By Jerry Wehtee Wion
United States Of America witnessed a political baptism and rebirth at a downtown Philadelphia hotel Saturday as the son of former President Samuel K. Doe wants to test the turbulent political waters of Liberia . And so they showed up in their hundreds for a fundraising gala and opened their wallets, purses and bank accounts and were chanting: “we want Doe, we want Doe; run Sammy run, run Sammy run.”
Could a new political star from the southeast of Liberia be on the horizon in the person of Samuel K. Doe, Jr.? Don’t bet your last dollar yet as the young SKD, an articulate lawyer from a London, laid out his vision for a new Grand Gedeh County and Liberia if,-- and it is big if,--he decides to run for a senatorial seat for his county.
Just two years old when his father led the 1980 military coup and barely 12 years old when his father was brutally murdered in 1990 in Liberia’s civil war (1989-2003), the young Doe practically grew up on three continents--Africa, North America and Europe - from refugee camps in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Guinea, and so was his transcontinental education pursuit. He started primary education at the JJ Roberts United Methodist Elementary School in Monrovia; Junior High School in England, and to live in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA where he completed at the John F. Kennedy High School and later the Montgomery Community College near Washington, DC with an associate degree before heading back to London, England for degrees in corporate and immigration law.
A bright and articulate young SDK Jr who is accompanied by his wife Mauricette, in accepting a second petition in the span of two weeks from his fellow Grand Gedeans to seek public office, held his audience captive for almost an hour in emphasizing his themes of education, county development, affordable healthcare, accountable leadership and genuine reconciliation and peace. He said his tour of the United States was to listen about what Grand Gedeans want and expect of their elected leaders, and that he would return to Liberia to convey their petition request to those back home who would do the voting. And then the decision to run or not to run for the senate will follow. But it seems a done deal he is plunging himself into the dirty and often deadly murky waters of Liberian politics.
And so they came in large numbers from far and near, young and old under the banner of Friends of Samuel K. Doe, Jr USA, for the event, and many are still driving long distances for a chance to meet the son of their county’s first president who placed many of them on the political map of Liberia:--former Immigration Commission Edwin J. Taye, former Liberia Consul General in New York City Seward K. Boons; President Doe’s older sister Sussie Doe Tody; sister Celue Doe; former Executive Mansion Guard Battalion Commander General Edward Smith; former Maritime Commission JD Slanger, his brother Dennis Slanger; the children of former SSS Director T. Gbeku Wright; former Deputy Police Director Sam Massaquoi's son; extended family members, and representatives of the Mandingo Community and Nimba County who preached peace in their remarks at the program. The group in Minessota raised $13,000.00 while Philadelphia came up short with just $12,000.00 But the Shad Kaydee Jr whose father was Managing Director of the Forestery Development Authority under President Doe vowed and announced he would double the amount, thus making it $24,000.00.