Not only Taylor Fears Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
By Varney Gbowolo
January 9, 2002
A few years ago, the presidential elections at one point were supposed to pin "civilians" against "warlords", because many peace-loving people thought that this was where the great divide lied. Among the warlords, Taylor was the fiercest and again there was a hope that a coalition among "civilians" would include some of the moderates against Taylor. None of this happened. Civilians opposed one another and in the end, some of them opposed each other more than they opposed the warlord Taylor. For example, Mr. Gabriel Baccus
Matthews campaign message to Liberians during the 1997 Elections was straightly targeted at the foreseeable presidency of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf. Like Mr. Taylor, Baccus fears a decent, articulate, and professional person who cannot be pulled by the nose. One who may not look at him and offer him a foreign minister job simply because of his rebellious history against the Tolbert regime - one who may not see him as the architect of the 1979 infamous rice riot rather one who could judge him by his professional know-how. The opposition between Tipoteh and Cletus Wotorson was also evident and all of this benefited the Taylor campaign.
In the business community, a Lebanese merchant, George Haddad, who runs a monopoly enterprise (the Bridgeway Corporation) in Liberia vehemently, put his weight behind Taylor. Mr. Haddad, an informal advisor and financial supporter of Mr. Taylor, is on the list of government and military officials affected by the UN travel restriction. But for some unexplained reasons, Mr. Haddad and his Lebanese "brothers" have received a reprieve from the UN - their names have been deleted from the list.
In the calculation of the likes of Haddad, a president committed to accountability and fiscal responsibility would restrict many of them from doing the kind of businesses they could carry out under a Taylor government as we all see it now. Haddad disbursed funds believed to have totaled hundreds of thousands of United States dollars to Mr. Taylor to ensure NPP victory in the 1997 special election.
In reciprocating Haddad's gesture, it is an open secret that Mr. Taylor extended to him the right to operate a monopoly enterprise in Liberia and that all taxes that are due the government of Liberia from Haddad's businesses (Prestige motor, Alliance Motor and Bridgeway cooperation) be paid to Taylor. In fact some believe that the account is in Mr. Haddad's name. It seems that Mr. Haddad had reimbursed himself perhaps more than twice the amount he spent to ensure Taylor's victory.
The glamour of latest cars Haddad imports into the country for use by Taylor, his officials and his young girls easily pacifies Taylor. For Taylor, Haddad is the pillar under his ailing economy. No auditor from Finance Ministry dire to audit any of Haddad businesses.
The man (Taylor), whose character and profile run parallel to the man he imitates, the 18th President of Liberia, William V.S. Tubman, will be noted as the worst president Liberia ever produced when the history of that country is rewritten following his timely demise. Both at home and abroad, the name Charles Taylor reminds one of terror just as the names bin Laden and Adolf Hitler remind the world of September 11 and the holocaust.
Taylor and his NPFL thugs murdered thousands of innocent Liberians just to enable him to become ruler of Liberia. Tired of his reign of terror, the Liberian people finally surrendered the country to him in a civilized and decent manner, as a means of preserving their lives so to say. Regrettably, Taylor sees every Liberian outside his cycle of indoctrination as enemy.
It was shocking to hear that Mr. Taylor had a memorial service for victims of September 11 attacks and directed his puppet police commander, Paul Mulbah, to arrest and incarcerate any one found selling the portrait of his partner in terror, Bin Laden, on the streets of Monrovia. How can the Americans ever believe this masquerade? Why didn't he have memorial services for thousands of people he murdered in the name of power? I even understand that he offered the Americans 2,000 tugs to fight against his brother, Bin Laden. Little did he know that the Washington Post would have come up with an article implicating him to the al-Qaeda network. Indeed, Taylor represents the African front of the terror network. That is why he was the first to cry out against the work of terrorists in America. His action was intended to avert suspicions about his membership with the network of terror.
Most Liberians were disappointed at the manner in which politicians conducted themselves at the polls. Liberians from all over expected a united front against those gangsters who ruined every fabric of their country. Interestingly, they saw politicians, whom they had hope of delivering from the shackles of violence, campaigning in the most primitive form. Instead of telling the electorates what they could do for them and resolved to form an alliance with a credible candidate as a head, nearly each tribe presented a presidential candidate. They confused the electorates with ill-fated messages.
For example, Baccus Matthews campaign message was targeted at Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf and Mr. Taylor and it was repeatedly aired on DC Radio, a station owned and operated by Fred Golokeih Bass - one of the staunch partisans of UPP, a political party of Mr. Matthews. "Do not vote for some one who commissioned and financed an escapee to prosecute a war against you. Today, Baccus has formed an alliance with Mr. Taylor to ruin the remaining forest reserved in Liberia. He is presently the Public Relation officer for the Oriental Timber Corporations (OTC), a company noted for shipping large cache of arms and ammunition via the Port of Buchanan for the so-called rebels Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone. Baccus has signed lucrative PR contract with that Mafia company - OTC while his partner in corruption, Charles Taylor, received five million dollars from the same company in return for his approval to allow said company to operate at will on Liberian soil.
It is sad to note that many of our poor people who did not even know the practical meaning of war prior to the launching of Taylor military conquest for raw-power would rather prefer a resurrected Samuel Kanyon Doe to a "living" Charles Taylor.
We hope that Liberians will learn from the mistakes of the past elections. Granted, many would say that they voted for peace, but Taylor is not a man of peace. People with the national interest at heart must come together and get rid of him and all those who followed him.
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