A Passionate Appeal to George Oppong Weah: Please Don’t Run for President of Liberia

By Jones Nhinson Williams
Contributor


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 6, 2017

                  



 
 
 
 
George Oppong Weah

The Constitution of Liberia guarantees all natural born Liberian citizens, age 35, and with good standing, the freedom to seek the Office of President of the Republic of Liberia, provided they also meet the requirements of the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia. Such requirements include registering one’s candidacy, and fulfilling certain demands etc.

Under the guarantees provided by the Liberian constitution and the NEC’s requisites, Liberian soccer genius George Manneh “Oppong” Weah is undeniably qualified to seek the Liberian presidency. At 50 going on to 51, Mr. Weah exceeds the age threshold; has earned millions of dollars during his soccer career in Europe and continues to earn more money in his current game: Liberian politics.

He also single-handily owns a popular political institution, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party; and has a grassroots’ following that, on a serious note, does not understand what is at stake for Liberia when we, as a nation, continue to opt for deterioration rather than advancement.

Many of us are not opposed to Mr. Weah’s ambition to seek the highest office in the land. After all, history reveals that some people in advanced democracies have sought similar offices because they were fatigued and frustrated with their corrupt leaders who failed them. 

Incontestably, Liberian politicians and leaders, particularly the so-called and unwanted progressive contingent and antediluvian PhDs, have failed our nation and its people. Is Mr. Weah, a gifted soccer star, seeking the presidency because of the corruption, dishonesty, and botch of Liberian politicians? Perhaps.
Even if this is the case, please Mr. George Weah, in sincerity, and with every ounce of love, affection, and respect for you, don’t run for president of Liberia.  This is an honest advice.

True be told, Mr. Weah’s patriotism and contribution to Liberia are cherished and will forever remain historic; his generosity is valued and his popularity is esteemed.  Besides, he is qualified to seek the Office of President of Liberia as per the Liberian constitution and the applicable requirements of the National Elections Commission of Liberia.

With that said, it is important to recognize that the job of president is not just a serious business; it is a hard venture. It demands more than meeting the mere constitutional obligations and the necessities of the NEC. It also requires more than just performing official ceremonies, especially in this age of globalization, technological advancement, and a period of knowledge-based economy discernment that entail possession of rational acumen, highbrow stamina, and integrated capacity. 

Moreover, being a president does not mean having a mere degree. After all, Mr. Weah holds two degrees, as we are made to understand. Even people with degrees from Western universities and other higher institutions of Learning in Liberia and from abroad, have failed our nation. Besides, about 90 percent of the ‘highly educated’ individuals who are currently seeking the Liberian presidency lack the functional gravitas it takes to guarantee that we will have a prosper and competitive Liberia should they succeed in their bid for the highest office in the land. But in the case of Mr. Weah, we see the extreme­––the peak of unskillfulness and incapacity. This is precisely why Mr. Weah should not seek the Office of President of the Republic of Liberia.

Effective 2018, our country and Liberians in general need a president that will make real life and death decisions.  Decisions that will determine the ultimate future or absolute decline of the country––choices that will either put Liberia on the path to social progress, economic growth, and political stability, or keep the status quo of misery, mass poverty, and the endless wants of human needs.

While Liberia is not only a mess on a knife-edge that needs genuine and crucial socio-cultural resuscitation; the country also needs a far-reaching political and economic change as well as a leadership that understands the challenges imposed by globalization, technology, trans-national trade, international security issues, and the inter-connectedness of the labor market worldwide.  To drive this change and ensure this leadership, we need a president who can lead with vision, creativity and understanding; a head of state that is innovative and has the capacity to research, and make coherent decisions.
From all indications and based on some of the recent decisions of Mr. Weah, it clearly appears there is a lack of.

In addition, Mr. Weah should not seek the Liberian presidency because, effective 2018, Liberia needs to begin keeping pace with the changing world.  Our world has not only changed, it continues to transform every day in many ways.  We are transitioning from a largely dependent natural resources’ industry-based economy to a knowledge-based economy where even cars are self-driven, drones deliver packages and medications etc.  This type of change requires a new type of national leadership (in any country) that should not only reflect having a mere divided, democratic, and elected government. It requires leaders with grandiose ideas and who can articulate those ideas into vision and programs with direct positive impact such as job creation, improved living standards and national infrastructural and workforce development in society.

So, while the Liberian government is divided into three branches, the president is not only considered the figurehead of the nation, he or she is also the engine that ushers change, or may become the epitome of failure if he or she lacks what it takes for the position.  And we are inclined to believe that Mr. Weah would fit the subsequent.
By law, the Liberian president can veto laws made by the House of Representatives and the Senate and can issue executive orders. The president also commands the Liberian military and security forces, which is significant because the national security of our country is paramount.

The president of Liberia is also a central figure in forging regional and international relations on behalf of our nation and its people. This makes the Liberian president one of the most crucial figures in keeping national, regional, and international peace. Although the judicial and legislative branches of the Liberian government have assigned powers as well, they are comprised of many individuals working together, which limits the power of any one individual.

As the single person in our country with the most power, the Liberian president has a great deal of importance. So, the job is not a joke or a 90-minutes track and field Olympics as some people might think.  It is a job that determines what kind of country we want for ourselves and our children’s future. Already, we have had two wasted generations, we cannot afford to add the third one and possibly the fourth.

Besides, more than anyone else in our country, the Liberian president symbolizes the country — its people and its beliefs. In this role, the Liberian president must not only be able to perform many ceremonial duties such as receiving foreign dignitaries and leading parades; he or she must be able to negotiate investments, inaugurate businesses, research, and academic institutions as well as be capable in guiding the trajectory of the Liberian economy to prevent capital flight, inflation, health crisis and disaster in the labor market.  These actions are not trivial. Competent presidents must exude confidence, not just in themselves, but in the Liberian people as well.

Moreover, as leader of the executive branch, the Liberian president is primarily responsible for seeing that the work of the Liberian government is done, because as the late U.S. President Harry Truman's once said, "The buck stops here." This is true because, for example, the responsibility to administer and execute the laws of the land squarely rests on the president's shoulders. And if Mr. Weah were to become president that is exactly what he will be expected to do. The question is, can he? Or, is he going to rely on others to tell him what to do or what needs to be done?

If Mr. Weah became the president of Liberia, he will also become so many significant things simultaneously: Commander in Chief; Chief Diplomat; Chief Executive, de facto Legislator, and the National Moral Leader. 

As commander in chief, Mr. Weah will be expected to develop and lead our military and security forces from a gun-toting sect to a professional lineup of engineers, information technology and cyber security experts, forensic scientists, and top notch investigators. He will make decisions about how to deal with matters of law and order while ensuring respect for human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law. 

He will address issues within our immigration procedure that make it flaw and vulnerable to nationals of neighboring West African states and other nations and deal with questions of our nationality debate and the weaknesses in our judiciary and criminal justice system.

As the top diplomat, Mr. Weah will not only decide the direction of Liberia’s foreign policy, he will also play an important role in carrying it out.  That means the West African sub region, the African continent and the world will need know and hear his philosophy as a leader – how he thinks and what he says, not what other people will want him to think, believe, or say on his behalf.

As chief executive /administrator, or chief bureaucrat of Liberia, he will be fully and ultimately responsible for all the programs in the executive branch of the Liberian government – from education, healthcare, infrastructural development, the rule of law and public safety to the economy and investment in science, technology, engineering, and math as well as in advanced manufacturing, agricultural-food production, and workforce development.

While he will not be managing their day-to-day operations, he is expected, overall, to set the broad policy for the executive departments and agencies.  He will also face and must deal with the unending chaos in the country’s land ownership dynamic as well as contend with skills shortages and skills gap analysis; women, and youth unemployment nationwide, local areas unemployment and local employment dynamics, business employment dynamics, and the protection and support of seniors, the disabled and the mentally challenged. These are not inconsequential matters neither are they negligible realities because they affect real lives.

As a de facto legislator, he will be expected to maintain close contacts with the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives to press for the passage of bills.  While a president does not simply propose legislation, the president is, in most cases, actively involved in seeing that a legislation becomes law. 

If Mr. Weah also succeeds to become president of Liberia, he will automatically assume moral leadership.  He will be expected to set the moral tone for our nation, including showing exemplary honesty, religious faith, and integrity.  Instead of being silent on issues and inquiries that demand public responses, Liberians will expect him to articulate clarity, hope, optimism, direction, guidance, and above all, provide commonsense solution in matters like religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence and tribal upheavals, women’s rights, workers’ rights and labor union advocacy, and political disagreements.

The demand of any president's moral leadership has adopted new importance in recent years as the media and the public the world over has given the private lives of elected officials closer scrutiny. The "character issue" is frequently included in public opinion polls on any president's performance.

Lastly, history has shown and current events suggest that some politicians and others have run for elected offices, especially the job of president, for several reasons, including to change the direction of their country; to make history; to make a point; to boost their brand; or simply because public service is part of their family’s history.  

To date, it is almost impossible to know where Mr. Weah stands on any issue or why he is really running for presidentHis supporters will tell you he will change Liberia and make the country better.  How? No idea.

No doubt, Mr. Weah is a national hero but he, like most Liberians, has failed to recognize his strengths and weaknesses.  If he is truly patriotic and wants a better Liberia, the formation of his political party is a welcomed and commendable idea.  He can use his political institution better than he is currently doing.  

Forming a political party does mean one should seek the presidency or be president, it means he or she is serious about driving a message of change.  Mr. Weah must identify like-minded individuals and mobilize the Liberian people to ensure that change happens not for his personal benefit but for Liberia’s.

In Myanmar, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is not the president, but she is the driver of change and leader of the ruling party with the coveted title “State Counsellor of Myanmar.”  As the political leader of the ruling party, she calls herself the boss of the president of Myanmar who is a member of her ruling party. Weah should take a clue from this remarkable woman’s playbook.


Author's Statement: Jones Nhinson Williams is a Liberian philosopher, labor market information and workforce development professional with expertise in job creation strategies, public policy, international development, and strategic management.  He can be reached at: jnw5050@gmail.com.


Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Mr. Jones Nhinson Williams, to believe a Senator who is the leader of the most powerful coalation of a country is not qualified to lead his country simply because according to you you "do not know where he stands on any issue or why he is really running for president" is insulting, and very sickening on your part, to say the least.

According to you, during the Charles Taylor reign, you and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf worked together. So at least "you knew where she stood on issues" and so you had an "idea" on how she would "level the country and rebuild it". DID SHE REBUILD THE COUNTRY AFTER LEVELLING IT? Its a shame that one boasting of being this and that philosopher is blind to the world of democracy,political philosophy, and political leadership 101!
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 02:52PM, 2017/02/06.
Kou Gontee
Nhinson, why you did not "take a clue from Aung San Sun Kyi´s playbook", but chose to supervise (as LURD´S REBEL LEADER) over the gruesome and massive killing of innocent babies, pregnant mothers, and other civilians only to grab political power immediately after 75% of the Liberian electorate democratically voted a government to power?

Jerry Rawlings both as a military leader and a civilian leader of his country never possessed the political capital and diplomatic experience which the Ambassador - Senaor Weah possesss and have demonstrated over the years, but because he had love for his country (as George Weah has proven over the years) Rawlings was able to bring national prosperity and national security to his country.

So Nhinson, both commonsense and comventional wisdom dismiss your delvish and very silly pontificated rubbish as a defeatist carcas from a phony who happens to be the war criminal you are.

In fact, as has been noted of you, you sound as one paid to write such rubbish or simply one writing out of fear of being punished by those he believes shall be decision makers in the next government.

In short, Nhinson, all of what you have said as to why the lawmaker George Weah should not run for the presidency reflect your fear, selfishness, obvious dishonesty, and political stupidity.



Kou Gontee at 03:16PM, 2017/02/07.
Kou Gontee
Nhinson, why you did not "take a clue from Aung San Sun Kyi´s playbook", but chose to supervise (as LURD´S REBEL LEADER) over the gruesome and massive killing of innocent babies, pregnant mothers, and other civilians only to grab political power immediately after 75% of the Liberian electorate democratically voted a government to power?

Jerry Rawlings both as a military leader and a civilian leader of his country never possessed the political capital and diplomatic experience which the Ambassador - Senaor Weah posesses and have demonstrated over the years, but because he had love for his country (as George Weah has proven over the years) Rawlings was able to bring national prosperity and national security to his country.

So Nhinson, both commonsense and comventional wisdom dismiss your delvish and very silly pontificated rubbish as a defeatist carcas from a phony who happens to be the war criminal you are.

In fact, as has been noted of you, you sound as one paid to write such rubbish or simply one writing out of fear of being punished by those he believes shall be decision makers in the next government.

In short, Nhinson, all of what you have said as to why the lawmaker George Weah should not run for the presidency reflect your fear, selfishness, obvious dishonesty, and political stupidity.


Kou Gontee at 03:19PM, 2017/02/07.
James Samolu
Mr. Jones Nhinson Williams


What is sad about this thought provoking essay is that many of the Honorable Weah’s followers will see it as jealousy on the part of Mr. Williams; that he writes this essay because he is on Ellen’s pay list, and that he is a trouble maker.

However the essay is an excellent one in term of the substantive issues that he touches. It is not a personal attack on the Honorable Weah, but a revelation of the unadulterated true about the way we see politics, the way we elect our leaders, and the dire consequences that often flow from such choices.

A brief story explains an incident about an airplane that is in midair, but the pilot complains of a heart attack and he decides not to play his role anymore for the safety of the passengers. In this crisis mode the panic passengers select an inexperienced and drunken passenger to lead the craft to its destination. What happens next is anybody’s guess!

Liberia is like an airplane that is in midair and unreeling from its tragic past of incompetent leadership and development paralysis. Ellen is about to leave the cockpit as her term will soon be over. Whom the country needs is a seasoned and experienced individual who can pilot the ship of state to its destination.

It is time that we put our tribal bigotry and divisive politics aside and put the national interest of the country foremost.

Thanks Mr. Williams.




James Samolu at 06:33PM, 2017/02/07.
Matilda Witherspoon
Mr. James Samolu,

We have no doubt your intentions may be good. But do not mind this coward - Jones Nhinson Williams, who hides behind fake names both on the local and international scenes. This man served as a rebel leader with LURD under a fake name. This info has long be made public By noted writers on these pages - at which time Nhinson went under ground to only resurface later, believing folks have forgotten.

He is only writing all this trash out of fear that since it is clear George Weah is set to win the forthcoming elections with his (Weah´s) running mate Jewel Howard Taylor, the Taylor camp or NPP will go after him!WHY HE DID NOT PUT FORWARD HIS CROCODILE TEARS (PASSIONATE PLEA) when Weah´s running mate was former foreign minister Ambassador J. Rudolph Johnson? This guy is a fraud!

Besides, what he is saying does not make any sense. How in the world a physically fit and mentally mature senator who has served as Ambassador for Peace, and is the leader of other renown and respected political leaders would not be able to lead a single branch of government - the Executive Branch!

Look at this other lie of his:

"George Weah also single-handily owns a popular political institution, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party; and has a grassroots’ following that, on a serious note, does not understand what is at stake for Liberia when we, as a nation, continue to opt for deterioration rather than advancement".

If this were the case, there would have been no CDC today, nor would have CDC been the magnetic political power pulling political giants from all ideological spectrums of our political landscapes at home and abroad! I am NOT a member of the CDC nor do I know Mr. Weah, but I have vowed to always expose frauds as Jones Nhnison Williams who should be behind bars for his war crimes.

This fool´s stupidity can be seen in the fact that he would tacitly claim that the people children he gave guns to to carry out his banditry and killing "understand what is at stake for Liberia" but "the grassroots’ following of the Coalation for Democratic Change does not understand what is at stake for Liberia" simply because they choose to use the ballots and not the guns!

Matilda Witherspoon at 03:00AM, 2017/02/08.
sylvester moses
The question is: Where was Mr. William’s “honest advice” when Mr. George Weah recused himself from the top of the 2011 ticket on behalf of Counselor Tubman; for were CDC victorious, he would’ve become president on the incapacitation or death of Winston. Moreover, the author’s elitist condescension is highlighted by this remark “The CDC has a grassroots’ following that, on a serious note, does not understand what is at stake for Liberia…”

Imagine such insult thrown at hundreds of thousands who survived war, and feel the daily pangs of nearly 12 years of life – denying poverty, and oftentimes arrogant executive overbearingness. Ironically his presidential criteria are so tellingly similar to that of EJS that we would have sworn that whomsoever he has in mind to head the CDC ticket share her background.

And Liberians know the outcome of a 50 – page promotional bio, which in practice is devoid of any demonstration of duty of care, accountability, and humility. Granted that the country is at crossroads, and the next president should be honest, capable, effective, energetic, and well – connected, yet it is suspect to pinpoint Senator Weah for caustic condemnation as being clueless and unfit from among about twenty candidates.

Frankly, one doesn’t have to be a supporter of CDC or Weah to be outraged.

Regarding who becomes the next president, please, allow the people to make their own mistake. The elites and powerbrokers hijacked that choice for one and half centuries; nonetheless, the country is still stuck in stagnation, and about 75% of our people are undergoing wretched penury. Meanwhile, few morphed into multimillionaires and millionaires at the expense of an ostensibly democratic nation in just 12 years.

To sum, Mr. Jones Nhinson Williams has written some well – researched and insightful pieces in the past, however, this article failed to reach the threshold his body of work have set. And assuming that he was trying to advocate for someone else to once more lead the CDC ticket, his intemperate language, saucy tone, seeming bigotry, and atrocious attack on a major political party undermined that prospect.

That's sad, his suit may not be strange in political jockeying, but it is surely tactless and self - defeating.

sylvester moses at 02:02PM, 2017/02/08.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Laudatar(praiseworthy)!!! Mr. Moses!!!

Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 06:01AM, 2017/02/10.
Kpan Kpan Molly
This killer William Hanson aka Jones Nhinson Williams who has now metamorphosed from "an American trained philosopher" to "a Liberian philosopher" is really mentally sick! How in this day and age one would write such uncivilized and undemocratic thinking:?

"Do not vote for the presidency because you have a grassroots’ following that, on a serious note, does not understand what is at stake for Liberia." WHAT A STONE AGE THINKING!

Just imagine this goat appointed as election commissioner.
Kpan Kpan Molly at 05:11AM, 2017/02/13.
Kpan Kpan Molly
"Jones Nhinson Williams is a Liberian philosopher, labor market information and workforce development professional with expertise in job creation strategies, public policy, international development, and strategic management."

Read the falsehood from this war criminal in quotation.

Mr. Jones Nhinson Williams aka William Hanson, is recruiting people children to go on a killing spree what you believe makes you "labor market information and workforce development professional with expertise in job creation strategies, public policy, international development, and strategic management"?
Kpan Kpan Molly at 04:01AM, 2017/02/14.
Kpan Kpan Molly
READ JONES NHINSON WILLIAMS AKA WILLIAM HANSON PERFORMING AS A "labor market information and workforce development professional with expertise in job creation strategies, public policy, international development, and strategic management."

An Interview with William Hanson, Senior Spokesman of LURD



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 15, 2002





The war between the Taylor regime and the Liberian dissident group known as Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) intensified during recent days. There were attacks in Palala, Gbarnga, Klay, Tubmanberg and Arttington. On Tuesday, May 14, 2002, The Perspective (TP) conducted an interview with Mr. William Hanson, senior spokesman of (LURD), the dissident group that is waging war against Mr. Taylor to oust him from power.. Below is the interview conducted by George H. Nubo and Siahyonkron Nyanseor:



TP: What are the territories you control now?



Mr. William Hanson: We control Northwestern Liberia, and most part of Central Liberia - at the moment we are at the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia.



TP: What towns are under your control?



Mr. William Hanson: We control Klay, for example. We control Tubmanburg. We did some fighting in Arthington, but we have made tactical decision that is aimed at reducing civilian casualties. This is guerrilla tactics. We are trying to see how we can encircle Monrovia. Military diplomacy will not permit me to tell you where we are now.



TP: You control Klay, Tubmanberg, Gbarnga? Is there any other major town that is under your control?



Mr. William Hanson: Yes, [we control] Zeinzu, Palala and all those places.



TP: Who controls Bopolu?



Mr. William Hanson: We control Bopolu. [I am speaking] to you from there.



TP: What about Zorzor?



Mr. William Hanson: Zorzor is under our control. Those are places where we have civil administrations functioning very well. We have civil administrations in all those places.



TP: So, these are not ghost towns that you control?



Mr. William Hanson: They are not ghost towns - we have people there. But it is not the kind of population you would expect to be there [in normal situation].



TP: Why do you think that the civilian population runs away from you into Taylor’s territories instead of coming into your territories?



Mr. William Hanson: They do not run away from us. What they do is [that] they try to escape conflict zones because when ever we make some moves the ruthless ATU comes around and instead of facing us they will revenge or display aggression on the civilians. So, what the civilians do is that since they cannot approach us, they just go to Monrovia where the media organization is - to report how they have been treated by the regime. But when they come to our area, they live peaceful live.



TP: What is LURD’s agenda for Liberia? We have not seen LURD’s agenda. We have written to your office over five months ago requesting LURD’s agenda, but we have not received any response.



Mr. William Hanson: We have an agenda. The agenda we have is that we want to make sure democracy takes root in the country - respect for fundamental human rights also takes serious root. We want to make sure that all sectors of the country become developed in terms of economic empowerment, agricultural activities, infrastructural development, and medical care in all the counties. Basically, the main thing we want to do is to put in place respect for the constitution - where nobody will be above the law. So when people are corrupt, when they steal government’s money, they will be subject to the law - so that nobody will institutionalize banditry in the country… We will have powerful legal system in the country. When we have powerful legal system in the country, the next thing that will happen is that democracy will flow. Respect for fundamental human rights will flow. We do not have the authority to do all these things. To do all these things, we need the collective efforts of all of our countrymen and women. We want all Liberians to come together to form political parties, even including the ruling party. We want to see ourselves as a factor in anything to do with our country.



TP: Why can’t you organize yourselves into a political party to contest the 2003 elections instead of this approach?



Mr. William Hanson: It will never work. In the first place this is matter of survival and self-preservation as a people and as a nation. You are speaking of somebody who has no relation to the international community, who has outlived his usefulness. Realize certain key things: this man was not democratically elected. The so-called elections that we refer to as elections [1997 elections] happened simply because the international community, particularly ECOWAS, felt that since he had the military might, he should be given the opportunity to shape the affairs of the country - With a mandate to restructure the Liberian security forces so that he could provide security for the nation. He reneged on restructuring the security forces.



TP: Recently, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported some of the atrocities LURD has committed against the Liberian people. Can you comment?



Mr. William Hanson: In the first place, we don’t want to say that we are perfect. Our forces do make some mistakes because we are human beings. In a conflict situation, like the one we are involved in, there will always be mistakes. But we are straightforward on civilian protection. I want to say that the reports done by the two institutions were done professionally. We respect those institutions and their reports. But some of the things that were said in the reports were said because the general picture was not understood. Most of the atrocities are not caused by us, they are caused by the other group – the ATU group. That should be understood. Most of the atrocities are committed by the Taylor regime, which has the track record of committing mayhem and destruction. They tend to put the atrocities on our organization with the view of gaining public sentiments and international sympathy on their side.



TP: It is said that the begging of the year was a PR disaster for your organization because your organization took credit for Mr. Taylor’s gimmick. Could you comment on that?



Mr. William Hanson: We value the expression of individual’s opinions, because we cherish press freedom and expression of the mind. Those people who say those things, have the right to [do so] – that is their opinion. We do not want to say that we had PR setback at the beginning of the year.



TP: Was LURD responsible for the death of Emma Ross? Was LURD responsible for the death of Massaquoi? Was LURD responsible for the previous Klay attack. Sawmill attack?



Mr. William Hanson: The situation that unfolded in Klay is that LURD was responsible in sending its forces to Klay, but the atrocities committed and the general atmosphere created in that area was not by LURD. But we were there and we took charge for some time. On the issue of Massaquoi - Massaquoi was setup by Mr. Taylor to be assassinated. The helicopter came within our terrain, and we did shoot at the helicopter. So we assumed that we hit the helicopter. It may have been possible that our forces led to his death. At the same time, we just want to say that he was setup and he may have been killed by Mr. Taylor before he was even put in the helicopter.



TP: Some say that there were no bullet holes on the helicopter. So are you sure you hit the helicopter?



Mr. William Hanson: The international community and Liberians in general know that this man is a liar. He has lied to people before. He committed massacre in the past and said it was ECOMOG. He killed American Catholic nuns and said that they killed themselves. You know, and I know that Taylor is a liar so why should people continue to believe him.



TP: If you know that Mr. Taylor is a liar, then why take credit for the death of Massaquoi? Why take credit for the death of Emma Ross?



Mr. William Hanson: It is not the matter of taking credit, it is matter of saying that we were in the area when Massaquoi’s helicopter went there. We shot at the helicopter! How he died, we don’t know but we shot at the helicopter. He may have been killed before he was put in the helicopter.



TP: What about Ross?



Mr. William Hanson: Ross went within our terrain and an ambush was setup and he died within the area where the ambush was setup. In a military situation like this, whether it is true or not, so long your people were in the terrain - you will say something. Even if it is not true, some character of truth will be in it.



TP: ECOWAS has hit LURD with a travel ban. Are you stranded in Lofa?



Mr. William Hanson: We are not stranded. In the first place, we are disinterested in traveling to any place. One of the reasons why are engage in the struggle is that we want to remain in our country. There is a deficiency within the ECOWAS Secretariat in terms of conflict resolution. And once the international community continues to make people heads of major strategic [organizations] that are supposed to resolve conflicts, particularly ECOWAS – people who do not have the requisite moral value, there will continue to be some problem. It is unsettling that Chambas with all his education is at ECOWAS Secretariat and is being coerced by Mr. Taylor to do things that do not [reflect] his status as ECOWAS Secretary General and even as an educated person.



TP: Are you saying that Chambas is bias because of Taylor’s influence?



Mr. William Hanson: This is not the matter of him being bias, it the matter of him continuing what he started. He was part of the group that selected this fellow to become president of the country despite all his criminality. So, he just wants to continue what he started. And beside that, he has an alliance with certain groups that think what they are doing is the best thing to do within the region.



TP: This war (between LURD and Taylor’s forces) has been going on for at least two years. Are there POWs [prisoners of war] and if so how many?



Mr. William Hanson: At the moment, we do not have any POWs.



TP: Do you kill the enemies who capture?



Mr. William Hanson: No, we do not! They are our brothers. When they surrender to us we educate them politically, de-traumatize those who are traumatized and send them back to the front. And this is one of the main pools where we get our manpower from.



TP: So you turn the POWs into fighters for LURD?



Mr. William Hanson: Yes, an example the deputy chief of mission for the Gbarnga program is one of Taylor’s subjects who have been politically well-cultured.



TP: We recently received an e-mail from LURD stating that we should not give anybody an interview with the exception of you. Is there a power struggle within LURD?



Mr. William Hanson: There is no power struggle. In any institution, there is division of labor with hierarchy. If you are the Managing Editor and another man is the Editor, I think the functions are different… We have one spokesman, but there are others who may speak if they are positioned or recommended by the spokesman to do so. That’s why Joe Wylie, Bennie and others have been speaking because the spokesman, myself, used to recommend them so that we will give this thing a national character to make our people to know that we have people [from various] political sub-divisions of the country.



TP: Joe Wylie once said that LURD’s forces were not in Sawmill when they claimed that they were there. Did he misspeak?



Mr. William Hanson: That’s exactly what I was telling you. Wylie is the senior military advisor and the fact that he accepted to grant you an interview without getting the authorization from the spokesman, who supposed to send out information, he was expressing his opinion.



TP: The general view expressed by most Liberians that they do not want to replace one dictatorship with another. What is your comment on that?



Mr. William Hanson: The first thing as an institution, our focus is not on power. I just want to make that very clear. As a national spokesman, and one of the founding members of this movement, I am not interested in any state power. I am not interested in being in government or working for government. We are doing this thing as a matter of personal commitment to make sure that we have liberation of our country and people so that they will be able to enjoy economic development. There may be some people within the LURD who in their capacity as Liberians and educated people may be interested into taking government jobs as a matter of some constitution rights. So, I am not ruling that out. But what I want to say is that we as an institution have a focus. Our focus is to make sure that our country becomes part of the comity of nations in terms of development. So with that in mind, we will want to play a little role in any political arrangement that will replace Mr. Taylor. The only person we are after is Mr. Taylor.



TP: But Mr. Taylor is not the only corrupt person within the Liberian government - why just Taylor? If he is gone, the others will still be around. What about the legislature that gave him cart blanche. The ministers?



Mr. William Hanson: Our aim is to create a level playing field. We are not in the business of witch hunting. We are saying that this guy is using the presidency to institutionalize banditry not only in the country, but also in the entire sub-region.



TP: How do you go about replacing him. If LURD succeeds who is going to replace Mr. Taylor? Is there going to be interim government, or is it Konneh who referred to himself on BBC as Commander in Chief? Who is going to replace him?



Mr. William Hanson: The question of replacement is something that all of us - you and other Liberians- have to [decide]. It is something that [requires] the collective will of all Liberians. LURD will not take somebody and say you are the president. That is not the position of LURD.



TP: So are you going to get rid of Mr. Taylor today and then say there will be election tomorrow for the president of Liberia - to elect replacement for Mr. Taylor?



Mr. William Hanson: No that is not exactly what we are saying. We are going to call all political organizations, including the NPP party - all parties will be involved.



TP: Liberians are talking about war crimes tribunal for those who have committed atrocities in the country, including LURD. What is your position?



Mr. William Hanson: We are prepared for anything because our records are clean. We have nothing to hide.



TP: Thank You



© The Perspective
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Kpan Kpan Molly at 04:07AM, 2017/02/14.
Johnny Ballis
Kpan kpan Molly:

I am always intrigued when a person places a comment and refers to himself as, "We."

Who are the, "We.?" I also noticed that you put the address of the Perspective website below your comments.

Is the perspective website another political party? is it an extension of George Weah's CDC? I thought that journalists should be neutral and should practice objective reporting?

Johnny Ballis at 09:06AM, 2017/02/20.
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Sammy at 01:19PM, 2017/02/20.
pme
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pme at 01:19PM, 2017/02/20.

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