By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
“Tsungbeh, you are crazy! CDCians have heard these kinds of “news” before in 2005, immediately after the rerun of the presidential elections of that year.”— Dr. Matthew N. Nimpson – 12/18/13 – Liberian listserv
“The issue at bar that the CDC is allegedly trading its standard bearer post to Beninoi Urey didn’t come from the CDC camp but rather according to the News paper, from the Urey family but is being twisted by some of you as if it is the official position of the CDC. Mr. Sungbeh it hurts for some one to says to others those I am dealing with are fools; and know no better, I can get my way through anytime! This is the drama I am seeing at play. So, Mr. Sungbeh, we are not new to these kind of reckless games you fellows are playing against Weah by fabricating or amplifying negative propaganda against him. Sungbeh you need to halt this dirty games that you fellows played with the Liberian people that brought the TWP back to power today. Period!.” – Edward Farley 12/19/2013 – Liberian listserv
The above comments were posted on the Liberian listserv in response to the article, “Liberia: Opposition Party, CDC to Trade Standard Bearership for $2.5 Million to Ex-Maritime Chief, Beninoi Urey,” written by J. K. K. Peah of the New Dispensation.
As you can see, I did not write the December 15, 2013 article in question. The only crime I committed so far was to post it on the Liberian listserv. As I posted the article, however, I made it clear to the listserv audience my purpose of posting the piece.
Since George Manneh Weah is an opposition leader who wants to be President of Liberia at any cost and for the right price, I just thought Liberians everywhere ought to know what he’s doing to win their trust as he prepares for the electoral battle ahead.
That explanation did not go over well with some of Weah’s fiercest supporters and sympathizers (as you can see), who wholeheartedly believe I was playing a dirty game to tarnish Mr. Weah’s reputation.
Even though I have been a constant Weah critic over the years, my interest has never been to destroy him politically, but to open him up to the scrutiny most politicians get when they express interest in running for public office.
I want George Manneh Oppong Weah to come forward like a man and succinctly articulate his vision for Liberia, which is a challenge from me to him and his CDC political party.
I just refused to buy the snake oil these guys want the Liberian people to buy. Why should the Liberian people buy pig in the bag at this very critical time in the history of our country?
That said, I am unafraid of the insults, because those insults or threatened insults will eventually come from his diehard supporters, for this article. All I can say, bring them on!
I am open to ideas, because I am about ideas. Insults or no insults, I will continue to write about Weah and other politicians. If they do the right thing, I will write admirably about them, if they do wrong, they will get the wrath of my pen.
After all, politicians and others operating in the public domain are supposed to be ready at all times to express and clarify their positions on burning national issues, when they are asked or not asked to do so.
Liberian politicians are no exception to the rule of public scrutiny. That pattern of selective scrutiny or no scrutiny at all of public officials has been carried over from the days of the disgraced and much-hated True Whig Party, which has been a way of political life in Liberia today.
What does it say about a nation and its people when a politician constantly dodges a question, or when a politician is left untouched and not scrutinized because of our high regards or worship of the individual?
Since his meteoric rise to fame, fortune and politics, Weah has been able to successfully evade discussing his vision for Liberia, and has not even been able to forcefully answer questions when controversies swirl around him.
Even though he hasn’t said a word about the Benoni Urey $2.5 million controversy, Weah has always displayed a fondness for political power, which of course shouldn’t just be handed to him like an entitlement.
So why will Weah allegedly agree to a quid pro quo monetary political alliance with Urey, who was just removed from the UN travel list, for his role in the Liberian civil war? That $2.5 million question needs Weah’s $2.5 million answer.
However, since he’s nonchalant about a story of this magnitude at a time when he’s contemplating a run for the Liberian senate (a prelude or training ground for a possible 2017 presidential run), the Liberian people just shouldn’t vote for Mr. Weah, if he is unwilling to address their concerns.
As usual, however, Weah supporters continue to point fingers at his perceived enemies, who are supposed to follow him like the rest of his supporters are blindly following him in lockstep.
This deflection is naked arrogance at best and an insult to the Liberian people, who are not suppose to write or ask Mr. Weah any question about his role as an opposition politician, his vision for Liberia, his paid status in the government he supposedly opposes, and are not suppose to ask him about the selfish and incremental backroom deals he often makes to propel his future presidential aspirations.
It is a fact that Weah, during the 2011 presidential elections desperately forged a convenient political alliance with Winston Tubman, to be his vice presidential running mate – a guy with whom he shares little or no consistent political values.
The strategy at the time, I believe, was for the political veteran Tubman to groom the chameleon and politically naïve Weah, who was been publicly pummeled for his obvious lack of significant political weight and leadership abilities to be president of a country with so many problems.
The Urey $2.5 million saga clearly resembles an illegal attempt to influence the upcoming presidential elections. It could also be electoral money laundering, all of which are possible illegal activities the Ministry of Justice should investigate as possible attempts to violate the laws of the Republic of Liberia.
Weah is known to do whatever he wants to do, and is also known to get away with “murder” without having to explain his conduct, or be held accountable to the Liberian people.
Weah, it seems is depending heavily on his massive popularity, which stems from his rags to riches story and his local and international football exploits.
The Weah movie of swapping his presidential candidacy to the highest bidder (no matter who the person is, or whether he and the person share the same politics) seems to play every six years during presidential elections.
This is not leadership. It is cowardice and exploitation.
The Weah movie is coming to a political theater near you.
Sungbeh is editor of The Liberian Dialogue