Tuesday, 17 May 2011

‘CAN’T SHAKE PYJ’S HANDS’


“I can’t say if I can shake Prince Johnson’s hand if I get to meet him now……..For Ellen, why not? I can shake her hands even though I heard that she sponsored the war against my father…… But I’m not carrying that burden along. After all, everyone else lost somebody in the war. So, what use is it, then?”
Celue Doe, daughter of slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe
Former Prez Doe’s Daughter ‘Holds No Grudge’ But No Handshake For Father’s Murderer
Trenton, New Jersey, USA-

Greeted with the news that her father had been slain six months after she, her other siblings and mother had escaped Charles Taylor’s insurgency, Celue Doe’s childhood immediately took a tailspin. She still fears the pain even after two decades.
Now 28, the former president’s daughter told FrontPageAfrica that she holds no grudges against anybody for her father’s death; yet, she cannot afford a handshake with the man whose decision to kill former president Samuel Kanyon Doe left her and about 19 other siblings fatherless when she was just eight-years-old.
For the young lady who plans returning home next year for the first time since 1990, she is not sure of the mood if she encounters the once-feared rebel leader: “I can’t say if I can shake Prince Johnson’s hand if I get to meet him now”.
Johnson, now Senior Senator of Nimba County and presidential hopeful for this year’s election, captured and killed Doe in the latter part of 1990 as one of the continent’s deadliest wars raged against the country’s first native president whose 1980 coupe ended over 130 years of Americo-Liberians’ reign.
Johnson to ‘Tango’
Most agonizing in the eyes of those who watched the capture, torture and subsequent killing of the country’s 21st president was the spectacle display Johnson exhibited as he sipped what appeared to be a Budweiser drink while chopping off Doe’s ear. The videotaped scene was seen on news reports around the world and remains available for viewing as Johnson calls ‘Tango’-meant for the US Ambassador at the time.
Celue still holds fresh memory for a war that was to continue for almost 13 years later even following her father’s death, though Doe had been killed less than a year of the revolution initiated by now detained Taylor.
Since that fateful September 9, 1990 in which Johnson’s breakaway Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) had ceased Doe in a fierce Freeport battle before taking him to their Caldwell base for his final demise, several reconciliatory meetings had been held between Johnson’s Nimba group and Doe’s Grand Gedeh group.
Celue who had escaped to the United Kingdom along with nine other siblings and her mother, Nancy Doe said she can manage a handshake with current president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf despite the President’s admittance of sponsorship to the rebellion that killed and ended her father’s decade-long reign.
Sirleaf presented her version of her part in the anti-Doe reign war during her appearance before the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as providing just “US$10,000 for humanitarian” purposes only.
Would shake Ellen’s hands
Though the justification had since been doubted by many on grounds that she desperately needed to get to the presidency and that her contributed amount was unstated, Celue prefers her to the former warlord: “For Ellen, why not? I can shake her hands even though I heard that she sponsored the war against my father.”
However, Celue who has since spent her entire life in exile for the past 21 years is not prepared to carry those burdens along with her. Not wanting to hold anyone responsible for her father’s death, she told FPA: “But I’m not carrying that burden along. After all, everyone else lost somebody in the war. So, what use is it, then?”
Twenty-one years later, Celue says she still sheds tears for her late father. 
Told In A Heavy Way
Says Celue: “I got told in heavy way. I was already eight years old by September, 1990. I loved TV and would stay up late watching it….we had this body guard [who accompanied them] who just woke me up and it was like, ‘Your father’s dead!’ I mean it’s like, ‘Your pa died! Imagine telling an eight-year old child like that. I gradually made my way up to my mother’s bedroom and my mom was like crying.’
Going down memory lane, she recalled the last time she heard from the father who was by then engulfed by rebels: “The last time I heard my father’s voice was like almost a month after we left and received a call from him. It was like a happy day for us all. My mom and my dad would speak in Krahn but I don’t understand Krahn but I could imagine him promising her that things could be better.
She assumed that there are at least 20 of them left behind by the former President but only half of that number enjoyed Doe’s Executive Mansion’s immunities as first-children residing there at the time. She revealed that all 10 of them made the escape route to the UK, with the youngest being as young as less than a year-old and the oldest at the time being 15 years old.
The Last Time
It took another six months following the escape to safety of Celue and her siblings before Doe was killed.
“The last time I saw my father was back in March of 1990. The war was getting very heated at the moment and the First Lady [at the time], my mom Nancy Doe, my brothers and sisters and I and my other siblings who were already attending boarding schools in London were gathered together to leave. And the last time I saw my father was on the fourth floor [of the Executive Mansion] and had the opportunity to hug each other. And that was the last time”, she explained.
But Celue, in her recollection, knew that their departure from their father was not one of those usual vacations: “I was very aware as a child….. I had some sense of awareness of what was going on was. I was thinking like why isn’t he coming. I wondered if I was ever going to see him again. It felt psychic.”
While not blaming her late father for whatever decision he made that led to his torture and death, Celue however thinks that Doe’s refusal to escape the last-minute battle in the midst of an opportunity to survive makes him a hero.
Though that decision left her-and her numerous siblings fatherless, she praises him for the decision that turned the table on him that led to Johnson’s capture and subsequent killing of the former president: “Absolutely. He had an opportunity…. And as I grew up, I think about the character of a man who could make that kind of decision [to stay despite the raging war against him]. That I can’t still understand. He had said, ‘How can I leave my people?’ He was not going to do that. He couldn’t have abandoned his people, the people who elected him.”

The SKD Foundation
A great admiration for her late father was the fact that he still chose to return to school despite being a president at the time. Now serving as the communication director and spokesperson for the newly established foundation named after the late president, Celue’s belief that her late father was one who believed in education led to her and some of her siblings forming the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Foundation
Launched on a day that the former president was to turn 60 about two weeks ago, the SKD Foundation, according to her is founded to enrich the lives and welfare of individuals, families and communities in Liberia and worldwide as led by his children’s “beliefs in love, peace, justice, equality, unity and empowerment.”
“As children of the Late President of the Republic of Liberia, Dr. Samuel Kanyon Doe, we are proud to announce the creation of The Samuel Kanyon Doe Foundation! Through his loving memory and legacy, we his children developed this foundation.  Our father was a great visionary who achieved so much in his short life”, reads a mission statement of the Foundation expected to get in full swing shortly.”
Celue says the foundation is long overdue. “This is something we want to see for ourselves, to do our part for Liberia’s development.”
The late president’s daughter reveals that the initial stages of the foundation will see her and some of her brothers and sisters personally funding it out of “our own pockets for now”.
No Room For Error
“He was so busy as a president but he would come to check on us during our study class. He would like, ‘Have you done your homework?’ He would always urge us to be like Roland [one of her brothers] who was so smart”, she said, adding that there was no room for error in Doe’s Executive Mansion educational policy for his kids.
Failed ’85 Coup Memory
Though just three at the time when Commanding General Thomas Quinwonkpa launched his unsuccessful military overthrow against Doe, Celue’s memory still has sketches of that day that almost went fateful for the Doe family.
Says Celue: “We the children were sleeping on the 8th Floor [of the Mansion] when bullets began to hit the window. Our maid called Ma Muna who used to look after us gathered every one of us and put us under the bed”, recalled Celue, continuing, “We didn’t get the usual breakfast that morning and other routines”.
But one thing that shocked little Celue at the time was how could her father’s ‘best friend’ wish him dead: “And when the people told us that it was Uncle Quinwonkpa that overthrew our pa, I was like, ‘But ain’t da his friend?’”
Her entire family was fortunate however in a few hours’ time after Doe made a comeback, the aftermath which proved deadly for the General and both his supporters and perceived ones.
‘No Fortune’ for Doe Clan
Despite reports that the former President died as one of Africa’s richest presidents, Celue denied that she and her siblings ever had any fortune left with them or ever secured in any bank for them by their late father: “Fortune? I’ll look straight in your face and say no. I wish it was true”, she said laughingly.
The former president’s first period of military reign and later its civilian-converted reign were initially characterized with massive supports from some friendly governments and multinational groupings. Total grants to Liberia under Doe a year later were increased from US $13.8 million in 1980 to $51,5 million. In September 1982 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved grants to Liberia totalled $88 million while a two-week official visit to the USA during to President Ronald Reagan in August 1982 yielded both financial aid of over US$20 million and military assistance among others. But later, the table turned against Doe as other donors and some governments expressed reservations against misuse of the funds being provided at the time. For instance, in June 1985 the IMF ruled that Liberia was no longer eligible for IMF credits because of its failure to pay on time arrears of some $52.4 million.
With no treasure from their late father, a bulk of the late president’s children seem to be doing well if clues from Celue are something to go by.

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Monday, 16 May 2011

Brumskine Grips West Point?

Slum Community Turnout En-mass To Welcome Liberty Party, As Party Dedicates New Office As Frank Jericho Nagbe Pledges Support….

 
Frank Jericho Nagbe, former Coach of the Liberian National Team (the Lonestar) now Coach of premiere side LISCR-FC led the way as hundreds of West Pointers spilled the street to take a glimpse of the political torchbearer of the opposition Liberty Party.
Esther Toe, resident of WestPoint stated that she joined Unity Party because she has seen no light in her previous party.
Toe: “if I can join Liberty party, then you must know that there is something good in liberty party. Today, If I be successful with Liberty Party through my effort, my people can enjoy.”
The Township of West Point in Monrovia turned out in their masses to welcome Liberty Party’s Charles Walker Brumskine on Saturday, May 14, 2011.
Cllr. Brumskine was in West Point to dedicate the office of his party. Citizens of the township, which is widely considered a CDC stronghold, were seen chanting political slogans to the LP’s standard bearer.
Coach Nagbe pledged his support to the LP and announced that he will be contesting the Representative seat of District # 1 on the party’s ticket.
Old man Winston, who says he’s got a thousand members following in the Wheelbarrows Union and owns more than one hundred wheelbarrows, says he was a supporter of the Congress for Democratic Change, but since the ceding of the standard bearer position by Weah  to Tubman, he has seen no reason to follow the CDC.
“Now they turn Oppong brain around, his eye ball turning”.
Cllr. Brumskine in remarks to the people of West Point described the day as historic for his party.
The LP strongman thanked the West Pointers, especially Nagbe for his support to the LP.
Speaking on the issue of unification, Cllr. Brumskine urged Liberians to put their differences aside regardless of political affiliation and start with personal reconciliation.
Brumskine: “I want us today to start with personal reconciliation, I ask every Liberian to reconcile with that family member with whom you have not spoken for many days.”
The former President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate said it is time for Liberians to move forward.
Cllr. Brumskine, speaking at the Kru Beach community in West Point said Liberians are at cross-roads, moving towards the general and presidential elections which will see a new government taking the mantle of authority for Liberia.
“I promise you West Pointers that when I’m elected your President we will also elect our city mayors, we will also elect our paramount chiefs, we will also elect our town and clan chiefs, we will elect all of those people who are suppose to administer the affairs of government”.
He urged every Liberian to take advantage of the upcoming referendum and vote YES for all the amendments.



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DUNN CHRONICLES ANNUAL PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGES


New book from former Minister of State now professor of Political Science at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, describes the social and economic development of an African country over a time span of more than a century and a half, from 1848 until 2010.




Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, a former Minister of State of Presidential Affairs has documented state of the nation addresses to the Liberian National Legislature from every year since 1848 in a book aptly titled: The Annual Messages of the Presidents of Liberia 1848-2010: State of the Nation Addresses to the National Legislature.
Dr. Dunn, currently a professor of Political Science at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, USA says the compilation publication captures a comprehensive longitudinal study which describes the social and economic development of an African country over a time span of more than a century and a half, from 1848 until 2010.
From 1974 until 1980 Dunn served in the government of Liberia, becoming a member of the Cabinet in 1979. He was editor of the Liberian Studies Journal from 1985 until 1995.
The book represents the first major research contribution to the history of the political system of one of the first countries of the continent to attain independence.
The speeches illuminate the area of conflict between the autochthonous and the black emigrant populations and also document the relations with the U.S. as “founding nation” and constitutional role model, especially in the 19th century. The presidents’ speeches are a rich source of information for gaining a better understanding of Liberia’s past and the country’s current challenges and future prospects. With The Annual Messages of the Presidents of Liberia 1848–2010, the speeches scattered in various Liberian and American archives and libraries have now for the first time been collected and reconstructed in one single edition.
Liberian presidents have delivered a state of the nation address reflecting the various facets of the political, social, economic and ethno-cultural situation of the country. Liberia, the first and – for more than a century – the only independent state in Sub-Saharan Africa, was founded in 1822 by an assortment of American non-governmental organizations as an asylum for black Americans.
The book has been described as an important contribution to the ethno-cultural history of Liberia, the first (and for more than a century the only) independent state of Sub-Saharan Africa. The contents have been compiled from numerous American and African archives and are now available in one edition for the first time. It also includes biographies of the presidents and a scholarly introduction by the editor supplement the 146 speeches. The edition is a valuable source of information on the history and political situation of Africa during the past 163 years.  This is Dr. Dunn’s second publication in recent years. His last work, Liberia and the United States during the Cold War: Limits of Reciprocity was widely acclaimed and explored the dynamics and limitations of reciprocity in Liberia-US relations.

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McIntosh At Foreign Ministry: Employees reject Bush and Greaves’ nomination

Pleads With Senate Not To Confirm Both Nominees….

 Jetee J. Tarr (intern Reporter) 05479629 holy4christ.tarr@gmail.com

Employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have rejected the appointment of Miss Angela Cassell-Bush and Mr. William Greaves as inspector General and Assistant Minister for European affairs of the Foreign Service respectively.
In opposition to the appointments, the employees sent out numerous press statements cautioning the Liberian President against appointing Madam Bush who have reportedly undermined several officials and ambassadors of the Ministry, resulting to a lot of dismissals at the Ministry during the “poor and dark administration of former Min. Olubanke King Akerele”.
Accordingly, during their first interactive meeting with Minister Toga McIntosh Gayewea following his confirmation, the workers openly requested the Minister to have Madam Bush removed from the Ministry, if the Ministry was to regain its status as the point line Ministry of government, but Minister McIntosh greatly disappointed them by turning down their request.
The workers stated that Madam Bush does not have the vigor, moral rectitude and technical expertise to operate the dedicated office. They stated that Miss Angela Cassell-Bush emphatically is inexperienced, inept, unprofessional, incapable and lacks basic diplomatic training for the post, as she is on record for lobbying for the retirement of the former Inspector General and several Ambassadors-At-Large, including the dismissal of over 50 employees as-well-as dozens of Foreign Service officers during the failed administration of former Minister King Akerele.
“She is the one that indirectly runs the financial bureau at the ministry and decides who receive monthly allowance and gas slips, as well as who get on the payroll, while the Deputy Minister for Administration’s office is being remotely run by the ghost of the former Foreign Minister”.
She also runs the show at the ministry and on a daily basis feed former Minister Akerele with information relative to happenings at the Ministry. She undermined former Inspector General Francis Johnson and senior Ambassador at large Karlton Karpeh and three other ambassadors at large, leading to their forceful retirement”, the employees stated.
 The workers have made it known that they are never going to work neither cooperate with Madam Angela Cassell-Bush and will resist her confirmation for the post of inspector General of the Foreign Services Department.
They are also calling on members of the Liberian Senate not to confirm Madam Bush and Mr. Greaves and appealing to the President to withdraw their appointments.
“For Mr. William Greaves, Jr., who has been nominated to the post of Assistant Minister for European Affairs, he is a High School dropout and holds no college or university degree, this contradicts the government’s policy that to occupy a Ministerial post, the individual must hold a university degree. His apt naïveté, inexperience, gullibility, plus his greenness as a playboy and above all cannot compose or either express himself better disappoints us. Our officials of the ministry have violated every norms and laws of the ministry and are engaged in every vile act of administration and immorality from sexual exploitation and harassment, administrative malpractices, bribery, favoritism, corruption to nepotism.
Also the Deputy Minister for International Integration and Cooperation and the Deputy Minister for Administration and Finance and other senior officials are requiring sex from female staffers in return for their (female staffers’) official entitlements and elevation.
This ugly act is increasing: for a female staffer at the ministry to obtain cash allowance or get promotion, foreign assignment or go on foreign trip and obtain scholarship or given gasoline slip without having an affair in bed with the two Deputy Ministers and other officials in decisions making.
As a result of the unacceptable practices at the ministry, some ambitious female staffers including Ranisa Summon, Antoinette Wolor, Kartura Morgan, Christiana Tobey, Reginal Dortue, Annie Kennedy, Musu Kromah and Patricia Harris have failed to meet the demands of our officials. While other officials of the ministry ranging from Assistant Minister to Directors are also engaged into similar repugnant acts by constantly subjecting their staff members to sexual exploitation and harassment, while those who resist are sidelined”, the statement added.
The press statement: “Despite efforts that have been made by Minister Togo Gagwea to restore the Foreign Ministry to its pre-war status, immoral activities are being practiced including malpractices, sexual abuses and harassment, favoritism, bribery, corruption and nepotism, which are strenuous and killing the ministry”.
For a female staff to be included on the monthly allowance list, they have to sleep with officials responsible for listing individual names on the allowance list while those exempting themselves are either abandoned or cast aside from the list, which is one of the malpractices the employees are seeking to end.
Those securities officer that are assigned with guests visiting the country have had continuous complains about the unfair behavior of assigned protocol officers who usually demand money from visiting guests whenever the guests are about to leave the country, while female protocol officers usually sleep with guest for money.
The office of the Deputy Minister for Administration is drowned in administrative malpractices, nepotism, and preferential treatment by employing relatives and family members while at the same time being engaged in disparity into the distributions of allowances among the work force, bulk of who are left out in the process.    
One major negativity at the Ministry is the failure of the authority to combat corruption, especially at the Bureaus of Archives, legal, protocol and passports, where staff members at these bureaus usually demand illegal money before working on important documents such as articles of incorporation, verbal notes, duplication of legal instruments and documents and processing of passports to the detriment of the applicants.
The situation of administrative malpractice has dramatically become the order of the day, with those employed in recent time being either family members, close associates or friends of the Deputy Minister for Finance and the Assistant Minister for Administration as-well-as other officials of the Ministry.
The staff offices of the Assistant Minister for Administration and the Deputy Minister for Administration receives monthly allowance and gas slips and better allowance, while some  highly favored securities receive monthly allowance and gas slips, with nothing for other secretaries assigned in other bureaus and departments.
Some females at the ministry have continuously complained of the burden of sexual harassment by two deputy ministers assigned on the third floor,  in which the officials have manipulated their said position to abuse and exploit females sexually, having others falling prey to it.
This indecent practice is allegedly led by one black looking, light skinned, big-legs lady assigned on the fourth floor and another bright female assigned on the third floor, among several ladies who are involved due to greed of being promoted and assigned at foreign missions and also for cash, benefits, and preferential treatment from officials of the Ministry.
Another issue which has taken a center stage for the past three months is the issues of some low rank employees receiving high allowances and more gas slips than others like Directors and those with BSC and Masters’ Degrees.
Even those who were sent abroad to undergo studies have returned with Masters’ Degrees, but there has been no promotion with their monthly allowance for the month of January being US$125.00, while they still receive civil servant salary. Those assigned in Madam Angela Cassell-Bush’s office without degrees receive a monthly allowance of US$200.00-US$350.00, while some staff members gets between US$ 20.00-US$50.00 as allowances.
Of major concern are the attitudes of one Deputy Minister and Assistant Minister Offices on the ground floor and the third floor and the Chief of Protocol being the only one to attend all foreign trips without surprising their auxiliary to attend any.  These clandestine behaviors have made them unpopular in the eyes of their staffers.

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