By: Theodore Hodge
Dr Amos Sawyer
Mr. Dempster Yallah has accused me of "incendiary vitriol". In Liberian parlance, I'm "going 'round cussing people." My people, dat lie yah. I ain't cuss nobody. Backstabber dat not cuss. To be fair, I think it's an apt description of what Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer has become to his benefactor, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Mr. Yallah himself proves me right as we shall see later.
Secondly, Mr. Yallah describes me as a "self-proclaimed venerable Liberian journalist". I've made no such claim. Perhaps Mr. Yallah gets the impression I'm a fine writer; I've been told that, especially lately. But does that make me venerable? Oh boy, don't let the high praise swell my head.
Now to the crux of the matter at hand. I penned an article in which I admitted to getting some information through the grapevine. He disparages me for using the rumor-mill or gossip for the background of an article. He jumps through one hoop after another to rebuke and chastise me. In the end he writes surprisingly: "In the realm of full disclosure Mr. Hodge, I too was on that now 'infamous teleconference' with Dr. Sawyer on Saturday, August 30..."
Were we in a court of law, and I were the prosecuting attorney, I would roast his derriere (that's how the French call buttocks) in front of the jury. A series of questions would begin: Do you now admit that a teleconference was indeed organized and attended by Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer? What was the nature or purpose of the teleconference? Did you (attendees) discuss Dr. Sawyer's role in the Sirleaf administration? Is it true that Dr. Sawyer said his committee (the Good Governance Commission has made many suggestions and recommendations which the Sirleaf administration has failed to implement? Didn't Dr. Sawyer say specifically his recommendations "sit on the president's desk"? Did you in fact discuss some aspects of an interim government and the possible resignation of the president? Several other questions would follow, but you do get the gist. (Bear in mind, others have since surfaced with additional details of the telephone meeting.)
The first person to dispute and dismiss what I wrote is named Sylvester Moses. He claims to have once been a chief security officer to Dr. Sawyer during his tenure as Interim President. He claims both he and his wife had dinner with Dr. Sawyer and his wife at the home of the latter, and that Dr. Sawyer never participated in any teleconference that night. So much so for security; he must eat crow now and I hope he chokes. Mr. Yallah, please tell Mr. Moses that indeed a teleconference was held that evening and Dr. Sawyer did attend. You see, the news from the grapevine tends to be right from time to time; this is one of those times, for the record. (Mr. Moses, your old chief either did not consider you significant enough to invite you, or you deliberately lie to cover him... but the truth comes out as always.)
Mr. Yallah vehemently disputes my version of the story yet he does not tell us what the teleconference was all about. Does this not raise some suspicion? If this doesn't reek of a cover-up, then what does? After all, we all know by now that Dr. Sawyer was excused from returning to Liberia immediately along with other officials. Dr. Sawyer was eventually given an exemption for medical reasons. Was the teleconference part of his medical treatment? Was he in fact meeting with his medical specialists and care-givers? In short, again, what was the purpose of the teleconference? Mr. Yallah beats around the bush and dodges the question. We know why.
In the article to which Mr. Yallah pens his rejoinder, I made no mention of VP Boakai's meeting with President Obama. Why is it necessary to discuss it here? As for rumors regarding others who may want to seek the president's resignation, I've given no credence to such a case. Again, one wonders why Mr. Yallah would delve into the matter here. That's because he's trying to cleverly avoid the issue under discussion.
True to their type of scholarly writing, Mr. Yallah uses a lot of pretentious words but like the old saying goes, "He's talking loud and saying nothing". He claims my ambition was to become Information Minister in 2006. Sinister as that may sound, Mr. Yallah may actually be giving me a vote of confidence. He is indirectly saying I'm good enough to have been appointed to the post. Given the number of people who have held that post, including the present holder of the office, I think I compare quite favorable. I would think myself of being a capable candidate for the position. Thank you, Mr. Yallah, for the indirect support. As to what I would have done after winning the position, well, that's a different matter upon which we must differ.
In the end, Mr. Yallah tops his own ludicrousness. He claims I'm President Tubman's son. Kru people say "Chay!" I would have been proud except that this would dishonor my parents, both of whom are deceased. Had my father been alive and this brought to his attention, that Grebo man would have ordered one of his many sons to give you a butt-whipping. No, Mr. Yallah, I had no relation to the president except that we both hailed from Maryland County. The other things you had to say about him violated your claim to deportment. Why you would drag the gentleman through the mud in this particular discussion, just to defend your Lord is laughable. Remember, President Tubman died over forty-three years ago. It is not his administration under discussion but the present one on which your idol might have his eye... trying to stab his benefactor in the back. May the dead rest in peace, yours and mine.
In one of my articles I said clearly that people like the former professors I named made strong impressions on you, their students, during your youth. Psychologically, many of you remain emotionally attached to them forever. You consider them demi-gods. They are your leaders forever and you their followers and disciples. I was right. Dr. Sawyer has such a hold on you that it is impossible to extricate yourself from him; you still think of him as a larger-than-life figure. That's fine, but it blinds you to reality. You came to defend him, but your emotions overwhelmed you. In the end, you did not do yourself justice. I'm sure there will be others lined up to continue the line of attack you started; I await the challenge as I'm confident I can dispatch them as quickly and effectively as I dispatch you now.
One last thing. Tell them to come prepared and not bring a pen-knife to a gun fight. As for you, my friend... and you know we're friends, stick to the social work business. Detroit is going through some tough times now. There should be plenty of work for you there. Leave this fight to others; you've done your part and miserably failed. Thank you.