Considered to be Liberia’s foremost opposition figure, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
might have seemed to be the best choice for the Transitional leadership. Yet,
fears and suspicions among Liberian politicos for her strong appetite for
genuine reforms explains why she was dissuaded earlier to abandon her towering
ambition in a basically masculine struggle. Nevertheless, Mrs Sirleaf still
possesses the basic qualities for good leadership that are conspicuously lacking
in many Liberian politicians. She is one of the few strong voices in the vanguard
of the struggle for genuine transformations in Liberia, and could therefore
be the one to help restore all the years that the locusts have eaten. Since
the problems in Liberia are linked to poor management and the urgent need
for redistributing the country’s vast wealth among its fairly manageable
population, many observers believe that Mrs. Sirleaf could help set the pace
for such leap.
Women are becoming a formidable force in Liberia’s political life. Mrs.
Theresa Leigh-Sherman, another independent Liberian woman, has been a known
figure in Liberia since the 1980s. Now estranged from her equally ambitious
husband, Cllr. Rudolph Sherman, Mrs. Sherman could play a meaningful role
during the Transitional period were it not for her own inexperience in state
craft. Completely ignorant about the rudiments of modern government, she falls
far below the minimum standards as far as conflict management is concerned.
Although soft spoken compared to Mrs. Sirleaf, Mrs. Sherman cannot be a reconciler
in a conflict that pivots around widening social disparities because she has
never hidden her sympathy for Liberia’s corrupt Old Order.
Effective crisis management requires caution and tactfulness. On the periphery,
Gyude Bryant possesses both qualities and may therefore seem to be the alternative
name. Unfortunately, his poor human relations and Cllr. Charles Brumskine’s
growing influence on him undermine his chances. In conflict situations such
as Liberia, where a leader is required to be constructively decisive and independent
in thoughts and actions, Mr. Bryant, who owes much of what he has accumulated
over the years to Libya, cannot be a compromise name.
Alhaji G. V. Kromah
If Charles McArthur Taylor, George Boley, Roosevelt Johnson, Prince Johnson,
Sekou Darmate Konneh, etc, cannot be eligible for consideration in any transitional
government, then to think of the name Alhaji G. V. Kromah would be the most
unimaginable thing for anyone to consider in Liberia now. Mr. Kromah’s
role in the Liberian conflict is one of the most outrageous memories. In the
last Transitional arrangement, most of those he nominated to serve in government
came from his Mandingo tribe, which is therefore why he definitely cannot
be a unifier or reconciler. His stubbornness and over-ambition sometimes becloud
his ability to reason well.
Marcus R. Jones
Since the bulk of Liberia’s problems can be blamed on lawlessness, one
may be tempted to conclude that the best choice for the Transitional leadership
would be a lawyer. In this case, the name Marcus R. Jones might as well appeal
to everyone. But time has unveiled the true nature of Cllr. Jones, as his
partisan role has become more glaring in recent times. His insistence that
the indictment on President Taylor be dropped before peace can be restored
to Liberia and his growing appetite for women have brought him into disrepute.
Such outrageous omens are frightening and are therefore compelling reasons
why he cannot be entrusted with the eternal fate of a whole nation.
George Toe-Washington is a renowned Liberian diplomat and politician. Dr.
Washington was only thirty-five years old when he became head of Liberia’s
army. Now a very old man, however, he lacks the vigor a leader needs in a
country torn apart by conflict. A few weeks ago he felt prey to a group of
hungry Liberian refugees who had deceptively impressed him that he could make
it to the Transitional leadership with their support. He is even said to have
been involved in a fist fight with Cllr. Chea Cheapo. Many observers believe
that while General Washington has no evil inclinations, his age has largely
been responsible for his susceptibility to bad influences. Therefore, it would
be a risky venture to consider him for the Transitional Leadership.
Bishop Augustus B. Marwieh
Liberia is a sanctity that has been abused by its past and present leaders.
Spiritually, something has gone terribly wrong in Liberia: Evidence of moral
decadence pervades the government machinery. Divine intervention is therefore
required to rescue our Nation from the hands of evil forces. Can Bishop Marwieh
be the one to restore “This Sweet Land of Liberty by God’s Command”
to its sanctity? ...Aged and without the slightest knowledge of state craft,
the Bishop cannot be the one that God has anointed for this Herculean task because
as evidence shows, he has joined those who are using money to influence decisions
in their favour.
More than thirty years in the vanguard as a political activist seems to have
given Dr. Tipoteh a distinction that many of the other aspirants do not enjoy.
Yet, this long experience has not done much to change his attitude towards
power. He has been head of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) since
its formation in the 1970s. His critics accuse him of manipulating the Movement
in order to remain its head perpetually. But this is inadequate to explain
why Dr. Tipoteh who, together with many of his compatriots, has been championing
the cause of reforms cannot be given the chance to head the Transitional Government.
His impeccable records as an anti-corruption crusader stands out in the Liberian
political arena. If chosen, he could no doubt be the one to excite the seed
of socio-economic reforms that he and others had planted for the last thirty
years or so.
When the full accounts of the struggle for democracy in Liberia are written,
the United People’s Party (UPP) will come out clean as an institution.
The man trying to patch up the UPP after the Baccus Matthews debacle is no
doubt Mr. Wesley Johnson, who has also thrown his hat into the race for the
Executive Mansion. Innocent in outlook, Mr. Johnson may almost suddenly appeal
to the less critical mind. Yet, he is a slow political poison. When chosen
to head the Transitional Government, he will not be the real one to exercise
that power. The people to use that power will be individuals like Fred Bass-Golokei,
Blamo Nelson and his few close associates who are mostly remnants of the Taylor
era. Moreover, speaking practically of the Liberian dilemma, Mr. Johnson lacks
the credentials to deliver Liberia from its current quagmire.
Relatively unknown in the political arena, Roosevelt Quiah is a novice in modern
state craft. His first entry into politics was in 1996/’97, when through
the influence of his brother he became Ambassador-At-Large, a position he exploited
to trade in the sale of Liberian passports to foreigners. Not adequately educated,
Mr. Quiah is a client for Russian financial mafias who are already here in Accra
to support their client's bid for Liberia's top job. Indeed, he is another Charles
McArthur Taylor in the making.
Harry Fumba Moniba
Harry F. Moniba
Where partisan politics is considered, Dr. Harry Fumba Moniba, a former vice
president and by far the most experienced of all the contestants, cannot be
blameless. His unsurpassed level of tolerance, his patience, his emotionally
stable state of mind even under the most tormenting circumstances, his willingness
to listen to even the least member of society, and his readily strong appeals
to people of all social strata, are just a few of the attributes that strike
out almost instantly. On November 12, 1985, while being held captive by General
Thomas Quiwonkpa and his forces, Dr. Moniba warned: “Liberia is too
small for its people to fight among themselves”. Such comment from a
man whose life and position were under threat could not have been made by
many of the characters here if they were faced with such dilemma. No wonder
then why only Dr. Moniba stands out from the rest of the candidates.
The most monumental error that any people can make is when they fail to understand
that genuine transformations are only possible if those who undermine positive
change are kept as far away from decision-making as necessary. If this holds,
then the man Rudolph Sherman, whose name is synonymous to corruption and hypocrisy,
would be the slightest to consider. While this Survey was being compiled,
Mr.Sherman was in a tight telephone conversation with his mentor, Mr. Charles
McArthur Taylor. Sherman has been the brain behind the establishment of the
nine (9) surrogate political parties that were brought to Accra primarily
to convey what Mr. Taylor sneezes into their nostrils. If in spite of this
Liberians still decide to choose Rudolph Sherman to head the Transitional
Government (TG), then the fallacy that they voted for peace in 1997 instead
of for Taylor would be exposed for the world to see.