Thoughts and Observations on Early Election Returns


Theodore T. Hodge


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
October 13, 2005


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I know it will probably be a long while before we know who will become Liberia’s next leader. There will most possibly be a second round of voting in November to determine the real winner. In Liberian football parlance: ‘Some of these “fee-see” or “gbeh-leh” players will be standing on the sidelines (some could be on their knees praying), holding their jerseys, when the real players finish the game.

Along the way, we are going to have some surprises – some spectacular plays that will not necessarily change the outcome of the game. Those individual players must be given credit for creating those plays. One of such early surprises is the strong performance of Dr. Joseph Korto, who once challenged Counselor Varney Sherman to become the standard bearer of the Liberian Action Party (LAP). After being tossed aside as an insignificant contender, Dr. Korto moved over to a new party, the Liberian Equal Rights Party (LERP); he is indeed a significant contender.

At the end of the first full day of ballot counting (102 polling places reporting), Dr. Korto is in second place over all. This brings to mind a famous saying by the late artist Andy Warhol, who said: “In the future everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” Well, Dr. Korto, you’ve had more than your fifteen minutes of fame. It’s almost midnight and Cinderella’s time is up; the party is over. Good showing, buddy.

Another big early surprise is the performance of Counselor Varney Sherman. He was considered a super star long before the game began. So far, he’s playing like he belongs on the bench. Here is a man who once allegedly declared of himself: “I am not a man of inconsequential financial means.” (I don’t know when or where he said this. No suing, my man). Comparing Sherman’s performance to Korto’s, the only saying that comes to mind is one by the legendary Mark Twain: “It is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that matters.” (Both literally and figuratively, I may add).

A Blunder For The Record Books

When Gyude Bryan was picked for the position of interim chairman, many, including myself, were surprised. We were inquiring, “Who the heck is Judy Bryant?” The wise ones who selected him told us he was the best man for the job because he was “disinterested” in politics. Disinterested? They said he was a businessman who had no ambition to hold on to political power. But they forgot to tell us that the gentleman had no clue what the job actually entailed. During his short tenure, he has demonstrated he really has no clue whatsoever. Perhaps he is the jester who became king… I hate to call him the ‘naked emperor’.

Gyude Bryant has angered everyone who has a stake in Liberia. It is very difficult to find anyone who speaks highly of him. Many think he will go down in history as the most corrupt Liberian leader ever; many others, including myself, think that his main problem is incompetence. For anyone who has run the state of affairs as loosely as he has, what other explanation could there be? This dude has no clue and the expression on his face says it all. He seems to be lost in a sea of nothingness, committing one gaffe after another. Even the market women almost jumped on him in a fight, when he was only paying them a courtesy call. That alone should tell you something is deeply wrong with this cat. (Our market women always dance for their leaders, no matter what).

The bottom line is, many of us can’t wait to get this guy out of the mansion. You can’t sue a fellow for idiocy but you can definitely bring charges for incompetence. However, Mr. Bryant could always use a very smart defense: “I didn’t know what was going on and you guys knew I didn’t know anything about the darned job when you gave it to me.” After all, what the heck did they mean by saying he was a businessman who was disinterested in politics? To show them how disinterested he was, he gave the whole store away. Way to go, Judy, I mean Gyude.

But if anyone disputes that this fellow had no clue, what did he do at the very end? He got ready to go cast his vote, on voting day. I don’t know who dressed him (does he dress himself or does he have a butler; poor man), but he forgot to put his voting card in his pocket. (They should have pinned the freaking thing on his lapel). A news story read: “Liberia’s transitional leader Charles Gyude Bryant dealt a major blow to his administration when he forgot to cast his ballot in the country’s first national elections in post-war Liberia… the NTGL chief apparently forgot to bring along his voting card.” Just for a brief moment, imagine that!

Maybe Gyude Bryant’s problem was he went to the wrong precinct to vote. Why didn’t he simply vote in Mamba Point (his real hometown) or simply just go down to Newport Street or thereabouts? Why did he go all the way to Cavalla, Maryland County? No true Marylander will ever make such a mockery of himself. (And I should know that). So Gyude Bryant, think again. Are you really from Maryland County or is it your final plea, that you have no clue? That just might be your best defense as you go down into Guinness’ book of records as: The only sitting president who couldn’t vote because he forget his home town and wasted a whole plane ride trying to find it. With the price of gasoline, well, that’s another story. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll rest my case for now… more to come later.