By Martin K. N. Kollie
Our longstanding struggle to change Liberia and Africa squarely rests upon the shoulders of conscious, visionary and sincere minds. This cherished duty and inescapable mandate we have inherited must never be given to a group of misguided thugs and imprudent charlatans. Until generational preparedness becomes an indispensable priority, generational change shall forever remain an irreversible illusion and daydream. With hard work, self-assurance, determination and tenacity, this generation can only confront a future filled with uncertainty and misery.
Characters who have insistently refused to properly prepare themselves for the task ahead must refrain from hijacking the destiny and progress of the people, especially the students. This generation stands to risk a lot whenever it embraces and empathizes with half-baked intellectuals and pseudo patriots who have disfigured identities and tainted outlooks. This generation must refrain from elevating false heroes and fake heroines. It is time to rebuff voices of decadence and rebuke characters of debauchery and profligacy. If we fail to do what is befitting and most appropriate in this time and age, generations yet unborn will term our existence on earth as worthless. We will never be forgiven by our successors if we remain silent about issues that matter.
Reclaiming a new beginning is possible at the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU), but this journey must never be led by an inept university dropout who has no record of academic excellence and outstanding performance in leadership. Rebranding and reawakening LINSU from its dead state will remain an impractical reality under an alliance of puppets and puppeteers. It is a miserable reality that the LINSU we knew is far from the LINSU today. It is an undisputable fact that LINSU has been kidnapped, hijacked and trafficked by a popular cartel of ill-equipped and self-seeking nonentities and vagabonds. I refer to these recalcitrant and cataleptic elements as PUPPETS IN PAMPERS.
There is a complete dissimilarity between LINSU under veteran Conmany Wesseh and LINSU under Varney Visionless Jarsey. I am constrained to ask whether this is the LINSU that was created by an act of legislature in 1952. The LINSU we knew spoke against societal ills and defended the overall interest of Liberian students. The LINSU we knew was never stripped naked by cash and capital. The LINSU we knew was never disrobed of its integrity and independence. The LINSU we knew was never a partner to corruption, hypocrisy and conspiracy. The LINSU we knew never sat at the table of inducement and luxury to derive decisions with government at the expense of poor and struggling students. The LINSU we knew never had corporate concessionaires and capitalists in abundance as its leaders.
The LINSU we knew was visionary and farsighted. The LINSU we knew developed genuine programs on its own to implement worthwhile and sustainable projects. The LINSU we knew never waited for government to remit US$100,000 in its account before executing a national quizzing tournament. The LINSU we knew was transparent and proactive. The LINSU we knew never had a university dropout as its president. The LINSU we knew was never used as a conduit to advance the political interest of a particular individual or institution. The LINSU we knew was well respected by every spectrum of the society, because of its independence, fearlessness and unbiased stance on issues. The LINSU we knew was opened to criticisms. It did not view its critics as enemies. It did not segregate, marginalize, censor and disintegrate students. This LINSU promoted collaboration, consensus, coordination and consultation on the basis of mutual respect, high ethical standards, and ideological precepts.
Where is our LINSU now? Our LINSU has fallen in the hands of petit crooks, emerging economic looters, and certified rascals that dimly consider themselves as lords and demagogues over the student community. These renowned parasites have leeched themselves on LINSU for the sole purpose of satisfying their extravagant lifestyle. They think about amassing wealth every other day at the expense of the students. They fill their pockets with crumbs in the night and pretend to be leaders in the day. The foremost vision of LINSU under Varney Jarsey is self-enrichment. Their primary objective is to GET RICH soon as thousands of students struggle each day to survive in school. They have initiated an ill-fated plot to suppress critical minds who have mustered the courage to speak the truth. Brother Mohammed Donzo of the Montserrado Student Union (MONSU) is a victim of such conspiracy.
Today, LINSU has become silent about visible injustices permeating the Liberian society. The continuous silence of an institution that was once critical and vocal against prevailing menaces in Liberia speaks loudly of the fact that LINSU is on a journey to nowhere under Varney Jarsey. LINSU has become a political machinery and secret weapon for big pockets and purses. It prioritizes the biggest bidder(s) and advances the interest of the most corrupt. Varney Jarsey and his bandwagon of legendary hustlers are on a mission to denigrate the enviable record of the student community in Liberia by indulging into high-class sycophancy and gullibility. No wonder why LINSU has totally lost credibility and legitimacy among students in Liberia.
No one sees LINSU now as a serious organization, because its image has been totally eroded and amputated due to greed, hypocrisy and deceit. The chief of crooks (CoC) who calls himself president of LINSU is a symbol of fraudulence and ill-transparency. He prides himself everyday in a mood of pomposity and duplicity. Arrogance is eating him up like cancer as he parades each day without any set agenda. As a result of his arrogance, he has even refused to end his sabbatical and return to the classroom for adequate training. In his subconscious and psychopathic mode, he thinks that by reading Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh’s literacy without proper comprehension will earn him a Bachelor of Science degree.
This lackey who dropped out of Stella Maris Polytechnic since 2009 makes a lot of noise about being a pupil of Dr. HB even though his current identity proves otherwise. How can you be a student of Dr. HB, but ignores the significance of higher education? Varney Jarsey has no trace of HB’s trait or gene, because his ideological concept about CHANGE is whimsical, far-fetched and mind-boggling. How can you travel with HB’s insignia on your forehead when your action goes contrary to his teachings! By plagiarizing or duplicating HB’s thoughts and speeches every day only enslaves your conscience and renders you helpless to originate your own ideas. I am not suggesting that it is wrong to reference his speeches, but whenever you rely on his thoughts totally to survive intellectually and ideologically, then you become a puppet in pamper and a dummy in diaper.
The insistent refusal of Varney Jarsey to go back to school and gain sufficient academic sophistication is hampering his thought pattern and his ability to provide quality leadership at LINSU. Often, I wonder whether he is suffering from Glioblastoma (an aggressive, cancerous brain tumor) or Pseudotumor cerebri (false brain tumor). But something keeps informing my perspective that arrogance is responsible for the dehydration of his intelligence and consciousness. Since he knows very well that he does not merit the position of LINSU’s president as a university dropout, he surrounds himself with dozens of misguided foot-soldiers and amateur intellectuals to protect his interest. These counterfeit propagandists and barking puppeteers are in the constant habit of shifting their gibberish and spleen towards impenetrable directions.
In an attempt to induce undue relevance at the expense of insurmountable and impeccable characters, they rephrase or paraphrase Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh’s speeches in order to launch attacks that do not deserve an inch of recognition. The conveyance of their borrowed thoughts and disjointed analysis falls far below the horizon of reasoning. Even an elementary student can disperse their undigested logic and inane cliché. How I hope Liberia had an effective copyright law to expose some of these quacks to public ridicule. History has no space to dignify plagiarist and imposters. People who cannot develop their own ideas and defend them must return to the refinery for proper processing and maturity.
It is a very big mistake for Varney Jarsey to continue to unleash his cash-driven simpletons and toothless venoms to market falsehood about some of us, simply because we have asked him to produce a comprehensive financial report of LINSU’s activities under his corrupt hegemony. Since Varney Jarsey became president of LINSU through a parochial and sneaky arrangement, we are yet to see a single report. All he does in cohort with his puppeteers is to mismanage our taxes he receives from the national budget. There is no genuine fiscal framework in place to ensure openness, accountability and transparency at LINSU.
The student community has been faced with plethora of challenges as a result of Jarsey’s inability to aptly discharge his functions. This goon is totally out of touch with reality, but what he knows best is to consume uncontrollable beverages and merry-make. He has no example to display to those he claims to be leading. He appears like a revolutionary in the day, but in the night he becomes a social bandit and deviant. He has no plan to further his education as a freshman dropout, but he brags about being a sophisticated ideologue. Since his crafty ascendancy as president of LINSU, we have not seen or heard about any policy document to enhance the interest of students in Liberia. Recently, the President of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) was discussing the National Youth Policy they have developed into a bill for possible passage.
When will LINSU under Varney Jarsey develop a concrete national plan or integrated national policy to impact the student community? While other student unions in Africa are making immense progress, the only concrete achievement LINSU under Varney Jarsey can make reference to for all these years is the national quizzing tournament. This event wouldn’t have been held if the government had not given LINSU US$100,000.00. LINSU of today waits on government to fund its program. What a dilemma and sad episode! The LINSU we knew was very innovative, imaginative and resourceful. This LINSU never depended on government to function. But again, this is what happens when an inept university dropout leads.
Liberia is good at setting bad precedence. Liberia is the only country in the world that harbors a university dropout as president of the national student union. For example, the President of the National Union of Sierra Leone Students, Mohamed Sheridan Kamara is a graduate of the Sierra Leone Law School. The President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) is a fourth year student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). These unions have functional national structures, websites and blogs for student to access basic information. The website and blog for the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) is www.NUGS.org.gh and www.NUGStoday.blogspot.com respectively. Where is LINSU’s website and blog? It is too sad to note that LINSU does not even have an e-mail address in this age of modernity.
While other student unions in Africa like Ghana, Guinea, Sierra and Ivory Coast are implementing sustainable student projects such as agriculture, scholarship fund drive, life skills, micro loan, internship, vacation jobs, student exchange, recreation center, bookstore, public library, newsletter, magazine, etc., LINSU under Varney can only boast of hosting a national quizzing tournament. There is no plan to even procure a lot of land to begin the construction of a national headquarters for LINSU.
It is possible for LINSU to generate resources from donors and philanthropists to execute these projects, but the fact is that the man who currently heads LINSU is ill-visionary. LINSU does not even have a monitoring and evaluation arm to make sure that students’ rights are not violated and their dignity is restored. LINSU does not even have effective county structures. Instead of advocating for improved conditions for students across Liberia, the character who calls himself president is more interested in amassing wealth.
Today, students in rural Liberia are totally disconnected from accessing quality education. What is LINSU saying about this? Even in Montserrado County, our comrades are constrained to learn in harsh environments. Has LINSU spoken about this? Basic academic facilities such as libraries, science laboratories and computer labs are lacking in almost all of our secondary schools. Where does LINSU stand? When private universities and secondary institutions are hiking tuition at the detriment of struggling and jobless students, it only speaks to the fact that LINSU has been hijacked by puppets and puppeteers.
When students in rural Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Sinoe, Grand Kru, RiverGee, Rivercess, Grand Bassa, Grand Capemount, Gbarpolu, Lofa, Bomi, Grand Gedeh, and Maryland are taught by high school dropouts and sometimes 9th graders, then it makes us to believe that LINSU is in the state of coma. When the University of Liberia in cohort with national government has taken a decision to unjustifiably increase tuition from LD$175.00 to US$4.00 and LINSU remains tightlipped on this matter, then we wonder whether we still have an organization called LINSU in Liberia.
When students from AMEU, UMU, CU, AMEZU, Stella Maris Polytechnic, Smythe Institute, and other private institutions are dropping out of school due to tuition hike without LINSU intervening, then it means that LINSU has gone blind to the plights of students who are economically vulnerable. When education is a mess in Liberia and LINSU is afraid to speak against those who are responsible to change it to best, then it amplifies and qualifies our argument that LINSU has been kidnapped by an alliance of petit crooks and emerging hustlers.
With all of what is happening in our country, LINSU remains the most silent organization. The voice of LINSU is absent on every critical issue, including the mass exploitation and cruelty being perpetrated against the student community by elements of backwardness. What has LINSU said about the mysterious death of Harry Greaves, Keith Jubah, Fayiah Saah Gbolie, and Victoria Zayzay? What has LINSU said about the inhumane treatment of Brother Vandalark Patricks and the eviction of Simeon Freeman from Liberia due to legitimate fear? When two teenagers, Angel Togba and Shaki Kamara were brutally murdered, we did not hear LINSU speaking. From all indications, LINSU has lost its essence under Varney Jarsey, an inept university dropout. Greed has overshadowed an institution that was once seen as an illuminating emblem.
The question now is, how can we rescue and redeem LINSU from its dead state? We have a choice to make now as an emerging generation. And this choice is to either remain with FAILURE or embrace CHANGE. It is time to set high standards for everyone who desires to serve LINSU as president, vice president, secretary, etc. Even though we recognize the fact that there are some visionary university dropouts, but this generation must never accommodate an inept and arrogant university dropout like Varney Jarsey.
As we continue to lead the campaign for CHANGE at LINSU, your duty is to join us in oneness to pursue a new and different LINSU. You must never be induced or enticed with cash to seek membership within the armless army Varney Jarsey is building to perpetuate himself in power. Any student can become what he/she wants to be in LINSU without reducing himself or herself to a mere foot-soldier or pay agent. Too sad to note that LINSU has become a GREBO BUSH. Those who sing false praises for Varney Jarsey receive the bigger part of the cake, while others who challenge his thoughtless style of leadership are repressed. Momentarily, his puppeteers are serving as coordinators in various counties for the ongoing national quizzing tournament. This is one of the benefits they get for defending his mutilated identity.
Besides the US$100,000.00 that was given to host the national quizzing tournament, we are aware that the Liberia Cocoa Cola and Bottling Company along with other institutions made huge donations to this exercise. We demand a pre and post audit of all financial transactions of LINSU. In the coming days, we will unmask buffoons, undress cowards, unveil puppets and expose ruffians. We now call on all students to join this campaign and rescue LINSU from a cartel of popular jesters and charlatans.
It is often said in Swahili “Ni lazima kamwe kushindwa kizazi kijacho kwa kuruhusu vibaraka kuongoza” which means in English “We must never fail the next generation by allowing puppets to lead”.