|Charlie Brumskine & Charlie Taylor|
VP Joseph N. Boakai
The National Democratic Coalition (NDC) calls on Liberians everywhere not to be disinformed by Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine and the Liberty Party about the sociopolitical realities of Liberia. In addressing rumors that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prefers and is quietly supporting Cllr. Brumskine to succeed her as the next President of Liberia, the Liberty Party political leader, Cllr. Brumskine, mischaracterized Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and wrongly depicted him as someone employing the “Congo–Country divide” in politics in Liberia! Sadly, Cllr. Brumskine, who was once a strong supporter of Charles Taylor whose record is unhidden regarding the destruction of Liberia and his plan to destabilize the sub-region, tacitly likened Vice President Boakai to self-serving individuals who exploit political opportunism, exploit the people, destroy the country, and enrich themselves at the peril of ordinary people, including struggling women, children, and students. Here is what Cllr. Brumskine said, which was reported in the FrontPage Africa newspaper:
‘Da -Country man business the people will eat; will that help market women and men to move from market stalls into stores?’ ‘Da -Country man business that will help the poor people children to get into good schools? ‘Da Kongo-Country man business that will take healthcare to Liberians who live in the country side, so that pregnant women will not continue to die in child birth? ‘Da Kongo-Country- man business that will help our farmers grow bigger farms?
NDC sees Cllr. Brumskine’s comments as ill-advised and as an outburst of emotion bordered on fear of the Vice President. It has become clear that VP Boakai has emerged as the hope and unifying statesman for ordinary Liberians and as such has become a threat and obstacle to the interest of the relics of the establishment class in its desperate political desire to maintain the old political statusquo after Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s tenure expires in January 2018. NDC believes that ordinary Liberians across the lengths and breadths of the country prefer the Vice President because they believe he is a well-experienced, educated, mature, and sober indigenous leader capable of addressing the fundamental ills of the country, including the “Country-Congo” divide through genuine reconciliation, equitable distribution of the national wealth, promotion of education and health as an outcome of huge investment in infrastructural development in the truest sense of the word.
NDC calls on Cllr. Brumskine and his Liberty Party not to present and use the Vice President as a scapegoat for Liberia’s intractable sociopolitical, economic, and historical problems. The 1847 Liberian State of ex-slaves was established and run for more than a century on the doctrine of social exclusion. Despite the 1980 Coup that dislocated the settler hegemony and promised fundamental changes for our common good as a nation, we are yet to see basic sociopolitical and economic changes in Liberia.
The brutal civil war we suffered was never about liberating and uniting Liberians; it was more about self-serving individuals arrogating unto themselves the right to wage war so that they could grab political power for plunder, self-enrichment, and vengeance. Unlike Vice President Boakai who did not support and benefit from the war, Cllr. Brumskine did support and benefit from the brutal civil war in Liberia.
Moreover, arguably, nothing has fundamentally changed in 14 years of so-called peacebuilding in post-war Liberia. The arrogance and the lack of remorsefulness on the part of remnants of the old order remains entrenched. Brumskine and the class he belongs to believe they are the only ones that should preside over the state and control economic power while the vast majority of the population remains poor farmers and house boys and girls.
Can Cllr. Brumskine reconcile Liberia? Is he oblivious of the Country-Congo divide in Liberia? Can he tell us which leader in the history of Liberia that has solved the Country-Congo divide whether by reconciliation or far-reaching reforms?
NDC thinks when Cllr. Brumskine talks about the native-settler divide in such a flimsy and careless manner, it means he is naïve, and has not understood the actual reality of Liberia’s political, social, and economic problems. Any leader failing to admit the problems in Liberia and who pretends that the settlers versus the indigenous majority problem has ceased to exist, such a person is either a fake leader or a downright political demagogue, undeserving of leading.
The NDC likes to note that it is not sufficient to handpick someone from the indigenous group as a vice presidential running mate. Addressing the “native-settler” divide in Liberia requires genuine actions, which Cllr. Brumskine has not demonstrated over the years. We saw Charles Taylor, to whom Cllr. Brumskine served as a legal advisor, slaughter many indigenous political leaders under the pretext of war. He killed Jackson F. Doe, Gabriel Kpolleh, David Dwanyan, Stephen Yekerson, Sam Dokie and his family, Vice President Enoch Dogolea, John Yomie, Prof. Isaac Vaye, and many others, primarily because of the “Country-Congo” divide. What was Cllr. Brumskine’s stance on these killings?
Today, the people of Nimba are asking Harrison Karnweah about the sons of Nimba who were slaughtered in cold blood. In fact, Mr. Karnweah must account to the people of Liberia for his role in gun running and arms trade in the South-Eastern region where he was undeservingly awarded the operation of the Cavalla Rubber Plantation during Mr. Taylor’s rebel war. The arms he supplied to rebels in the South-Eastern region led to the countless deaths of our compatriots. The best place for Brumskine and his running mate is a Special Criminal Tribunal, not the Executive Mansion.
Cllr. Brumskine, in his comments, further claimed that VP Boakai is an elite who has accumulated wealth over the years, and should not be considered as a poor man, or as someone from the grassroots. Here is what the LP political leader said:
‘Today, the supporters of H.E. Joseph N. Boakai present him as a poor man from Lofa, and that he would understand the plight of poor people. But don’t be fooled, Joseph N Boakai is not poor like you or even as me. As Vice President, his office receives more money from the government budget than any other Vice President has received in Liberia’s history.’
‘He has enjoyed some of the best and most lucrative government jobs — Minister of Agriculture, Ambassador, Managing Director of the LPMC, at the time when LPMC had money, and several other positions. Vice President Boakai might have been poor a long ago, but today he is among the richest one percent of Liberians who are enjoying the best of this country.’
‘While the Office of the Vice President has received nearly US$9 million from the 2014 fiscal year to now, the total spending on health institutions in Lofa, his home county, for the same three-year period was only US$3,406,881. Only US$1,350,000 is proposed for Lofa health institutions for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.’
NDC takes delight in the fact that Cllr. Brumskine seems to know more about the VP and is educating the public. Quite interesting. What is even more interesting is the fact that at one point in time Cllr. Brumskine described VP Boakai as being “weak” and as a “sleeping” Vice President! How can someone who is “weak” continue to enjoy “some of the best and most lucrative government jobs” in Liberia? Isn’t it counter-intuitive for a “sleeping” Vice President to assist in steering the ship of national affairs without a civil war like the one Cllr. Brumskine supported during the Charles Taylor’s era?
As the Legal Counsel for Mittel Steel and LAC, can Cllr. Brumskine tell the Liberian people the annual net profits of these foreign companies? Can he also tell us his annual legal retainer fees from LAC and Mittel Steel? Can Cllr. Brumskine tell the Liberian people how much his boss Charles Taylor made annually as President? Can he tell the Liberian people exactly how much Charles Taylor stole from Liberia? Can he disclose how much Charles Taylor and the NPFL paid him when he argued against the presence of the international peacekeeping force (ECOMOG) in Liberia vis-à-vis the status of forces agreement (SOFA)? These are questions the NDC would like for the Liberty Party Leader to answer publicly for the benefit of Liberians everywhere. In addition, can Cllr. Brumskine tell the Liberian people if Charles Taylor had anything called annual budget, and was there a difference between the Central Bank of Liberia and his White Flower Residence in Congo town? Brumskine needs to answer these questions also because he brags about being a President Pro-Tempore.
On the issue of Cllr. Brumskine’s assertion that ‘He (Boakai) has enjoyed some of the best and most lucrative government jobs — Minister of Agriculture, Ambassador, Managing Director of the LPMC, at the time when LPMC had money, and several other positions; this brings us to the critical area of the corrupt, patronage and neo-patrimonial attitude Liberia’s ruling class brings to public sector governance. What Cllr. Brumskine insinuates is that the running of government is not and should not be about service, but about the grab of “lucrative government jobs”. By extension of this shameful attitude about government, Cllr. Brumskine’s desperate desire to become president of Liberia is all about to grab a “lucrative government job”.
The fundamental issue on good and democratic governance that Cllr. Brumskine fails to address is one that borders on CONFLICT O INTEREST, which the current Code of Conduct should have but deliberately failed to address. He is legal advisor for major trans-national and multi-national corporations in Liberia (LAC, Mittel Steel, etc.) while running for the highest seat of government. How does he address this critical governance issue? Where does his loyalty lie? Which of these, LAC and Mittal Steel, on the one hand, and the Liberian State and people, on the other?
Is he prepared to serve? Under the True Whig Party, Tubman and Richard Henries, for example, while serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, simultaneously served as lawyers for Firestone and LAMCO Companies. They used their public positions to protect the interests of private companies and suppress local people and trade unions. These are the issues Cllr. Brumskine should address, and not distract from the fundamental issues.
In concluding, the NDC would like to comment on Cllr. Burmskine’s claim that the President of Liberia has not given Liberty Party any support in cash or kind, and that she is not supporting his candidacy. The NDC considers this as highly laughable, untrue, and misleading. Don’t be fooled, Liberians. As Americans often say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Here are circumstantial pieces of evidence to support the preferential treatment provided by President Sirleaf to the Cllr. Brumskine and top officials of his Liberty Party:
a. The appointment of a former Chairman of the LP, Mr. Israel Akinsiah, at the lucrative National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) as Vice President for Public Relations;
b. The submission of Cllr. Brumskine’s credential to ECOWAS as Liberia’s representative to that regional body; albeit he was rejected, and Dr. Toga Gayweah MCcintosh was preferred to him (Brumskine)’;
c. The political influence brought to bear to have Mittel Steel legal retainer ship with the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm abrogated and transferred to the Brumskine Law Firm, from which Cllr. Brumskine makes more than US$500,000.00 per annum. In this capacity, Mr. Brumskine has trumpeted the interest of a multinational cooperation over the interest of the impoverished people of Nimba and Bassa counties that are virtually living in slavery under Mittel Steel.
d. The appointment of the sitting Chairman of the Liberty Chairman as Minister of State without Portfolio in the Office of the President. While serving in that office, the LP official also serves as “Special Prosecutor” and has been used to get at perceived political foes of President Sirleaf. Two victims of such political vengeance include Senator Varney Sherman and former Speaker Alex Tyler.
e. The Brumskine Law Firm also provides legal retainer ship to the Liberian Agricultural Company (LAC) under which the people of Grand Bassa have lost many lives and continue to suffer forceful removal from their traditional land. Providing legal retainer ship for these lucrative transnational and multi-national corporations requires the blessing of the presidency;
f. A surrogate of President Sirleaf and the former Chair of the LP, now “Special Prosecutor” jointly share a law firm through which thousands of dollars have been siphoned to support the Presidential bid of Mr. Brumskine
g. There are many other shady deals currently taking place between the political leader of the LP and cronies of President Sirleaf in the direction of strengthening Cllr. Brumskine’s chances in the 2017 Elections, including the political cross over from the Unity Party to the LP by staunch cronies of President Sirleaf (the LFA boss, Mr. Musa Bility, the tax invader; and the former FDA boss and now vice running mate of the political leader of the LP).
If these counts do not represent tacit and substantial political support by Madam Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, to the LP, then we just don’t know what else support can be described.
Lastly, we should note that Cllr. Brumskine did not understand what VP Boakai said, to which he tried to respond but, either consciously or subconsciously, distorted. Vice President Boakai did not ‘say that President Sirleaf supports the Liberty Party’. What the Vice President said was that ‘the people are saying that the President supports the Liberty Party. Therefore, the NDC is convinced that Brumkine’s attack on the Vice President is a gross display of arrogance, contemptuous, unwarranted, baseless, flimsy, and unfounded attacks. The NDC thinks Brumskine is frustrated because, after President Sirleaf has made frantic effort three different times to persuade the Vice President to take Charles Brumskine as a running mate, he now reverts to distortion and attacks on the Vice President.
The NDC wishes to emphasize, that Joseph N. Boakai, the standard bearer of the Unity Party is the Presidential Candidate of the Coalition representing Liberia’s social democratic tendency. As such, any attack on Vice President Boakai will be responded to appropriately.
Forward march Africa! Liberia First!
PUBLISHED BY DIRECTIVE OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE NDC.
Ciapha S. Gbollie
VICE CHAIRMAN FOR ADMINISTRATION