Our readers should know that the political life of these “chameleons” have changed colors many times through the years, although they have managed unsuccessfully to mask themselves as patriots. Numerous factors may support the allegations made above, including the email. However, their repetitive political vacillation and strong ties to despots or strategies to maintain despots in power have given immense currency to the links being drawn between Teh, Teajay, Matthews and the brewing of the plan described in this paper. We should also add that the term tribalist is not used to suggest that there is anything wrong with identifying with one’s ethnic lineage. However, we believe that when ethnic identity becomes infused with prejudice and hatred to injure individuals and groups or diminish opportunities to advance national identity and unify polarized sides, there are reasons for immense concern.
It is glaring that these individuals whose rise to fame is mostly attributed to their association with rebel movements, and discredited governments are determined to undermine the peace and stability of the nation, simply because they are unable to survive in a democratic and competitive Liberia. The calculated plan to make Liberia “ungovernable” by Oppong Weah and his followers is ostensibly designed to intimidate president-elect Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her supporters to negotiate a power sharing arrangement with the Oppong Weah gang. These discredited individuals may believe that, if they pressure the president-elect hard enough, she would succumb to their demands. An email uncovered yesterday, which by now, is widely circulated among Liberians, attributed to Tarty Teh and Jerry Wion, suggests the sinister motive. This paper is intended to expose the plan to a much wider audience. An alternative objective is to add our voices to the chorus of Liberians who want to bring an end to the work of these evildoers and counter their reckless efforts to perpetuate chaos in Liberia for the rest of their lives.
If one were just to read the email in question, which Tarty Teh supposedly addressed to his friend Jerry Wion or vice versa, a one time public affairs employee of the Bureau of Maritime, you would have no need to panic. But, after one links the email to CDC’s presidential candidate George Oppong Weah’s declaration of himself as the president of Liberia, the assertion that he would disrupt the inauguration, and the act of savagery that followed by CDC supporters, there are reasons for alarm, even if Oppong Weah denies the allegation.
In the email by Tarty Teh and Jerry Wion, there are four specific points that are extremely disquieting. First, the email suggests that “There is no logical reason for CDC to wait for the ruling from the National Elections Commission (NEC) which is the source of the fraud CDC has alleged.” Furthermore, the email goes on to say that “the NEC is pushing CDC against the inauguration timeline. This is why it became necessary for CDC to indicate that there will be no inauguration.” Second, Teh describes George Oppong Weah as “more defiant than anyone” he has come across in the CDC. He adds, “This is our last chance.” Third, the email also derogatorily refers to members of the judiciary as “Americos,” a derisive and divisive term insinuating the ethnic divide that has polarized the nation for all of its life. Fourth and even more menacing are the statements: “… But that’s not what the CDC is counting on. It is calculating its move beyond the court.” This statement portends an extra or super judicial step, which possibly does not involve legal processes. With several persons injured and properties damaged, a police officer badly wounded and left unconscious, it is obvious where their steps beyond the Supreme Court are headed. Strangely, the email is signed off just as Tarty Teh usually closes his Internet columns.
The email deserves a stinging rebuttal for many reasons. It breeds the kinds of ominous patterns that were set in the 1980s and 1990s that eventually made coups and countercoups the mainstays of those periods. Liberians cannot afford to even imagine that their sons and daughters would “daydream” another war, when they have babies that were born in the throes of war and have yet not seen peace, although they are fast approaching adulthood. There are thousands of young children born of Liberian parents in exile who have yet not seen their relatives at home, including their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There are Liberians who have missed important family milestones: births, deaths, funerals, baptisms, etc. These burdens have heaped up psychological turmoil for so many and given others heavy hearts. The fact that people would find value in endangering the lives of Liberians just when many are excitedly considering leaving exile and returning home is the kind of recklessness that is reserved especially for hooligans and losers.
What is at stake here is larger than the ego of any
one Liberian. The destinies of countless Liberians
born and unborn, and living in and out of Liberia,
stand to be shattered, if this nation is plunged into
a prolonged fighting once again. This email gambles
with the lives of Liberians and exposes our people
to immense risks. The toll that such an email and
the accompanying actions in Monrovia can take on hope
– the most potent ingredient in economic, health,
and social recovery is immeasurable. People’s
memories can relapse into painful gears, thinking
that once again, they could be awakened to yet another
absurd and futile war. Why?
For too long, Liberians who are educated have been indifferent toward these kinds of individuals whose sole purpose is to disrupt the peace and stability of the nation. Their misdeeds have gone unchallenged and they have made a living at the expense of exploiting and tormenting the Liberian people. For this reason, our country has been hindered by conflict and confusion, while our less fortunate people look on in complete dismay, yet powerlessly. To end such a vicious cycle, all Liberian must commit themselves to become parts of a rapid response force, designed to challenge and confront any attempt to bring about division, be it ethnic, religious or otherwise, no matter the source.
Assuming that Tarty Teh wrote this email, then, it
is the very same pronounced selfishness with which
he charged Charles Taylor, members of the legislature
in that government, and others like Amos Sawyer. He
claimed that these people were exploiting a “cash-strapped”
nation and its people. Is he not “flirting with
disaster” when he uses his mind games to entice
a group of Liberians who may care less about or have
relatively very little understanding of the deadly
consequences another round of war would wrought?
Could it be that Tarty Teh and others are “suffering from an acute sense of partisanship” (Teh’s words describing Winston Tubman during the Taylor era), since the CDC did not win the elections, they must disrupt the country and blemish the future for the rest of us? The time has come to “rein in our local fools” (Teh’s words referring to the legislators under Charles Taylor). It is difficult to perceive the email and the associated actions in another manner other than a plot to destabilize the country, if not, overthrow the president-elect. Given such a motive, Liberians of good conscience cannot stand by idly and watch the “toads” among us snap our future. Liberians of all stripes have to stand in support of their newly elected president and urge the government to pursue the most stringent legal recourse possible to ensure the safety and well being of the Liberian people.
It is shameful that Tarty Teh, who expressed doubt that the 1985 presidential elections that brought the late dictator Samuel K. Doe to power were rigged, could plan to make Liberia “ungovernable” because of an allegation of fraud that does not meet international standards. In the article “George Oppong Weah’s Nationality” published by saharavillage.com, Teh wrote: "…the election that brought him (Samuel Doe) to power is viewed by those who lost to him in 1985 as having resulted from massive fraud.” One would surmise that Teh was disputing the charges levied against Doe, whose actions and that of his National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), during these elections were labeled by the international community at the time as fraudulent.
This self-styled advocate for justice has questionable credibility. For Tarty Teh to declare himself well-suited to even question others for fraudulent acts is the pinnacle of egotism. From whence does he find his moral authority? Is it as a public affairs architect for rebel factions, Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) which rewarded him with a position as a Bureau of Maritime Senior Deputy Commissioner? Noteworthy, Tarty Teh was unqualified and ill-equipped to serve in this capacity. He should show proof how his academic background and experience qualified him for this position.
Furthermore, an audit of the Bureau of Maritime, which was conducted by Moore Stephens, published by Frontpageafrica.com on September 9, 2005 noted that “Tarty Teh received unspecified amounts as salaries for months he did not work” as Senior Deputy Commissioner. According to Frontpageafrica.com, Teh rationalized that he should receive compensation from the date of his appointment by the government of Liberia regardless of the date he reported at the Maritime Office in Virginia. Now that this lucrative source of ill-gotten wealth is threatened by a change of government Tarty Teh and other wide-eyed opportunists who see their chances of leaching on government disappearing are concocting new strategies (old wine in new skin) to stay along for the ride. Could it be that Tarty Teh and other Oppong Weah supporters who worked at the Bureau of Maritime are now watching their chances of eking out a living at the expense of Liberians evaporating, and would dare not let go? Should government positions be lifetime sources of unearned and stolen acquisitions?
The Liberian people have spoken and their mandate is clear that they prefer an experienced time-tested leader to tackle the challenges associated with rebuilding their war torn country. Therefore, we believe it would be illogical for president-elect Sirleaf to entertain the discussion of a power sharing arrangement with Oppong Weah and his emissaries. The facts are on the side of president-elect Sirleaf. She won the run-off election in a landslide and the election was “free and fair” according to international observers and monitors. As the result of this, virtually every major world leader has accepted her victory.
We call on the United States Government to ban Tarty Teh and other gangsters from entering the US, if they continue to unleash terror on the Liberia people. Since most of these troublemakers who have destabilized the West African sub-region for many years, use the United States as a base to finance and carry out their terrorist acts, it is critical that the US Government even revoke their US citizenships and/or residence status to prevent any further unlawful actions. The common Liberian citizen does not have the luxury to run in and out of Monrovia every time these individuals foment trouble and then run to the US to enjoy their loots in the safety of their spouses’ US citizenships.
In closing, president-elect Sirleaf could include some CDC members in her government purely on the basis of their qualifications and her personal desire to form a government of national unity and not because Oppong Weah “won” the election and was cheated. Anything designed solely to appease Oppong Weah and his followers would set a dangerous precedent. A few groups of ethnically-absorbed Liberians and opportunists would always believe that they could commit these subversive acts with impunity. The competing source of pressure on the incoming Sirleaf government should not be to give in to the war mongers, but to produce the necessary environment for broad-based moderate governance.
THE AUTHORS: Emmanuel Dolo and Winsley Nanka are writers who contribute regularly to numerous media outlets that cover Liberia and Africa at large, including Frontpage Africa, the Daily Observer, the Perspective, and others. Emmanuel lives in Coon Rapids, Minnesota and Winsley lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.