Another Open Letter To Senator Charles Brumskine
By: Theodore T. Hodge
September 4, 2004
Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine
About a fortnight ago, I wrote and published an open letter appealing to you to address an issue raised by one Mr. Emmanuel Munyeneh. The issue at hand was the integrity and professional ethics of another presidential candidate, Dr. Walter Gwenigale. In an article published by The New Democrat, the writer asserted that Dr. Gwenigale had performed questionable surgery on a number of victims of the Liberian civil war -- unnecessarily amputating the limbs of as many as a thousand patients. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, this is a very serious allegation that demands substantiation. No response has been forthcoming.
Counselor Brumskine, I know being a successful lawyer and presidential aspirant, you are a very important and busy man; always attending to very important matters. It is therefore easy to ignore inquiries from ordinary citizens like myself with no official titles or status. But I am so convinced that the issue at hand is such a relevant one that I have decided to write again, hoping for better luck this time around. Our old folks used to say: “If at first you try and don’t succeed, try, try again”. I hope you will find the time to read and respond to this simple inquiry.
When I last wrote, the crux of my inquiry was contained in this passage: “Do you know the writer, Mr. Emmanuel Munyeneh? 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. Munyeneh 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?”
Well, doing some investigative work I discovered that Mr. Emmanuel Munyeneh does work for your camp; at least he has done so in the past. It has been confirmed, through reliable sources, that Mr. Munyeneh was a member of the Brumskine team during (CPA) conference in Ghana. He was said to be a protocol officer to you. He is currently a graduate student in International Relations at the University of Liberia.
Now, that we have established his identity and relationship to you, the hard questions still remain: Did you approve of what he wrote? Was it ethical for him to hide behind the cloak of anonymity while he levied such serious charges against Dr. Gwenigale? Can you attest to the authenticity of the allegations contained in your political literature? Do you see yourself or your campaign responsible in any way for such an unethical practice?
While I await a response from you, or a delegated member of your campaign staff, I must reveal an astonishing, albeit confusing, message from Mr. Emmanuel Munyeneh sent to my official e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org; I, therefore assume it is meant for publication. Mr. Munyeneh’s message is reproduced below:
It is a pleasure to have you comment on my article published on the new democrat website. Quite sincerely, and from the depth of my heart, my statement about Dr. Gwenigale was not meant to destroy his reputation. I see Dr. Gwenigale as one of the most committed and well respectable doctors in our country.
However, I was only responding to one Mr. Morlu’s misinformation and in so doing I decided to come too straight on the good old man. And I also appreciate your comments about the statements I made against Dr. Gwenigale. I agree that we need to be a bit temperamental with one another especially those who we consider as our older folks.
I must expressed my personal gratitude to you for taking a moderate position with respect to the issue and it is with this in mind that I must hasten to commend you for your objective outlook on issues as they unfold in Liberia.
Once again, thanks for your corrective comments and I do look forward to meeting with you one of these days.
May God richly bless you as you strive to assist in the process of finding peace in Liberia.
I thank Mr. Munyeneh for his forthrightness and his kind comments regarding my position. However, as you will attest, the main issued raised remains unresolved. And with all due respect, Mr. Munyeneh’s admission and rationale for his statement confuses the matter further. For example, after questioning Dr. Gwenigale’s professionalism, he now refers to the same doctor as “one of the most committed and respectable doctors in our country.” Is Dr. Walter Gwenigale a renowned, committed and respected surgeon or an unethical, unprofessional, criminal medical butcher, or both? Could he be both?
In his original piece, Mr. Munyeneh wants his readers to know that Dr. Gwenigale is only known in Bong County, his home and official place of work. He asks, “How many persons know the doctor in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Grand Kru, Maryland, Montserrado and so forth?” Again, in contradiction to himself, Mr. Munyeneh refers to the doctor in glowing terms: “One of the most committed and respectable doctors in our country.” Does this add up, Senator Brumskine, or would you agree that the reading public deserves some further explanation?
Although I feel flattered by the sentiments expressed about me by Mr. Munyeneh, I feel compelled, in the name of objectivity and fairness, to request an extended clarification. I hope you will understand that this matter is not personal; I am not on a witch-hunt but am simply doing a public service, as my conscience dictates.
As previously stated in my original letter to you, I work for no political camp. I simply consider myself a concerned Liberian. I try to participate in the ongoing conversation as we attempt to reform and restore the Liberian nation, a noble exercise in deed. I try to remain as objective as possible because my true desire is that Liberia ends up with a team of dedicated, competent and loyal leaders. The Liberian nation deserves no less. It is a sad but unequivocal fact that past leaderships got us into the mess we face today, you will agree.
As a liberal, my own personal political philosophy dictates that I rally behind a leader who has a similar vision. My fervent hope is that our country will end up with a team of leaders not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas. Our new leaders must be free from bigotry. Our leaders must favor proposals for reform, be open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others. They must be broad-minded.
Senator Brumskine, I know you are an important and busy man, but are you liberal-minded enough to denounce a bigoted, narrow-minded and baseless statement purportedly made in your behalf? Are you willing to demonstrate high moral principles and integrity in pursuing this most distinguished goal (the presidency)? Are you willing to respect and honor the dignity and integrity of your fellow candidates, although you may hold different political views? A simple statement from you will be worthy of due consideration. I respectfully await your response.