Abraham Teah Tehbah Barlou Mitchell
THAT’S THEM AGAIN – The current state of continued post-conflict confusion in Liberia, led by dirty establishment opposition politics, must be properly understood and contextualized. Firstly, since the 1980 military coup and the dethronement of more than a century-old hegemony of the settler minority oligarchy, the bugaboo of that establishment class is not only alive, well and kicking, but remains the principal drivers of persistent conflicts, political violence, wars and agony in Liberia, as a diehard phenomenon.
It is only under a state of emergency and chaos historically that the minority grabs and maintains power. That was how Apartheid ruled in South Africa: violent repression, terror and fear. Similarly, that was how state architecture, state expansionism, and a minority state domination, thrived in Liberia. And exactly, this was the grand motive for 15 years of a blooded civil war – attack and harass the military violently that had become unpopular, and during the violent terror, re-impose the pre-1980 old order on the country – this was how the Taylor and Johnson-Sirleaf dynasties emerged to power under states of emergency (1997-2003) and (2006-17), respectively.
Today, Darrius Dillon, an ex-Taylor gun totter, is Senator of Montserrado County. Thanks to “June 7”. Remember, the June 7 protest called for regime change and was largely successful. That is why the audacity for the December 30 protest led by Henry Costa and Yekeh Kollobah and others– pawns on the chess boards of the so-called Council of Patriots and the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) is popular amongst the old guards.
The theme: “Weah must step down” – is a gamble intended in futility to short circuit the Weah administration by any means necessary. These elements believe that the Weah phenomenon has been demystified – the Weah phenomenon that has served as the greatest obstacle to their return to power after the civil war. In both the 2005 and 2011 elections, Weah undoubtedly defeated Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf hands down, but the results of those elections were doctored in a grand scheme to resurrect the Old Order. Moreover, when President Sirleaf, as an exit strategy, wanted to make her son President Pro-Tempore, it was Ambassador Weah and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) that frustrated her efforts in the Montserrado Senatorial election by defeating Robert Sirleaf. Earlier, the CDC also frustrated the Unity Party’s grips on power by the defeat of its candidate Clement Urey by Geraldine Doe-Sheriff.
COP STREET PROTESTS – A MONEY-MAKING SCHEME
A major component of the COP scoundrels, besides being the reincarnation ploy by the Old Order, is to use their social media followers and crows to blackmail the government with street protests and then under the cover of darkness, ask for ransoms. This scheme worked under Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and seems to be working under the current regime. As long money-making is the undertone of the street protests, there will always be justification for street protests. But here is the positive thing – the people of Liberia are slowly but surely reading through the COP scheme, so has the international community and its networks of intelligence gathering; sooner than later, COP’s bluff shall surely be cut and the rascals would run out of relevance. This is the career occupation – the principal means for livelihood by Henry Costa and Co., of the COP, blackmailing governments they vilify about corruption, and simultaneously trading their scarecrow campaign for huge sums of money.
Henry Costa and Darrius Dillon, principal ringleaders of the COP, are not infrequently heard on the radio with high-sounding phrases, but these are people whose levels of education are questionable to the public. Nobody knows which school (s) these people have gone to in or out of Liberia; neither can one point to a single paper (whether in the form of a professional paper or an article or a monograph) any of them has written. These are little crooks, suffering from the poverty of philosophy – a bunch of windbag charlatans (bigmouth swindles), celebrated objects of mediocrity, bellicose anarchists, and political arch gamblers of the 21st Century in Liberia. They live on coining illiterate youths who fall prey to demagoguery. But the days of mediocrity and demagoguery in Liberia are doomed and numbered. We challenge all of them to the debate, not on the radio, but in the print media. Subsequently, w’ll turn them into mincemeat on their own talk shows.
We are angry because we have struggled for this country, including the current peace that these idiots want to destroy. This we shall not permit; this we shall resist to the fullest, including by any means necessary, in the words of Malcom-X. We are getting there, very sooner than later!
Let us be further reminded that the pre-1980 settler remnants, combined with newer elements of the elitist class created by the Taylor and Sirleaf dynasties, have been advantaged by massive criminal wealth accumulation during the military regime of Samuel Doe and 15 years of war plunder; the two cumulative 20-year-reign by Taylor and Sirleaf-Johnson (1997 -2017) must also be added to the years of plunder. These periods provided brilliant opportunities for an unprecedented wave of massive self-enrichment by the establishment elites. It is the enormous wealth these elements have accumulated during our crises that has become effective weapons for instigating violence, conflicts and instability, as well as effective means to return to power – taking advantage of the very economic crisis created by their failed rules over the years.
Ambassador Weah and the Congress for Democratic Change emerged to power through a contentious coalition that played into the hands of a criminalized transition concocted by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. That transition, a criminal multifaceted plan, was more of an entrapment for the Weah administration; the plan has worked to a very large extent, constituting the primary source of the new contradictions. After the 1980 Coup, the People’s Redemption Council, particularly Samuel Doe, did not listen to the advice of Liberians; he and his colleagues exposed themselves and went to bed both literally and politically with remnants of the True Whig Party they had overthrown, including Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Charles Taylor. Liberians know the rest of the story.
LIBERIA: THE NEW ORGANIZATIONAL CONCOCTION – ONE AND THE SAME OF THE OLD
Today, it is not the Association of Constitutional Democrats of Liberia (ACDL, the political wing of the NPFL, controlled by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and that raised the funds for war in Liberia in the 1980s and 90s); neither are they called TWP and NPFL anymore. Rather, in the new dynamics, they are now called “Council of Patriots” and a conglomerate of rightwing Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), comprising the Unity Party (led by Johnson-Sirleaf and former Vice President, two members of the elite core of the UP that became millionaires in 12 years, and who are amongst the 10 richest Liberians); others include, the Alternative National Congress (ANC, led by Alexander B. Cummings, a dishonorably retired corporate executive of Coco Cola, whose presidential bid is being heavily supported by some of the most wealthy gay or same-sex organizations in the West; he’s also said to be a close associate of Charles Taylor, providing cover for Taylor’s hidden criminal wealth; others include, the All Liberian Party (ALP, an off-shoot of the NPFL, led by Beneoi Urey, the man that became a war millionaire from Liberia’s Maritimes funds, etc. Henry Costa lives with Urey as a house boy); and the Liberty Party (LP, led by Cllr. Charles Brumskine – RIP – member of the NPFL and the legal Counsel to the erstwhile National Patriotic Reconstruction Assembly Government – NPRAG, a Gbarnga-based criminal cartel used by Taylor for a so-called Government, also one of Taylor’s President Pro Tempore; Darius Dillon, a recycled scoundrel, blood-thirsty ex-NPFL rebel and finally a page for Cllr. Brumskine, now a COP senator).
Others include, the COP criminal, Oscar Cooper – NPFL general (“Captain Marble” who criminally controlled the Port of Greenville during the entire war years of Taylor; he managed to become senator for Margibi County on account of raw cash accrued from the criminal wealth acquired from wars; others of the COP include Charles Bright, Emmanuel Shaw, etc.). These are the principal leaders of the COP and CPP that make up the establishment elites as well as their indigenous collaborators—paid agents —that are so strategically positioned to manipulate politics and serve as drivers of conflicts, amidst endemic poverty in a polarized society created by them. This is the context within which the ploy to disrupt the peace and destabilize the country via unending periodic street protests manufactured in premeditated in fashions for chaos.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
Under the circumstances, what is neede to be done to put an end to these campaigns of a permanent state of uncertainty and psychological terror being imposed on the people of Liberia by the criminal elites of the COP and their associates, a ploy to regain state power in a state of confusion?
First thing first – President Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change Government must do all within the confine of the meager resources available to the government to do one thing: PERFORM, PERFORM, and PERFORM; perform to the reasonable expectation of the people, and do not get budged down with crisis management. The strategy of the COP and CPP is to distract the Weah administration, keep it preoccupied with responding to crises, and weaken its capacity and resolve to deliver to the people. Fundamental to the issue of performance is the fixing of the economy, paying of civil servants regularly, the fighting of fiscal indiscipline and other ills within the national economy, including the criminal cartels, involved in the acts of hoarding, profiteering, and money laundering.
The second point is that President Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change administration must decide and act collectively as a coalition government to decisively avert the threat. Besides working to improve the economy, the CDC, as individual institutional members must affirm and reaffirm their collective commitment and loyalty to their government, and conduct themselves as such. The CDC, as a coalition administration, should come to the realization that it is being successfully undermined and attacked by a united front of oppositionists that must also be resisted in a unified and robust way.
Take for example, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development of the CDC has become a national object of laughter and ridicule as part of designs of the opposition to undermine the government. Everything in society that represents inaptitude, hardship, failure, or disappointment, is referred to as “Pro-Poor”. Nothing like this happened to the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (I and II); albeit, none of these programs of the Sirleaf administration produced any fundamental tangibles to transform society. “PRO-POOR”, from all intents and purposes, is a graphic way to express a people-centered approach as a government; but it has lost its meaning and has been given a negative connotation. We see the George Weah and CDC-led administration coming under repeated vicious attacks, whether in the form of street protests or dirty propaganda; where are the NDR, NPP, LPDP? and other smaller groupings that make up the CDC administration? The Congress for Democratic Change seems to be receiving all of the beatings as the bad guy, while other allies in the Coalition government seem to be playing safe. It shouldn’t be that way!
Thirdly, the government has gained the moral high grounds, and seems to enjoy the respect of the international community and the vast majority of the Liberian people as opposed to a hand-full of supporters of the COP and CPP in their ploy to instigate confusion and chaos while imposing on the public a state of psychological disorder and uncertainty. This state of disequilibrium of sympathy towards the government against the ploys of the opposition, must be upheld and continued. Every threat by the COP and CPP to go in the streets that disrupts normal businesses and puts the people in a state of uncertainty, places the people against the opposition; therefore, the government must seize the imperative through public education and awareness on how the opposition is undermining their progress through chaos and confusion. This is vital.
Fourthly, and very importantly, it is very clear the COP and the CPP, together, as a so-called opposition bloc, are far from being a cohesive force of substance. The opposition essentially lacks a modicum of a unity of purpose, being driven by the ego and cult of the personality of the two principal rivalries: political leaders of the UP and ANC; the two are fighting to lead the CPP opposition. At the same token, the opposition seems not to have any national vision, no clear national mission, nor does the issue of characters of tested leadership with credentials to make the CPP readily enjoy the confidence of the Liberian people play any significant factor.
On the one hand, the political leader of the ANC is a lost phenomenon in the Liberian political equation. Firstly, he, as a “JJC”, is certainly not in touch with Liberia’s political reality; at the same time, he brings nothing special and attractive for leadership in Liberia. A novice and a political dwarf, Cummings has more excesses than pluses for leadership, similar to the Brumskine’s, Urey’s, Mill Jones’, etc. Most importantly, at this juncture, when post-conflict politics is geopolitically sensitive, it is inconceivable, to replace a sitting Southeastern President with yet another Southern presidential candidate. Certainly, Liberians are popularly not inclined to replace a Weah (Grand Kru) with a Cummings (Maryland County, next door to Grand Kru).
That is how far remotely the Cummings factor is. In 2017, Cummings and his Alternative National Congress, a renegade caricature of the Congress for Democratic Change (in spite of the huge sums of financial resources spent in those elections) came out as one of least of those elections, with not a single seat won in the national legislature – that speaks volumes politically. Additionally, Cummings is not only publically known to be a foreigner, he is also being publically portrayed as one being heavily supported by gay financiers and supporters in the US and Europe. His reported connection with Charles Taylor as one of those providing shields for Taylor’s hidden stolen wealth in association with the Emmanuel Shaw’s, Urey’s and others, including Taylor’s notorious international arms dealers (Viktor Bout and Sanjivan Ruprah, in contravention of UN resolutions) are becoming public knowledge. No doubt, money cannot off-set these excesses of the Cummins’ phenomenon.
On the other hand, former Vice President Boakai who is playing the indigenous North-Central card for the presidency for the 2023 elections to replace President Weah, is budged down with multiple contradictions. Firstly, the stigma of twelve (12) years of the Unity Party rule, and he as Vice President of a regime publically known for its massive corruption and non-performance, is critical. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf did not want any glory to come to Boakai, thus, her administration hardly did anything for the development of Lofa County of her 12 year-rule; the fact that Boakai would be an extension of the Sirleaf’s as well as the unnecessary awarding the Unity for failure, would be a major card. President Weah and the CDC only need to pay a little more particular and strategic attention to Lofa up to 2023; the Boakai factor could become a non-factor
Essentially, Boakai brings nothing extra-ordinary and illustrious to the leadership trait of the Liberian presidency, whether by education, ideology, or personification, or particularly in terms of national achievement. Besides being a handpicked Vice President, Joseph Boakai has had no prior records as an active participant in the struggle for change in Liberia. Nobody knows where Joseph Boakai stands politically and ideologically in terms of the future direction of post-war reform in Liberia. All good will of support for the pap during te 2017 Elections were based on speculations and presumptions, in a desperate search for a national leader.
The campaign by Boakai and others to portray themselves as better than President George Manneh Weah in terms of leadership materials for the presidency is a sham, and cannot be substantiated. Boakai has always played cool in Liberian politics as a “YMCA humble servant”. On critical and sober reflections, Boakai brings to politics and government nothing but common sense. In essence, Joseph Boakai is just another Liberian politician, with little or no extra-ordinary leadership pedigrees, and should be compared to previous inept and obsolete Liberian elders that were handpicked to leadership by vicious war lords, because they were seen to be lukewarm, and represented no threats; such were the cases of the Kpormakpor’s, Sankawulo’s, Ruth Sando Perry’s, Bismarck Kuyon’s, or Chief Tamba Taylor’s, the moribund Chief, in a state of senility that was handpicked by Charles Taylor as a factional transitional leader during the civil war.
As a strategy of divide-and-permanent rule, the elements of the establishment elites always use characters as these (indigenous assimilators) to confuse the people. Boakai went to high school at the College of West Africa (CWA), the elite of elitist schools of the establishment class; he rose from being a student janitor, to a high school president – having travelled from rural Liberia to Monrovia as a disadvantaged peasant youth.
Boakai’s situation is graphically similar to Jackson F. Doe’s, a young peasant migrant who migrated from Nimba County to Monrovia, and was finally coopted into the ruling True Whig Party. As a humble and a subservient peasant indigene, politically, Jackson F. Doe became National Vice Chairman of the Grand Old True Whig Party – being groomed as Liberia’s possible Mangosuthu Buthelez in the waiting (as in the case of South Africa) or Rhodesia’s Abel Muzorewa. On critical retrospection, one can understand, why Joseph Boakai was a choice of Madam Sirleaf for Vice President, who conducted himself with humility. Today, he has become the most vocal oppositionist – that’s interesting. That former Vice President Boakai today, as a principal leader of the CPP would be in te vanguard of street protests, to support te likes of coinman Henry Costa and other swendlers; he robs himself of an elderly statesmanhood.
In the 2017 elections, the thrust of Vice President Boakai’s campaign, understandably, was “roads, roads and roads, as his vision for Liberia. For some of us, that was an over-simplified, mechanical approach to addressing Liberia’s complex and fundamental socio-economic and political challenges. His was or or like a repeat of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s vision for Liberia. For a leadership that is visionary and that has a scientific perspective about Liberia’s development challenges, the strategic, immediate and long term issue for the emancipation of Liberia, it is not about “roads, roads, and roads; it is fundamentally about EDUCATION, EDUCATION AND EDUCATION. When we reform our educational system, and when education becomes the means of the emancipation of our people, the means for the self-realization and self-actualization of our people; when education becomes the tool for creating critical thinking for creativity, innovation and invention, the sky becomes the limit of a new Liberia, including self-built roars and other infrastructural development by Liberian skills, knowledge and technology.
In today’s Liberia, the fact that we depend on Chinese knowledge, Chinese skills, Chinese technology and Chinese expertise to build Liberian roads and other infrastructure, says how far behind we are as the first black republic on the Continent. Liberia is more than a century older than China as a state of sovereign independence and self-determination. China acquired sovereign statehood after the Chinese Revolution, right after the Second World War; this includes India; we could also include Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asiatic countries that have all surpassed not only Liberia, but the whole of Africa in terms of industrialized economies. When Liberia was involved in world politics, including being part of those involved in crafting the Charter of the United Nations and its foundation in 1945, China and India were all engulfed by colonial bondage. After liberation form colonial slavery, it was the type of educational system designed by the leaderships of China and other Asiatic countries that became the bedrock for their rapacious level of civilization – scientific and technological development – not westernization. In Liberia, like in other African countries, we stupidly equate civilization with westernization; that is why we remain permanently colonized.
The lack of a visionary outlook by Liberian politicians, including Vice President Boakai, beyond the obsolete True Whig Party way of doing things, characterized by inferior education, is responsible for what we have been and remain to be as a people.
The Liberian people had the similar illusions about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s leadership, but in the final analysis, she became a major disappointment for many of those Liberians that believed in her, after 12 years of failure.
As a presidential candidate, Boakai did not bring a national vision to the table to inform the “Unity Party platform”; neither did he have a grip on his Party and his own campaign. The naming of his campaign team and his vice running mate, rather than boost the campaign, it dragged the campaign into crisis due to ill-timing and very distasteful choices, from the perspective of the public, to say the least. Worst still, he placed his campaign strategy and finances for the fifteen (15) counties into the hands of 15 senators whose loyalties were not measured by prior work for him in their respective counties.
Additionally, these were senators that did not have any sticks in the elections, in terms of running as legislative candidates. Besides, most of the senators he used as his campaign managers in the counties were not in good standings with their constituencies. Thus, the Boakai campaigns in the counties were a big disorder, driven outside of party leaderships. The Boakai county campaigns were therefore without loyalty and a sense of urgency, and because there were no leaderships, everything was in a state of flux. Therefore, the votes Vice President Boakai got in the 2017 elections were based on cash (heavily spent in few vote rich counties) and ethnic and regional solidarity, and not as a result of a grand campaign strategy nor affection. Above all, there was no incumbency threat, as all votes were left for a grab.
What is even more important in this equation for 2023 is the age factor. In face of the age deficit, Boakai has to present extra-ordinary attractiveness for consideration. Thus, be not deceived, the political chemistry for 2023 would be fundamentally different rom 2017. The CDC and President Weah could pull some surprises as an incumbent, plus other factors – watch my words – the COPs and the CPPs will become a big fiasco, and if there’s going to be any major challenge to the CDC, it has to come from elsewhere.
We can therefore conjecture that the COP and CPP, gripped by inherent contradictions, as illustrated through our foregoing analyses, represent no substantial threat in terms of power and leadership shift; Boakai and Cummings who are the two forerunners of the opposition fighting to replace President Weah in 2023 are in disarray.
The ball is therefore in the court of the Congress for Democratic Change and its leadership role in the national development campaign of the country. The CDC has everything to lose and therefore has every reason to take its leadership over the country very seriously. Against this backdrop, the CDC needs to go back on the drawing board and recalibrate, in preparation for 2020 and 2023.
The Ploy of Economic Sabotage
Very crucial to the COP and CPP strategy to undermine and weaken the Weah administration is economic sabotage. Violent street protests and disturbances are aimed at creating an unfriendly and unhealthy investment climate in Liberia; this would create a state of uncertainty and scare away investors from the country through scarecrow politics.
Logically, when Liberia becomes a no-go-zone by perception on the social media and investors scared away, the economy gets weaker; coupled with persistent and endless crises, politics becomes hostile, and the regime is pushed into becoming paranoid and brutal – a recipe for its further unpopularity and expeditious demise.
These were the same strategies these right-wing elements used against the Doe regime that eventually plunged the country into blood bath. For classical economic sabotage purposes, the establishment elites and their supporters are hoarding and laundering the Liberian Dollar Banknotes to cause artificial shortage; they are resolutely resisting government’s plan to print new banknotes intended to counter act their strategy of sabotage. And above all, they are blending acts of economic sabotage with calls for street protests against government. All of these acts are aimed at suffocating and delegitimizing the government. This is what we refer to in political theory, “opposition bureaucratic sabotage”.
Bureaucratic sabotage undermines the government’s efficiency and effectiveness, makes it simultaneously and artificially unpopular with the population, and then eventually the government becomes a legitimate target for subversion and extra-constitutional and extra-judicial attacks.
This is the grandiose game plan of the bandits. As we can all see, the opposition’s machination is to permanently keep the population in a state of uncertainty in order to diminish the confidence of the Liberian people in the Weah administration. The government needs to know this in order to put in place all necessary countermeasures.
Fueling Confusion within the Leadership of the CDC
Fueling conflicts within the Congress for Democratic Change is another leg of the conspiracy – mutual mistrusts and mutual suspicions within the leadership of the CDC is a complementary ploy. Getting the inner-circles of the Congress for Democratic Change at loggerhead, is fundamentally important to rock the boat. They are working on this assiduously because as we all know, certain elements of the Taylor-Johnson-Sirleaf dynasties working in the Coalition for Democratic Change government are working from within, while the rest are working from without, in the opposition. They all exchange intelligence and coordinate at different levels. This is exactly what these identical elements did with the People’s Redemption Council government of the military regime.
The establishment elites and their children, both literally and politically, went to bed with heads of the military regime, and subdued them from within. The leadership of the CDC should therefore be mindful of this.
Internal differences are inevitable all every political organizations; the African National Congress is experiencing theirs; it happened to FRALIMO of Mozambique, and many others. However, higher-ups of the CDC leadership should not wash their dirty clothes in the streets; above all, CDCians should not move from behind their Commander-in-Chief, the phenomenon that bears their standers; neither should CDCians allow opportunists steal their core leaders away from them! In other words, CDCians must jealously protect and defend their core leaders. The issue of “corruption” very important, but there is nobody in the CDC that is as corrupt as or more corrupt than Taylor and Johnson-Sirleaf. Therefore, neither the COP nor the CPP, specifically the Unity Party, can be the torch bearers to lead the national campaign against corruption in Liberia.
Here are the contradictions: Henry Costa, Darius Dillon and Yerkeh Kollubah, are fighting corruption in the CDC government, while at the same time working for Charles Taylor’s Benoni Urey Alexander Cummings, Emmanuel Shaw, Charles Bright, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and others. These are people that acquired their wealth from “primitive accumulation” – accumulation by blood, wars, rapes, massacres, tears, exterminations, and plunder.
Therefore, the Weah administration should respond to the opposition as it operates in different forms, with sophistication, tact, care, and decisiveness. As a strategy, the government should penetrate the core of the leadership of the opposition in order to know every move it contemplates. At the same time, the Government and the CDC should work with their allies, both in and out of government, to checkmate their advisories. The opposition of minority elites are wealthy with wealth stolen from the Liberian people. They also have international links and allies, supporting them, including very wealthy gay institutions in Europe and America.
Exposing all criminal designs of the COP and the CPP through public education and awareness is fundamentally important.
Africa is on the move – Liberia is coming!!