The Cletus Wotorson Fiasco (Tabata)

By Theodore Hodge

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
August 8, 2014


The House of Clowns: P. Y. Johnson, E. Snowe and Cletus Wotorson

Front Page Africa, in an article titled "Liberia: Ebola Extortion? Senator Says Authorities Inflated Outbreak",  quoted Grand Kru Senator Cletus Wotorson saying: "What kind of EBOLA? That thing you did to get donor funding your say EBOLA in Liberia?" This comment was purportedly made while another senator was speaking on the senate floor addressing an issue related to the crises.

The paper further elaborated: "In the wake of fresh cases resulting in five deaths reported in next-door Sierra Leone this week, a senior senator in Liberia's national legislature, Cletus Wotorson (UP, Grand Kru) believes that the noise made by health authorities was much ado about [nothing] and intended to extort money from donors. Senator Wotorson during a regular senate session alleged that the pronouncement concerning Ebola outbreak in Liberia was a ploy to attract donor funding.

Imagine that! I know it is difficult for some of you readers to imagine as it is for me. Did a real senator actually say that? Was he actually denying the existence of Ebola? Had he not ever heard of this deadly disease that has affected other parts of our world? Secondly, was he actually accusing fellow legislators of plotting to extort monies from international donors? Is this normal in the so-called Liberian legislature? Was the senator speaking from experience?

It is a pity that we have to be reminded of the caliber of people that call themselves lawmakers in our country. The country has degenerated to its lowest level at this crucial stage of our existence. Consider two houses of national legislature where there are no lawyers. (Perhaps there are a lawyer or two among the bunch, correct me if I'm wrong... but the rarity is astounding). There are former warlords, market women and street peddlers. There are former fish mongers or "fish salesmen" and all manners of hustlers. One of them was a professional driver who eventually became a managing director of a major corporation after marrying the president's daughter. Some are simply illiterate and could not read a sentence if it were written in big bold letters. Yet, they are lawmakers. Imagine such a theater of the absurd. This is what our country is reduced to. (Please note: I have nothing against market women and street peddlers, those are noble professions. But one must admit that it is a quantum leap by any measure to go from that to becoming a legislator).

Within such a group, one would hope that a man who claims to hold a masters degree (in whatever discipline) would be a welcome relief. But Senator Cletus Wotorson is a big disappointment. Is it that he got his education so long ago that it has now become obsolete? Does he read? Or has he degenerated to the level of those surrounding him?

The first time I heard the name Cletus Wotorson was in 1997. He was a candidate in the Liberian presidential race. ULAA sponsored an event so that the spokesmen from the various camps could tell us about their candidates. The Wotorson Camp spokesman kept referring to his candidate as "Dr. Wotorson". I had no idea who Dr. Wotorson was, though I had vaguely heard the name before. I asked whether the candidate was an MD or a PhD, and if so, what was his area of expertise. I was disappointed to learn that the candidate was neither a PhD nor an MD. But why was he been called Dr.? Did he know that he was been referred to as Dr. Wottorson, and if so, was he aware of and approved of the fraudulent representation? Did he think the title was was a matter of family inheritance? Did he think the title was transferable? 

I questioned the spokesman bitterly, to the point of embarrassing him. He apologized. I told him the impression I got was that he was miss-representing his candidate... and that I thought his candidate was a fake. And now he's proven me right.

I'll recommend a book for the so-called senator to read. It is called "The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste", by Rose George. In the introduction the author writes: "Poor sanitation, bad hygiene and unsafe water - usually unsafe because it has faecal particles in it - cause one in ten of the world's illnesses. Children suffer most. Diarrhoea [or diarrhea] - nearly ninety percent of which is caused by faecally contaminated food or water - kills a child every fifteen seconds. The number of children dead from diarrhoea over the last decade exceeds all people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War. Diarrhoea, says the UN children's agency UNICEF, is the largest hurdle a small child in a developing country must overcome. Larger than AIDS, or TB, or malaria. It is estimated that 2.2 million people, - mostly children - die from an affliction..."

My point here is to demonstrate that occurrences like the outbreak of Ebola in such places like Liberia should not surprise enlightened people. With the poor quality of sanitation or the lack of it among our people, the surprise should be that it doesn't happen more often. Has the senator ever sponsored a bill to build a public toilet in Monrovia, Grandcess or Barclayville? Where does he think human waste is disposed of in Liberia where there is hardly any running water? And he is genuinely surprised that the country is now experiencing the outbreak of an epidemic mostly caused by unhygienic living conditions? Has he ever sponsored a bill to have the government build a health center in his county, one of the least developed in the country? When he spoke those words that Ebola is a hoax, was his mouth operating independently of his brain? Was he, in fact, having diarrhea of the mouth?

Unfortunately, we have to put up with pimps, con artists and hustlers masquerading as lawmakers in our country. We are forced to stand by and watch former court jesters now compete to become monarchs. The former messengers now out hustle each other to become emperors, clothed or unclothed. After all, who will know the difference? My fellow countrymen and women, the guns of war might have devastated our population, but the real threat to our continued existence and betterment is ignorance. And with the likes of Cletus Wotorson leading the pack, we face a bleak future. The name of their game is hustle and self-enrichment. He said so himself. If it were not a common practice to design schemes and scams to extort monies from unsuspecting donors, the senator would not have said so. But he exposed himself and his fellow comrades by what he said. They make tens of thousands of dollars a month in salary and they neglect the most basic things for the public. Our people are prey and they are predators and they are having the time of their lives at our expense.

I now propose that the House of Senate and the House of Representatives, commonly referred to as the Liberian Legislature, now be combined into one House, the House of Clowns. Their production amounts to nothing more than the theatrics of absurdities. 

The author: Theodore Hodge can be reached at Please feel free to direct all comments to him directly.

Sylvester Moses
Mr. Hodge we share your sentiment that the initial denial of Ebola by the likes of Senators Wortorson and Findley, and the consequent lackadaisical attitude of other legislators aided to weaken attempts at galvanizing public awareness. And since education is crucial to containing the virus, it isn’t therefore, a stretch to conclude that their actions were inimical to that effort.

Reference Cletus, though, his vulnerability can’t be attributed to a lack of “caliber” (he is a sound man, and proven professional), but most likely to the smug posturing of a successful man who also believes that Liberia is his “Pepper bush”. As for the confusion over the credential of a PhD or MD, an equally popular brother of his, was a famed medical doctor around 1997.

Take it or leave it, Theo, Senator Wortorson is so satisfied in his own skin and his achievements in and out of government to pretend to be a PhD, or MD. The man has held more profitable and prestigious jobs than those credentials could guarantee a holder. Personally, we are upset with his original attitude toward Ebola, which he had since changed, but he is far, very far, from being a buffoon.
Sylvester Moses at 05:33AM, 2014/08/08.
Kpanneh Doe
Sylvester is right that the man is not a clown or bufoon, but he surely displayed a clownish behavior and bufoonery when discussing a matter of grave national importance. With more than 45 years of public service--serving in various capacities in government--a resume unmatched by his colleagues in the national legislature and government at large-- Senator Wotorson of all people should be measured in his utterances; better still, be seen as a gold standard for his colleagues. But now, he would only be remembered for this off-handed remark on the 'Ebola crisis' when he is poised to retire within two months. Wotorson can redeem himself in his post-Senate years, and many of us would be watching to see what he does during his retirement. Would his wealth of experience and reported material wealth just simply be his or would it be used to add value to the public space. Can we expect to see a Wotorson Foundation dedicated to helping disadvantaged Liberian children pursue education? Would there be a Wotorson Enterprise established in Grand Kru county to create job opportunities for the people of his native county? Would there be a Wotorson Leadership Institute established to train the next generation of Liberian leaders? Wotorson has an opportunity to now GIVE back to the people, having enjoyed the privilege of the Liberian people for the last four decades.
Kpanneh Doe at 08:54AM, 2014/08/08.
Sylvester Moses
Well, well, dear, paternal cousin, Kpanneh, you eloquently let it fly; for his own legacy, and that of the Wortorson name, we hope older brother Cletus will read the comment, take your judicious advice in good faith, and do something meaningful specifically for Grand Kru County, or Liberia. One can just imagine the trickle effect of a well - stocked Wortorson Library somewhere.
Sylvester Moses at 01:49PM, 2014/08/08.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Mr. The Hodge,

Instead of unjustifiably badmouthing Cletus Wortorson, you should blame yourself for being a sycophant and inexperienced spin-doctor for a corrupt President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who:

1. instead of initially focusing or prioritizing ordinances, guidelines and policies as responsible leaders or governments do when such epidemic emerges, SHE ELLEN was

2. busy having her eyes on money, money, money, TO THE EXTENT OF


Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 03:24PM, 2014/08/08.
Kpanneh Doe
Cousin Gbayaforh, we've closely followed your thought-provoking and insightful commentaries on these platforms. The perspectives you've introduced have not only enriched the debates, but have deepened the discussions on the myriad issues affecting the future of our country. I hope policymakers and ordinary Liberians read your postings and gleaned some things from there.More so, amid the current crisis, your deep wellspring of knowledge and experience on national security matters should kick-in and that your counsel be sought during these times. Please continue to share with us your knowledge and experience.
Kpanneh Doe at 04:49AM, 2014/08/09.
Sylvester Moses

Oh, Kpanneh, coming from a writer, and activist for equal rights, justice and progress in Liberia such as you, we are extremely thankful. It would be unpatriotic, cousin, to withhold pertinent knowledge at this critical juncture of the evolution of unfettered participatory democracy in our country.
Sylvester Moses at 07:42AM, 2014/08/09.
B. K. Washington
Well, that was indeed a very serious bit of tongue lashing (probably well-deserved) for an old man. Now, when will Critic Hodge do the same for that Harvard graduate who seems even more deserving of some harsh treatment for doing such a lousy job as President, and for not only dropping the Ebola ball, but also reportedly mismanaging the fight against the disease?

Her belated declaration of a state of emergency threatens to exacerbate the Ebola crisis, as no arrangement has been made, it seems, to ensure that people living in areas quarantined are provided with such basic necessities as food, water, medicines, etc. Everything should be done to see that nobody in these areas ends up dead for lack of such amenities.
B. K. Washington at 11:26AM, 2014/08/09.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
No, Mr. Theo Hodge does not have the honesty, professionalism, nor the decency, to write about the disgraceful irresponsible performance of the Harvard graduate Ellen because he is one of those paid to deceive the public about the rotten governance of Ellen. This boy (Theodore Hodge) is simply an opportunist and sycophant. If he dares behave as a true writer or journalist, his dining table would lay bare. And so he must grieve his own conscience to keep his family up -- that is if he is not wifeless.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 04:43PM, 2014/08/09.

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