By Bai Gbala ( September 22th 2005)
|"...Tears came to my eyes. There was nothing that ANYBODY could do to save our country from destruction. On that day, BBC reported that there was no water, electricity and dead bodies were all over the city of Monrovia!!!...."
I write these comments not as a defender nor an accuser of anyone, but as one who witnessed, from ringside seat so to speak, the motivations and activities of almost all the most important, leading actors that brought hell on earth upon our nation and people, and those who did what they could to save us. There is critical need to be fair, factual, and unbiased; for, a very few of us Liberians, particularly the so-called “informed”, will escape blame one way or the other, by either commission or omission.
Little Did We Expect
Little did we expectspine-chilling confessions/revelations (“Open Letterto Madam Ellen Jonson-Sirleaf”, August 30, 2005;http://www.grandgedeh.com/gg-news.htm) from none other than the HonorableJucontee Thomas Woewiyu, former Senator from GrandBassaCounty. These confessions and revelations are, indeed, spine-chilling political intrigues – a tale of meetings, planning, conspiracy, deception, double-cross, assassinations, murders, et cetera, that reads like a page from Reflections of A Political Assassin by a retired or reformed CIA, MI5, or KGB international spy operative. The Honorable Thomas Woewiyu was also a member andformer President of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), a cadre of G. Moses Duopu, Charles McArthur Taylor, Tambakai Jangaba, Leslie Cole, Siahyonkron Nyanseor, Simon Nyanford, Bai Gbala and many, many others.
With “Tom”, as he was affectionately called, we ran around and marched in political protests in the major cities of these United States of America, spewing out and preaching peaceful political revolution for change in our country, and rightly described our political leaders at home as “politically bankrupt and wallowing in the cesspool of corruption they said to be in defense of our sacred heritage” but in fact, “that which they seek to protect and preserve was a heritage of settler hegemony and oligarchy”. Today however, Tom tells us that some of these members bear responsibility for the fifteen-year, Liberia’s historic tragedy.
Woewiyu As An NPFL Member
No reasonable Liberian, especially one who suffers the impact of the NPFL atrocities, should or will regard Mr. Woewiyu’s confessions as a mark of contrition, patriotism and/or courage. In his Open Letter, he admits all the horrendous acts committed against the Liberian people and nation. Moreover, the story of their deadly exploits in the name of “freedom” will eventually come out and catch up with all of them. The fact of Mr. Charles Taylor’s battle with extradition to face the UN-backed Court in Sierra Leone is a case in point.
Thomas Woewiyu was not only “Defense Spokesperson” (Defense Minister) and head of the NPFL fighting forces and No.2 person (Mr. Taylor being No. 1) in the NPFL hierarchy – planning, policy, organization, management, operations, etc. – but also that the name “Tom” was symbolically “NPFL”, as well as the national (Liberian) and international “household word”. For, during the conflict, particularly the heyday of the insurgency, all those – arms dealers/suppliers, buyers of Liberia’s natural resources, UN, OAU, EU, ECOWAS, US, UK, France, many West African Governments/Organizations that benefited from the Liberian tragedy – who wanted to meet with “Mr. Taylor”, whether in Logatuo, Nimba or in Gbarnga, Bong Counties in Greater Liberia must first seek out and see “Tom”. That’s how important and powerful Mr. Woewiyu was to the NPFL cause!!
For example, Mr. Woewiyu was the Head and leader of the NPFL Delegation to the first peace conference held in Free Town, Sierra Leone in June-July, 1990 with the Government of Liberia under the auspices of the Liberian Interfaith Mediation Committee. At the final session of the failed conference, Mr. Woewiyu bluntly told the sponsors, international observers and the Liberian Government Delegation that the NPFL came to Free Town for ECOWAS’ blessing to take over the government of Liberia, “not to talk to these people(Liberian Government Delegation)”. From the front door steps of the Bitumani Conference Center( Free Town), Mr. Woewiyu continued, “as we speak the NPFL forces are engaged in fierce military operations and will take Monrovia in less than 12 hours”. At that point, July 3, 1990, Ecowas Authority was powerless to act; Dr. Abas Bundo, then ECOWAS Executive Secretary, attending the conference as observer, told us so. Tears came to my eyes. There was nothing that ANYBODY could do to save our country from destruction. On that day, BBC reported that there was no water, electricity and dead bodies were all over the city of Monrovia!!!
In earlier and relaxed discussion with the late Tambakai Jangaba (then Chair of the Government Delegation) and Bai Gbala (Policy Advisor) old, political comrades from the ULAA days USA, Mr. Woewiyu warned: “we (NPFL) came here not to negotiate conferences for selection of an interim government; we came to accept your surrender/hand-over of the government to the NPFL; failure to do so, we will run you guys out of town”. Unlike Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who went from the Liberia Action Party (LAP) to the NPFL and then to the Unity Party (UP), Mr. Thomas Woewiyu is (or was) an NPFL doctrinaired ideologue, committed to the achievement of its (NPFL’s) objectives, by ANY means necessary. Mr. Woewiyu once said that “the best Krahn man is dead one”, in an apparent reference to the late President, Samuel K. Doe.
After an apparent policy difference which led to Mr. Woewiyu’s brief break with Mr. Taylor and his (Woewiyu’s) leadership of the so-called Central Revolutionary Council (CRC), an NPFL derivative, he made up with Mr. Taylor, returned to the fold, stood for
lection to the Liberian Senate on the NPP ticket and “won”, in final realization of NPFL political power, not personal. Thus, Mr. Woewiyu sees himself, first, as an NPFL ideologue as well as a “foot soldier” who happened to be a high-profile, policy-maker.
It is in this context – differences in beliefs, commitment, personal desires and objectives – that one needs to consider in order to comment on Mr. Woewiyu’s criticism of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf’s “apology”. Both are, without any doubt, guilty of the cruel and inhumane acts to which Mr. Woewiyu confessed, and should be tried at law as well as bebarred by from contesting and holding public office. However, Mr. Woewiyu sees Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf as a gold-digger and political power-seeker; a person who is or was not anNPFL “true-believer”, but a hypocrite whose “apology” was designed for forgiveness since Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf is a candidate for president of Liberia. Indeed, Mr Charles Taylor, himself, saw the “deception and hypocrisy” of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf’s last-minute criticism and defection to the Unity Party. In the 1998, Camp Johnson Road ( Monrovia) episode, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf was indicted with others for “treason” by the Taylor Government but later dropped her from prosecution for reasons yet unknown.
Level And Scope of Involvement
We did not expect a confession of Political Infidelity of this nature, scope and intensity , activities that brought un-imaginable destruction, human suffering and death to and upon the villages, towns and cities throughout the length and breadth of the Liberian nation and its people, resulting to profound ethnic/tribal bigotry – deep and painful division, envy, jealousy, antagonism, fear, suspicion and hatred to a proud, once happy and united people – to involvea nationally-distinguished characters that constitute the cast of this deadly, political Play which included Liberian Political Notables such as the Honorable, Mrs. EllenJohnson-Sirleaf, former Minister of Finance, now candidate for President; Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Political Scientist, Professor and former Interim President of Liberia; the late General Thomas Quiwonkpa, AFL Commanding General & Member, PRC; the late Honorable G. Moses Duopu, Advisor, PRC; Honorable Harry Greaves, Jr., Advisor to Interim Chairman of NTGL; Honorable B.Comany Wiseh, Member of NTLA; Honorable Emmanuel Shaw, Businessman; Mr. Harry Yuan, former Managing Director, Liberian Electricity Corporation; Messrs. Randolph & Ethebert Cooper, Businessmen; Cllrs. Chris Maxwell, Clarance L. Simpson, Jr., and Gbelia; Drs. S. Byron Tar, Gaywea McIntosh, Edward Clinton and H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr.; the late Honorables Samuel Saye Dokie, Jackson F. Doe; the Immigration Officer, Mr. Jackson; Honorables Taylor E. Major, D.Tuan Wleh Mayson, and others too many to name.
The recent “exposure” of “Liberia and Democracy”, a 1986 article by the political philosopher, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr., disguised under a pen name, among other very interesting disclosures, unleashed his usual, perennial political diatribe and vituperative invectives against the so-called Progressives’ “whipping boy”, the late President Samuel Doe and his regime. In his characteristic, intellectual, ivory-tower dislike of the common person of low mental capability that he describes as having “no training for . . . debates . . . (and) . . . discussions . . .”, Dr. Fahnbulleh called the former president of Liberia “an irresponsible mediocrity . . . and his band of thieves . . .” that he (Dr. Fahnbulleh) and his “the people are willing to sacrifice their lives in their determination to oust (them) the racketeers who now rule the country”.
This assessment of the Government of the PRC, with a philosophical vow and commitment to remove it from power, presumably by force of arms, coming from the very person who worked in, with and for that government as cabinet minister and traveled the length and breadth of the nation very closely with the leader that he now described as “irresponsible” and mediocre is, indeed, revealing. These revelations (of “Liberia & Democracy”) not only lend support to and validate Honorable Thomas Woewiyu”s allegations of lethal, political chicanery in which Dr. Fahnbulleh is alleged to
be involved, but also demonstrate the presence and level of hypocrisy, disloyalty, deception, lack of dependability & credibility, sabotage, etc., etc. on the Liberian political scene.
Aliens Seek(and hold)Liberian Political Power
There has been and still are serious charges of what I describe as Political Infidelity – Liberian citizens who have renounced and denounced their citizenship and, therefore, their loyalty to the nation ( Liberia) of their birth by taking on citizenship of a foreign country. Many of the revolutionaries/masterminds of the 1989-2003 nightmare of human tragedy in our country named in Mr. Woewiyu’s confessions, are also those same citizens who are charged to have renounced/denounced allegiance to the Liberian State by taking on citizenship of foreign countries while, simultaneously and unlawfully seeking high-level, elective, Liberian positions, Legislative and Presidential.
Given the level of available evidence, theaccused “Liberian Aliens” are now permitted to stand for election to critical, policy-making/policy-implementation positions in our country; and that in this connection, we concluded:
“…the enquiry into the truth or falsity of the serious allegations was apparently ‘handled’ unenthusiastically with ‘kid gloves’, leaving the extremely emotional, serious and vicious accusations and counter-accusations of national significance essentially unresolved. The unfolding political circumstances (drama) create a condition of anger, frustration, helplessness and hopelessness; and the perception of betrayal with what Liberians call “dee-dee-bah”.This scenario is highly likely to explode with a negative impact on the entire socio-political spectrum of Liberian society (Bai Gbala,“AliensSeekingState Power : A Rejoinder”, August 28, 2005, http: //www.grand-Gedeh.com/gg-news.htm).
Accusing, Blaming Others
At the beginning of these comments, I cautioned against falsehood, prejudice, vicious accusations with exaggerated statements which might tend to inflame emotions and incite similar response. This leads us to the assertion that “The historic city of Saniquellie ( Nimba County) … was ravaged by Mr. Woewiyu and the NPFL. The NPFL destroyed the fabric of Nimba County by recruiting its youth, whom it inebriated with potent brain damaging drugs and converted them to fanatical killers. Across the Liberian landscape during the height of the civil war, there were accounts of dehumanized children gleefully kicking human heads around as foot balls, with the likes of Mr. Woewiyu as coaches and cheerleaders”; (“Mr. Tom Woewiyu – Where is Your Apology”, by Emmanuel T.Dolo, Ph.D”; The Perspective, August 14, 2005).
This is a loaded accusation by a citizen of Nimba County. A response by the accused could lead to analysis and interpretations with conclusions which could be similarly loaded and likely to rekindle troubling, painful memories of the civil war that are better left to historians and as facts of history, so as not to provoke ethnic/tribal confrontation.
Bai Gbala is the Co-founder & Director of Political Affaire of NDPL