Brumskine's Camp Responds to Allegations
February 14, 2002
The government of Liberia, under the leadership of Charles Taylor, has seemingly embarked upon a malicious campaign to:
1. Create an atmosphere of unrest in our country as election nears;
2. To destabilize the already fragile political system;
3. Discredit those who seek to bring democratic change to Liberia;
4. Impose continued suffering on the innocent citizens of Liberia; and,
5. Embark upon a campaign to tarnish the reputation of good citizens.
The latest charge by the government that former Senator Charles Brumskine is helping to finance a dissident group attempting to overthrow the government sounds like a common expression: “A drowning man grapping on to a straw.” It has become evident that since Counselor Brumskine appeared live on DC 101 and Radio Veritas to announce the establishment of his exploratory committee on his bid for the presidency of Liberia, the government in Monrovia has been in a state of panic.
First, Information Minister Reginald Goodridge went on radio to announce that Counselor Brumskine was unqualified to run for president because he is a United States citizen.
Second, the Taylor election commission warned against early campaigning as a means of muzzling freedom of speech.
Third, two stooges of the Taylor legislature went on radio to present “evidence” that Counselor Brumskine was a supporter of LURD. Of course, as expected, the “evidence” was never produced.
Then the government began recruiting citizens of Grand Bassa to present a resolution denouncing Counselor Brumskine for wanting to be president. All these maneuvers were soundly rejected by the Liberian people in call-in shows, on the streets and in the print media. Now the government electronic mouth-piece is quoting the president as saying that he will seek the arrest in the United States of public enemy #1: Charles Walker Brumskine.
If the Liberian people have not already done, they should begin now to assess Mr. Taylor’s mental capacity and those of his associates, particularly at a time when the nation needs stable leadership, sound development objectives and a government capable of delivering on its promises. If Mr. Taylor had appropriately attended the affairs of the nation - provided light and water; jobs and educational opportunities, health care, freedom and justice and a quality of leadership respected by Liberians and the international community, he would have no need to concoct devious plans to discredit good citizens.
While hardly anyone would believe these ridiculous musings, we feel compelled to call the government into question every time it raises such baseless issues. Mr. Brumskine remains committed to the democratic process and the people of Liberia know this fact very well. His concern at this juncture remains the welfare of the Liberian people. The hardship and suffering that they live through daily compel him to remain fully committed to creating an environment for the holding of free, fair, and democratic elections in Liberia.
We have made no secret that our group, Friends of Charles Brumskine, supports his bid for the presidency of Liberia should he make a final decision to proceed. Because Counselor Brumskine does not have access to revenues from gold, diamonds or forest products, those who believe in his mission and in the need for democratic change in Liberia, have willingly contributed and continue to contribute to his cause. Even in the United States, no law forbids individuals from contributing to political parties.
Then there is the question of the legitimacy of a Liberian to seek the presidency or any other job in his country. It is not a crime for one to aspire to the highest office in Liberia even if it is currently occupied because the constitution provides that the people of Liberia should elect a president once every six years. We thought that by now we Liberians would have learned that positions in the government of Liberia are not personal properties. The constitution provides a time limit and the people elect officials for a period. This is no one’s farm or estate.
As for the allegations of supporting a warring faction, Counselor Brumskine has already personally denied them to the people of Liberia. Our supporters and news reports tell us that his denial has been well received in Liberia and require no further averments. We must, however, continue to assure the Liberian people that Counselor Brumskine remains committed to the political process and the rule of law, something that Mr. Taylor finds difficult to understand.
We the friends of Mr. Brumskine are embarrassed by the trifling action enunciated by His Excellency Charles Taylor, calling for the arrest of Mr. Brumskine for raising funds to support his political endeavors. Individuals who attend our fundraising events know why we raise money. These respectful men and women, most, if not all of whom are professionals of the highest standards, would not have identified with us if our intentions were to bring about further distress on the Liberian people. The organization used by Mr. Brumskine for fund raising purposes is a legally registered entity, the Friends of Charles Brumskine. As such, it is required by law to keep records of all activities, and records are duly kept.
Our view is that Mr. Taylor should be the last person to ask the United States to arrest someone. And we are not giving any credence to that request because we are not a party to his allegation. Nothing he said relates to us or Mr. Brumskine. He may be speaking to those who believe in destabilizing governments and bringing hardships to the citizens of Liberia, as he has done for more than a decade. We believe in the democratic process and that is what we are seeking. Mr. Taylor wants Mr. Brumskine arrested for wanting to be president, we say to our American friends, it is not a crime to seek the presidency of that historic African nation, and especially when the current occupant is accused of having Al Qadea connection.
All well-thinking Liberians realize that the state of emergency, the distress calls, the make-believe invasions and trump-up charges are all schemes designed by Mr. Taylor to distract from the process of returning Liberia to democracy and the rule of law. He has already betrayed whatever little trust the Liberian people had in him. But he must realize that we will have to conduct a proper election in 2003 and that will be the test of whether Liberians want to change or remain under a continued state of emergency.
We are confident that arbitrarily declared state of emergency would have to be lifted before the elections in 2003. The opposition will have the right to participate in the electoral process and the people will chose their leaders. Events of the times will dictate this process and the Liberian people will demand this right. This is our nation and the will of the people will prevail.
National Coordinator - Brumskine For President Exploratory Committee
Chairman - Friends of Charles Brumskine