Unanswered Questions?

By Alvin J. Teage

The Perspective

January 9, 2002

When someone communicates something, which profoundly touches the heart of one’s country, it is a matter of patriotic duty to reject silence. I was so touched by Cllr. Mohamedu F. Jones’ article: “A ‘Dirty War’ of Political Terrorism Against Certain Liberians.” While I heartily agree with the learned legist position regarding the aptness of the burden of proof, I would like to communicate what I believe to be the real motive behind Taylor’s recent accusatory statements against certain Liberians.

We must consider the possibility that there is more than one reason for Taylor’s accusations of supported terror by certain educated Liberians. While it cannot be denied that Taylor is a vindictive and incompetent leader, most of these educated opposition leaders aren’t angels. After all, it is no secret that Cllr. Brumskine and Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf have enjoyed relations with Taylor who has in turn destroyed Liberia. But Taylor is not as foolish as some may believe. His recent allegations are directed at Liberia’s troubled masses, not her judiciary. Taylor knows that these referenced Liberians have yet to fully explain to the forgiving Liberian masses the degrees of their questionable involvements with him. I thus join the ranks of those greatly troubled by the lack of convincing information from these prospective presidential candidates regarding their involvement with Taylor. In a democracy, where politicians should aim to please the masses, how effective is a politician who operates in total secrecy?

It is not intuitively obvious, to me at least, why some of our educated brothers and sisters supported and continue to support Charles G. Taylor at Liberia’s expense. But for whatever political aspirations these Liberians may have, they must recognize that Liberia has outgrown her primitive stage of unnecessary disclosure. Gone are the days when the masses were barred from questioning the credibility of prospective presidential candidates. I therefore submit to these prospective presidential candidates that in the tribunal of public alertness, the proverbial “smoking gun” is often overlooked. It is no secret to Liberians that most of Taylor’s oppositions are individuals with unclean hands. So, why would any reasonable politician avoid issues questioning his or her credibility? If they want to put to rest speculations that their questionable involvement with the former warlord turned president, contributed to Liberia’s current deteriorated state, they should openly communicate with inquisitive Liberians. After all, it is not difficult to gather impeachable character from bad conduct(s). The train of evil must therefore be avoided.

These accusations yet again illustrate the essential role for prospective Liberian candidates to behave themselves morally and for the general interests. While it is unfair for Taylor to use undemocratic principles to quiet his opposition, I remain convinced that the relevant question for these prospective presidential candidates is one of credibility. This question is, of course, intimately connected to what I consider one of Liberia’s ultimate issues: whether or not these Liberians have the credibility to govern our people. The time has come to borrow the wisdom of the past and avoid and/or sever relations with known corrupt persons. And while some may find it necessary to avoid commenting on said allegations, as modern politicians should find it prudent to abandon the Liberian adage: “To ignore a fool is a big disgrace”. It may be political suicide to insist on said adage. These candidates should also recognize, unless they wish to fool Liberians - those candidates for our public positions with alleged unclean hands, must either confirm or deny said allegations to the new Liberian masses. Because while Charles G. Taylor’s “dirty war” may not be suited, the message they send to the already concerned tribunal of public alertness is notable.

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