An Open Letter to Agnes Reeves Taylor

By Ezekiel Pajibo

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

February 9, 2004

Dear Agnes Reeves Taylor,

Thank you for the wonderful letter you send to me via email. It was revealing, as it was surprising. I am flattered to know that the ex-wife of a disgraced and dethroned Liberian leader has the time to read what I write and not only have the temerity to respond but the audacity as well. I am so happy to write you that I can’t help but keep a perpetual grin on my face. If I was white I would be flushing red. But since I am black I am flushing purple, you know that deep bluish black colour that is intriguing, inviting and menacingly appealing. Our people say, “When you pull rope, rope pulls bush.” Now that you decided to correct me, I have been presented with the opportunity to study you and to know you. So when you wrote and talked about how you are not one of exiled Liberian dictator Charles Taylor wives, I went asking questions and this is what I have learned thus far.

I was told by folks, who know you well and whose names I cannot disclose since they don’t want to be accused of breach of confidence, that you and Mr. Taylor did not even get married. One of my sources told me that the wedding ring you brandished as a testimony to your matrimonial contract was apparently the engagement ring given to you in a Chop Bar in Accra prior to the visitation of terror on Liberia by your “sweetest taboo” who doubles as the butcher of Liberia. I therefore need to know ma’am when did you really get married to Mr. Taylor and who was the Pastor, at which church, in which city, and who were the lucky folks that came to that big wedding to indulge in wine, food and other pleasures of life?

Of course, I would like to know when you were divorced as well but I would not go there since I am a divorcee and the problems of marriage like “dirty linens cannot be washed in the public.” But I don’t blame you for leaving the man. I have been told by credible sources including, Liberian women leaders, that your “ex-husband”, Charles McArthur Taylor was not only a mass murderer but also a paedophile. He is reported to have abducted a number of young girls, some as young as 9 years old and took them to a hideaway in Bong County where he frolicked with them in the nude and did actually have sex with some. Now if I was a woman, I would think the man is sick and therefore would seek a divorce, I don’t blame you Aunty Agnes for leaving that fool.

While at it, I am left to wonder whether you divorced the man before he married Jewel because if you did not, then this criminal ex-husband of yours committed another crime called bigamy. Oh well, I know of two other ex-wives of his. One is the mother of Chucky, the notorious son of your “ex-husband”, who also has the blood of Liberians dripping from his hands and forehead. She did not have a divorce before he married Jewel. As well, another ex-wife (called Tupee?) never actually provided the man with his divorce papers prior to his wedding to Jewel. How awful!

This “ex-husband” of yours - and you know this more than myself since you were “married” to him – is an extremely uncaring, heartless and callous man. Remember when he chastised Jewel in public for not assuming her “traditional obligation” since she would not “go and bring” him additional wives? I don’t know what you saw in this man for which you claim to have married him. But then again I may have some clues as to why you may have married this indicted war criminal.

Long time ago, while in College, I had a very wonderful college teacher. She told me that a good number of Liberian women are “comfort creatures” – if they can find a man who will pay for everything and “throw money at them” they would volunteer to become his “slave”… For how else would you explain the fact that at one time in Monrovia you may have owned the largest fleet of passenger buses – some estimate as many as 15. What where the sources of your income? I don’t think your family is a rich one, is it? I worked once with your grandmother at the Ministry of Postal Affairs and every day at work she complained about how small her salary was and how tired she was of working but had to because she had bills to pay. Even if your folks left you some inheritance, they could not pay for those buses now, could they? My sources tell me that your bus company was called ARBECO, the acronym for Agnes and Bell Company. Bell Dunbar, your partner, in this company was said to be the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC). I am also told that you were on the Board of Directors for LPRC. I guess by now you know what I am driving at but in case you don’t I want to suggest to you that there is some dedebayism going on here, isn’t it? In fact what happened to the buses? We certainly can use them here in Monrovia now. It takes me almost two hours to catch a ride from where I live to my work. We want ARBECO!

There is yet another story that I have heard. (One of the benefits of being on the ground is that the sources are plentiful.) This story is that you were also a Commander in the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a dreaded bunch of thugs who destroyed Liberia and killed thousands of its innocent and poor folks. A Human Rights Report in the early nineties was aptly titled “Flight From Terror”. It described the conditions of Liberians fleeing NPFL terror. Now if you were indeed a Commander in the NPFL, then you should stand straight. I am among several others dutiful Liberians who are working to make sure that your criminal “ex-husband” is brought to Freetown to face the music and we are also working to create a War Crime Tribunal for Liberia. For this Tribunal, Commanders will be held accountable for crimes they committed or are attributable to men under their control. These crimes may include rape, extra-judicial murder, massacres, etc. Now that I have this information of the possibility that you may have committed war crimes, I am going to work hard to establish the truth.

For starters, I would like for you to respond to the following possible charges that may be brought against you. What was your role in the Carter Camp Massacre of 1994; the raping and eventual killing of the 5 Catholic nuns in Gardnersville during the infamous NPFL Octopus in 1992; the abduction and subsequent brutal murder of the 6 Senegalese Peacekeepers in 1992; the murder of Jackson F. Doe, Gabriel Kpolleh, Moses Duopu, Steven Yekeson, David Dwayen amongst others? What role did you play Agnes Reeves Taylor (ART), in supporting the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) whose signature includes the chopping off of limbs of thousands of Sierra Leoneans including children as young as two years old?

I noticed in your letter, you said that your criminal ex-husband “supposedly’ committed war crimes. Now, as a Liberian I know how careless we are with words. But since you claim to be enlightened I cannot excuse your use of the word. Do you, Aunty Agnes, really believe that this your beloved l’homme did not commit crimes against humanity in Liberia? If you do then I am really sorry for you because you might not only be an ex-wife of a depraved and criminal person but you may be delusional as well. The charges against Mr. Taylor in Freetown can never compare to the massive abuses he committed in Liberia. That is why I insist that if he can be tried for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, he surely must be tried for war crimes committed in Liberia.

I have a friend; his name is Patrick Tuon. He told me, once your criminal “ex-husband” was voted into office, that he should resign because he was unfit to rule Liberia. My dear friend Patrick would never believe that Mr. Taylor won the election freely and fairly. I concurred with him and wrote an article called “The Bullets or Your Votes” in 1997. In that article I strenuously argued that Liberians voted for Taylor simply because they were voting for peace. And since I was not on the ground and peering into the barrel of the gun, I would not pass judgement on their decision. I told Mr. Tuon then that all was not lost and Mr. Taylor would be charged with war crimes. I had to assure my good friend that the struggle to build democracy in Liberia is not ended because Taylor “won” an election. Mr. Tuon was not impressed and began his campaign to have Mr. Taylor resigned. We both got what we wanted. Mr Taylor resigned and flew into exile and he was indicted for allegedly committing crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone. I am left to continue to struggle and I am sure my great and good friend, Patrick Tuon would join me in getting our worst nemesis, Charles Taylor, indicted for crimes against humanity that were committed on Liberian territories and against Liberians and other nationals. But the War Crime Tribunal would not only try Mr. Taylor, perhaps you his “ex-wife” will be charged as well or in the least subpoena to testify. I am waiting to see you in court, Aunty Agnes.

Now let us examine the statement in your letter about how qualified and experienced you are to work for the maritime office in London. According to you, you have been in London for the last five years and I assume working for the Maritime office all that time. A very good friend of mine, who met you in Accra in the late 80’s tells me that when you first went to London the information was that you had acquired a scholarship “to go to school” – a bribe I take it or was that part of the divorce settlement package for the so-called divorce. I believe it was a Government of Liberia scholarship, wasn’t it? If it was then I am left to wonder what scholarship exam you took that qualify you to receive such a scholarship when many smarter Liberian students at the University of Liberia could not afford the tuition there. I know who students at the University of Liberia are smarter than you are because as I mentioned to you before, we had classes together at the University of Liberia in the early Eighties and you were less than mediocre in your academic performance. Can you prove me wrong?

Besides, it would be of interest to many if you were able to convince the Liberian people that somehow you merited the scholarship in question or even your placement at the Maritime office. What special training did you have prior to your assignment and what added value did you bring to the institution, if any at all. I am laughing as I write this one because wasn’t it during your employment at the Maritime Office that it came under international investigation which stated in as many words that proceeds from the Maritime became slush funds that your rogue “ex-husband” and his sticky fingers played into.

You know, until I came to Liberia in October 2003 I did not know that there was a government ministry that deals with economic crimes. Well, I know a deputy minister there and I will ask him to probe into this matter for the sake of the Liberian public. Geez, we have not yet tried you and your likes for war crimes and we are already talking about economic crimes. Yep, we are going to have a field day in the courts with the Taylor bunch.

Aunty Agnes, please write me again because I cannot wait to tell you of the other things I would uncover in my snooping around or those other news I’m investigating that include you and some of your siblings, one of whom I know and who used to struggle in and around Washington D.C trying to play the flute or was it the saxophone? By the way is the guy who used to be Chief of the Fire Service and was arrested for drug trafficking a relative of yours? Just checking.

About the Author: Ezekiel Pajibo is a political commentator and social critic.