Joseph Bokai: Deconstructing Rep. Dunah Age debate

By Robert w. Kpadeh

Last Friday, was the first time I ever heard about a Representative called Worleah-Saywah Dunah and I am told he hails from the great Nimba County—and is also an Executive Member of the ruling Unity Party or UP. I never heard him comment on major national issues in this country as a matter of fact.

For example: The recent abrupt school closure issue, the 2015/2016 budget passage without any consideration for struggling Civil Servants, the accountability of the US$900K collected from the National Oil Company or NOCAL for nationwide district consultations regarding the passage of the much heralded oil law, the publicly condemned US$10.9m recently allotted under the newly created budget line(DDP) without any reference to the Executive, the Issue of Healthcare Workers and a horde of sensitive national issues effecting the country—I don’t know his position on anything…meaning I have not seen and felt his relevance in the national Legislature, simple at that.

However, this piece is intended to deconstruct and trash into the garbage his recent weak, barren and obnoxious debate flagged against the wisdom-endowed Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and not to dwell on his unknown performance record at the Legislature. In fact, his verbiages against the Vice President amount to sheer bigotry and discrimination leaving Liberians across the divide to wonder how can a contemporary politician as Mr. Dunah claims to be, be trapped in the dark ages of wrongs and evils?

Mr. Duna argues that the Vice President is too old and fatigued to contest for the Liberian Presidency comes 2017, that he lacks the energy to lead a country grappling with scores of national challenges and that his candidature would amounts to a contradiction of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’ ‘generational change’ vision, henceforth, both Sirleaf and Boakai must pass on the baton to the youthful generation.

However notwithstanding, if Vice President Boakai wins the Party primary and assumes the Standard bearer slot, he (Dunah) will vote for the Vice President even though he fundamentally rejects his Presidential candidacy on account of being “old and fatigued”. Is this not a glaring contradiction in the first place? The Representative claims that the Vice President is not qualified under his heralded preposterous and selfish ‘aging theory’, but yet, will vote in his favor if the Party gives him the mandate—only someone with scattered thoughts can proceed in such twisted and inconsistent manner. Dramatic summersault, we call it. Why we should take such a pendulum-mind serious in the first place when all he can offer is broken logic?

Regarding Mr. Duna’s age argument and some of the horrendous and skiving comments he threw at the Vice President, here are some facts to be considered;

The Liberian constitution does not preclude the Vice President from running on account of his age.
In age, come wisdom, experience, better temperament, tolerance and intelligence.

Vice President Boakai has no shortage in energy as over the last nine years in office, we see him constantly climb the peak stirs of his Capitol Building Office and at no time we saw security holding his hands or we heard of him falling down. Besides, he has performed his job as Vice President efficiently and effectively—no one including Mr. Dunah can debate the contrary.

Health wise, the Vice President is bless with natural plain bill of health that is why you hardly hear he has traveled for medical attention or he often falls sick. And maybe, I should inform Mr. Dunah that when he is sleeping, this Vice President is awake and up around the clock working for this country. Many things are happening around here because of his hard work but he prefers to remain quiet and focus on doing his work.

The key qualities in establishing who must succeed President Sirleaf should rather be experience, intelligence, wisdom and integrity, not about who is old or young as it sounds parochial to any reasonable mind.
Now, let me inform Mr. Dunah that the transition after President Sirleaf is immensely critical and historic, and borders on national security—meaning the peace and tranquility of our country is highly at stake. This means who ever becomes President must emerge from a more productive, realistic, fundamental and sensitive conversation and subsequent consensus, not triviality and naked emotion as is the case of the ‘age theory’ proposition.

The 2017 debate must be about innovation, integrity, experience, ability, sensitivity and sensibility, and not the mere youthful euphoria Mr. Duna sadly appears to be obsessed with. Look, there are critical national issues that must be meticulously addressed and resolved, they include; reconciliation that must seriously consider addressing the historical hurts and wounds that have dogged and plagued our country for decades, then the perennial issues of marginalization, poverty and inequality, and the significant maintenance of the country’s hard earned peace and tranquility—all of these would require a President with immense wisdom, experience and of course someone who knows our historical excesses and have the solutions to addressing them void of repeating the mistakes of the past.

These are the issues we must consider in the 2017 political transition not pettiness and lazy argument like the ‘age-theory’ debate interposed by Mr. Dunah and his likes. I read his comments in the local dallies (the Observer and New Dawn Newspapers) with quite a bit of disappointment simply because it came across, ‘Second-Class’ to me. A political leader of this modern generation must not be permitted to foster and engender counterproductive discourse especially at a time our country is at a critical juncture and desires the best thoughts and ideas to leap forward.

On ‘generational change’, it seems Mr. Duna has absolutely no idea how it should work which is why he is agitating that a ‘young man’ even if ill-prepared must be parachuted to the highest office in the land. Wow…that sounds pretty much foolhardy to me. For your information and education Mr. Duna, our country is already nursing generational change and in an aggressive and dynamic way too. Do you not see all the young people occupying ministerial positions in government today? Even in the very legislature you serve, there are young people entrusted by their people to represent them there—indicating a plain brake from the past. These young people will have to go through years of mentorship and experience to be qualified for the Liberian Presidency someday, for the job of a President actually comes with wisdom and immense experience. That you are a young Minister today does not ultimately qualify you to be President in 2017 Mr. Duner. We must re-engender the value and merit systems in our country and stop jumping the gun.

Look into Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, Benin, Cameroun, Niger, Tunisia and a host of other African and Asian countries, they all have Presidents that are older than Vice President Boakai—because the highest office in the Land must be supervised and manned by people with age of experience, wisdom and lofty mentality, not kids or rookies! Mr. Duna in his diatribes against the Vice President cited America, Italy and other western countries as places with youthful Presidents but failed to also recognize that older folks too have contested the American Presidency in recent times, (i.e), Governor Mitt Romney, Senator John McClain, Senator John Kerry, and even current candidates lined up for the 2016 Presidential election have more older folks further subjugating Mr. Dunah’s argument to the dustbin.

Besides, how can one compare Liberia to America when the two countries are far different in many respects? We are in Africa and proud to be Africans and our practices are unique. The Americans are westerners and their practices are unique to them. For example; gay and lesbians marriage is now legal in America under the guise of human rights, but here in Africa, it is an abomination.

When you go to Nimba where you, Mr. Dunah, hails from, Bong, Margibi, Bomi, Cape Mount, Lofa Counties as well as to Southeast, who do you see as Town Chiefs, Paramount Chiefs, Clan Chiefs, and other Traditional Leadership? Of course, you see aged people because they have the experience and wisdom passed on to them by predecessors to lead—and this practice goes for all parts of Africa.

Leadership in Africa goes with age and we all know that. The young people who are Ministers and Lawmakers today are gradually being propelled through a transition that will lend to them to the highest office someday but it comes with age and experience. Veep Boakai too, when through similar transition and toady he is Vice President and with twelve years in this position—serving with distinction and satisfaction, he is best suited, prepared and ready to be President comes 2017.

Finally, it is my view that you Mr. Worlea-Sayah Dunah should really be the one celebrating the rise of a Boakai to the position of President giving the peculiar history you both share rather than being the one to stab him in the back. You should never permit yourself to be a stooge against a brother and a betrayal to history.

A hint to the wise is quite enough!

Worlaeh Saywah Dunah Pic

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