Elections 2005 Rejoinder


By George-Daweh Yuoh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

November 5, 2004

Dear Editor:

Kindly permit me to drop a note to Mr. Banabas Kofa, in response to his article, “Elections 2005: The Wild Card – A Rejoinder”, published by The Perspective on November 3, 2004. I would have preferred to contact Mr. Kofa directly had I known how, and we probably would have argued like civilized people without being insulting, and referring to one or the other as being “shameful” and “unacademic” as repeatedly decreed of me by my brother in his article. Normally, I would have considered such retorts as the usual angry and petulant outburst from an unintelligent chatterer, and waved it away. However, the issue at hand is no simple matter, and I believe that Bro. Kofa’s criticisms are well intentioned, hence the need for clarification.

Bro. Kofa, the theme of my article, which you conveniently ignored, centered on our failure, or better, the failure of our traditional politicians to build “viable and unbreakable political institutions”, that would have given us the “best” alternatives from pools of “qualified” and “competent” candidates, as you so wish. Instead, and as you referred to them, our “conventional and decrepit” politicians focused their energies on individual aggrandizement and personal popularity. Now, we are faced with an election that will be based potentially and predominantly on individual popularity. Where is the misleading information here? What about this that you consider a “shamefully and unacademically defined politics”? Or is it because I concluded that George Weah is the most popular of all the potential aspirants (assuming he joins the race)? Isn’t it true that George Weah is the most recognized and respected Liberian, particularly outside of Liberia?

I indicated that from my conversation with some Liberians, and I should have added too, that from the many snaps of the so-called politicians and their hangers-on, the common whimper that comes from them is that, “the man is not educated and qualified to lead Liberia”. To this end, I painfully proceeded to state the definition of an educated person as one “having an education, especially one above average; showing evidence of schooling, training, or experience; having or exhibiting cultivation; to be cultured” (Source – The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition -1996). And I will state again, that considering this definition, it is “laughable” for anyone to argue that Mr. George Weah is uneducated. George Weah is well cultured and has more than an above average education by any standard. Thus, the point I tried to drive home was that the traditional politicians and their perpetual bag-carriers should instead focus their attention on concrete issues affecting the sustainability of the Liberian society, and seek to propound workable ideas to lift our people out of their unending miseries. Sir, is this an “uneducated reasoning”?

You insinuated that I am a liar, and indicated that I tried to deceive the people into believing that politics in Liberia, and particularly the race for presidency in the coming elections, is more about popularity. Is it not? But I will tell you this again. The young voters in Liberia today, who arguably make up about 70% of the voting population in Liberia, distrust the traditional politicians, and resent these politicians for their uncontrolled corruption and inability to consider the interest of the ordinary citizen. And whether you want to accept it or not, these are the young people who are going to vote, and they are the same ones who are hoping that Mr. Weah accepts the bid for the presidency. And let’s not forget the older folks too, who have gone through a lot of suffering as a result of the shenanigans of these politicians and their proxy death merchants. For these older folks, it can be argued that they see this young man (George Weah) as a jewel, and perhaps the pillar of their hopes. Is this a lie, Sir?

In the fourth paragraph of your article, you indicated and I quote: “…I am in no way suggesting that Mr. Yuoh’s apparent choice for the Presidency in person of Mr. Weah, is not a true son of the soil, nor is he unpatriotic or uncommitted to solving the mountainous socio-economic problems that have plagued our country from time in memorial. As a matter of fact, I believe the contrary”. You went on to further state that Mr. Weah has “distinguished and exemplified himself as a humanitarian by unselfishly giving to the needed (for example, the Lone Star), and heroically campaigning with and through UN agencies to improve the plight of children around the world and giving them hope for a brighter and a more conflict-free environment.” Are these the attributes of a “semi-illiterate”? Isn’t Mr. Weah’s heroic quest “to improve the plight of the children around the world” a part of the “contemporary world order” that you mentioned? If, and in your own words, Mr. Weah is making efforts to help solve the problems of this our troubled world, how then can you claim that he has no understanding of the contemporary issues facing the world? How can one help to find solution to a problem if he has no understanding of the problem? Do you believe that the UN was foolish for selecting Mr. Weah as one of its World Ambassadors?

According to you, Mr. Weah is a “distinguished and exemplified” patriot. Aren’t these cardinal qualities we should be looking for in our leaders? How many of the other politicians in the field can you say this about? You spoke passionately of Mr. Weah’s efforts through UN agencies, to give the children of the world “hope for a brighter and a more conflict-free environment”. Don’t the children of Liberia deserve to live in a conflict-free environment too, and need hope for a far brighter future? Are you telling me and the many others who read your article that George Weah is qualified to help kids and people in other parts of the world, including Europe, but he is not qualified to give hope to his own people? Do you honestly believe that the Liberian people should continue to live in abject poverty, without any hope of a better future?

You interestingly indicated that you believe that Amb. Weah is committed “to solving the mountainous socio-economic problems that have plagued Liberia from time in memorial”, yet you saw it fit to characterized my article as containing “unending erroneous impressions…” Hmm! And you believe that George Weah is committed to solving our “mountainous” of problems that the “well educated and competent” Liberians who governed us “from time in memorial” could not deal with. But you don’t believe that, that commitment is an essential characteristic of the future leader of Liberia. How ironical!

Bro. Kofa, I understand your fervor for wanting Liberia to be right again, and I do understand that sometimes in the heat of the moment, we over-look the basics and go for the jocular, in order to get cheers from our fans. Like you, Liberia is deer to me, and I can tell you that I love my country with a sense of purpose. I will only stand on the side where I know Liberia will gain the greatest of benefits, and I suspect you will do the same, and nothing less. I can’t agree with you more that defining our national agenda, and selecting the individual/s who would propagate and execute those programs, require more than sober reflection. But you and all of those who may want to be intolerant of others’ choices and ideas need to understand that rationalization, academic prowess, and vulgarism are not reserved for you alone.

So, as we struggle to jointly lift our dear country from her burning ashes, let’s remember that we will disagree continuously until we get it right. But while we at it, let’s be civil and provide our readers with an alternative to the gutter expletive type of writings that have characterized the discourses of our so-called Liberian intellectuals over the years, and which is getting prevalent among the younger generation of today. Let’s join and give our people real hope for a better tomorrow.

Please pass on my kindest regards to the rest of your family.

Respectfully yours,
George-Daweh Yuoh