By Hun-Bu Tulay
“Let’s make President George Manneh Weah a Benevolent Dictator.” — Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Analyst News, September 9, 2020
The above statement was made by Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. on September 8, 2020. Continuing, Minister Tweah craved for Liberians across the country, especially, partisans and sympathizers of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to help make President George Manneh Weah a BENEVOLENT DICTATOR. Does Minister Tweah know the meaning of Benevolent Dictator? Benevolent Dictator is the ruler of a Benevolent Government. We will therefore first define a Benevolent Government. A Benevolent Government is a government in which an Authoritarian leader exercises ABSOLUTE POWER OVER THE STATE but is perceived to do so with regard for the benefit of the population as a whole. A more simple definition is “It is the form of government in which ABSOLUTE POWER IS CONCENTRATED IN THE HAND OF THE LEADER OR A SMALL CLIQUE. We will give you some qualities of such a government.
- The leader or president controls all branches of the government and the media.
- The leader of this small clique carries out intimidation, murder, imprisonment, violence and other human right abuses to control the population. The leader makes the people fear him.
- The leader is surrounded by cult personalities, who make the leader appear divine.
A benevolent dictator does no wrong. Do Liberians see these qualities above in the CDC Government?
The answer to the question is YES. The people around the president tell him that he is the GREATEST PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY. His infrastructure development in six sub-passed all infrastructure development put together since 1847. And interestingly, he believes them.
We saw the impeachment of an Associate Justice, Kabineh Ja’net for Judicial Opinion, he gave in cases that were appealed to the Supreme Court when he served as Justice in the Chamber. This action is a violation of Article 73 of the Liberian Constitution, which reads “No Judicial Official shall be summoned, arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried civilly or criminally by or at instance of a person or authority on account of judicial opinion rendered or expressed, judicial statements made and judicial acts done in the course of a trail in open court or in chambers, except for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor or breach of peace ……..”.
We also saw the removal of the Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court, when he ordered that Henry Costa’s Radio Station equipment be returned. Need not tell you about the removal of the five commissioners of the Liberia Anti -Corruption Commission, when the commission was preparing to indict the Agriculture Minister and other official government for corruption.
The cult personality around the president equally does no wrong. The actions of the CDC Government perfectly fits a Benevolent Government. Those politicians and permanent Liberians, who are endorsing the CDC Presidential candidate are endorsing a Benevolent Government.
Liberians have faded memories or do not read the country’s political history. Minister Samuel D. Tweah, who asking Liberians, partisans and sympathizers of the CDC to make PRESIDENT WEAH A BENEVOLENT DICTATOR grandfather and granduncle Dadwho Welleh Twe and Plenyono Gbe Wolo were victims of a Benevolent Dictator. Likewise the granduncle of Henry Pedro Costa, Benjamin Green Freeman commonly known in Liberia political cycle as B.G. Freeman was a victim of such a government. A great son of Grand Bassa County, Counsellor Joseph Henry Findley was expelled from the senate on the influence of the Benevolent Dictator. It is very interesting for the minister to propose such an idea in this twenty-first century. We equally cannot understand how those, whose fathers and grandfathers were victims of a Benevolent Government are today endorsing an individual that runs a government as a Benevolent Dictator.
The story of how the country started and how we first got a Benevolent Dictator.
Liberia started as a multi -party system when it thought about applying the tenets of the modern form of governance with its accompanying rules and regulations. The two original parties that participated in the first presidential election were the Pro-Administration Party of Joseph Jenkins Robert and Anti -Administration Party of Samuel Benedict. The election was in accordance with Article 1 of the 1847 constitution and this article was maintained in the 1985 constitution of Liberia. Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution reads, “All power is inherent in the people. All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefits and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require. In order to ensure democratic government which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such a period; and in such a manner as provided for under the constitution, to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments.” Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution is couched in accordance with the doctrine of the French Philosopher Voltaire, who said the people have the Right to change the leadership of the government if their happiness and safety are threatened, for all good governments are constituted for the happiness and security of the people. That security includes the protection of their properties. If they are not happy with the government’s leadership, they change the leadership at regular elections not by the muzzle of the gun but by their inherent democratic power. The democratic system is based on Voltaire’s philosophical thoughts of government, Voltaire’s philosophical thoughts of government influenced Thomas Jefferson, the father of American Modern Democracy, and Benjamin Franklin who is another great American scientist and Politician. Voltaire also advocated for Free Speech, separation of state and religion and fought against slavery.
Before 1951, the country had a multi- party system. Beside the Pro-Administration and Anti -Administration Parties, other parties that were active in Liberian politics were, United People Party (UPP). Reformation Party ( RP), Independent Party (IP), Republic Party ( RP), Independent True Whig Party (ITWP), True Whig True ( TWP), People Reformation Party ( PRP), Reformation Action Party (RAP), People Democratic Party (PDP), and the list goes on. In fact, it was Mr. Didwho Welleh Twe, who founded the UPP and was nominated as a candidate to contest for the presidency in 1951 on the coalition ticket (RP & UPP). Tubman was afraid that he (Twe) could win the election. He, Tubman intimidated him and tried to kill him. Candidate Twe fled to Sierra Leone and Tubman was elected unopposed. Unfortunately, the multi -party system in Liberia was destroyed by the country’s late President William V. S. Tubman in 1955 after the fake assassination attempt. It took the country thirty-four years (1951-1985) to restore the multi -party system after the sacrifices of many lives and properties. Many past Presidents of Liberia have tried to return the country to a one-party system but they have failed and we call on all Liberians to continue to resist one party system or Benevolent Government.
The story of the quietus of the multi -party system in Liberia. In 1943 the country went to a very important election, one political leader ( Edwin J . Barclay) made a very fundamental blunder by supporting the candidacy of (William V. S. Tubman Sr.) a 48-year-old man for the leadership because he did not want to manipulate the constitution. He supported him despite his obvious acute qualification deficit for leadership. He felt that the 48-year-old man would not do as much as he did as a leader and therefore create an appetite for his return to politics and leadership. The former president underestimated the 48-year-old candidate. Academically, he was no match to the others , who were interested in leadership (Samuel David Coleman, Clarence L. Simpson Sr. Gabriel Dennis Sr., Benjamin G. Freeman and the list goes on). Tubman was not as read as all the above but he was STREET SMART. Because of his intent to come back, he recommended the amendment of the requirements for the leaders in the constitution. During the elections, the proposition for the amendment was on the ballot. The True Whig Party carried a Tubman/ Simpson Ticket and they won. During that election, a proposition on amendment was introduced and the REFERENDUM passed, giving the leader an opportunity to contest for one four year term; meaning, the leader would be elected for the first term for eight years and would contest for another term for four years. When Tubman was elected and began to experience the glamor, power, luxury and associated benefits enjoyed by the leader, he found it difficult to leave power. He used the country’s resources to buy over the security, lawmakers and the judiciary. He even appointed is first cousin (Anthony Dashwood Wilson Sr. as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He now had control over the three branches of government.
When contested for the third term on the True Whig Party Ticket, there were two other candidates for the presidency (Edwin James Barclay of the Independent True Whig Party, former president and the man that sponsored Tubman presidency and William O. Davis-Bright, an Independent Candidate. Tubman saw this as a big threat to his leadership. And by the end of the start of the third term, all potential sons and daughters were either in jail or became his supporters. He established and ran a TOTALITARIAN REGIME. He became a Tyrant. He could not see himself living in the country as an ordinary citizen. He held on to power up to his demise on June 23, 1971 after 27 years as president of Liberia. In order to hold on to power, he became corrupt, nepotistic, imperialistic, and a demi-god in the country. Even after he died in the London Clinic in Great Britain, it was difficult to announce his death. Nobody wanted to be the first to say Tubman was dead. Many officials of government felt that this was another scheme of Tubman to arrest those he felt had presidential ambition. Anyone that questioned his authority was equally arrested and later jailed or killed. Many good sons and daughters of the country were victims of his autocratic rule, even those who supported him initially. Even three sons (Hon. James Y. Gbarbea of Bong County, Gabriel G. Farngalo of Nimba County, and Robert Kennedy of Lofa County), who he appointed as superintendents of these counties were arrested and jailed including Liberia’s Ambassador ( Henry Boima Fahbullah Sr.) to Kenya because he felt that these sons were becoming popular and may one day have the desire to contest the presidency. Many of his original friends were victims. This tells us that a man who greed for power and money has no permanent friends. This is how the country became a one party state.
For those of you, endorsing a candidate, who partisans and supporters are asking us to support the candidate’s ambition to become a Benevolent Dictator will tomorrow become a victims, when the country becomes a BENEVOLENT STATE. It has already started. Just investigate why the Speaker lost the election and you will realize that big hands were involved. Especially big hands in the government. He was getting too powerful and ambitious, it is believe that he was considering other position higher than Speaker.
Liberia is a very rich country with vast resources. Geographers, Mining Engineers, and Geologists tell us that Liberia is the fourth richest country in West Africa. The countries that are richer than Liberia are Nigeria, Guinea Conakry, Cameroun, and Ghana. If any sound-minded Liberian were to be elected as President of this country, this would give that person the right and privilege to manage these colossal resources. It would also give him/her enormous power and glory, as well as access to the country’s financial vault. This is the reason why every son and daughter of this country wishes to be the president of Liberia.
Because the past presidents did not create opportunities for the sons and daughters of the country to advance both academically and financially, they traveled abroad for greener pastures. Those who achieved both economic and academic power return every six years to participate in the country’s democratic process for positions such as president/senate/representative. They come with the message that they have the solutions to the country’s old age problems (infrastructure, energy, healthcare, transportation, rule of law, security, education, entertainment, etc). Some won and some did not win but the problems remain unsolved. The people of Liberia have suffered too long because of the lack of these facilities and services. The people’s life dangled in the balance, and they are looking for good leadership. Many of their sons and daughters have failed them, including the so-called “Iron Lady”. Even the current boy from Gibraltar has not done enough for them. The roads remain deplorable, the health system remains a mess, educational system is at its lowest in history, energy, water and sanitation, solid waste management poorly managed, and the people live in abject poverty. Drug cartels have taken over the country, all functionaries of the country have become incurably corrupt including the integrity institutions created by the “Iron Lady”.
This is not to say that the country never had some good leaders. Take for example, the country’s President called Dr. William Richard Tolbert Jr. He had a positive vision and plan for the country; he was called “SPEEDY” by many Liberians. During his reign, a lot of good things happened but he came too late; the people wanted a change and it happened while he was president. He was a victim of circumstances. Today the country has retrograded fifty years in everything and at every level. Those who came after him were worse in terms of mismanaging the country’s resources. Many of the country’s leaders mismanaged the country’s resources and squandered many opportunities. As rich as the country is, it remains one of the poorest countries in the West African Region. Many of those sons and daughters who were given leadership were carried away by personal glorification and greed. These actions of past leaders caused the civil crisis, which caused the death of 250,000 of the country’s citizens and the destruction of many of the basic infrastructures that provided services, as well as a massive brain drain. People of the country continue to have faith in their sons and daughters and pray that one day they will elect one that will change their lives for the better.
In the 2023 General and Presidential Elections, there are candidates who are complaining. They believed that their votes were transferred to other candidates. But let us go back to previous elections and see the pattern of how the people voted. In the 2011, General and Presidential Elections, one of the country’s sons, Rev. Kennedy Gbleyah Sandy returned and participated in the Democratic Process twice 2011 and 2017. The first time, he got 13,611 votes or a mere 1 .13%, and the second time, he got 5,3 43 votes or 0.34%. It seems that the Revered has retired from the country’s politics because he did not contest in the 2023 election.. Many years later another son, Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings after spending over thirty years in the other well-developed countries, returned and participated in two of the country’s elections. During the first election (2017), he got a little over one hundred thousand votes amounting to 7.2%. Six years later (2023), he participated again and this time, he got less than thirty thousand votes amounting to 1.62%. This son and his supporters believed that their votes were not counted because they spent a lot of resources and time for Mr. Cummings to be so massively rejected. He and his supporters forget to understand that when, he contested for the first time, his running mate was someone who was a former instructor at Cuttington University College in Suacoco, Bong County, one of the country’s prestigious university. He also served as Minister and Ambassador in government. He had a base, unlike the running-mate in the 2023 election.
The people on the ballots matter in the country. In its recent history, two faces from a minority group on the same ticket could find it hard to win an election in the country for a very long time to come, no matter how competent they are
It seems the people of the country are getting wiser. They are angry and now understand that many of those who were returning from the advanced country and wanting leadership, majority of them are children or grandchildren of those who looted the country’s resources during an earlier era in the country. They have the economic power, but they need the political power to protect their economic intersegments. One good example is the case of Nigeria. To win a presidential election in Nigeria now-a-days, the tickets must carry a Christian-Moslem or Moslem-Christian composition.
With reference to this October 10, 2023 elections, no party got the required votes to be leader of the country and there will be a RUN-OFF because the law requires that to be elected leader requires 50% plus one vote. The issues on the ballots are many and history is about to repeat itself in Liberia. All historical events repeat themselves.
As Liberians prepare for the RUN-OFF, they should be mindful of whom they elect. Should they elect a person, whose administration has violated all the democratic tenancies? This is the million-dollar question for all Liberians to answer. Should they elect a candidate, who partisans want him to be a Benevolent Dictator? These are questions Liberians need to consider as they prepare for the Run-Off. Are Liberians not tired of being ruled by a Benevolent Dictator?
PEOPLE OF BONG, NIMBA, LOFA GRAND BASSA, GRAND KRU AND MONTSERRADO COUNTIES), remember what a BENEVOLENT DICTATOR did to your sons and daughters between 1951 to 1971. If you re-elect President Weah, who partisans and sympathizers want him to be a Benevolent Dictator, it means your son and daughter’s sacrifices were made nothing. We want you to think about Hon. Gabriel G. Farngalo, James Y. Gbarbea, Robert Kennedy, Henry Boima Fabullah Sr, P. G. Wolo, D. Twe B. G. Freeman, Albert Porte and the list goes on. We call on you and to rejects the CDC candidate, who the Finance Minister wants for him to be a Benevolent Dictator.
Someone who has realized the personal benefits associated with the position of President, will this person leave easily if defeated? Our answer is a big NO. He will find it difficult to leave these personal GLORIFICATIONS characterized in the ill-gotten properties and vaunting fame. Would he maintain the lifestyle he has been used to? For example, traveling on a chartered plane or spending 48 days in a five star hotel, and wasting country money on himself and friends while the country’s pending and looming issues such as the Security, Rule of Law, Corruption, Extra Judicial Killing, Bad Roads, Poor Healthcare, Poor Education, High Unemployment, Food insecurity, Energy, Water and Sanitation, Solid Waste Collection (Environment), Wasteful Spending, and other troubling matters are negatively impacting the lives of the people. All of the above are very critical for their survival as a people and country. Liberians should be mindful of who they elect. If we elect the wrong person, we would be electing someone who will practice Tubmanism. We already see Tubman’s behavior in one of the candidates in the Run-Off. There are people who rather see the country in FLAME than honor the democratic process. It is alleged that such people have started looting public offices, and the recent fire incident at the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Development needs to be investigated. Liberians should prepare for the worst in the next few weeks.
Considering what has been happening, do you think the post-election in the Run-Off will be peaceful? Which of the candidates will deliver on all that are required to stabilize the socio-economic status of the country? Is there a possibility that an amendment to the constitution of the country will be done as was done by Tubman? Historical events can repeat themselves; and we would be surprised if one of the candidates (Weah) does not amend the constitution. Can the young candidate in the Run-Off maintain the current lifestyle on his pension and savings from loots. Following his records, no cabinet members dare say the truth to him. Remember, the CDC Government attempted to amend the constitution in 2020. The CDC Government also tried to pass a pension bill that would help the officials to maintain their lifestyle just incase they lost the election. In fact, he tells them what to do. We saw this from the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia many years ago when the governor said, “I will follow the leader’s directive, even if it means putting aside the Act of the Central Bank and doing his will”. This is the only opportunity we have to prevent another president from ruling us for 27 years. We cannot miss this opportunity. We need to rally all the registered votes to turn out for the RUN-OFF in order to avoid a repeat of what happened in the country 68 years ago. Political Historians are fully aware of what happened 68 years ago.
We were in conversation with a friend a few months ago, who wanted to be president of Liberia. We asked him this question. ‘Why do you want to be president?” He answered as follow: “ IN THIS COUNTRY, THE PRESIDENT CAN MAKE THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY FOR THE OXYGEN HE BREATHES.” He told us that the president controls everything in Liberia. The president is a Demi-god.
We have spoken to some friends; they are worried about the influence of one individual, who they think might influence many decisions. We agreed with them, but that individual will not be the leader of the county. The individual of concern will not control the security and the judiciary and the legislature. He can easily be check-mate. It is easier to check-mate one individual than to check-mate a political leader that controls the security and has established a private militia with manpower of 1,500 men and his militia is better equipped than the government’s security agencies. Currently, the tentacles of the militia were felt in three regions where citizens were injured and some killed. Right now, we the people are more powerful than the militia and its tentacles and we should be ready to act now without asking questions for a peaceful and DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. We cannot afford to be ruled by a Benevolent Dictator. We do not want a Dictator as our leader. A Dictator does not entertain suggestions from his people. He gets what he wants (any amount of money, women, any car, etc.). This RUN-OFF is about protecting DEMOCRACY. It is about rejecting a candidate, who partisans and sympathizers want him to be a BENEVOLENT DICTATOR. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, LIBERIANS. We thank God for using Minister Tweah to tell us the CDC plan before the election. You now know the CDC PLAN for Liberia, which is making George Manneh Weah a BENEVOLENT DICTATOR.
The master plan of some Libertarians and supporters of the government and its agents if they observe that they are losing are as follow:
- Thwart the democratic process by preventing the announcement of the winner after the Run-off.
- Ask the supporters to go on the streets of cities crying “ stolen election” as was done in America by Thump and his supporters.
- Hijack the process
If they can achieve one of the above plans and ensure that NO ANNOUNCEMENT IS MADE up to three weeks in January of 2024, they will ask for an INTERIM GOVERNMENT. Some Social Medias are already propagating this idea.
We would like to close with a verse from the Holy Book – the Bible, Mathew 6:33: “BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO YOU.” As we go to the Run-Off, we would equally say to you, you will be voting for your future and those of your children and grandchildren. You will be voting for security, good governance, good education, good healthcare, good roads, tourism, corruption-free society, clean environment, employment, energy, water and sanitation, food security, rule of law and transparent justice system. But these are not possible if we reelect GEORGE MANNEH WEAH BECAUSE THE LIKE OF TWEH AND OTHER WANT HIM TO BE A BENEVOLENT DICTATOR.
IF THE OPPOSITION GROUPS DO NOT JOIN FORCES, THERE WILL NO FUTURE FOR MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM AFTER THIS RUN-OFF. UNITE NOW OR SAY GOODBYE TO MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM. AND LAST QUESTION, WHAT DOES THE IRON LADY WANTS? EDWIN BARCLAY SUPPORTED WILLIAM V. S. TUBMAN BECAUSE HE HAD THE APPETITE TO RETURN TO POLITICAL POWER. BUT WHY IS GEORGE WEAH BEING SUPPORTED BY THE EX-PRESIDENT IS THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION AT THE DETRIMENT OF THE LIVES OF MILLION OF LIBERIANS? WE ALL SAID THAT ANY OPPOSITION CANDIDATE WOULD DO BETTER THAN PRESIDENT WEAH. AND TO CUMMINGS, WE ASK, DO YOU THINK A BENEVOLENT PRESIDENT WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE PEACEFULLY IN COUNTRY?
A WORD TO THE WISE IS QUITE SUFFICIENT!!!
The Author Hun-Bu Tulay can be reached via email: email@example.com; and Cell #s +231-886517356 or +231-777111032
Source: Daily Observer