President Roosevelt Quiah?


By A Correspondent
Accra, Ghana

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 11, 2003

The Liberian Peace Talks which is in its 10th week is getting closer to an end with the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement among the parties to the Talks and election of the interim leadership as the two outstanding issues on hand. As we are all aware, the military situation on the ground is still precarious with all warring factions violating the June 17the Ceasefire Agreement. We are grateful that at last ECOWAS has dispatched a contingent of Nigerian troops to Liberia to keep the hope of war weary Liberians alive.

With the race for the interim presidency in high gear, the high office in the land is once more being treated as a dump pile where anybody can throw garbage. The whole exercise has been transformed into a job fair. Some of those who are having voting privileges are using such privileges on commercial basis without any regard for the future. To these people, there is nothing like nationalism and patriotism in what they do. It does not matter if Charles Taylor, who has been removed, is replaced with similar character once the office holder will allow them to be part of the plundering team. Here is where the race for the interim presidency is. One of those candidates is guy called Roosevelt Quiah.

The constitution of Liberia is clear about who should be eligible for the offices of president, vice president, representative, and senator. Since what is expected to take place in Accra is far from being a national election, if there is no solid mechanism put in place in terms of scrutiny of candidates, we could probably end up with a President Roosevelt Quiah. In deciding who should be head of a country, the question of character is very important. There is nothing that can be a substitute to one's character. How much information do we have on young Quiah that can make us proud to have him as president of Liberia?

Roosevelt Quiah came to the lame light in 1980 when his senior brother forced him on the Africa Fruit Company (AFC) as Managing Director of that once booming company. By that time, Roosevelt was a senior student at the international school known as the American Cooperative School in Sinkor, Old Road. He forfeited the completion of high school to become a managing director of the AFC. In a relatively short period of time, Roosevelt Quiah plunged the company into bankruptcy through his wasteful spending of the company funds at home and abroad. He had to leave having messed the company up due to lack of experience. Quiah left with terrible record behind him.

Again, through the influence of the elder Quiah, Roosevelt was appointed as Procurement officer of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC). In that capacity, Roosevelt Quiah's hand was caught in the cookie's jar with report that he squandered thousands of dollars worth of LEC materials. That is how Roosevelt left the LEC.

During the Transitional period when his brother was on the ruling council, he was instrumental in appointing Roosevelt Inspector General of the Liberian Foreign
Service. According to Liberian Foreign Service experts at the time, Quiah used his portfolio to make all sorts of illegal money.

In his private life Roosevelt has been living big time in Abidjan with no record of how he became a "millionaire" since his parents did not will millions of dollars to him. Of late, he has been parading a European who appears to be like part of the Russian mafia. The unofficial campaign managers of Quiah are Yudu Gray and David Fahart both of whom played no small role in committing economic crimes in the Doe regime. Now that they seem to be broke, Roosevelt Quiah is seen as their messiah who will place them in charge of diamond mines to replenish their depleted ill-gotten wealth.

Over a year ago, Quiah was in Washington as LURD official having high level talks. Some feel that he is not running under LURD’s banner because the interim presidency has been put out of the reach of the warring factions. So Mr. Quiah decided to run as an independent candidate.

Perhaps the rest of the people of Liberia will have solace in the fact that there will be a vetting committee, which in our view will look at all the credentials of the candidates including their track records of places they have worked in the past. Liberia cannot afford to become a save haven for new brand of money vampires and seasoned crooks who are sitting in the wings to cause havoc on an already dead country. If we allow that to happen, the rest of the international community will rightly take us to be bunch of fools who do not deserve better. Liberia certainly deserves a better leader in this modern era.

The Quiah factor has to be addressed because of the disgrace such a decision could bring to the country. This time around when we refer to someone as president of Liberia, such a figure should make all of us proud, and not the other way around.