onward under various administrations for his honesty, which is rare in the Liberian government.
Dr. Tipoteh served as a Budget Advisor to Liberian President William R. Tolbert, in which he expressed concerns about government waste and advocated public management reforms, and was later removed from the position. During the same period, he encountered similar treatment at the University of Liberia (LU), where he was removed from the position of chair of the Department of Economics.
He was the first Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs (1980-1981) under the regime of Samuel K. Doe, but had to resign after 15 months in office, citing human rights abuses by the government as his reason for leaving. However, the government said he resigned because he could not perform his responsibilities. In fact, the Government implicated him in an alleged coup attempt while he was away attending a conference.
Similar tribal prejudice was directed at Dr. Tipoteh when he was Director-General of SUSUKUU, INC., non-profit service cooperation, whose goals and objectives were to help poor people in helping themselves, and to assure that more Liberians get to know about their rights under the laws of Liberia, had a project in Putu Chiefdom, Grand Gedeh County. The project was a part of the parent organization – the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) programs, which included farming, literacy, legal assistance, health, school construction, food processing, road construction, production of reading materials, installation of safe drinking water wells, and the construction of recreation facilities.
The money that was to be generated from the sales would have been used to build schools, clinics, roads, and small factories, mainly for the people in Putu. Instead applauding SUSUKUU and the people of Putu, they were attack by Government operatives.
When the project started in January 1978, former Justice Minister Oliver Bright, former Local Government Minister Samuel Hill, former True Whig Party General Secretary Robert Bright, Education Minister John Bernard Blamo, Grand Gedeh County Attorney David Swengbe, Grand Gedeh Senator Albert White, Grand Gedeh Representative Silas Rue and Grand Gedeh Superintendent John P. Beh, threatened, intimidated, harassed, and jailed some citizens of Putu with the intent of abandoning their self-help development project; instead, the Putu Development Corporation (PUDECO) stood firmed and challenged the authorities.
Somehow, Superintendent John P. Beh ordered the closing down of the Putu project in November that year (1979). This act led the people of Putu in many parts of the country to protest as well as filed their grievances with the Zwedru Circuit Court to prevent Superintendent Beh and his supporters from interfering with their self-help project. And while the Putu case was still in the Zwedru Executive Council, where the investigation was taking place, members of the National Legislature made slanderous and prejudiced statements against the Executive Director of SUSUKUU, Dr. Tipoteh. Those Legislators indicated that Tipoteh is a Kru man; therefore, he must leave Grand Gedeh County and go work in Sinoe or Maryland (counties), where Kru people are plentiful. (Nya Kwiawon Taryor, Sr., Justice, Justice: A Cry Of My People, 1985)
Many critics of the Progressives of the 70s & 80s failed in their analysis the geo-political challenges the Progressives were up against during this period. Therefore, to conclude that the only contribution the Progressives made was the disruption of the GOOD old days”. The Progressives were VICTIMS of the EAST and WEST politics; not to consider these challenges, and reached such conclusion is far from historical reality. Moreover, there were vexed and pregnant problems during this period that had to be addressed. This is not to suggest that some members of the Progressives did not betray the cause; there were many of them, some of whom the public can readily identify.
Achievements of the Progressives of the 70s & 80s
1. The Progressives Finally got rid of the One Party Political System for which Samuel David Coleman (See “The Plot That Fail”) was killed in 1955.
2. Birthed the multiparty Democracy we have in Liberia today.
3. Freedom of Speech, Press, and Right of Peaceful Assembly to Protest that were forbidden during the Tubman Administration.
4. Presentations of Resolutions by County Representatives for the President to succeed himself, instead of seeking re-election.
5. Advocated for change through the Ballot-Box (Free & Fair Election).
6. Promoted unity between the children of the Settlers and the Natives (Tribes) by working together for the greater GOOD of the country prior to the 1980 military coup that ushered in tribalism that was dormant; resuscitated in Hon. John C. Rancy’s Letter of Recommendation to President Samuel K. Doe.
7. Organized women, students, and workers as powerful social movements.
8. Put up a candidate of theirs to challenge the True-Whig Party (TWP) in the Mayoral race of Monrovia: Chuche Horton vs. Amos Sawyer.
9. Organized mass support for Albert Porte in the liable case against Stephen Tolbert, President Tolbert’s brother.
The Progressives of the 70s & 80s are not the first Progressives; the movement started back in the 1950s. It is well documented in the book titled: Liberia Communication (2007), written by Samuel R. Watkins. Find below excerpts:
Samuel David Coleman 12th President of Liberia, who resigned because, leading citizens and legislatures disapproved of his policy toward the natives.
A leading citizen Samuel David Coleman served as Secretary of the Interior – member of the cabinet in the administration of President William V. S. Tubman became the victim of an assassination plot on the life of President William V. S. Tubman June 22, 1955.
1955 events of political urgency for multiparty representation created determination of the dominating True-Whig party controlling political party to remain in control. This created insecurity and instability that motived other citizens to organize opposition and activist for democratic institution and multiparty representation was the target of the controlling True Whig party security.
Allegation that Mr. S. David Coleman was plotting to assassinate President Tubman created panic within the government and the controlling True Whig party. The government soldiers were ordered to capture and bring Mr. S. David Coleman to answer the charge of treason. Obviously, Mr. Coleman and his supporters [were] prepared to defend themselves. The soldiers and security tracked Mr. Coleman at his farm and found him and his son John at the farm. The soldiers were already prepared to execute the orders to capture, immediately open fire on the farmhouse. Mr. Coleman retaliated with equal force in defense. The soldiers then set fire to the [farm] house to burn them outright. Mr. Coleman and his son attempted to escape but both Mr. Coleman and his son John was shot and killed.
The soldiers took the bodies of the two men to Monrovia for evidence. The entire incident in killing and exhibiting the bodies of these citizens left gruesome memory. Although the incident was regretted, and could not be undone, it left indelible record in the history of Liberia as the second brutal political murder of Liberia’s citizens. (Watkins, Samuel R. Liberia Communication (2007): AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN)
In the 1880s eminent historian and scholar, Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden advised that the ruling elites to blend with Liberia’s indigenous culture the settlers’ Western culture; they refused, and he became their enemy.
In 1919, the True-Whig Party’s (TWP), proclamation drafted by its chairman and presidential candidate, Charles Dunbar Burgess King, changed the party’s constitution “to give the president control over partisans in the Legislature and to establish party control over government employment.” An executive committee was created and all TWP legislators were compelled “to vote for bills approved by the party caucus” or be punished “by the executive committee.”
That was the beginning of TWP dictatorship that culminated (climaxed) during the Tubman and Tolbert administrations. But already during the King administration, tremendous pressure was placed on the press; and no newspaper could dare publish anything against that administration. During that period, at least one newspaper was forced into cessation. So when in 1929 Mr. Porte began, at the tender age of 23, writing his fiery articles critical of the King administration, he could find no newspaper to publish them. Hence he resorted to pamphlets, mimeographed, produced and sold by himself and his sister Lilian Best.
Many Liberian writers were extinguished by that administration’s anti-media tyranny. It was only Mr. Porte’s raw courage and tenacity that caused him to continue his work. In the end, as the Crozierville Observer editor, Porte and his equally fearless brother-in-law-to-be, George Stanfield Best, helped the Liberian people to understand the full import (importance) of the International Commission’s Report on slavery in Liberia, that led to the resignation in 1930 of President King and Vice President Allen Yancy. President William V.S. Tubman was more brutal in his repression of free expression and free press. Anyone who, true or false, was accused of criticizing him was immediately imprisoned. Albert Porte was his first victim, for opposing the 1946 Bomi Hills iron ore agreement. Next was C. Frederick Taylor, editor of the African Nationalist spent nearly 15 years in jail; next was Samuel Richards, publisher of The Friend, whose printing press was broken up by thugs loyal to Tubman. His only crime was for asking in 1953, “Why a Third Term?” (Culled from thewww.liberianobserver.com)
Tuan Wreh who had gained prominence in the 1955s was sentenced by the legislature to six months of imprisonment for legislative contempt and punished by making him to collect the feces of other inmates with his bare hands, mash them with his bare hands and made to walk in the streets of Monrovia naked, with his face splattered with feces for writing an article with the title, "Inside Politics: Why you should not vote for Tubman" in the Independent, a newspaper owned by the Independent True Whig Party in 1955. (February 26, 2016)
Besides Death, Tuan Wreh Got the Worse Humiliation
Tuan Wreh, assistant editor of The Independent, news organ of former President Edwin Barclay’s Independent True Whig Party of Liberia. The inhumane treatment he received got him to go almost mad. The paper’s editor-in-chief, an American-born but naturalized Liberian Bertha Corbin was deported back to America for publishing Tuan Wreh’s article critical of Tubman on the front page of the paper. Other victims of presidential overreach also included Liberian Age editor Stanton Peabody; he was jailed in June 1964 for publishing article critical of him. The list of media personalities who have been affected since includes but not limited are: Charles Gbeyon (late), Tom Kamara (late), Tarty Teh (late), Tiawan Gongloe, Rodney D. Sieh, Henry Costa, etc. This culture of intimidation and atrocities include closures of newspapers’ offices, arsons and routine “disappearances” of journalists continues under Doe, Taylor and even Sirleaf.
As for Sirleaf, individuals believed to be whistleblowers against her government and some of its officials involved in institutions, economic and financial corruptions died under mysterious circumstances; notably, Michael Allison and Harry A. Greaves, Jr.
A Moment of Déjà vu
In the January/March 2000 print Edition of ThePerspective Magazine, George H. Nubo, J. Kpanneh Doe and this writer (Siahyonkron Nyanseor) interviewed Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Washington, D. C. while she was attending a National Summit Conference on Africa. The interview was titled: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Challenges GOL and Calls on Opposition to Unite. In answering our question on the Constitution, she said:
No constitution can enforce itself. Enforcement comes from the combined efforts of a nation’s citizens insisting in small and big ways that their rights be respected and it’s the officers recognizing the limits of their power and obeying the laws they take oaths to observe. In that regard, we are all somewhat responsible for the good and bad governments we have had in Liberia because as citizens we have tolerated bad behavior on the part of our leaders.
. . . Somewhat [we are] responsible for the good and bad governments we have had in Liberia because as citizens we have tolerated bad behavior on the part of our leaders.
Can you imagine these words coming from the mouth of the woman who treats criticisms of her, her family and government with vengeance? The same Ellen now runs the country with excessive and unlimited power as if the country belongs to her, her family and international friends/partners and does not want anyone to question her. How soon one forgets!
Majority Decision by Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks
I am not a lawyer, but with my layman understanding; the Supreme Court decision creates more problems than solving. For example how can one explain the definition of FRAUD in generic term? Their definition:
“…embraces all the multifarious of human ingenuity to desire and resort to by an individual to gain an advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of the truth”.
FRAUD, according to the majority,
“… notwithstanding our findings that indeed there were some irregularities, fraud, and violations of the New Electoral Law, as well as Rules and Regulations of the NEC, we hold that there is no evidence to show that those violations were in such magnitude that they rose to such level to warrant setting aside the results of the Presidential and Representative Election held on October 10, 2017 and ordering a rerun.”
The definition of fraud by the Supreme Court led journalist J. Wehtee Wion to ask: “How do you measure or quantify "fraud", and how much fraud is needed to qualify fraud as sufficient to nullify any result?”
We Brought it Upon Ourselves
Based on the Supreme Court's Numerous Citations of NEC Chairman Korkoya's Mistakes, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Mr. John H.T Stewart, NDI, Carter Center, “Daily Observer”, “New Democrat”, “the perspective.org” were led to sound the alarm that NEC was up to something – that what causing the delay for a timely Voters’ roll to allow registered voters check their statuses, clean voters’ roll as a precondition for a run – off, yet, NEC did not follow through.
The recent decision by the Supreme Court, which involved the Liberty Party, Unity and the National Election Commission, reinforced the traditional practices of the Court and the Legislative branches of the Liberian political system. These practices started in 1847 when the country was ‘founded’.
Let me cite few recent examples here.
According to news report, “Justice Ja’neh’s argument was that the Liberty Party (LP) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) proved beyond reasonable doubt to substantiate their claims that the conduct of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections was marred by irregularities and fraud and warrants a rerun, of which the majority disagreed”.
Instead, the Court admitted that the “…investigation revealed that there were irregularities and fraud; he, however, noted that they were not of a magnitude that requires the October 10 results to be cancelled and a rerun ordered”.
This is nothing but gross miscarriage of justice! The contesting political parties should ask the Supreme Court to replace Chairman Korkoya from presiding over the run-off election. I wonder why the Supreme Court did not make sure it was done when the case was before them! The Supreme Court decision allowing Cllr. Jerome Korkoya and Director Lamin Lighe to remain in charge of the run-off is like putting the thief (rogue) who stole your property in charge of taking care of it. I find it difficult to make sense of the decision!
Another question is – why President Sirleaf has not extended formal invitation to ECOWAS as protocol requires for the clean-up exercise undertaken by ECOWAS experts to have legal effect? I believe it has not been done; and I have every reason to suspect that the recommendations contained in the report of the ECOWAS experts have already been trashed.
At this juncture in our history, there are some men and women who have the guts to point out evils in our society that refuse "to swallow their cough for fear that it will disturb others." Liberians cannot continue to do business as usual; repeating the mistakes of the past by rewarding men and women who engage in fraud, vote buying, political prostitution, jumping from one party to another for naked greed, positions and power. These individuals must be weeded out and exposed for their selfish motives. We must find it compelling to sound the warning against this common practice. We certainly hope that reason will prevail over narrow interests.
We, like most people, are enthusiastic about our country having free and fair elections. But we should be equally mindful that people repeat behavior that is rewarded, and avoid behavior that is punished. Therefore, we that honestly love our country, must do all we can within our power, to promote peace, reconciliation, reconstruction, democracy and good governance in our country by exposing those who intend to achieve political positions by "Dedebah" or "Krokrogee" (Liberian words for fraud or dishonesty, derived from the Bassa Language).
In the Liberian society, there are too many dishonest people; they would rather introduce into a discussion or debate unrelated personal past issues that have nothing to do with the issues being discussed. By doing so, they highlight their vulnerability and ignorance. This is happening as we discuss the future of our country RIGHT NOW!
From here on, we must first and foremost be honest with ourselves in order to elect dedicated men and women who have the nation at heart and not people who want to obtain power at the expense of our people. Our ultimate goal should be in the supreme interest of the Liberian people. This is critical! Posterity will judge us if we do not create the necessary atmosphere to halt corruption and the massive suffering of our people. It cannot continue to be business as usual! It did not work in the past; it is not working today, and will never work in the future.
The BALL is in court; we will have ourselves to blame if we let corrupt individuals or groups go scotch-free. We cannot let individuals that condemned us to “everlasting” poverty and misery while they, their families, friends and associates use the wealth gained from the mineral resources as their personal properties. At this stage, we should never follow the advice of selfish individuals who have the tendency to tell us "to leave the people's thing alone." This time around, we should be prepared to fight (I DO NOTMEAN WAR AND DESTRUCTIONS) for what is ours to ensure that we are never again robed by unscrupulous politicians that will use the wealth of the country for themselves and their families, friends and their international accomplices.
This reminds me of a quote by Paulo Freire, in his book titled: Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It reads: “To glorify democracy and to silence the people is a farce; to discourse on humanism and to negate people is a lie.”
The quote above speaks to the mind-set of the corrupt elites and the ruling class in our country. Their belief system and socio-psychological mind-set is no different from the previous elites and ruling class they opposed vehemently. They have no commitment to effect democratic changes in the Liberian political process. In fact, this new political class in the words of Fanon has already "betrayed their generation'".
While I agree with Associate Justice Ja’neh’s recent passionately statement, which reads: “I am furthered deeply troubled and perturbed over the majority decision of the bench. This direction leaves this nation with more questions than answers”, I find his activities on the bench to be in line with the rest by taking positions that serve the interests of their paymaster, Ellen.
Not too many of the political leaders supported the ‘Tipoteh versus Korkoya Case’ that was before the Supreme Court. “We need to use knowledge within the ‘prevention better than cure’ mode. The powers that be failed to do so, explaining the electoral quagmire that we are now in. You are presenting the firecoal. Wait until you see the details on the procurement that bye-passed the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC)”, rightly said by Dr. Tipoteh.
My people, how many times must it be said that corruption leads to wide-spread poverty? Corruption enriches few people at the expense of the vast majority. This is why the Liberian people came up with the expression, “Monkey work, baboon draw.’ While this statement might not make sense to an outsider, the meaning is crystal clear to Liberians. The nepotism practiced by Tubman, Tolbert, Doe and Taylor is what Sirleaf has taken to a new level and practicing it with impunity. It surpassed Tubman’s “Growth without Development” in the 1960s. Under Sirleaf, Liberia is rewarded with the #1 corrupt countries AWARD in 2010 and in 2011 took the 5th place; only God knows what our next honor will be.
The sooner we begin to expose evil and corrupt people in our society they will have to think twice before engaging in their unscrupulous activities; but if we sit by to do nothing, it will signal to them that “crimes really do pay.” We will then remain at “ground zero”, and the rebuilding of our war torn nation will be left to others, and we will be waiting till Judgment Day or for another 12 years, while our people will be dying from hunger and curable diseases.
There is a New Unity Party! President Sirleaf left the Unity Party along with her devoted members to join the CDC. We should not associate VP Boakai with that OLD UNITY PARTY of Ellen. Let’s be perfectly clear; the new name of Ellen’s Unity Party is called: Absent Dis-Unity Party (ADUP), whereas, V.P. Boakai’s party should be seen as the Independent Unity Party (IUP). It was the Absent Dis-Unity Party (ADUP) that had the ground breaking ceremony on Thursday, December 21, 2017 with President Sirleaf. PLEASE DON’T MIX THEM UP!
The brand new race car that has been parked in the garage these 12 years is out on the ROAD at full speed to pass Ellen and Weah’s CDC. Ellen knows what this race car is capable of achieving – that is THE REASON Ma Ellen is AFRAID of for which she dispatched all of her lieutenants over to CDC to have Weah coached. You heard it from Weah’s own mouth: “My main concern is to protect President Sirleaf and her family.” Protect her from what? This is the decision voters will make during the scheduled run-off election.
A long-time social activist friend of mine and I had a conversation the other day, said to me: “Nyanseor, the Liberian people should not take Ellen for granted; she’s desperate, her Jezebelian Machine is at work in full gear; she will not stop at nothing win the election ‘by any means necessary’ for Weah in order for her to remain in charge of the Government while in retirement”.
I don’t know about you or what others will say or do, but as for me, I will say write what’s on my mind, when I can, and will not “let sleeping dog” continued to sleep and daydream for that day in the future for Liberia to become sweet as it was intended. Those of us who considered themselves – patriotic should to join chorus of LIBERIA FIRST to move away from those that are depending on the international community’s handouts, to fix the mess we brought upon ourselves.
Always remember – “When justice hangs in the balance, the silent people can be the most dangerous”.
So, what are YOU doing about it?
Corrupt people or people in power will do everything to take care of themselves and protect their kind. We who have integrity must always defend our position without expecting to gain acceptance or popularity. Better satisfaction is in the creation of a society in which everyone benefits. Therefore, those who deviate from this practice will have God to answer to, come Judgment Day.
My fellow Liberians, the “Rule of Law” is what we should strive to achieve in our country. The Supreme Court, the Legislature and ALL patriot Liberians must uphold the “Rule of Law” than to blindly support the policies of the President and the ruling elites. Corrupt presidential powerful cult must end; it has never benefited the masses, and it will not do so today. If the country has to move forward, there has to be a paradigm shift from “what is in it for me” to “how it will benefit ALL OF US”. We must put Liberia first! Those who will not, and continue to engage in corrupt practices must be dealt with according to the law – with NO exception whatsoever.
The Liberian people must not tolerate this culture of impunity that has been perpetrated by presidents of Liberia and the ruling elites for this long; it CANNOT CONTINUE!
And if you’re a believer, let’s leave the current impasse to God Almighty to handle. With Him nothing is impossible. But please to don’t say, “God helps those who help themselves.” This statement is NOWHERE to be found in the BIBLE! So, my fellow Liberians, let God have His Way – for His decision is the BEST.
Gwe feh, Kpeh!
Our eyes are opened; the time of the people has come!
About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is former Vice Chair & Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. Also, he is a founding member & the 11th President of the organization. He is a poet, Griot/Historian, journalist, a cultural and political activist. He is an ordained Minister of the Gospel; Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine and Senior Advisor to the Voice of Liberia newsmagazine. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut will soon be on the market. Nyanseor can be reached at: [email protected]