A Lighter View Of Our National Tragedy ...
By Abdoulaye W. Dukule
January 14, 2002
A man was arrested for beating his son to death for failing mathematics in school. He was later released on bond. This is a very difficult issue. The president himself stood in front of cameras, teachers and students to show that corporal punishment was the best way to "take the devil out of " a child. He did not however say how hard one should can a child. Are there laws on our books about violence on children? Are there laws that protect children from public humiliation? If beating a child is illegal, may be this is where we could indict Taylor, since we have pictures to prove it. After all, Al Capone committed all sorts of crimes in this country and got away with it, until the IRS got him on tax evasion and he was lacked up for good... So, forget all other crimes, see if there is a law in the books about the rights of children.
Nobody expects much from a man like Representative Sando Johnson, the teen fighter who found himself in the House of Representatives of Liberia, thanks to the NPFL. He was recently in the USA and returned home with what he calls irrefutable "proofs" that Senator Brumskine was raising funds for LURD. The man is a real fool and with people like that running the House, one can only wonder. But then, when one looks at it seriously, he may not be such a fool. People who many thought were sober minded members of the NPFL, like Senators Mohammed Dukuly and Thomas Nimely are now saying that they would look at the constitution and see if there is anyway to postpone the elections in 2003. Somebody is really desperate. One can understand easily what is going on. If Taylor is evicted from the Mansion in 2003, the NPP senators will have to be there with a real government... That thought can cause nightmares for many...
As for Sando Johnson, he could have done himself some good and checked into a hospital while in the USA and go through rehabilitation and then try to attend school instead of creating confusion... Brother Dukuly, leave the constitution alone, because if we go that way, you would all be out of job and in jail by daybreak tomorrow. The problem of negotiating with rebels is that they know the other side would keep its word and they take advantage of it.
Again, let's talk about LURD. If the Senate plans to postpone the elections because of their war in Lofa and serious candidates are being blackmailed for supporting them and are stopped from returning home, we may start to ask the question: who is benefiting from the war? It helps Taylor to maintain his grip on the political process. LURD should go to Arthington if they want to get Taylor and let the poor people of Lofa alone. Who is running LURD?
There was a discussion of homosexuality a few weeks ago. Archbishop Francis condemned it in high places of the society. The Minister of Information came back to ask that a national discussion should be open on the subject. And then everything went quiet. The Bishop had made his point. What he was referring to was not certainly targeted at the gay lifestyle in the country. We all know that there are gays in Liberia and we all lived together in peace. The problem the Bishop was talking about had more to do with child molestation and a depraved way of life of some government high-ranking members who are taking advantage of the youth in a despicable manner to satisfy their sick libido.
Taylor finally came around and said NPFL would fight to the last man. For those who taught NPFL was dead, well, here it is. It is well and alive and that's why, in my writing I always write NPFL and not NPP. Didn't Samuel Doe say the same thing?
Another discovery over the holiday season for all of us: our country has now a new president: Jesus Christ, that's why Taylor said that Jesus was not God. If Jesus assumes the presidency of Liberia, he cannot be God at the same time. So there is God, Jesus and Taylor. The Holy Trinity now incorporates a new member, born in a poor family on the banks of the St. Paul River, in the middle of the jungle in Little Liberia. Isn't it true that the Lord moves in mysterious ways? That may be why Taylor thinks it would take thunder to remove him. Has he spoken to Bin Ladin lately? A quote from a western movie: "you now hear the gunshot that kills you". Now that Taylor has immortalized himself, the rest of us mortals can move on.
So, the IMF would not control the little money the Government receives from the Maritime. Is the government saying that it cannot keep account of a mere 18 million dollars purse? About those 18 to 20 million dollars, how is it that the Maritime Program makes something like 50 million dollars and we only get 18? Does this program belong to Liberia or what? According to good sources, since Stephen Tolbert, no Liberian Minister of Finance has ever had access to the books of the program. Something the next government may want to look into in the future. I know of a case during the transition - from war to dictatorship - when a Minister of Finance wanted to know how and where the program spent $5 million on computers in one year. He was told that the documents would be faxed to him in Monrovia. By the time he reached home, he was fired. That was Winston Tarpeh. Well, of course there is a new company running the program for Taylor? Is that company as good as the government it is serving?
The war brought deconstruction, destabilization, broken tribes and families and trauma. The way to recovery goes through stages: 1. Reunification - the country becomes one again. 2. Reconciliation - when we learn to live together as a people and forgive each other for being so stupid for so long; and 3. Reconstruction and development - when we pay attention to our villages and houses... Phase 1 has almost been accomplished, except that those guys in LURD won't give up or move up. The NPFL has shown that it cannot implement phases 2 and 3. Time to move on to another stage? The NPFL has outlived its usefulness. Thanks for getting rid of Doe. Send the kids back to school.
There might be 56 people out there who might to be president, including Aunt Siatta Kamara who understands Liberian people more than any of our politicians. Her specialty is Mony Kaaba, during the month of Ramadan. She sells in front of the Benson Street Mosque. Anyway, the field of candidates does not look so crowded... Tipoteh will run, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will run, Brumskine will run and Taylor will run. Wouldn't it be a miracle if we could add them up and divide by two and we only have two tickets? I wouldn't suggest any possible combinations. There are of course those who have not yet declared their candidacies. If AlHaji G.V. Kromah decides not to run, that leaves lot of Mandingo votes to fight for. Not that all Mandingoes would necessarily vote for him, but notice how our national politic is still very tribal-oriented, thanks to the legacies of the True Whig Party and the NDPL. If Aunt Siatta would stop her market and learn to read and write English before 2003, I could convince her to run for something, anything in 2003. We could sell our votes to one of the candidates for a diamond concession in Lofa.
Economic matters. Guess what, my people, the issue of sanctions on the Liberian timber at the UN is in the hands of Mr. Didier Boudineau. Now, guess what, Boudineau is CEO of Indubois, a French timber company doing business with... guess who? OTC, the one and same Oriental Timber Corporation of Gus Kouwenoven, my good friend. Is that guy good or what?
Where do RUF fighters go for retreat? At the ULC compound, the imber consort of Abbas Fawaz, the Liberian Lebanese business partner of Charles Taylor Junior. They sell their timber to the Ivorian company Sivobois, a partner of the French timber giant Interwood... Now you know why many people say that imposing sanctions on Liberian timber would create a humanitarian catastrophe?
Could we get Sheikh Kafumba Konneh and Bishop Michael Francis on a presidential ticket? That would really give Taylor a run for his money.
OK, people, Jesus is our president, Taylor is no longer in control and Jesus is not God. What are we waiting for?
Religion and politics go hand in hand. Only a man wearing a robe could say some of the things said by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and Sheik Kafumba Konneh. Who else could say that the government had committed "heinous and dastardly acts of barbarism unparallel in the nation's history" without being disrobed and canned? A man confident enough to wear a robe, like Sheikh Kafumba and Bishop Francis is not a small man. The Sheikh and the Bishop are brave men who wear robes. May be we should all start to wear robes when talking about the ills of the government.
Former Senator Brumskine's voice on the radio in Monrovia stirred some strong emotions, so much that Honorable Goodrich wants equal time. Mr. Minister, please, you have two radio stations, a television station, newspapers, and hundreds of penmen at your disposal... Get off it. Or is it panic? You don't need equal time, but equal brains... Anyway, the best benefit the Brumskine campaign will reap from this is an assertion by Senator Dukuly that "Brumskine was nobody in the NPP." Now, Senator, you no longer have to apologize for being in the NPP.
Reconciliation Talks or ultimatum? Any talks with Taylor and his NPFL government should be an ultimatum to shape up or be shipped out. In any case, those who believe the man can understand democracy would someday wake-up on the dark side of earth, wondering what hit them. Remember all those good-hearted people who ran to Monrovia in 1997 to "help?" They came back to their janitorial jobs in New Jersey and California. Shape up or ship out, as Ambassador Rachel Diggs used to say to her staff in Washington, DC. She ended shipping out. The next talks, if there are any, should be a list of demands to be implemented. Period.
General Guei transfered 113 tons of arms and ammunitions to Taylor and RUF during his one year in power in Cote d'Ivoire. In September that same year, Taylor sent hundreds of Liberian "mercenaries" to Cote d'Ivoire in preparation for the elections. We all know what they did to Ivorians who protested against Guei's attempts to highjack the elections.
Here are a few 10 million dollars questions still to be answered. What happened to the money the Taiwanese gave to the GOL for JFK, the $380 000? What happened to that presidential aircraft Cyril Allan paid for with $5 million of our money in Nigeria? Will Dr. Ben Roberts return to the University after leaving the country through the border? Will the University re-open soon? Will Conte and Taylor shake hands again? Will Ambassador George Toe Washington run for President? Will Amos sawyer re-enter politics? Will Aunt Siatta Kamara accept to be drafted and run for President? Why is the First Lady still in the USA? Why is Belle Dunbar now running the program the first Lady used to run to restructure JFK? It is our money, and we deserve to know. Where in the world is Tom Woewiyu?
Have a good week. Shed a tear and say a prayer for Liberia.