The Saga of Taylor versus Brumskine
(Commentary on the News)

By Jerry Wehtee Wion

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 18, 2003

In politically chaotic Liberia, the dictator President, Charles McArthur Taylor is sending a clear but unspoken message to his onetime buddy, wannabe president Charles Walker Brumskine, and to all Liberian presidential hopefuls: don't mess with Taylor on his home turf where he calls the plays. Brumskine, lets hope, is getting that message loud and clear, which is being delivered to him through unconstitutional political roadblocks erected by Taylor's foot soldiers in the various government ministries.

Taylor's subtle warning to his old friend turned political rivals is this: "Dear Brumskine, Welcome back to Liberia. You and I were in this mess together, but then you wanted to step on my toes. So you ran to our mother America and now you are back. Suddenly, you are now the good guy and I am the devil. But because we come from the same old school, I will not arrest you to make a political hero out of you. But instead, I will use you like a political football. I will harass and intimidate you, and will give you the run-around just to frustrate your presidential ambitions. Ofcourse, you will regret why you even decided to come back home in the first place. And then you are talking about how you want MY job to be president of Liberia? Have you forgotten the agreement that I was to remain President of Liberia until the year 2024...The Vision? Just watch me! Your buddy, Chuck Taylor."...Those are Taylor's unspoken message to his onetime legislative agenda designer.

Brumskine, the former flag bearer and cheer leader for Taylor's rubber-stamp legislature, fled Taylor's repressive regime a couple of years ago for the comfort of the United States of America, the refuge for Liberia's past and present corrupt political

figures. But he miscalculated his political future when he returned to Liberia last month with the hope of running Taylor out of the Executive Mansion in elections scheduled for October this year. Ironically, it was in Brumskine's home town of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County last year February, during a convention of Taylor's ruling National Patriotic Party [NPP], when Taylor and his party faithfuls predicted winning the October elections by a whopping 93 per cent of the votes. Yes, you heard me. Taylor and his party diehards said they would win by capturing 93% of the ballots.

Now, like a virtual political prisoner under house arrest, Taylor has seized Brumskine's passports, cell phone, and will not even allow his friend to visit his home in Buchanan, let alone, allow him to travel out of the country to promote himself as the messiah who will deliver Liberians to the promised land of a utopian new democratic Liberia. A Foreign Ministry passport officer last week barked at Brumskine: "We will not issue Brumskine any passport....let him take us anywhere," meaning to Taylor's kangaroo courts, according to the March 10, 2003 edition of the local, The News newspaper.

And now Brumskine is crying foul, talking about how his constitutional rights are being violated. When did Brumskine, the lawyer by profession realize all this?

As President Pro-Tempore of Taylor's rubber-stamp NPP-dominated Senate, Brumskine turned a blind eye to the very abuses he is now crying about when Taylor trampled on the rights of other Liberians. Never did the Senate, under Brumskine's leadership initiate any legislative inquiry into Taylor's wanton abuse of the constitution, including the murders of opposition figures, and the crackdown on human rights activists and journalists.

Yes indeed, Brusmkine maintained a tight-lip when Taylor murdered prominent Liberians including the late Gabriel Kpolleh, Jackson F. Doe, Sam Dokie, Madame Nowai Flumo, Madison Wion, Teh Quiah, plus countless number of other Liberians. He has also remained silent in brutalities against Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, Cllr. Marcus Jones, journalist Hassan Bility, former President Amos Sawyer and scores of other Liberian. What is good for these political victims of Taylor should be equally good for Charles Walker Brumskine in Taylor's so-called democratic Liberia. Some of these crimes were committed when Senator Brumskine was carefully crafting Taylor's autocratic agenda in the legislature.

Brumskine, born a True Whig Party [TWP] member,---a party of the Americo-LIberians----jumped ship when the TWP's stocks plummeted after the 1980 coup led by Sgt. Samuel K. Doe. He later carried the banner of Taylor's NPP until recently. Sensing a doomed NPP, he jumped again to the late Gabriel Kpolleh's Liberia Unification Party, [LUP]. It would have been unthinkable and a political suicide for a Brumskine to leave the TWP for a Kpolleh's LUP. Oh, how times have changed; indeed, a political prostitute at the height of political hypocrisy who is always following the gravy train. Why not build your own party from the grassroots, Mr. Brumskine?

The only reason Taylor has not arrested Brumskine is that both men are from the same Clan; the clan of the once powerful Americo-Liberian hegemonic minority clique that ruled Liberia with an iron hand for nearly 150 years at the expense of the majority native African-Liberians....all the reasons for Liberia's present political, economic and social calamity.

Do you then blame the rebel group, LURD, [Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy] fighting to remove Taylor from power by force? No indeed and ONLY if they have the country at heart. Their argument is that Taylor has closed all the doors to peaceful/constitutional change. It was the same argument that Taylor used against the late dictator, Samuel K. Doe when he launched the bloody seven-year civil war in 1989 the killed some 250,000 Liberians. Today, Monrovia is the only capital city in the world without electricity and safe drinking water for its citizens. Taylor's public relations guru Reginald Goodridge tauted Taylor as the "economic president."

As for the Brumskine/Taylor saga, there will be no elections come October this year. Taylor has refused to heed the call of the new American Ambassador to Liberia, John Blaney, that Liberia needs to request for financial and logistical help from the United Nations, the United States and other western nations to oversee the elections. Taylor says that is tantamount to meddling in Liberia's internal affairs, and therefore he organized anti-American demonstrations in Monrovia. The U.S. warns that it will not recognize the outcome if the elections are marred by fraud/cheating.

The country is already in turmoil with the LURD rebels slowly encroaching on the capital, causing sleepless nights for both Taylor and Brumskine.

About the Author: Jerry Wehtee Wion, a former TV Commentator to Presidents William R. Tolbert and Samuel Doe, is producer of the Liberian African News Service, LANS Newsline in New York City. He also works for the Associated Press In Manhattan.