Corruption, Nepotism, Americo-Liberian Indigenous Divide Must be Abolished in Liberia- Dr. Nya Kwaiwon Taryor

By Winsley S. Nanka, CPA

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 19, 2006


Dr. Nya Kwaiwon Taryor, Sr has urged Liberians to abolish the vices that retard the progress of the country if Liberia is to move forward. Dr. Taryor was speaking to the Perspective in an interview shortly after the Reunion and Homecoming program organized by the Ganta United Methodist Mission School Alumni Association (GUMMSAA-USA) in Philadelphia on July 14, 2006. Dr. Taryor cautioned Liberians to address the undercurrent that caused the 1980 crises because “if Liberians fail to address the root causes of what caused the instability in Liberia, Liberians could still face additional problems in the future. He named the undercurrent as corruption, nepotism, Americo-Liberian indigenous divide, among others.
Dr. Taryor is one of the modern fathers of “Liberian progressive intellectualism”. Dr. Taryor, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, Dr. Amos Sawyer, Dr. Bioma Fahnbulleh and Mr. Gabriel Baccus Mathews began a campaign against the True Whig Party oligarchy for social and political reforms in Liberia in the 1970s. Dr. Taryor, an alumnus of Ganta Mission School, who holds two doctors of Ministries (theology) degrees, and once served as Professor of Theology, Social and Biblical Ethics at Cuttington University College, and President at the Gbarnga School of Theology articulated “liberation theology” as a motif for social change in Liberia. Liberation theology is “a term first used in 1973 by Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian Roman Catholic priest. It is a school of thought among Latin American Catholics according to which the Gospel of Christ demands that the church concentrate its efforts on liberating the people of the world from poverty and oppression”,
Dr. Taryor indicated that he left Liberia in 1980 to attend a church conference in the United States, three days after his arrival in the US, the 1980 military takeover occurred. He has since resided in exile in the United States. When asked why he has been so quiet in view of the political turmoil that has engulfed Liberia for the past quarter century, Dr. Taryor explained that he changed his strategy in view of the prevailing circumstances. “I worked to expose President Taylor atrocities and human rights violations in Liberia”, he said. He revealed that he compiled various reports of atrocities and human rights violations in Liberia and distributed the report to the international community and Liberia and he participated in Liberian pro-democracy rallies in the US. Continuing he said, “I did quiet political work because of fear of my mother’s security”. He explained that he did not want what happened to Mr. Weh-Dorliae to happen to him. In October 1990, Mr. Weh-Dorliae flew from the United States to the Ivory Coast to assess the political situation in Liberia. He condemned then rebel leader Charles Taylor atrocities in Liberia on a BBC radio talk show. As a reprisal, Taylor’s thugs descended on Weh-Dorliae’s home town in Nimba County and burned more than 10 houses belonging to the Weh-Dorliae clan, thus, leaving his family homeless.

When asked to give his assessment about the Johnson-Sirleaf administration, Dr. Taryor pointed out that Liberians have to be realistic because the social and economic infrastructure of Liberia was decimated as the result of the Liberian conflict. Therefore, it is inconceivable for Liberians to expect the new administration to address the problems in Liberia in a short time. He stated that President Sirleaf “needs to be given time to set the foundation for development in Liberia.” Continuing, he said “Liberians have to be aware that development does not occur overnight.”

Asked in retrospect if there is anything he thinks could have been done differently by the progressive community since the 1980 coup, Dr. Taryor said “I regretted the inaction or the silence of the Liberian progressives when 12 government officials of the Tolbert administration were executed after the 1980 military takeover”. He said, “The executions of Tolbert government officials by the Doe military regime was inconsistent with the democratic principles the progressives espoused”. He continued “I regretted that we did not speak out against the executions of people after their conviction by a kangaroo court”. He also regretted that the progressive community was quick to embrace the military regime.

He revealed that he has not participated in any Liberian government since the coup of 1980 because governments from Samuel Doe to Gyude Bryant did not meet his value system. “Samuel Doe wanted me to go to Liberia after the coup, but I refused”, he said. He also said that he did not serve in the Sawyer Interim government because the government was predominantly composed of “individuals that participated in previous governments that did not improve the living standards of the Liberian people”. He reiterated his misgivings about the composition of the Sawyer Interim government to Dr. Sawyer in Banjul. For this reason, “I turned down an offer from Dr. Sawyer to serve as one of his advisors”, he said.

When asked about the composition of the Ellen-Johnson Administration, Dr. Taryor said “the difference between the current government and others is that it is made up of a mixture of both old and new breed politicians. In addition, “a lot of these people have somehow left their integrity intact over the years”, he said. Also “the appointment of Dr. Boima Fahnbulleh by President Sirleaf as one of her advisors is an indication that she is willing to have people of divergence views around her”.

Asked if he has any political ambition for a national office, Dr. Taryor said “when I returned to Liberia, I will serve the country in any capacity that my services are needed either in the public or private sector. He also said he plans to return home in the near future to make his contribution to the reconstruction process.

Earlier during the program, Mrs. Martha Sendolo Belleh, the former Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Republic of Liberia in the 1980s and an alumnus of Ganta Mission School who also served as one of the keynote speakers, extolled the progress women have made in Liberia over the years. She was however quick to note that Liberian women must be regarded as “equal partners in the reconciliation and reconstruction of Liberia. Mrs. Sendolo-Belleh, who holds a master degree in Nursing with many years experience as national and international health care practitioner, said “women need good education, well paying job, and understanding from their spouses” as we are now in a new era in the history of Liberia. An apparent reference to the election of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Serleaf as Africa’s first democratically elected female president.

According to Mr. Sam Smith, the Coordinator of the Alumni Association, the proceeds from the program are expected to benefit two short-term initiatives launched by the alumni association. The two short-term initiatives are a scholarship fund to help pay students tuition at the institution and a fund to pay teachers salaries. He indicated that the association plans to identify funding sources to meet the long term developmental needs of the institution. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith has called on alumni and friends of Ganta Mission School to assist the institution with both financial and in-kind contributions to meet the goals of the alumni association at .

According to the information provided by the organizers of the program, Ganta United Methodist Mission was established in 1926 by Dr. George Way Harley and Winefred J. Harley, two American missionaries. The mission operates both a school and a hospital. The school and the hospital were leading providers of quality health care and education in Liberia until the civil war began in 1989, which destroyed most of the infrastructure of the institution. American Missionaries stationed at the mission also left Liberia as the result of the civil war. Currently, the institution gets meager support from overseas to meet its operational needs.

Scores of alumni, friends and well wishers attended the program including Dr. Wilfred Boayou, former Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer Republic of Liberia, Mrs. Mai Quipu Yuan, former chairperson, United Nimba Citizens Council ( USA) both alumni, Mr. Yarsuo Weh-Dorliae, member of the Good Governance Reform Commission, Republic of Liberia, Mr. Zackary Sharpe, III, and Ms Annie Dennis who served as the master of ceremonies, among others.

© 2006 by The Perspective

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