An Open Letter to Senator Charles Brumskine
By Theodore T. Hodge
August 24, 2004
Dear Senator Brumskine:
I am writing to you directly because a matter of great magnitude has surfaced upon which I’ll personally like your public response. I understand you are a very busy man, so I’ll get right to the point.
About two years ago, while perusing the now defunct website AllAboutLiberia.com, I came across an article posted by Mr. Willis Knuckles who was admonishing you to return to Monrovia if you had any presidential ambitions. Mr. Knuckles was of the opinion that you could not successfully run a campaign for the Liberian presidency why sitting in an “air-conditioned” office in Washington, DC. He challenged you to come into the trenches because you had nothing to fear, even though President Taylor had referred to you as a “scary boy”. Mr. Knuckles issued an ultimatum: Return to Liberia or “shut up”.
Although I had only met you once and was in no way connected with your presidential campaign, I spoke up in your behalf. I wrote an article titled, “Intimidation as a Political Strategy” in which I took Mr. Knuckles to task for downplaying what you considered legitimate reasons for being fearful for your safety in Liberia while Charles Taylor was still president. I met you once after that and you were of the opinion that I was fair.
About six months later, when you returned to Liberia to test the waters, there was much written about your chances. A former news analyst, Mr. Jerry Wehtee Wion, jumped on the bandwagon to disparage and downplay your chances. For the second time I came to your defense. In an article, “Quit Bashing Senator Brumskine”, I challenged Mr. Wion to be realistic and fair in his analyses regarding your previous relationship with Mr. Taylor.
Mr. Brumskine, although some readers accused me of having ulterior motives, I did it for one reason, and one reason only: It was the right thing to do.
Now, a similar situation has come to my attention. This time, it involves your camp being on the attack. Someone by the name of Emmanuel Munyene wrote in response to another writer named John Morlu. The paragraph below was culled from Mr. Munyene’s article titled, “The Unmasking of a Candidate: Brumskine’s Four Fundamental Problems: A Rejoinder”:
“If Morlu were smart enough, he would have covered up his hatred for Brumskine by going into the nitty- gritty of Dr. Gwenigale petition ceremony in Gbarnga. First question Morlu; have you seen any of the photos depicting the picture of Dr. Gwenigale and the petitioners during the launching program? No! I guess for the truth of the matter remains that the poor doctor was not welcomed by any chief or elder and neither was he endorsed by the youths of the county. For the likes of Mr. Morlu who are not prepared to do investigative analysis of the subject at bay, their real purpose is to keep spreading the virus of misinformation. As a matter of free information, more than a thousand former combatants he amputated during the war barred him from entering the administration hall. They were not alone. Their parents as well as their grand parents were with them. Remember my friend; these guys do have voting rights too.”
Mr. Brumskine, it is clear that the preceding paragraph contains some very serious and damaging revelations. My first question to you, sir, is: Do you know the writer, Mr. Emmanuel Munyene? If so, does he work for your campaign? If the answer is yes, do you approve of this piece he apparently did in your defense? If you do know Mr. Munyene and he does work for your campaign, why doesn’t he state his position with your camp? Is it ethical to omit such pertinent information when working on a public campaign and sending out public literature? Do you approve of such practice?
Mr. Munyene wrote: “As a matter of free information, more than a thousand former combatants he amputated during the war barred him from entering the administration hall…” Where can we find such free information to which Mr. Munyene categorically refers? Is it really true that Dr. Gwenigale amputated the limbs of as many as a thousand fighters or victims of war during his tenure at Phoebe Hospital as Mr. Munyene claims?
Mr. Brumskine, for the record I do emphatically state that I do not work for the Gwenigale campaign or any other campaign, for that matter. I’m concerned for the reputation of the gentleman just as I was concerned for yours when you came under unscrupulous attacks. We must remember that you gentlemen and ladies are only running for the presidency right now. But you’ve dedicated years of studies and public service to qualify for the great task at hand. Your reputation took years to establish; it must not be trashed by baseless accusations.
Dr. Gwenigale has worked just as hard as you (if not harder), and deserves our utmost respect whether we support his candidacy or not. I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter, although I realize you do have a very busy schedule. Thank you.
This letter was originally prepared and sent to the New Democrat since last week, since most of the charges and counter-charges surrounding the Brumskine campaign are posted on that website. As a matter of fact, the specific issue addressed herein was published on that site, hence the reason why I directed my response or comment there.