Liberianlistener Mon, 18 Nov 2019 19:08:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ‘We Are Not Answerable to Other Branches of Gov’t Mon, 18 Nov 2019 19:08:39 +0000  


The assignment of Judge Nancy Sammy to preside over Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia, where two of her senior male colleagues were forced to step aside from further hearing into the alleged missing US$835,367.72 and L$2,645,000,000 involving Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) current and past senior officials, could put her credibility to test if she makes good on her vow to resist any political interference into her judgment.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Judge Sammy in 2013, and subsequently commissioned her as Resident Judge of Lofa County, which assignment makes her the first female judge to preside over the 10th Judicial Circuit. Her two predecessors, Judges Peter Gbeneweleh and Blamo Dixon, were compelled to step aside from further hearing of the case following intense political pressure, according to judicial sources.

Judge Sammy said: “Some politicians might try to use our courts as platform to promote themselves by interfering in judicial decision, and so you have to take judicial notice of that fact.” Sammy’s statement came on Monday, November 11, when she delivered her charge during the opening of the November 2019 Term of Criminal Courts, A, B, C and D for Montserrado County, which was attended by Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor and several other judges and lawyers.

Judge Sammy reminded her colleagues that they should not allow themselves to be pressured, coerced, or to let their courts to be used as a platform by politicians to promote themselves, stressing, “Please do not allow any politician to interfere in judicial decisions you will make.” She spoke on the theme, “The Impact of Our Actions as Stakeholders in the Judiciary.” Judge Sammy told her audience that they are aware that the judiciary is an independent branch of the government and, as such, she said, “we are not answerable to any member of other branches of the government besides our bosses at the Supreme Court.”

More importantly, she said, that the judicial decisions are only subject to judicial review by their superior courts and nobody else, stressing that judges and magistrates are not politicians, rather dispensers of justice. By this, she said they are under legal duty and obligation to always ensure that justice prevails in every case that is brought before them. To achieve this, she told her audience, “We must at all times exhibit cool neutrality in the cases we handle, and we must always remember that we are never parties to a suit.”

However, she said that if cases are brought before them as judges that would cause conflict of interest, then in such situation, she advised, “the most appropriate thing to do is to recuse yourselves as a sitting judge from hearing such cases.” She said that it is important to do so, “because as dispensers of justice, we cannot allow ourselves to be caught in situations that would embarrass us and the entire judiciary.”

The female judge (Sammy) then noted that though she and others are relatively new to the judgeship, “a core value we have upheld is to resist outside influence, and to be prompt and expeditious in handling matters that come  before us.” In a nutshell, she maintained, “we shall work diligently during this term to ensure that the law takes its course in clear, precision-driven and in a fearless manner.”

Sammy reminded her audience that, like the blindfolded goddess of Justice mounted on a pedestal at the entrance of the Temple of Justice with the inscription that reads: “Let Justice be done to all”, as judges they have been assigned to, as the inscription reads, ensure that cold and transparent justice is done to all men and women. According to her, it means that “we have no personal interest in any matter before these courts, our actions and decisions will be purely based on the conviction that we have acted on the facts, and evidence that have been presented to us and will make judicial determination within the ambit of the law.”

Therefore, Judge Sammy vowed, “we do hereby solemnly promise that we will fairly, and impartially discharge our duties without fear, creed, religious affiliation, tribalism, or relationship- a reaffirmation of our oath as judges.”

It can be recalled that CBL executives, including Milton A. Weeks, former executive governor, Charles E. Sirleaf, deputy governor, Richard Walker, director for operations, Joseph Dennis, deputy director for internal audit and Dorbor Hagba, director of finance, were arrested following the release of the USAID-backed Kroll report, and the report by the Special Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), which uncovered a wide-range of discrepancies in the printing of new Liberian dollar banknotes worth billions, and the controversial disbursement of US$25 million intended at the time for infusion into the economy to curb the rising exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars. culled from liberianobserver


Main Photo: Judge Nancy Sammy, Liberian Observer

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10 things you didn’t know about South African rapper Sho Madjozi Sun, 17 Nov 2019 21:24:36 +0000



Sho Madjozi is the professional name of Maya Christinah Xichavo Famo. For those who are curious, she is a South African singer and songwriter who has been known to act from time to time as well. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Sho Madjozi:

1. Born in Limpopo

Madjozi was born in a small village in the South African province of Limpopo. In short, the province is named thus because of the Limpopo River, which serves as its northern border as well as its western border. Since Limpopo is the northernmost part of South Africa, it is bordered by not one, not two, but the three countries of Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

2. Her Parents Were Running a NGO

At the time, Madjozi’s parents were running a NGO in the region. Apparently, said NGO specialized in helping interested individuals with their land claims, which can sound strange but is nonetheless very important. Essentially, land ownership is a major issue for people who are reliant on farming for their livelihoods. Unfortunately, small farmers in rural regions can struggle with skills needed to navigate legal systems, which is why such a specialized NGO can come in handy.

3. Brought Up By Her Mother

In time, Madjozi’s parents divorced with the result that Madjozi was raised by her mother for the most part. With that said, she spent plenty of time with her father as well. In fact, it is interesting to note that Madjozi was very well-traveled even when she was a teenager because of her time spent with her father, who traveled throughout the African continent on a regular basis.

4. Has Been to Tanzania

One of the places that Madjozi went to was Dar es Salaam, which was once Tanzania’s capital. While Dar es Salaam lost said status to Dodoma in the mid 1970s, it remains one of the economic centers for the country as a whole. In this, it is helped by the fact that it is a natural harbor on the Indian Ocean. Something that has contributed much to it becoming one of the hubs of Tanzania’s transportation systems.

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South African Rapper Sho Madjozi, eNCA

5. Has Been to Senegal

Besides Tanzania, Madjozi has been to Senegal as well. In short, Senegal is one of the countries that can be found in West Africa. In fact, it is so westwards that it is the westernmost of the countries that can be found on the mainland of the Old World. Regardless, the modern state of Senegal can trace its roots to French colonialism, which is why its official language is French. However, the country is home to a wide range of ethnic groups, meaning that there are a lot of other languages that have received official recognition as well.

6. Studied in the United States

When Madjozi graduated from high school in South Africa, she received a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College in the United States. Of course, Mount Holyoke College would be one of the Seven Sisters, which were schools founded for the purpose of providing women with an education that was just as good as that offered by the Ivy League in a time when the Ivy League didn’t accept female students. Nowadays, Mount Holyoke College remains a women-only school, though it is interesting to note that there was a time in the 1970s when its stakeholders debated the merits of switching over to a coeducational system before the Board of Trustees decided to remain the way that was. In any case, while Madjozi was at Mount Holyoke College, she studied creative writing as well as African studies.

7. Studied At the University of South Africa

Later, Madjozi studied at the University of South Africa at Johannesburg as well. Based on its name, it should come as no surprise to learn that the University of South Africa is the biggest of the university systems that can be found in the country, which attracts as much as a third of all of the higher education students in the country. On top of that, the University of South Africa actually gets a lot of international students from a wide range of other countries as well, thus further contributing to its status as one of the biggest universities not just in the country but also beyond.

8. Is Tsonga

It is interesting to note that Madjozi is a member of the Tsonga people. For those who are curious, the Tsonga people are a Bantu ethnic group that can be found in South Africa as well as the south of Mozambique for the most part, though they exist in other countries as well. Traditionally, the Tsonga people practiced a mix of agriculture and pastoralism. To be exact, Tsonga women were responsible for most of the agriculture, while Tsonga men were responsible for taking care of the domestic animals. Of course, while there are still Tsonga people who live in a similar manner to their ancestors, most of them no longer work in agriculture and pastoralism.

9. Incorporates Tsonga Culture Into Her Style

Madjozi is very proud of her culture. As a result, she is famous for incorporating Tsonga culture into how she dresses as well as the rest of her personal style. For instance, she has been known to perform the xibelani dance, which is an indigenous dance of Tsonga women characterized by a particular kind of skirt called the tinguvu plus a shaking of the waist that is accentuated by the style of tinguvu. In modern times, it is interesting to note that the xibelani dance has broaden in the sense that it is now practiced by both men and women in a wider range of contexts than ever before.

10. Her Braids Represent Afro Futurism

Speaking of which, Madjozi is also notable for her braided hairstyles that take inspiration from those of Fulani as well as Tuareg women. Moreover, she has stated that they are representative of Afrofuturism, which is a set of aesthetics as well as the set of philosophies that underlie said look. Generally speaking, Afrofuturism is focused on addressing the issues of the African diaspora through the medium of science fiction and techno-culture, meaning that it can show up in a wide range of media. In fact, there are a lot of people who will have come upon the influence of Afrofuturism because of its role in Black Panther.

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DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi begs for more french presence in Congo Sun, 17 Nov 2019 19:37:55 +0000


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Samuel Doe used ‘communism,’ to lie on progressive leaders Sat, 16 Nov 2019 18:54:30 +0000  




The Editor,

I referenced a book written by former Liberian Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer. In the publication, professor Sawyer said Liberia had a dictatorship ( 1980-1986). But one fellow who goes by the name of Edward Farley said that President Samuel Kanyon Doe was not a dictator before until “certain people” tutored Samuel Kanyon Doe with communist concepts. Mr. Farley’s “certain people” is an apparent reference to Dr. Sawyer and his colleagues of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA).

I am no communist. I have read many books including Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. Communism does not instruct any president of any country or anybody to become a dictator. Communist concepts did not say a Head of State must violate the Human and Constitutional Rights of People. Take for instance, the authors of the Communists Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in 1848 that: “Communism deprive no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation”. Dr. Sawyer and his colleagues never tutored Head of State Samuel Kanyon Doe with communist concepts.

Mr. Farley’s assertion is a bizarre reminder of Prof. Sawyer’s incarceration by President S. Kanyon Doe in 1984, and Head of State S. Kanyon Doe’s definitions of Communism. Few days after Head of State S. Kanyon Doe jailed Dr. Sawyer, he (S. Kanyon Doe) assembled all the traditional chiefs in Liberia. Head of State S, Kanyon Doe told the chiefs that he jailed Amos Sawyer because Sawyer and his colleagues in the MOJA created Liberian People’s Party (LPP) wanted to contest the pending 1985 presidential and general elections. He told the unsuspecting chiefs that Amos Sawyer wanted to create a communist government in Liberia. S. Kanyon Doe asked the chiefs: “Do you know that thing they called communism?” the chiefs replied: “No”.

Folks, listen to Head of State Samuel Kanyon Doe’s definitions of Communism: “In Communist country the women cannot get marry and the men cannot get marry. Any man can take any woman and do anything he wants to do with her”. S. Kanyon Doe said vociferously. Do you want Communism? the Chiefs thundered “No”!. S. Kanyon Doe said in Communist country if you make your farm and harvest 50 bags of rice, the communist government will seize 49 bags and give you 1 bag. Finally, S. Kanyon Doe told the chiefs that “in a communism country nobody has a house. People can sleep in any house they see”. He asked do you want Communism? Finally, the chiefs replied “No”.

In closing, Professor Amos Sawyer and his colleagues never tutored Head of State Samuel Kanyon Doe with communist concepts. Mr. Edward Farley and his group tutored Head of State Samuel Kanyon Doe and gave him the false and comical definitions of Communism.

Peter Kieh Doe


Main photo: Liberia progressive leaders, from left: Matthews, Tipoteh, Fahnbulleh, Sawyer



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Magistrate who ruled against President Weah government replaced Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:37:53 +0000  

President George Weah has with immediate effect, replaced Stipendiary Magistrate Ernest F. B. Bana of the Monrovia City Court, whose ruling on November 4, 2019  disagreed with argument by government lawyers in the writ to close-down the Roots FM 102.7 radio station owned by talk-show host Henry Pedro Costa. Following an order by Magistrate Bana to have the radio station shutdown and its equipment confiscated, which was executed on Thursday, October 10, 2019, Roots Holdings Incorporated, the parent company of Roots FM 102.7, filed a motion before the court asking it to return property and suppress evidence on grounds that these properties were illegally gathered without probable cause.

However, the government lawyers asked that the petition be denied on the basis that Roots Holdings Inc. lacks the legal capacity to sue, because of it did not attach to its application, a notary board resolution to mandate and empower it to sue. The government also argued that Roots Holding Inc, is a separate and distinct entity, and therefore, does not qualify in its capacity to sue on behalf of Roots FM 102.7.

Citing a series of correspondences between Roots Holdings and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) as well as the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT), which are the statutory authorities regulating radio station operations, Magistrate Bana said: “This court is of the view that Roots Holding Inc, is the parent company of Roots FM 102.7. The issue of frequency number 102.7 is never challenged by either party and therefore considered by this court as mute.”

The President’s decision means that Magistrate Bana will no longer have anything to do with the case, though the Magistrate ruled that he would hear the merit and demerit of the case, which decision the government lawyers have resisted. To make matters worse for Bana, President Weah has named Traffic Court Judge Jomah Jallah to replace him. Jallah is expected to take his seat at the court on Friday, November 8, 2019, though the President is yet to commission him.

The Constitution

Article 73 of the 1986 Constitution states: “No judicial official shall be summoned, arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried civilly or criminally by or at the instance of any person or authority on account of judicial opinions rendered or expressed, judicial statements made and judicial acts done in the course of a trial in open court or in chambers, except for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor or breach of the peace. Statements made and acts done by such officials in the course of a judicial proceeding shall be privileged, and, subject to the above qualification, no such statement made or acts done shall be admissible into evidence against them at any trial or proceeding.”

It is not clear whether President Weah’s replacement of Magistrate Bana was due to his judicial indiscretion, but a Supreme Court lawyer refused to rule out the possibility. In his ruling, which put him in trouble with President Weah, Bana said he had considered all of the ramifications of the interaction between the government and Roots Holdings Incorporated, as well as their respective acquiescence, stressing: “This court strongly believes that the capacity to file a motion by Roots Holdings Incorporated on behalf of Roots FM 102.7 is bonafide, and therefore allowed.”

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      Magistrate Ernest F. B. Bana, Photo: The Guardian

Immediately afterward, Magistrate Bana ruled that “the application by the government to deny the motion of Roots Holdings Incorporated for lack of standing and capacity is hereby denied, and that the case ruled to trial on the motion to return property and suppress evidence.” That is to say that the government should return the station’s broadcast equipment which it confiscated.

Further, Magistrate Bana added, “This court, under these circumstances, affirms that Roots Holdings, Inc., has the legal standing to sue on behalf of Roots FM 102.7 as a parent entity, because of its remedial rights affecting the whole of the proceedings.” However, a Supreme Court lawyer (name withheld) said with the President having replaced Bana, this clearly demonstrates that the Magistrate is completely out of job.

According to the lawyer, the Constitution is silent on a President’s appointment of a magistrate. “There is nowhere in the Constitution that mentions the President appointing a magistrate,”the lawyer said. Therefore, the lawyer said since a magistrate’s appointment is not mentioned in the Constitution, a practice of old gives the President the right to appoint and subsequently commission a magistrate. “That practice does not give the President or the legislature any right to commission the magistrate. This is where the law remains silent,” the senior lawyer said.

Article 68 also provides: “The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court shall, with the consent of the Senate, be appointed and commissioned by the President; provided that any person so appointed shall be: a citizen of good moral character; and a counselor of the Supreme Court Bar, who has practiced for at least five years.”

Article 69 further says: “The judges of subordinate courts of record shall, with the consent of the Senate, be appointed and commissioned by the President; provided that any person so appointed shall be: a citizen of good moral character; and an Attorney-at-Law, who has practiced for at least three years or a counselor of the Supreme Court Bar.”

As for Article 70, the Constitution summed up: “The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and all judges of subordinate courts shall, before assuming the functions of their office, subscribe to a solemn oath or affirmation to discharge faithfully and impartially the duties and functions of their respective offices and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the Republic. The oath or affirmation shall be administered by the President or his designee.”

Article 71 further says: “The Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court, and the judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behavior. They may be removed upon impeachment, and conviction by the legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.”

Given these constitutional provisions, the lawyer explained that nowhere is a magistrate mentioned. He said the President can appoint and commission a magistrate for only two years, and they cannot be confirmed like the judges and justices as mentioned in the Constitution, thereafter, he/she can either choose to replace a particular magistrate or not. “This is not happening because we do not have many judges or magistrates, so, you can see that many of the magistrates have served their respective posts for over 10 years now,” the lawyer clarified.

It can be recalled that Magistrate Bana issued a search, seizure, and arrest warrant against the management and staff of Roots FM for allegedly preaching ‘hate messages and inciting the public’ against the government.

Based on the writ, court sheriffs with the help of other security personnel, reportedly invaded the station’s premises, taking away two speakers, two CPUs, desktop computers, two chairs, flat screen TV, two head-phones, speaker stamp, microphones, wires and other electronic materials contrary to the instruction as contained in the writ, which action prompted the Roots Holding Incorporated through its manager, Fidel Saydee, to file a ‘motion to return said property and suppress evidence’ that was before Magistrate Bana against the government.

Saydee, through his legal team, argued that the items taken from the station were illegally done by the government, which resulted to the perpetual closure of the station. Additionally, lawyers representing Roots FM noted that the manner in which the station’s equipment were brought before the court was ‘wrong and criminal in nature.’

They further alleged that during the invasion and subsequent closure of the station, money and other valuables got stolen. However, the government lawyers argued that Fidel Saydee, by law, is a non-existent individual who lacks the requisite capacity and standing to file an action against the State on behalf of the station.

Prosecution maintained that Saydee did not seek permission from the board of directors of Roots Holdings Incorporated before filing such action, something they said contradicts the laws that control the existence of a corporation. The government also contended that it did not close down Roots Holdings Incorporated, rather, the radio station, Roots FM; therefore the motion filed by Fidel should be dismissed by the court as there is no authorization or right granted to Saydee to file such motion. Story: Liberian Observer

Main photo: The Independent

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Marcus Garvey’s fustrations with W.E.B Du Bois’ undermines in setting up the Liberian project Thu, 14 Nov 2019 18:27:38 +0000




Joseph E. Holloway


Leaders of the postwar nationalist movement throughout Africa and leaders of the African Diaspora both sought an effective response to the legacy of slavery in the New World, racial segregation in the U.S., and Colonial rule in Africa.  Behind their endeavors, we can see the influence of both W.E.B. Dubois’ Pan-African ideology and Marcus Garvey’s back-to-Africa movement.  Liberia was an important focal point for both.  They held two competing views of how to uplift the Black race.  Du Bois viewed Liberia as evidence of the ability of Blacks to govern themselves without Whites.  Garvey viewed Liberia as the ideal place to start the return to Africa, and Liberia as the center of the African Diaspora.[i]Marcus Garvey’s back-to-Africa vision and Du Bois’ Pan African ideology would collide in Liberia and destroy Garvey’s Pan African dream of a homeland in Africa.

The Pan African Conferences start with Sylvester William in 1900 and continue with W.E.B. Du Bois.  The Pan African Conferences and movement found an intellectual father in Du Bois, who could articulate the movement and philosophy academically.  The movement found in Garvey an organizer, who was capable of articulating the ideas into a mass movement as the world had never seen before.  On the surface, it would appear that W. E. B. Dubois and Marcus Garvey had much in common in that both believed in the redemption of Africa for Africans and their New World descendants—Du Bois believed that Africans were capable, and Marcus Garvey believed it was his mission to be their President.  Yet, both fought each other as mortal enemies destroying any possibility of the Pan African Movement taking roots in Africa. The roots of this conflict appears to be have been deeper that what appeared on the surface, and more rooted in a personal conflict that was deeply rooted in the African American version of discrimination called colorism—that is, discrimination by African Americans against other African Americans based on shades of color.  This essay will explore how a personal feud between Du Bois and Garvey based on this discretionary practice by Black Americans destroyed Garvey’s Dream of an African Homeland in Liberia.

Both Du Bois and Garvey’s visions of Liberia were a response to white racism.  Du Bois wanted to prove to whites that Africans could govern themselves by demonstrating equality and intelligence in self-governance.  In other words, Du Bois  would not compromise the principle of absolute racial equality and the eventual rule of Africa by Africans and no one else, whereas, Garvey wanted to establish the United states of Africa with himself as President.  Garvey believed white racism forced black people to build their own segregated institutions and thus develop a racial consciousness that in time could command white respect.  This was the fundamental construct of Garveyism—racial liberation, empowerment and a Black homeland in Africa.

Much of the conflict between Du Bois and Garvey was not based on ideology because both were Pan Africanist, but colorism that was rooted in ideas of caste, class and color by America’s mulatto class. The conflict also had much to do with the cultural background of each leader. Marcus Garvey was born on the West Indian island of Jamaica in 1887.  He worked as a printer, labor organizer, and later as a newspaper publisher.  He attempted to expose the racial situation inside Jamaica and give the darker colored Jamaicans fairer treatment.  After becoming dismayed by the living conditions of workers and the exploitation by white and mulatto overseers, Garvey tried in vain to persuade Jamaican officials to intervene.  In 1912, he was exiled from Jamaica to London by the British Colonial government.  There he met Duse Mohamed, a Black Egyptian who was promoting the defeat of European colonialism everywhere.  He worked on Mohamed’s magazine Africans Times and the Orient Review.  There he met Africans and studied about the continent, and became a Pan African nationalist.  Strongly influenced by Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery, he returned to Jamaica in 1914 and set up an organization called the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League (UNIA) to unite people of color all over the world.

To bring this to reality, Garvey moved to New York in 1916 and resided in Harlem.  Economic independence was another factor in the UNIA plan.  Garvey was one of the first Blacks to urge his followers to buy Black—to patronize their own businessmen, similar to Booker T. Washington’s stress on self-sufficiency.  The UNIA opened several business projects, including the Negro Factories Corporation to assist Black businesses.  Garvey founded the Black Star Steamship Line to serve as a commercial and spiritual tie among Black people everywhere.  Like Bishop Turner’s shipping attempts, the Black Star Steamship Line stocks were sold to Blacks only and Garvey promised stock buyers that they would not only be helping their race, but might also make a profit.  Garvey collected enough money between 1919 and 1925 to buy four secondhand ships and to begin trade in the Caribbean.



Early in Du Bois’s life, he was an integrationist and shared the same class as Booker T. Washington, in that they were more of the mulatto elite.  Du Bois had what he described as a little Dutch, a little French and a little Black.  Washington was the son of a white father and a slave mother.   They fought over the ideas of who had the right to lead the masses of African Americans—Du Bois wanted to build an intellectual and scholarly community, whereas Washington believed in Black Capitalism—blacks spending and buying in their own communities and circulating black dollars among African Americans.

The issue between Du Bois and Garvey was class warfare and the same issue still plagues Black America.  Du Bois spoke to his base—mainly African American from northern states, who lived in urban communities that were college-educated, professional and light skinned.[ii] Washington spoke to his base who were farmers, domestics, and trade peoples who lived in the South.  Du Bois believed that if African Americans could prove to White Americans that there were no intellectual differences between the two there would be no need for racism as a weapon against African Americans.  Washington believed that you achieve racial harmony by separating yourself from white Americans and by building separate political, economic and cultural realities based on southern values of work and uplifting the masses.  Demonstrating one’s value and equality would remove racism and open the door for inclusion in the future.  As much as this was a fight for leadership, it was also a fight for the best approach to fight racial discrimination in America.

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Photo: GVSHP, WEB Du Bois

Garvey understood Washington’s approach and wanted to replica it and built a world movement based on his economic philosophy of accommodation and separation from White America.  Garvey realized early on that what Washington was really about was to use America as a home land for the Black Diaspora.  Garvey wanted to achieve the same goal—thus the birth of the Back-to-Africa Movement which was not a new ideal in Black America.  Many others came before him including Paul Cuffe, Martin Delany, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner, and Chief Sam to mention a few.  What was unique about his movement was to use Liberia as his headquarters for reconnecting Black Americans to the African Diaspora.

Garvey was so impacted by the ideas and philosophy of B. T. Washington that he corresponded with him.  Washington invited him to Tuskegee and offered to raise funds for his programs.  He was to do in Jamaica what Washington did in the South—build educational, economic institutions to help the masses of Blacks elevate themselves from poverty.

Garvey attempted on several occasions to reach out to Du Bois. At their initial first meeting in May 1915 in Jamaica, while Du Bois was visiting, Garvey sent him a welcoming letter.  Garvey took the opportunity to explain to Du Bois his plan for uniting the African Diaspora.  It does not appear that Du Bois was impressed.  At the time Du Bois was an integrationist and believed that the way to fight racial discrimination and Jim Crowism was to prove to the White America that there were no differences between white and black intellect.  Garvey believed that because of racial discrimination and racism that Black Americans needed to create their own land and that Liberia could become his base for his Empire of Africa that would establish the United States of Africa with himself as President.

The following year Garvey moved to New York in 1916 and went to the office of NAACP headquarters to invite Du Bois to his first speaking engagement.  The meeting was a disaster.  Needless to say, Du Bois politely declined and was not available to meet with Garvey.  Garvey later mentioned his impression of the NAACP.  In his words, I was “unable to tell whether he was in a white office or that of the NAACP.”[iii]  Eventually, Garvey got his act together and developed the largest black mass back-to-Africa movement in the history of America.  Before travelling to America to learn about the black issues, he attended a religious revival  and heard Billy Sunday’s preaching and found his voice.  His vision for black Americans came after a tour of America and he concluded “what America Negroes had going for them was white racism”—which forced black America to build their own segregated institutions and to develop a racial consciousness that could in time gain respect from whites.  This was the fundamental construct of what became Garveyism.

He recruited members during the war years, but was not successful because the economy was in good condition.  However, with World War I (WWI) ending, the race riots of 1919 swayed many African American ex-soldiers to join his organization.  Garvey was able to increase his numbers through his brilliant analysis of the world situation and of Blacks in relation to the new economic and political trends.  For instance, WWI, in Garvey’s view, “had been a fratricidal war among Europeans for control over colonies in Africa and throughout the nonwhite world.”  He reasoned that in the future Africans in the Western Hemisphere would find themselves in rapidly declining circumstances.  The unskilled poor Blacks would become obsolete in the work force with advancing technology.  The Black intelligentsia would face frustration in societies that reserved the privilege of advancement for whites.  If left unchanged, Garvey’s world would consume the populations of Africa as the industrialized nations competed over its mineral wealth.  As with Bishop Henry McNeil Turner, central to Garvey’s philosophy was the need to unite all Black people and to give them a racial self-confidence that would enable them to throw off white oppression.


For Garvey, the only path to economic independence and Black pride was the redemption of “Africa for the Africans.”  According to Garvey, the Black man must organize the world over and build up for the race a mighty nation of their own in Africa.  In August, 1920, the Garvey movement was at its peak.  In New York City, 25,000 African Americans attended a month-long convention.  Black Nationalism and an African homeland was the focal point.  Garvey was designated the “Provisional President of the African Republic.” He now had the mandate but not the home base.

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President C.D.B. King, Photo; flickr

Liberia was an economic basket case because of corruption and mismanagement since its founding.  Liberia revenues were nonexistent because the monies went into the pockets of the President and his cronies.  Compound interest on foreign indebtedness amounted to a death sentence to Liberia’s sovereignty.

Garvey was aware that most of Africa was still under colonial rule.  He also felt that Africans would need to be brought into the 20th century.  Using Liberia as a base, Garvey proposed sending a limited number of African Americans (20,000 to 30,000 families at first) with skills, professions and capital to settle in Liberia.  Liberia was the only independent Republic in West Africa at the time and was experiencing a financial crisis and needed funds to pay off a national debt.   Garvey realized this was an opportunity to purchase land in Liberia.  Garvey offered the money in exchange for settlement of his people in Liberia.  Land was to be included in five areas near the Cavella River, Maryland County, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, and Capt Mount.[iv] Garvey offered the Liberian Government a Construction Loan, inaugurated in October 1920, and had raised $2 million dollar down payment to the Government of Liberia to buy land for the resettlement of a small number of skilled Blacks. [v] After 1920, several teams of his representatives visited Liberia to lay the groundwork for his plan.  The UNIA agreed to provide the Liberian government with a $2 million load.[vi]  Immediately Garvey began raising money to cancel Liberia’s $5 million dollar international debt. President C. D. B. King was already in Washington trying to get a 5 million loan from the U.S. Government. King and Barclay were salivating  over this opportunity of unseen funds coming into their coffers. Garvey sent an UNIA delegation of Robert Lincoln, Robert Poston, Henrietta Vinton Davis, and Milton Van Lowe, of UNIA officials to complete the arrangements.

In the meantime, according to a document signed May 2, 1924 by UNIA representative James J. Dossen, while President King was in Washington D.C. negotiating for 5 million dollar loan, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois of the National Association for the Advancement of “Colored” People got himself appointed as Ambassador Extra-ordinary of the United States to attend the second inaugural in Liberia of the “Black” President King.  He goes on to say that Du Bois was the guest of other parties. “What transpired then against the interest of the Universal Negro can be imagined because on the arrival of the experts and engineers of the UNIA in Liberia to carry out the work of preparing for the colonist, they were immediately seized by the instruction of President King and deported.”[vii]

The truth of the matter is that Du Bois was working very closely with the U.S. State Department to destroy the UNIA movement in Liberia and had taken steps to hamper the UNIA and worked to undermine Garvey’s Liberian construction and resettlement plan.[viii]  The United States sent Du Bois to counter Garvey’s settlement plan with an offer from Firestone. The records of the State Department showed that Du Bois was designated on 26 December 1924 Special Representative of the President with rank of envoy extraordinary.[ix]  It was believed that Du Bois played a crucial role in the Liberian government’s refusal to receive the UNIA delegation. Du Bois made the UNIA seem like a threat to the Americo-Liberian ruling group.  He convinced them that Garvey had a secret plan to take over the country, a plan which he did in fact hold. Even though, he was representing the U.S. Government Uncle Sam made him pay his own way.

I was a graduate student at UCLA working for the Marcus Garvey Project on US documents relating to the Marcus Garvey movement, I found documents released through the Information Act.  One was a diplomatic dispatch from Great Britain addressed to the President of the United States asking the U.S. Government to intervene and prevent Garvey from gaining a foothold in Africa. They believed that he wanted to liberate Africa from colonial control and they feared that his movement could disrupt their colonies in Africa.  The British Government believed this because Garvey requested land in Liberia on the borders with neighboring African countries under Colonial rule.

Du Bois finally convinced President King that Garvey really wanted to overthrow his Government.  A private assessment of Liberia by James Dossen of the UNIA was releases to President King.  “The ruling group of the country is related by blood.  When one brother is out of the Presidency, a son-in-law takes it, or nephew or cousin and so the group constitutes itself the reigning power of the country.”[x] Du Bois saw this as an opportune time for Liberia to issue a public statement in The Crisis magazine and for President King to put forth his position of Garvey.  The June 1921 issue of The Crisis featured President King’s declaration “under no circumstances will [Liberia] allow her territory to be made a center of aggression or conspiracy against other sovereign states.”

Clearly, the Black elite were jealous of his rise to power and tried to undermine his leadership.  The full editorial battle would not began until 1923, three years after Garvey’s Liberian project fell apart.   The Black Press referred to by Garvey as the group of mulatoes began their editorial attacks that seemed to center on the man‘s black skin color. Bagnall’s savage and tasteless description of Garvey’s physical features appeared  in the March 1923 issue  of The Messenger titled “The Madness of Marcus Garvey described his physical features as a “Jamaican Negro of unmixed stock, squat, stocky, fat and sleek with protruding jaws, and heavy jowls, small bright pig-like eyes and rather bull-dog like face.  Boastful, egotistical, tyrannical, intolerant, cunning shifty, smooth and suave, avaricious and devoid of intellectual argument. ”[xi] Bagnall, the field secretary of the NAACP, then called for Garvey deportation to Jamaica.

Many of the affluent African American leadership opposed Garvey and the UNIA.  The Black elite—businessmen and intellectuals—resented Garvey in the same way Bishop Turner was resented.  A. Philip Randolph of The Messenger, a social journal, thought Garvey’s Africa would be a reactionary dictatorship, not a democracy.  Robert Abbott, of the influential Chicago Defender, arranged to have Garvey harassed for selling stock in Illinois without a license.  African Americans Churchmen resented his establishment of an African Orthodox Church, which threatened to win members from their Churches. W.E.B. Du Bois, editor of the NAACP magazine, The Crisis, accused Garvey of being the worst enemy of the Black race.

Du Bois would show his own color prejudices in the February 1923 issue of Century magazine presented Garvey as a character in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Emperor Jones. He described him as “A little, fat black man, ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head, … seated on a plank platform beside a ‘throne,’ dressed in a military uniform of the gayest mid-Victorian type.  Amid the epaulettes, plumage, and swirling capes, and in the presence of a thousand or more applauding dark spectators,” the elite of the UNIA ‘were duly ‘knighted’ and raised to the ‘peerage’ as knight-commanders and dukes of the Uganda and the Niger…“[xii]

Garvey could give as good as he could receive.  In an editorial published in The Negro World on February 17 he said that Du Bois was an “unfortunate mulatto who bewails every day the drop of Negro blood in his veins.”  Garvey charged that Du Bois arrogated the privilege of condemning and criticizing other people, but held himself up as the social unapproachable and the great I am of the Negro race.  He would go on to that Du Bois was a self-hating Negro founder of the NAACP who preferred the company of white people. He goes on to characterize Du Bois as a light skinned mulatto who hates black people and “that he likes to dance with white people and dine with them and sometimes sleep with them” because of his way of seeing all that is black as ugly and all that is white as beautiful.  Garvey concluded that the enemies of colonization of Africa were led by “very light-skinned Negroes” under the leadership of Du Bois because “the black leadership and politicians, and those of the white race who wanted to discredit and imprison me to please their Negro political wards and foreign power tried to make the plan unpopular and unsuccessful.



Garvey and Du Bois had a natural dislike for each other based on class, caste and color. The notion of a homogenous African American group united by a common African ethnicity and culture is a myth. Many scholars fail to recognize the diversity in language, culture, class and color among African Americans, and how those differences provided one group of African Americans with extraordinary opportunities for higher educational and trade skills  when compared to the overall Black population.  Historically, there has always been great tension between the “mulatto” and Black classes because of the association of “yellow” skin with high status and class within the Black social apex.

Garvey recognized that there was a color and stratification in America between light and dark skin blacks and that he was going to save black America from itself by relocating the “true” sons and daughters of Africa back to Africa their true homeland to establish an United States of Africa.  This was his vision of the future for Black America.  But the legacy of colorism—discrimination by blacks against other Blacks would destroy his movement.  He underestimated  the power of a tradition of discrimination based on color.

This identity associated with color, class and status ran so deep in the Black community that even after slavery yellow or light brown skin was believed to represent the elite of the Black community. The history of Black slave owners is important for understanding the legacy of colorism in the United States.  As in the West Indians, what the white power class did was to use the color line as a bridge between themselves and enslaved communities, which had separate identities that were based on color, status and occupation.  Freedom and emancipation broke down those barriers, but the legacy of slavery continued as African Americans fought to maintain those color distinctions because of what it translated into in the larger societies: opportunities for jobs, education and the selection of mates for marriages.

The real tragedy of this struggle  between Du Bois and Garvey was that both  were Pan Africanists and Du Bois as well as other black leaders worked with the U.S. Government to destroyed the Pan African Movement as envisioned by Garvey because he was not one of them.  I understand the power of color within the Black community.  I was once at a family reunion in Louisiana and was told by a family “that I was too dark to be one of them, and that I was just a member of the family.” In Garvey’s case, he was too black to be a member of Du Bois’s caste and because he was a foreigner he was not even a member of the family.

Garvey the revolutionary Pan African

Later in life Du Bois realized what he had done.  Sometimes in life when you have made a great error you never revisit it against in your life.  In Du Bois memoir and biography, he never mentioned or discussed the Garvey affair.  Toward the end of his life he would emigrate to Ghana the first Pan African State in Africa.  A State that was shaped not by his Pan African ideas, but rather than of Marcus Garvey.  Kwame Nkrumah adopted Garvey’s flag, Black Star Steamship Line and much of his ideas and slogans such as “Africa for Africans,”  “One nation one people.”

The collision in Liberia of Marcus Garvey’s and W. E. B. Du Bois visions of Pan Africanism clashed not over substance but style.  In other words, the issues had nothing to do with ideas or philosophy, but was undermined by notions of superiority or inferiority based on black or light skin and the caste and status associated with color.

This article firse appear under the title: The collision in Liberia of Marcus Garvey’s and W. E. B Du Bois’s Version of Pan Africanisms. The article was forst published in The Slave Rebellion

[i] Conceptually, Diasporic scholars do not confine the concept of a Diaspora exclusively to people of any one ancestry, because the concept is borrowed from Jewish history, and initially referred to the scattering of the Jews after their Babylonian captivity.  The Jewish Diaspora has ancient roots going back 2,000 years and serves as a model for understanding Marcus Garvey’s back-to-Africa movement.  A useful working definition within this framework is the dispersal of a group of people, who share a common cultural or ethnic, religious identity with a homeland.  It can exist in Du Bois’ view metaphorically, linguistically or symbolically, but for Garvey Liberia was a place in Africa yearning for its loss “brothers and sisters” to come home.

Garvey was aware that the concept of Israel was a metaphor, linguistically united by language, religion and culture as a symbol of a homeland for thousands of years, which existed in the minds of Jews, until it materialized into a creation of a Jewish homeland in 1949,  Garvey was the “Moses” of his people and like the historic Moses would lead his people to the promise land in Liberia.


[ii] David Levering Lewis.  W. E. B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919-1963


[iii] Ibid. p. 51.


[iv] “Liberian Foreign Affairs: A Bibliographical Essay” by Joseph E. Holloway in The International History Review Simon Fraser University Volume VII Number 3 August 1985, p.430.


[v] The proposed plan for colonization work in Liberia were published in a full page advertisement which appeared in the New York World Wednesday, June 25, 1924.




1.         Court House and Post Office.

2.         Town Hall

a. Public safety

1.         Police Station

2.         Fire Protection

3.         Hospital


Community Interest and Entertainment

1.         National Theatre

2.         Churches (2)

3.         Large Public Hall

4.         Public Parks


Public Education

1.         Public Library

2.         Public Schools (2)

3.         Public High School (1)

4.         Colleges of Arts and Sciences

5.         Trade School and Engineering Works


Public Utilities

1.         Electric Light and Power Plant

2.         Water filtration Pant

3.         Sewerage system and Sewage Disposal Plant

a.         Transportation Facilities

1.         Roads, Streets and Pavements

2.         Wharf and dock and Water Front Improvement

3.         Railroad, 4-15 miles

b.         Commissaries (2)

c.         Dormitories (2)


[vi] Amy Jacques-Garvey, Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Carvey or Africa for the Africans.  Published by Universal publishing House: New York City, 1925.


[vii] Ibid., p.379


[viii] Op. Cit., David Levering Lewis, p. 74


[ix] Op. Cit., “International History Review,” p. 430.


[x] Opacity., Amy Garvey, p.380.


[xi] Opacity, David Levering Lewis, p. 80.

[xii] Ibid., p. 82.

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My Official Response to Ms. Hellen Momoh on her charges of Bullying, Plagiarism, and Grammatical Errors Thu, 14 Nov 2019 17:12:20 +0000  


The Editor,


This gone week was too tight and multitasking for me. I had a lot of personal and professional duties to accomplish in time. Hence, Ms. Hellen Momoh had enough of amenities to woo or seduce a number of social media followers into pettiness. Let me take a few minutes to deconstruct her wild claims and frail charges which this CDC-led government is using as a spiteful propaganda against my person in various newspapers. This propaganda of me bullying women is too weak and mawkish to survive in any conscious environment.

Instead of proffering a more concrete antithesis or rebuttal to my 5-page letter I wrote to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about declining press freedom and democracy in Liberia, this government through Ms. Momoh chose to peddle in outright deceit and distort THE FACTS in an unimaginable pattern.

These are sentimental and unjust charges (injusta onera sentimental) from Ms. Hellen Momoh against my person: Bullying – Plagiarism – and Grammar Errors. Did this “Student of Harvard” know what she was actually saying? This is a point to ponder over as Ms. Momoh struggles to inflate her fake academic stature and role in history at my expense. I am compelled to respond to Ms. Momoh not because we are academic or intellectual peers but because of these fundamental reasons cited below:

She has misrepresented THE FACTS about my person; She often claims to be a student of Harvard University which is untrue; She is being used by CDC as a mischievous conduit of distortion and distraction.

The faulty ‘grammar app’ didn’t only deceive Ms. Hellen Momoh but exposed the height of her weakness and emptiness. This is a formal response to the feeble charges and wild claims made by her against my person:

I did not bully Inspector General Josephine Davies as claimed. Like I have done to a few public officials especially males, I only critiqued Ms. Davies’s grammar and cautioned her to step up because of her high-profile role as a senior official of government. Global icons and leading feminists like Hilary Clinton and Angela Merkel have been criticized for poor grammar and even misspelling.

It is normal to critique public officials, including women, for poor grammatical construct. This happens everywhere and in any academic society. In fact, it is a global phenomenal. Sadly, it is a taboo only in Liberia and is described or branded as BULLYING, ENVY, and HATRED. The Inspector General of MOCI was the very first female official in government for me to have publicly critiqued relative to poor grammar. It is sad that Ms. Momoh is yet to decipher or distinguish between CRITICISM and BULLYING.

She said ‘I have bullied women’. Where, when, and how besides me critiquing Ms. Davies’s grammar? Let me state for the record that the feminist theory or the doctrine of feminism does not immune or preclude women in leadership from criticisms. Where was Hellen Momoh when Jestina Taylor and Telia Urey were bullied and physically attacked by pro-Weah fanatics while she (Hellen) campaigned for CDC Candidate Paulita Wie?

Where was Hellen Momoh when Kula Fofana, Estelle Liberty, and Tetee Gebro were publicly abused and cyberbullied by CDCians and officials of this same government? I had to publicly come in their defense to put an end to these unwholesome attacks against them. I have written dozens of papers and analyses in defense of women, girls, and children.

I fought to save the eyes of a young woman who was going blind as a result of police brutality and I ensured she was given a resettlement package of over L$150,000. Through my advocacy, millions of LRD were raised to sponsor young women in school. Global support to Liberian girls increased because of a letter I wrote to Malia and Sasha Obama in 2016. I have a feedback in my possession to prove this.

I have provoked and inspired UN Women and other pro-Women organizations to invest more in girls and women – and to put an end to rape and GBV through my write-ups and speeches. The records are endless to prove!

So, the charge of BULLYING levied against me by Ms. Hellen Momoh is not only frail and pathetic, but has no basis. I have not and will never bully any woman. What I did to Josephine Davies was an open-minded critique intended to breed improvement. I addressed her as a public official, and not as a private citizen. As a public official, she represents us and her output/performance portrays the image of our Country. Hence, she must be up to the task!

Feminism does not tolerate incompetence. It emboldens EXCELLENCE and MERIT. I take no responsibility if my stance and thoughts were or have been misinterpreted by a self-proclaimed student of Harvard University.

Ms. Momoh was again deceived by this imprecise “grammar app” to have made another wild claim that my letter had “36 percent plagiarism”. This is the wittiest conclusion anyone can imagine from a so-called “research” conducted by Ms. Momoh. The vagueness of this other “research” is too aching to stomach.

In my 5-page write-up, I did reference or credit everyone, including authentic sources, I ever quoted. In my letter, I said what has been happening and outlined a number of verbal attacks against THE PRESS by some senior officials of government. For instance, I said, “President George M. Weah described critics and vocal media outlets as ENEMIES OF THE STATE in June 2018 while on a tour in Bong and Nimba Counties.”

How does this equate to plagiarism or “36 per cent plagiarism”? Probably, Ms. Momoh needs to reread and digest my letter from a more objective lens. With a 100% aid from a fake “grammar app”, Hellen claimed to have detected a number of plagiarized lines in my write-up. Sadly, she along with her borrowed brain (the faulty app) is yet to answer a number of hard questions I have asked and continue to ask:

From whom did I plagiarize (original authors and authentic sources);

When and where were my “plagiarized lines” first published;

Does Ms. Momoh care to provide proof(s) to substantiate her wild and clueless claims?

The “app” failed Ms. Momoh on this one. At least this ‘app’ told her that I passed the “plagiarism test” by 64% which is even more pitiful on her part to surmise. I am not a genius and have never claimed to be one.  How I hope Ms. Momoh could use her own brain instead of depending on an inaccurate app to deceive herself and her readership.

Even a student who doesn’t profess to be in Harvard University could do better. Hence, Hellen’s second charge of “PLAGIARISM” against me is malnourished and runs contrary to the principles of academia.

Again, Hellen’s app failed to identify and correct what she termed as “Grammatical Errors”. Can Hellen justify or defend what “Grammarly App” has given her as errors? Let me just deal with a few of those so-called “errors”.

For instance, Grammarly underlined in red “..emboldens peace” in my lines and said PRONOUN PROBLEM. Where is the pronoun or pronoun problem in “..emboldens peace”.  “Emboldens” is a verb while “Peace” is a noun. For me, I will use my own brain to checkmate Hellen and ‘Grammarly App’.

I said “We implore you to bestow ‘same’ upon distinguished members of the Security Council..”. The “Grammarly App” underlined “same” and said DETERMINER USE IS INCORRECT. Is “same” in this sentence and context a Determiner? “Same” in this context is a pronoun substituting the noun or noun clause “..our compliments and best wishes..”.

Hellen’s app did not give her the appropriate corrections which is SAD on her part. This is what makes her ‘app’ fake and faulty. But I will release full corrections to the errors made by she and her ‘app’.

Hellen wrote, “…my research discovered 87 grammatical mistakes and 36 per cent plagiarism in your write-up.”

Ms. Momoh claimed to have done a research but she didn’t state or give credit to the source(s) of her research. This is the highest form of plagiarism. Does Ms. Momoh know the meaning of RESEARCH in fact? Are her conclusions and/or thoughts about my write-up based on systematic and creative investigation? Aren’t her discoveries and interpretations flawed? Of course they are. No genuine student of Harvard does research in this tragic manner.

Unable to refute the content of my letter and provide any reasonable defense for CDC though she continues to lie about her status as a student of Harvard University, Ms. Momoh shockingly embarked on a grammar spree by leeching on a faulty and imprecise grammar-checking tool “GRAMMARLY” or whatever robotic grammar checker she may have used.

This has even sized up Hellen’s brain. Now we know the source and size of her brain. Thanks to “GRAMMARLY” but does Hellen know what this app gave her as “errors” even though it did not give her the appropriate corrections to what it termed as errors? This self-proclaimed student of Harvard University seems to be a direct opposite of what this prestigious Ivy League University espouses or professes to be.

I just received two (2) separate invitations to serve as panelist from prominent pro-women and pro-children organizations (YOCEL and Protect the Children) as a result of my advocacy for women, children, and youth. So, how can I bully women or any woman for that matter?

I hope CDC can find someone stronger and better to respond to my analyses next time because Ms. Momoh is more of a juvenile to do so! Growth is gradual and not instantaneous. That’s why her brain had to wholly depend on a faulty grammar “app”. Any student who solely operates on a borrowed brain, especially one that is robotic (grammar app), cannot pride himself or herself with the accolade of an academic.

About The Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is a youth and student activist. He is an avowed defend of women and children’s rights. E-mail:



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Liberian Senate rejects money printing, says no to Pres. Weah Wed, 06 Nov 2019 20:12:05 +0000  


Monrovia—-Members of the Liberian Senate have rejected the requested for printing of new Liberian banknotes by the Executive through the Central Bank of Liberia.Addressing the official closing of the 54th session of the Liberian Senate Friday, October 04 in the chambers at the Capitol, Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie explained that senators raised, among others, concerns of proper internal controls at the Central Bank as was indicated in the Kroll Report, including confidence factor and source of the US$31 Million being requested to pay for the printing of the new banknotes.

Pro-Tempore Chie, a stalwart of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change notes that after extensive debates, the Liberian Senate has declined to give the requested authorization, pending full restructuring of the CBL.

According to him, the Senate also took note of the necessity to print new banknotes to replace all existing ones, particularly given that approximately 86 percent of notes currently in circulation is out of the banking system, amid reports of counterfeit Liberian banknotes on the market besides significant amount of mutilated banknotes termed in Liberian parlance as ‘tear-tear’.

Recently, the Senate received a request from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) through President George Manneh Weah, for authorization to print 35 billion new Liberian Dollars in coins and notes to replace the existing currency. Highlighting activities for the 54th session, Senator Chie reports the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives in passing the national budget at US$526 million, a significant decrease over the 2018/2019 national budget.

Weah: “What was damaged during the 14 years of civil war,” he said, “cannot be fixed in a day’s time. This government is focused on rehabilitating Liberians whose lives were damaged. I want you not to join those who are undermining the country through protests. Join me to rebuild the country.” As part of his development plans, President Weah said the government was exerting efforts to change the lives of Liberians, by building concrete homes in place of the huts they have been living in over so many decades.
President Weah

“It is our belief that this is a realistic budget that can be executed predictably and efficiently to prevent or minimize the perennial problem of budget short-fall,” he explains. He says the budget will also facilitate acceptance of the country into program of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which could eventually bring much more benefits.
He adds that the annual wage bill in the budget was capped at approximately US$297 million, with very much difficulty.

“We want to thank the public sector workers of this Country for their understanding with the salary harmonization process; by this process, the salaries of some of our public servants were reduced, some were raised, and some were untouched,” Pro-Tempore Chie explains.

He says realizing the current economic situation faced by the Country, coupled with sacrifices of civil servants and the importance of joining the IMF program, the senate has approved the cutting of its budget by approximately 30 percent, and plenary has accordingly mandated the Chairman on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah, to provide details of said budgetary adjustment.

“We wish to assure our citizens that the Senate will work along with the House of Representatives and the other branches of Government for prompt actions that will help stabilize the economy which has been struggling since the Ebola outbreak.” Meanwhile, the 54th Legislature has approximately passed 60 bills, including 45 from the Senate 15 from the House of Representatives, respectively.

Senator Chie also details a financing agreement between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the ECOWAS Bank in the tone of US$50 million to construct a segment of road from Barclayville, Grand Kru County to Klowein, Sinoe County in southeast Liberia. This project is the beginning of a network of roads planned for that part of the Country that has not benefited from infrastructural development for many, many years.

He names two incentive agreements for the construction of two cement plants and another incentive agreement for a flour mill, which will help in jobs creation. At the same time Sen. Chie says three constitutional propositions are underway for national referendum in October 2020, including, Dual Citizenship, reduction in the tenure of the Presidency, and members of the Liberian Legislature, and adjustment in the date of general elections from October to November. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor –Editing by Jonathan Browne/www.newdawn


Main Photo: Senator Oscar Cooper

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Fernando Po Crisis: the shame and of lack of accountability in Liberia Wed, 06 Nov 2019 03:14:21 +0000 MONROVIA – The future was bright for Doboe-Blee Garley, a 20-year-old, newly-married man in 1926. Well built and outstanding in the Menson Clan of Tchien District in Grand Gedeh County, Garley was a great royal hunter and a farmer. His wife, Munah, had come from a long lineage of traditional priests. Excitedly, the newlyweds made their way to the seaport city of Greenville to buy lapas, salt, and dishes for their home, according to citizens of Pelezon and Garley’s 62-year-old niece Theresa Boryea Walo, to whom the late Garley told his story.

But everything changed, when Garley was captured by troops working for top Liberian government officials, who were tasked with forcibly recruiting people to work on the Spanish-owned sugar cane, coffee and cocoa plantations in Fernando Po (located in current day Equatorial Guinea and parts of Gabon). Many of these forced recruits were abducted from the southeastern region of Liberia. Munah waited as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months but her husband did not return. After six months she walked alone on the 155-kilometer bush road back to Grand Gedeh.  It took her weeks to reach home.  When she finally reached, she ignored pains of the sores in her feet and ran around Pelezon Town beating her breast and crying as she told her ordeal.

“When she reached home there was crying and mourning in the entire Clan. Other men were also forcefully taken to Fernando Po. According to the elders of this land, Doboe-Blee Garley case was extraordinary because whenever there was famine, people would go to him for food,” said Walo.

Garley was one of thousands of young men, who was abducted with the complicity top Liberian government officials of Africa’s first republic that was founded in 1848 by freed slaves. Garley was likely captured between 1926 to 1929. According to historical accounts, the President, Charles D.B. King, his Vice President Allen Yancy, and the Speaker of the House of Representative Samuel A. Ross were directly involved in the forced recruitment. They were receiving £8 British pounds per head for recruiting and shipping their citizens off to labor camps on sugar cane, cocoa and coffee plantations.  The Liberian government argued that “slavery as defined by Anti- Slavery Convention, in fact did not exist in the country.

But, the League of Nations committee found that, “shipment to Fernando Po and Gabon is associated with slavery because the method of recruiting carries compulsion with it. Persons holding officials positions have misused their office in recruiting with aid of the Liberian Frontier Force,” according to the website

“The conditions under which people were being arrested or being captured and shipped up to faraway Spanish Island, violated these people rights as far as that convention [The Convention to Abolish Force Labor and Slavery which Liberia was a party to] was concerned.  People got killed. Some people never returned. Some of those who returned died after few weeks,” said Aaron Weah, the Liberian country representative of Search for Common Ground, an organization that works to mitigate conflicts through dialogue and mediation.

Image result for allen yancy liberia"
Photo: Allen Yancy, Vice President, Wikipedia

Munah waited for her husband Garley for another six months. But, her husband did not return. Munah remarried and moved on.  However, her husband did not forget her.  “My uncle did not rest,” said Walo. “He told me when I was a girl that he thought about his young wife all the time. She was tall, black and beautiful with long hair. He decided to run away and come home. He avoided some meals in the day to save money to come home.  He made £1.50 monthly. When he finally got £35 pounds, he paid some people on a ship to take him to Sierra Leone,” said Walo.

It took Garley about two months walking from Freetown to reach Monrovia.  He stayed for about three months before finally deciding to walk home. In those days there were no taxis or cars traveling to and from the hinterlands. “When he finally reached home it was too late. He had stayed too long. The woman he so loved had remarried and had 1 child,” said Walo.  As unfortunate as Garley’s story seems, he was one of the lucky ones.  He returned to his people. Many who went to Fernando Po died or remained there.  For those who never returned, the women of the South East sang in their languages to remember them.  One chant translated from the Grebo tribe said:

“Allen Yancy where are our sons? 

Where are our husbands?

You have left us without husbands 

And sons

Oh Allen Yancy!”


Liberian Historian, Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu said there are still traces of those who never made it home.  “If you went to Equatorial Guinea today you will notice that descendants of those people are still there, maybe in their languages and the culture (maybe similar to South Eastern Liberia culture),” said Guannu.

Garley later remarried and had two sons. One is dead. The other son Borbor Solo Johnson lives alone on the original spot of Pelezon Town where his father returned to.  At 80 years old, Johnson still remembers some of the deeds of his father. “Maybe because of what happened to him, my father was a just man. He was a judge of the entire Clan. He was always called upon to settle disputes in the land. He spoke truth to the faces of people no matter who they were,” said Johnson.

The situation of Garley and others reached the attention of the League of Nations after defeated candidate Thomas Faulkner accused President-elect Charles D. B. King of allowing slavery to exist in Liberia. The League of Nations commissioned an inquiry into the allegations. They found that it was true that slavery indeed existed. This led serious threat to Liberia’s independence. The League threatened to take Liberia into trusteeship, like other Africa countries.  “Liberian did not fully cooperate with the League of Nations. At the end of the day, the League of Nations withdrew its interest in the case because Liberia played delay tactics,” said Dr. Guannu.

Aaron Weah suggests there are parallels with the outcome of the League of Nations inquiry and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that recommended key perpetrators of war crimes and financiers of the war for prosecution in its final report in 2009.

“The League of Nations Inquiry was mandated to investigate allegations of the practice of slavery in Liberia while the TRC was mandated to investigate the root causes of the Liberian civil war and advance measure that to prevent the re occurrence of war/aggression. However, there are some notable similarities to consider,” Weah said.

Image result for fernando po + Liberia+ forced labor"
Photo: President Charles D. B. King, Wikipedia

Both inquiries were internationally backed and involved statement gathering from victims. Both had a “profound impact on society,” and both inquiries failed to satisfactorily implement their recommendations.  “The lack of implementation of these reports’ important recommendations sends a negative message against justice and accountability and that wrongdoers can continue to perpetrate harm and nothing will be done,” said Weah.

However, during a recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly, President Weah indicated his willingness to consider the implementation of the war crimes court and recognized “the rising chorus of voices from many quarters calling for the establishment of a war crimes court.”  While many of the men who were sent to Fernando-Po have disappeared, those wounded by the Liberian civil war remain.

One of the victims of the war is 47-year-old Mamie Barwone. Today, she lives in Saclepea, a life much different from that she lived in Monrovia in 1989. Like Garley, Barwone’s life was changed by the war. She was planning her wedding for the second week in July of 1990, when a grenade exploded killing in her living room, killing six people and leaving her maimed.  “All over my body are marks. They had to take out the iron them [particles] from my body,” said Barwone, whose bones were broken by the explosion.

She is yet to receive reparations or justice for the crimes committed against her.  For Boryea Walo, holding those accountable for kidnapping her uncle Garley is impossible now. However, holding those who committed crimes during the civil war that ended in 2003 is a must. “But all the people who carried my uncle to Fernando Po are dead. How will they go to court now? As for the current call for war crimes. I say all of them must go there so that other people will not do what they did here,” Walo said. culled FPA


This story was a collaboration with New Narratives as part of the West Africa Justice Reporting Project. Funding was provided by Australian Aid. The funder had no say in the story’s content. Report by Tecee Boley, New Narratives Senior Correspondent

Main Photo: Slave labor,

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The Chinese have taken over African wax and prints Wed, 06 Nov 2019 02:45:02 +0000




When you think of African fashion, you often think of the variety of brightly dyed fabrics worn on the continent and in the diaspora as shirts, pants, dresses, skirts and even the occasional head wrap on that cool “woke” black girlfriend. In Africa, they are everywhere at every time—from funerals and weddings, to markets and casual Fridays at the office. The ubiquitous batik-inspired wax print or—as it’s known in some countries—”Ankara” has come to denote Africanness. It is a fabric that represents African authenticity and helps people in other far-flung corners of the world connect with the continent. But in truth the Ankara cloth didn’t even originate in Africa.

“At that point they were trying to convert the Africans and make them better Christians, get them to cover up and be more English,” Obinyan explains. “They were asking for cloth that would match the environment and be palatable to the men and women there.”

Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon Wax prints and other textiles on sale in Bouake, Ivory Coast


Fleming commissioned the cloth in the Netherlands and the missionaries began selling the print, particularly to African women thus ushering wax print’s arrival on the continent. The trade became so successful that soon African women began telling the missionaries the colors and designs they wanted. The missionaries passed their requests to Fleming who in turn informed the Dutch manufacturers.

While Ankara’s history might seem surprising to some and raise questions about its authenticity, the fate of the fabric today poses even more challenges to its African identity. China’s incursion into the wax print trade—from counterfeiting to establishing legitimate wax print factories—further threatens the Africanness of the fabric, especially as local manufacturers struggle to produce and claim ownership of a material whose main consumers are Africans.

The documentary shows Chinese companies began making inroads into the wax-print market in the 1970s, but the materials they produced at the time were inferior, poorly printed copies of designs from big manufacturers such as Vlisco in the Netherlands. By the 1990s, however, they improved their technique by poaching designers from the big companies and resorting to other tactics.

“There was a lot of design espionage, business espionage and stealing of techniques and machinery ideas and patterns to create their own in China,” Obinyan says. Eventually, the Chinese manufacturers began creating decent counterfeit wax print that “looked, felt and even smelled” like the authentic Vlisco-like wax prints. Today, emerging Chinese manufacturers like Hi Target and Supreme are wax print companies in their own right with distinct designs produced at a very high standard and sold cheaply. While the growing competition and rise of inexpensive high-grade wax prints are good news to African consumers, it’s bad news to African players in the industry, including both established and fledgling local manufacturers.

AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
A model displays an outfit by designer Kil Fashion in Lagos

The casualties of China’s encroachment into the Ankara business extends beyond manufacturers. Famous wax print distributors known as Mama Benzes (or Nana Benzes) are going out of business. These African businesswomen are vestiges of a once lucrative distribution network— from the pre-colonial era to the late twentieth century—that afforded them socioeconomic and political clout and even, yes, Mercedes Benzes. In the mid-twentieth century, they established business ties with British merchants importing wax print fabric and gained exclusive rights to trading wax prints.

Their wealth turned them into formidable cultural icons who shaped societies from Lagos to Kinshasa. In Lome, in particular, their socioeconomic might was such that they were instrumental in defining the political culture of Togo’s independence movement. Today, however, their influence and presence appear to be waning owing to China’s growing disruption of the wax print industry

“We don’t see Mama Benzes the way we did back in the 1930s to the seventies or the eighties,” Obinyan explains. “[The Chinese incursion] has disempowered African women in one of the key trades for African women.

“African women have been cut out both by the Chinese and the Europeans who basically found ways to do it themselves and cut them out completely. Hence why most Mama Benzes in Togo now sell rice rather than wax print because there is no money in it.” Considering wax print’s history and how contemporary efforts by Africans to claim the material continue to be thwarted, one can’t help but wonder just how African the fabric is—a key question that Obinyan explores in the documentary. Will its authenticity continue to be defined mainly by the cultural significance Africans themselves place on it?

But even with African demand for and influence of the textile, it is not lost that having a relationship with the print that is mainly skewed towards consumerism puts Africans at a disadvantage in the long run. Obinyan puts it aptly: “From the buyer’s perspective they benefit because it’s cheap, but cheapness at what cost?” Culled By Chidinma Irene Nwoye /Quarts Africa


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