Erecting Checkpoints Against Falsehood

By Isaac W. Jackson, Jr.


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 25, 2004

Aware that we are acting in the terrain of opinions, where one can persuade others, much is desired by the enlightened people when facts are tampered with. This is now the challenge facing Samuel D. Tweah Jr. in his attempt to misinform and mislead our people, particularly the “young people,” who might uncritically swallow such sophistries as being propounded by him.

It seems to me that Tweah is mounting a slippery slope as he flurried above with his thread bare accusations against the progressives, who struggled against anti-democratic elements in making sure that the Liberian people enjoy the fruits of the cherished system of multiparty democracy.

But the willful blindness exhibited by Tweah, in his failure to recognize the crucial role played by the progressives, as an agent of positive change, when in fact Liberia has accrued liability of one-party rule, crowned by a hateful oligarchy.

Tweah points to other people as being “disconnected” from the country since they have remained out of the country for so long. Meanwhile, and technically speaking, he is himself more disconnected from the Liberian political scene by acting on the basis of hearsay, when he used the phrase “groundswell for Ambassador Weah.” As a matter of fact, the political barometer on the home front is reading something exactly opposite to what he thinks. With this, it is now easy to ferret out the basis for Tweah’s false analysis.

Having built his argument on the foundation of doubt, the young man goes further by saying that this “groundswell” is a probable combination of Liberia’s prolonged hanker for a patriotic leader, when in actuality his premature call for Weah to enter politics has been viewed by a vast majority of our people as a menace that must be shackled in the most ruthless manner.

It is a glaring fact that he has no political skills upon which we could hitch his leadership. Another faulty point Tweah brings up in his feeble attempt to address one of the most serious problems which glares upon our society, “the personality politics.” He carelessly treads into the intellectual minefield by asserting that a “Weah Presidency” is a new populist movement that has an eye towards institutional building.” Here the argument crumbles under its own weight. You cannot speak of a populist movement when the foundation is personality driven, because it is established beyond doubt that the so called populist movement revolves around Weah. In addition, Tweah needs to clarify which institution he believes Weah can build. From all that has transpired in Weah’s career in Liberia, it is definitely foolhardy for anyone to believe, least to accept that he builds institutions. His tenure with the Lone Star was characterized by confusion over the repayment of expenditures made for the team, sometimes made outside of budgetary arrangements. No other institution but the LFA and the Ministry of Youth & Sports will bear witness to these actions. Players during the height of Weah’s career, who had not directly benefitted from his benevolence in their flight to professionalism, and were not prepared to take him as a godfather, regularly suffered his wrath on the field of play. If that is institutional building, I would certainly not want that style invited upon Liberia.

I refuse to believe that the angle upon which Tweah equates his “populist movement” was ever centered around the late Steve Biko, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, least to mention the paragon of freedom fighters, Nelson Mandela. Hence, the mark is missed by the attempt to idolize an individual at the beginning of a “populist movement.” It is of the most absolute importance to note that Tweah cannot use the wrong formula in deriving the right answer.

You cannot speak intelligently of building a viable political institution, by raising the banner of an individual higher than the principle, knowing fully well that an individual is like an item, born, acts and dies, while principles are eternal.

In the fourth paragraph, Tweah runs the slippery ground by uncritically equating Weah, this political nobody, to the most venerable freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, who stood in the vanguard against apartheid. In all fairness, the two subjects in question are not comparable, since there are many other justifications for their difference. For example, while our motherland was on fire, with Taylor pillaging the national coffers, and holding the Liberian people at gun point, “Patriot Weah” was in Europe, enjoying himself on the carpet pitch of PSG, seriously looking for money. This man cannot be the Mandela of Liberia, as has been falsely postulated by Tweah.

If one were to search the pages of history, with regards to Weah’s political contribution during those turbulent times, when men, pregnant women and children were being indiscriminately slaughtered for no crimes, other than being Liberian citizens, you will search the pages of history in vain, because Weah has no worthy political history.He therefore cannot be compared to the internationally compared politician and statesman of Mandela’s caliber.

Another point which drew my attention is the undeserved accolade Tweah tries to give his political mentor, stating that “Weah will synchronize divergent viewpoints,… mobilize and unite desperate elements into a massive institution.” How possible can the flowery appraisal of Weah be a working reality, when it is undoubtedly clear that Weah is an agent of sidelining. It is an open secret that when he served as technical director of the Lone Star he sidelined all of the other players who refused to compromise with him. Some of the victims of his act of marginalizing people include such stars as Frank Seator, Alexander Chenekan Freeman and Boye Charles among others.

It seems to me that Tweah’s overzealousness for Weah springs either from the blindness of his thought for his “Patriot Weah” or something sinister. It is also relevant to note that Tweah’s Patriot Weah owns the Kings FM Radio that is managed by foreign nationals, as if Liberians are proving to be incapable of managing a mere music box FM. I wonder what the much sought after Liberianization policy is meaning to “Patriot Weah?”

Let me urge Mr. Tweah to stop abusing our patience by swaggering about and maneuvering behind the curtain of patriotism in his bid to use Weah as a gambit pawn in his political chess.

In another attempt to defend Weah’s incompetence, Tweah uses the frail and weak argument that “higher level schooling is not a sufficient guarantor for successful leadership.” This statement is false to the point of absurdity, especially when all civilized nations are making every effort to rid illiteracy completely from our one world, Tweah’s irreligious act of casting a passing glance at this vital ingredient in the leadership recipe has landed him in trouble with the established aphorism that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” Not only that Weah could be dangerous for being little learned, his problem is compounded by his lack of political or leadership experience. I doubt that Weah can even understand the argument that Tweah raised on his behalf, least to mention whether he can pronounce some of those high flown words Tweah used in his piece.

Let it be noted by Tweah that power has its own way of corrupting people, and the little learned Oppong Weah will definitely be an easy prey. Having said the above, if Weah were to take power in Liberia, God forbid, his rule will certainly produce catastrophic consequences, grossly disproportionate to those caused by the anti-developmental forces that we have sadly watch over our political life.

It is now clear that in Tweah’s new Liberia, higher schooling will not matter much. But let Tweah not drag us into this disastrous slum, since we have lost so much time in fighting a senseless war, and we need to buckle up, than to accept this political curse, because of some “popularity.”

In the bid to sell his candidate, Tweah applied the quotation of United States Democratic candidate John Kerry, right side down, when he underscored the issue of judgment in the president. It is common knowledge that Kerry had at the back of his mind that a well informed judgment can be rendered by a president only when he is guided by an invaluable wealth of experience. How can a man render sound judgment when he is inexperienced, as is the case of Oppong? Let it be clearly noted that the judiciary renders most of its critical judgments on the basis of stare decisis.

Tweah further insinuates that because Weah has lived in complex societies like Europe and America, he has won himself a democratic credential. This is not only misleading, but it is most false. One can not boast of being a democrat by merely living in Europe or America, without having a direct role in the body politic. Most of the despots that the world have known, had had education, some living experience and even dalliances in and with Europe and America. Did that cause them to be democratic? Think of Mobutu, Samuel Doe, Saddam, Charles Taylor, etc.

Having drawn sufficient red lines through these arguments, may I unveil the wicked intention of most of those guys who are luring Weah into harboring this vaulting ambition. They have set to validate the common chess maxim that “a bad plan is better than none at all.” Not only have they set about to promote mediocrity under their selfish supervision, they are trying to resurrect some of Liberia’s ugly history. For the sake of the record, I like to narrate briefly what the history in question reveals. When the 17th president of the Republic of Liberia, Edwin J. Barclay was about to end his term of office, and the issue of his successor sprung up, the president decided to bring into our national political arena a relatively unknown politician, William V.S. Tubman. Barclay had the ill-conceived thought that he would have had the chance to wield influence and exercise greater control in a government headed by a little known man, and with the passage of time he would have returned to assume power. It is important to note that Barclay blindfolded himself to the alternative to Tubman, CL Simpson, Sr., a man whose qualifying credentials for the presidency were unmatched by any candidate under consideration by the leadership of the True Whig Party at the time. Simpson had served as Secretary of State, Grand Master of the oft-powerful Masonic Craft and Secretary General of the sole True Whig Party. It is because of these credentials posed by Simpson that Barclay supported Tubman. This position was sought because Simpson was unlikely to surrender to any manipulation by Barclay. From our observations, this is about the same scenario that is about to unfold in present day Liberia.

Tweah and others, in their innermost being, know very well that Weah’s experience is woefully inadequate for the presidency, but they are harbouring the thought that Weah will suit their manipulation and he would be easily and remotely controlled and managed as a docile pawn, so that when he makes a mess of the presidency, they will find the platform to edge him out of the political scene.

In my view, the most effective way to avoid seeing the damaging consequence of the Tweah rule is for all well meaning Liberians to stand up in great readiness to spurn this young man that is being used as a gambit pawn by wicked minded men. This will certainly be our surest way to prepare a safe and productive Liberian state. I have narrated these facts so that the Liberian people can see through the diabolical designs of these guys, hiding behind the banner of patriotism, to satisfy their corrupt habit. It is quite unfortunate that some of our friends will want to resurrect that ugly ghost of President Barclay’s style of politicking, with its disastrous consequences, when we should be thinking about employing mechanisms to lift Liberia to noble heights.

About the author: Isaac W. Jackson, Jr. is a reader of law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia , and a democracy activist.