|Charlie Brumskine & Charlie Taylor|
My Friend and “Small Brother”, Cllr. Charlie Brumskine, in his reaction (Front Page Africa, March 17, 2017) to Vice President Boakai’s press interview, accused “supporters of the Vice President of preaching divisive countryman politics . . . Liberians are tired of demagogues dividing us . . .”
As an eternal, political animal and one of the most visible supporters of the Vice President, I deny, categorically, not only introducing but also, “preaching divisive countryman politics”. But I took note, continue to take note as I have done elsewhere in my extensive writings and public speeches regarding Liberia’s historical policies of ethnic/tribal, indigenous exclusion by one of the founding/political ruling groups of the Liberian state – the African-Americans, popularly known and called Americo-Liberians, in cooperation with the Congos. We note these facts of history as an act of information or teaching responsibility, mindful of the saying “that those who ignore the lessons (mistakes) of history are likely to repeat them (the mistakes)”.
Cllr. Bumskine’s Rhetorical Questions
Cllr. Brumskine introduced and answered a series of rhetorical questions, prefaced by the statement “Liberians are tired of demagogues dividing us and at the end, killing the people, destroying the country, only to become our rulers. This time around, we believe Liberians will elect the people who have them at heart (loyal, patriotic), are the most qualified, most prepared, have the relevant experience and the requisite integrity to lead. As we say in Liberia, ‘da countryman business the people will eat?’”:
Cllr. Brumskine’s answer to these critical questions is found in his statement that “This time around, we believe Liberians will elect the people who have them at heart (loyal, patriotic), are the most qualified, most prepared, have the relevant experience and the requisite integrity to lead”.
Our Answer to Cllr Brumskine
First, we argue, reasonably, based on the facts of Liberian History and Socio-psychological Thought or Worldview, that the Learned Counselor-at-Law, Cllr. Brumskine, being descendant and product of the socio-cultural, economic and political worldview (belief systems, sociology, philosophy, etc.) of the founders of the Liberian State, the African-Americans, he (Cllr Brumskine), indeed, is of that Worldview.
Cllr. Brumskine has been a fixture on the nation’s political stage. He has witnessed, was involved in socio-economic and political events/conditions of the nation, at the very least, since the period of and after the military adventure of the coup d’état and the 28-30-year period after the Charles Taylor disaster of 1989, but teamed up with Mr. Taylor as the mouth-piece.
The Brumskine answers to his rhetorical questions show profound absence of originality, but dwell, verbally, on already known propositions, consciously ignoring the required policy prescriptions and doable alternatives.
Ethnic/tribal, Indigenous Exclusivity
Cllr. Brumskine knows very well that “da Kongo-Countryman business” had been and is the basis not only for the Policy of Exclusion of Indigenous Liberians, but also, that it is a reality that has been the core of all our problems of relative illiteracy, lack of information, poverty, hunger, decease an benign neglect of 2/3 or 67-70% of the land area and 97% of the nation’s population of rural Liberia. Yes, Cllr. Brumskine and the political rulers know these facts, but regrettably ignore or reject, consciously, the existence of facts of this condition.
Cllr. Brumskine knows that the practical answer to his rhetorical questions lied-then, and lies-now, on the establishment/implementation of that which, according to Planning and Development Experts, is known as the Premier Multiplier Effect in national economic development – all-weather, safe, efficient/effective national roads and highways or national transport/communications.
That in order to create this condition, Liberia must seek, first, the kingdom of national transport/communications and all others shall be added unto Liberia. But Cllr. Brumskine’s ancestors, the sole political rulers/decisions-makers and their descendants, including Cllr. Brumskine, did not seek that kingdom.
Moreover, it was Cllr. Brumskine’s ancestors who crafted the laws, particularly, the Unitary system of government utilized for more than a century that gave Liberia not only an imperial presidency, deny the “people” their inalienable right to vote in election of public officials of the sub-divisions (the counties), but also, rigidly centralized all administrative, economic and political power in a president who dished out, continues to dish out what is pleasing to him/her from faraway Executive Mansion, Monrovia. Indeed, to former Liberian political rulers from 1847 to the present, rural Liberia, about 67-70% of the total land area and 97% of the population do not exist. And it is the descendants, including Cllr. Brumskine, who administered, continue to administer the laws so made and provided.
This condition, with disastrous results of a failed state obtains, although Government realized the socio-economic and political injustice of the unitary system, approved and announced (2011) the National Decentralization & Local Governance Policy, but the powerful Policy Advisor, the Governance Commission of Dr. Amos Sawyer, announced that Liberia will continue to be unitary state with devolution of power.
Vice President/President Relations
On this crucial, critical issue of national significance, the Vice President was unequivocal and very clear in his statements, “That a Vice President, as the second-in-command, is objectively limited. The role of the Vice President is very clear. I am not the President. I do not make appointments”.
“Anytime a Vice President competes with the President, you know, there’s going to be problem. My role is to preside over the Senate without taking a vote; my role is to assist the President. Assist the President means that the President has a need and the President recognizes that the Vice President can fill those needs, she’ll ask the Vice President to do that. Since the two elections which brought Unity Party to power, President Sirleaf has never asked me to recommend to her any minister or any ministry. However, I recognized that it is the prerogative of the President and there was no need for me interfering, if not called upon”.
“Do I have the right to go the President to ask that without people saying ‘You trying to fight the woman, that’s the woman’s right? I cannot do it. The President must invite me, she must see the need the same way she felt the need to have a Vice President, that’s my role. I am Vice President; the difference between me and the President may be the way we implement.”
Nowhere in that interview did Vice President Boakai accuse President Sirleaf of supporting Cllr. Brumskine. He said, “Boakai is uncertain who President Sirleaf supports; it could be that she is keeping her trump card of support to herself as she hasn’t rendered the party any support. I know what she’s not doing for the Unity Party, but the people probably know what she’s doing for other parties”. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has not responded nor denied the Vice President’s statements.
On Liberia’s tradition of VP Dilemma: As UP merges with LAP/LUP, Will History Favour Boakai?Is a historical analysis by Front Page Africa. We Wonder if Cllr. Brumskine and his lieutenants (Philip B. Suah, Jr.) have had access to this relevant piece of Liberian history.
The Critical Issue of the Divide
On the issue of the “Americo-Congo” versus “Country-Indigenous” Divide, we held (Catalyst, March 17, 2017) that “Indeed, there had been, and is, rigid reality of a Divide – Socio-cultural, Ethnic-indigenous - between Liberians. It is the core of Liberia’s socio-economic and political under-development since 1847. No level of academic and intellectual, verbal rationalizations can wish away this reality. This effort and approach demand un-doing the foundations of the structures created – socio-economic, cultural, legal, fundamental systems of public administration, service delivery, modern development planning, financial management & reporting, etc., with ‘guts’ and the ‘political will’ to produce pre-determined, desirable results”.
“One of our critical problems, apparently, is that although all of us – ‘Americo-Congo’ and ‘Country-indigenous’ Liberians - suffered the deadly impact of this unfortunate reality, particularly, the April, 1980 Event and the historic nightmare of the December, 1989 Invasion; but there are those of us – Liberians – who promote and defend the continuation of this deadly DIVIDE, unmindful of the facts that we have come a long, long way with inter-marriages, business unions and, even, cultural acceptance with ethnic diversity”.
“Today, it will be difficult to find a Liberian of age 30 down (they are in the majority of the nation’s population), among the informed and educated, with the awesome responsibility for the future of our country, who is 100% “country-indigenous” or “Americo-Congo”.
Like Cllr. Brumskine, “at this critical period in time, our country stands in need of leaders-teachers, period”, ‘people who have them at heart (loyal, patriotic), are the most qualified, most prepared, have the relevant experience and the requisite integrity to lead’ and “who are dedicated, loyal, patriotic, progressive and liberal with national pride, irrespective of or without consideration of “Americo-Congo” or “Country-Indigenous”.
Our choice and support of the Vice President are based on the core qualification requirements – citizenship, age, relevant training/experience (particularly agriculture), integrity, on-ground in Liberia experience/involvement in the socio-economic and political dynamics of who says and does what to whom, why, how, when, where and the context, integrity, twelve-year experience as deputy president of the nation. Moreover, the VP has resided in Liberia continuously up to the coming elections. No other candidate can muster this type of qualifications!!
Indeed, it is reasonably appropriate and relevant to remind Young and Old Liberia of the following Equation and thought:
1. WISDOM (the reservoir of knowledge) = Sound training + Varied work experience + Age;
2. Wisdom is taught at no school, college or university; and that
3. JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI, SR. possesses all of the above.