Joining The Appeal Chorus

By: Joseph G. Bartuah


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 20, 2006


Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
As an ardent supporter of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, I join scores of other well-meaning Liberians in appealing to her, to reconsider her lawsuit against former NPFL strongman, Thomas Woeweiyu, for doing so will be in the best interest of the Liberian nation.

Unlike some of those contending otherwise, I strongly believe that President Sirleaf, like any other Liberian, has the fundamental right, within the pale of our laws, to seek judicial redress, if she feels aggrieved by anyone. I commend the president that she did not resort to any extra-judicial action against Woeweiyu, despite her seemingly strong resentment of his lies. Her judicial action is in sharp contrast to those grotesque scenarios in the defunct “Republic of Greater Liberia”, where Woeweiyu and his buddy, Charles Taylor incessantly terrorized law-abiding citizens and foreign residents. Certainly, Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopu, Elmer Glee Johnson and others did not get the benefit of such judicial action in Woeweiyu’s Greater Liberia.

I appeal not because I am unaware of Tom’s lethal lips and his toxic tongue, but primarily because such litigation will be an undue distraction from the Herculean task ahead, and secondly, because it might inadvertently resurrect a political dying dog.

As it is often said, if you mind the noise in the market, you won’t buy the goods. President Sirleaf should consider Tom Woeweiyu’s calumnies last September as mere noise in the political market place. Madam President, what is much more significant is that more than 400,000 voters resoundingly repudiated--in fact, vehemently rejected Tom’s malicious outburst against you at the polls on November 8, 2005 with their decisive votes in your favor. In other words, consider whatever Tom said at the time as a tissue that is only worth trashing, since the voters have robustly vindicated you.

As we all know, for a message to be credible, the messenger must himself be credible. What credibility does Woeweiyu have with the Liberian people for which you are worrying? Because of his checkered character and chameleonic antics, coupled with his pernicious past, Thomas Smith Woeweiyu has already plunged himself into the sea of political irrelevance.

Madam President, don’t do Tom any favor by engaging in a lawsuit against him, because any judicial tussle between you and shameless Tom will definitely be perceived through the political prism of a David-and-Goliath battle. Just treat it as some of the trivialities of politics and move on to do the good work for which the Liberian people overwhelmingly reposed their confidence in you last November. Remain focused on the formidable task of reconstruction, economic empowerment and national reconciliation. Always remind yourself that fate has thrust you to the pinnacle of state power so as to exemplarily lead in shaping the destiny of our common patrimony and await the impartial verdict of history. Restoring what those voracious, loud-mouthed locusts have devoured over the years is quite a challenging task to allow the clamor of any morally spineless politician to distract one from. In your epic political struggle, you have not been known to have been scared by the shrieking of the crickets and now that you are at the zenith of your career, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the barking of a strayed dog.

My only advice at this point in time is that rather than pursuing litigation against any toxic-tongue chap, since you and I know that there are some elements in our midst who are pathologically addicted to anarchy because they thrive on chaos, seek the needed assistance of friendly governments and vigorously reorganize the security apparatus of the country, strengthen the intelligence gathering capacity of the security forces and continue to expend the “political capital” the Liberian people gave to you last November.