A Tribute to Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh on His 75Th Anniversary, July 17, 2016

By Elitha Maning

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 17, 2016



Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh

Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, as you, our leader and mentor, turns 75 years of age on Sunday, July 17, 2016, we who fall under the umbrella called Liberians for Tipoteh (LIFT) thank Our Common Maker, God, Allah, Nngala, Glaypor, Nyihnswa, Kamba, for your long fruitful life and wish for you many more productive years . So, we say Happy Birthday to you Dr. Tipoteh. We know that you are bereaved, as your older Brother, Mr. Patrick Geegbe, Chairman of the Eight Nominating Districts of the Borough of Krutown, has passed away, and so we also say never mind yah Dr. Tipoteh.

We commend you for your many services to the people of Liberia, Africa and the World over the past half a century. Having completed schooling with a Doctorate Degree in Economics at the early age of 27, you provided advisory service to the Anti-poverty Program of the Office of Economic Opportunity of the Presidency of the United States of America, through the Economic Opportunities Council, based in San Francisco, California. Then you returned back home to Liberia to begin serving as Founder of Susukuu, the 45 year old Liberian poverty alleviation NGO, while being a Developer of the College of Business and Public Administration and Chairman/Professor of the Department of Economics at the University of Liberia, as well as advising President William Tolbert on budgetary matters. You went on to serve as Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs and Chairman of the African Group of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). You were also Chairman of the Africa Area of the Association of Third World Economists and lectured in Asia, Latin America, United States of America, Europe and Africa. 

In opposition to dictatorial rule, you were forced into exile, but remained in the struggle for democracy as Founding Leader of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA). Still in exile, you served as Senior Advisor to the Program for the Training of South Africans in the Management of the Post-Apartheid Economy, while serving as Senior United Nations Advisor to the Government of Mozambique. Your Senior Advisory Role in the United Nations extended to your role as Senior United Nations Advisor to the Africa Economic Recovery Program. Your Pan African work became so extensive that people have begun calling you "The Mandela of Liberia". What an appropriate name!  

Back in Liberia, during and after the Civil War in Liberia, the people also began to call you "The Only Man On The Ground" to show their appreciations for your being with the people and working in the people's interest. Your work remains gender sensitive, as you are the only male on the Board of Advisors of the Liberian Women Initiative (LWI) and a Spokesperson against gender-based violence for the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL).

Mainly, you continue to work for justice to enable the people of Liberia, especially the poor vast majority, to realize and exercise their their God-given rights, while working with as many people as possible to transform Liberia from an unjust and mass poverty generating country to a just and poverty alleviating country.

LIFT notices that in your long and just struggle for justice, you do not pick and choose, as in paying attention only to blood relatives, and this is why hundreds of children around Liberia hold you as their Father, with even many of them bearing your name. Former combatants have become members of your family, attending the best schools in Liberia and going abroad for advanced studies.

Not only do you want the Liberian economy to work mainly for Liberians, you want Liberian culture to be at the center of education in Liberia to take the MESS out of education in Liberia and move our education from MESS to BEST. During the Ebola attack, you provided leadership along with the Venerable Dr. Mary Nema Brownell, Shiekh Kafumba Konneh and Mrs. Frances Greaves of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia to form the Servants of Africa Fighting Ebola (SAFE), where the Community Ownership Approach was used to get rid of Ebola.

LIFT observes not only your excellent mental condition but also your excellent physical condition. We are not surprised because you are the Retired Undefeated Tennis Champion of Liberia over 30 unbroken years (1964-1994). Last, but certainly not the least, you remain in excellent spiritual condition as a practicing United Methodist, tolerant of all religions, working side-by-side with your loving Wife, Fatu, who remains active in the development of the University of Liberia in her capacity as Head of the Department of Procurement.

About the Author: Elitha Maning is Chairperson for Liberians for Tipoteh(LIFT) and Founding President-General of the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC). She can be reached at: 011-231-886-549461 or 776-649357.

Sylvester moses
We join LIFT in wishing Dr Toga - Nah Tipoteh happy birthday, and do hereby express sorrow for his loss too. It is our hope that Jehovah continue to guide this uncompromising fighter for fraternity, equality of opportunities, justice, and, especially, 'peace' in Liberia. It is one of the ironies of the late 1970's political militancy that the leader of an allegedly Marxist MOJA, whose initials TNT form the acronym of a flammable substance used as high explosive, turned out to be what he truly has always been: a relentless peacemaker on behalf of his people, and country.

How could we forget the series of meetings we had with him and Bishop Kullah in October 1992 about their determination to hold a joint Monrovia and Greater Liberia Peace March. Not even our hints that NPFL intended to launch Operation Octopus the very day of the planned protests could dissuade those two fanatics for peace, and an end to the suffering of the vast majority masses.

And that twenty - four years later, this humble man, who could have been either living in opulence inside the corporate world, or pontificating within the walls of an Ivy league's ivory tower is still serving the poor shows uncommon selflessness. We doff our hat to him, and once more would like to say, "Happy birthday, bigger brother".
Sylvester moses at 06:54AM, 2016/07/17.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Is Tipoteh aiding and abetting war criminal and despot Charles Taylor and corrupt Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is also a war criminal and despot " serving the poor and showing uncommon selflessness"?

Selective cowardice is as unpatriotic as treason! Wole Soyinka would never be a supporting cast, collaborator, or a de facto campaign manager for any corrupt president in Nigeria as Tipoteh is on record to be for Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Have you forgotten how Tipoteh served as Ellen Jhnson Sirleaf´s public relations officer for her deceptive poverty reduction scheme? or is it such dishonest move on the part of Tipoteh you see as "serving the poor and showing uncommon selflessness"? No damn happy birthday for you, Tipoteh!
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 03:13PM, 2016/07/17.
sylvester moses
Dear ZoedJallah, if "The Only Man On The Ground" during our long horrendous civil war is charged for "selective cowardice" by you, tell us what bravery means. Because unlike Soyinka who spent a great part of his life in academia abroad, TNT stayed put except when he thought it was unsafe. And whereas the Nobel laureate addressed the shortcomings of Nigeria by advocacy through spoken and written words, TNT addressed Liberia's not only by the same mediums, but in actually working for, and with various administrations since President Tolbert.

Moreover, the economist is a peacemaker. He prefers "jaw jaw" to "war war", and to expect him not to cooperate with elected presidents towards that end is as Caesar accused Brutus, "the most unkindest cut of all". Your attack is reminiscent of Malcolm X's on Dr. Martin Luther King for allegedly compromising with the various American administrations on behalf of civil rights for African Americans.

Brother Zoedjallah, let's keep in mind that nothing we say here can erase the fact that in our era, Dr. Togba - Nah Tipoteh is a towering figure whose life and service will be favourably remembered by historians. Henry Longfellow said it best:

"Lives of great men all
remind us, we can make
our lives sublime, and,
departing, leave behind
us, footprints on the
sands of time".
sylvester moses at 06:55PM, 2016/07/17.
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Brother Sylvester Moses, bravery is inter Alia speaking truth to Power and not remaining in the country to hail Charles Taylor and sing Christmas carrols for a despot, dictator and war criminal as was the case with your so called "only man on the ground" Tipoteh! Consider today where Tipoteh is known as a Key collaborator of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to whom Tipoteh became her PR Man for her deceptive povrty reduction scheme. Albert Porte was brave! Former Auditor General John Morlu is brave!
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 02:40PM, 2016/07/18.
sylvester Moses
Brother Kandajabab Zoedjallah,

The revered leader of MOJA spoke truth to power when it wasn't fashionable, and sometimes even dangerous. We should also remember that he has been seeking the highest office not shaming each holder of that office. Obama didn't become president by pummelling his predecessors at any given opportunity.
sylvester Moses at 08:30PM, 2016/07/18.
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah
"Nothing", Matthew Parris says "corrupts a politician as much as friendship." TIpoteh, because of the "friendship" Ellen feigns to share with him Tipoteh, has metamorphosed him into a political zombie for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; just as Charles Taylor in pretense referring to him Tipoteh as "big brother" - a fake courtesy from Taylor which blinds Tipoteh to the human rights abuses and political criminality of the them despot and dictator! Secondly, if Tipoteh spoke truth to Power when such us nor fashionable, he would have never ran away in 1981, nor would he had told the masses "don't expect too much too soon" while the PRC was dining with the elite amid the sufferings of the masses. So, to sun up Tipoteh only speaks to Power when it is "fashionable" and NOT when it is "not fashionable". If it were not fashionable to speak truth to Power under Tolbert, Tipoteh would have nor been able to what can now be termed as INCITING STUDENTS AND WORKERS on campuses and in the concession areas in the 1970s. In fact, werent it the same Tipoteh who to please the TWP said Baccus Matthews was wrong to speak truth to the powers of the say? This was after Baccus was arrested in the aftermath of the April 14th nationwide protests! Now you see why we have attributed selective cowardice to this collaborator if Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 05:16AM, 2016/07/19.
sylvester Moses

Brother Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah,

Alleged inflammatory language by PAL leader Mr. Bacchus Matthews (on the real price of rice later proven false) which stoked 'anticipated' deadly overreactions can't be termed "speak truth to the powers". A Tipoteh imbued with "jaw jaw" rather than "war war" did right to condemn the unruly action. Unsurprisingly, the prevailing perception then indicated that MOJA, and most Liberians desired free and fair elections in determining who held political power.

After all, that was the purpose of the Sawyer Monrovia mayoral momentum. And considering that the plight of the masses haven't changed thirty - seven (37) years later, we can all agree that MOJA and "most Liberians" were correct to be dubious about the effectiveness of the PAL - led street demonstrations. Furthermore, Mrs. Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf was elected president twice by the Liberian people, and, despite her disastrous tenure, she is one of the most capable to ever hold our highest office.

Brother Zoedjallah, to end this repartee over TNT, let it suffice that that this unassuming man has positively been linked to milestones in Liberian affairs is testimony of God's favor, and the understanding of the Liberian people he sincerely seeks to serve. So no matter the differences in our evaluations of his contributions, or, more so, relevance, unmistakably, he is 'bigger than life' in Liberia.
sylvester Moses at 01:16PM, 2016/07/19.
sylvester moses
Brother Zoedjallah,

We meant to say 'larger', instead of "bigger", in the closing quoted idiom.
sylvester moses at 01:29PM, 2016/07/19.
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Brother Sylvester Moses,

If Tipoteh believed or believes in "jaw jaw" and he "speaks truth to Power" how come he could not "jaw jaw" truth to Power but ran away while ALL of his so called progressives remained in the country during and after the August 1981 coup?

If "Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the most capable to ever hold our highest office" as you claim, how come "tenure is disastrous" if we may quote you!? How come a most capable president's administration is characterized at home and abroad with killings, gross human rights abuses, high unemployment, nonexistence of such social capitals as water, electricity, equipped hospitals, nor to mention the deplorable school system, the msssive corruption in which she abusing her immunity powers, takes responsibility for her son's criminal liabilities!

Is this your definition of "most capable"? Probably your "jaw jaw man on the ground" Tipoteh shares similar definition of leadership capability with you; hence his obvious selective cowardice shackles his "jaw jaw"!
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 02:57PM, 2016/07/19.
sylvester moses

Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah,

To play the devil's advocate - (lol!), not literally. If we may, what has EJS's "capability" got to do with her actual performance, anyway?

Mind you, she isn't the first leader to betray promises, or disappoint expectations. Simon Peter, the most beloved of Jesus, denied knowing The Christ. Although Richard Nixon served two terms as vice president under a very popular WW 11 hero, his presidency turned out to be a disgrace. And in spite of the Camelot hype, Kennedy's short tenure was, reportedly, unremarkable in both domestic, and foreign policy achievements. For instance, MLK didn't get much help from him, and his Bay of Pigs adventurism nearly precipitated Nuclear War.

The important course, friend, is for our past failures to serve as reality check for future presidents and administrations - an existential imperative. Because the patience of the downtrodden has been frayed to breaking point.
sylvester moses at 05:19PM, 2016/07/19.
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Sylvester Moses,

Whether you "play the devils advocate" for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whom you have accused of being a cheat, witch craft, a corrupt, incompetent leader who criticized her predecessors but hates to be criticized, we honestly CARE LESS!

What we expect from you is you substantiating your claim that "Tipoteh speaks or spoke truth to Power when doing so was nor fashionable".

Hence we ask you again: If Tipoteh believes in "jaw jaw" and speaks truth to Power when it is nor fashionable as you claim, how come he ran away during the August 1981 coup while ALL of his colleagues and others
remained in the country????
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 10:39PM, 2016/07/19.
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Brother Sylvester Moses,

While substantiating your claim that "Tipoteh believes in jaw jaw and speaks truth to Power, and another that "Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is one if the most capable to hold our highest office", could you please list or name one President who was nor capable or the least capable? Furthermore, Sylvester, quite recently you pointed out that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's failure is the result of her age.

So, if this woman's age causes her to nor demonstrate those abilities, skills, or qualities, needed by the one holding our highest office, how come she is according to you "one of the most capable to hold our highest office"????? Again, if Tipoteh has the conviction of "jaw jaw" and speaks truth to Power, how come he ran away upon the announcement of the abortive August 1981 coup, even when he was never named among the coup plotters, and NONE of his comrades left the country??? Sawyer was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Commission, Dew Mayson and Baccus were still at the Investment Commission and the Foreign Ministry respectively, while Nbulleh stayed put at the Ministry of Education until he was transferred as Minister of Foreign Affairs
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 05:32AM, 2016/07/20.
Seltue Karweaye
Dr. Tipoteh never contributed to any warning faction. Get your facts right.
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