Liberianlistener http://www.liberianlistener.com Mon, 28 Sep 2020 19:15:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.7 The Passport Racket —How Liberia’s Image Been Ravaged By Its Own Governors http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/28/the-passport-racket-how-liberias-image-been-ravaged-by-its-own-governors/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/28/the-passport-racket-how-liberias-image-been-ravaged-by-its-own-governors/#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 19:15:17 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20938  

 

The Editor,

The phrase “SIGNIFICANT CORRUPTION” as stated by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—illustrating and characterizing the enormity of theft and graft associated with the Liberian passport racket, now trending on global cable news, is no doubt a ‘weighty declaration’ that must never be taken lightly. Anyone taking this lightly might be under the influence of strong and harmful substances.

By the way, how can we be so sure that the passports in question are not far more than 4,250 pieces considering the profundity of greed, and the unparalleled quest for material wealth and opulence which have possessed the souls of the folks ruling over our homeland? The desperation for bloody overnight wealth being exhibited by George Weah and his bunch compels to none. The guys are so obsessed with material wealth that the reputation and sanctity of the country no longer matter to them. Unimpeachable sources have hinted that the passports sold out to foreign crooks are more than what has been announced to the public. That the 4,250 is a massaged number. Liberia is plunged into a serious quagmire and may require powerful intervention to save the nation from the peril of extinction. What a debauched era in our history we shall never forget.

When the Americans describe as “Significant Corruption” the despicable and disconcerting ‘Passport Racket’ that transpired at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Division, allegedly to the acknowledgment of Mr. George Weah and former Foreign Minister Gbezongar Findley, they are simply communicating to you that the theft and venality thereof is COLOSSAL, to say the least. May I reemphasize, it is likely possible that the actual amount of passports sold to drug dealers, terrorist ring, and malcontent individuals are more than the current number making the headlines. The hands in which these passports have landed are believed to have the ability to inflict perilous security harms both at regional and international levels, something the Americans are not taking lightly, diplomatic sources say.

If George Weah is not linked to such a deadly racket which has brought a big shame upon us(Liberians) and diminished the reputation of our already struggling nation, why hasn’t he made full disclosure and immediately declare all the passports in question TOTALLY VOID? Voiding the passports in question is the right and appropriate thing any responsible and serious-minded government will unhesitantly revert to giving the gravity of this matter and the looming security danger thereto.

I ask again, if Weah’s hands are clean or he is innocent of the grave allegation made against him by former passport Director Andrew Wonplue, why can he declare all the passports in question void and communicate all relevant information including the code numbers of these passports to the INTERPOL for tracking and seizure? Think about these folks. It has been three weeks since the Americans stunningly exposed the Weah government and the government has taken no genuinely convincing action to prove its innocence order than to issue a bare denial and spew tirades and rhetorical blusters at Wonplue. Rationalize the response of the government and determine whether it measures up to the enormity of the dilemma it has been immersed in. Weah can choose to joke with this matter to the peril of his presidency, I care less whatsoever. Any which way, he and his bunch will smell the coffee sooner or later. The Americans I know will go after them ferociously.

I am worried about my homeland, Liberia. We are in big trouble. We may no longer travel freely as our passports will be subjected to thorough screening at international airports and border points, and our citizenship queried in a bid to establish who we really are since our passports are being processed and carried by all colors of skins, all kinds of people and dangerous elements. Hilarious Nonsense! Heartbreaking! Indeed, this is the winter of our discontent! And so it goes…

 

—-Moncio Kpadeh

Main Photo: Findley Foreign Minister /African Star Newspaper

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Liberia: Deputy Speaker Moye In US$508,000 Corruption Scandal http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/28/liberia-deputy-speaker-moye-in-us508000-corruption-scandal/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/28/liberia-deputy-speaker-moye-in-us508000-corruption-scandal/#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 01:16:41 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20935  

By Socrates Saywon

Gbarnga, Bong County – The Acting Chairman of the Council of Patriots and a Senatorial hopeful of Bong County, Menipakei Dumoe has accused the 54th National Legislature Deputy Speaker, Prince K. Moye of eating US$508,000 from the account of the Cuttington University.

Recently, some aggrieved workers of Cuttington University under the banner “Concerned Workers” staged a day-long go-slow in demand of salary arrears owed by the institution, and threatened to continue if the administration refuses to adhere to the request. Cuttington University, a private University located in Suakoko, Bong County, founded 1889 as Cuttington College by the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) and it is the oldest private, co-educational, four-year, degree-granting institution in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the aggrieved workers, the University Administration has not paid them since February of this year, with the workers vowing if the administration doesn’t pay their salaries there will be no lesson, and they will continue the protest until their salaries are given. Speaking in an interview with media gurus in Gbarnga, Bong County on September 26, 2020, Dumoe said the administration of Cuttington University is now facing serious financial problems because Deputy Speaker Moye and Senator Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa administration mismanaged funding that was given to the University by the government.

“Prince Moye cannot account for $508,000 that he oversaw while in top financial management at CU. These men are the reason ‘bitter balls seller’s children cannot attend Cuttington University,” Mr. Dumoe stressed. According to Dumoe, he has an audit document from the General Auditing Commission that outlined the Cuttington University corruption saga connecting Moye to mismanaging the said amount given by the government.

The Bong County Independent Senatorial 2020 candidate further alleged that Moye, while the head of Ways Means and Finance at the House of Representatives he stole millions of Dollars, more and no amount of endorsement will cover the crime that he (Moye) has committed in the Country.

“I have an audit Documents in my possession on Moye from Cuttington and National Legislature where he served a top position and there was mismanagement of funding. But we will release these documents during the heat of the 2020 Senatorial election campaign in Bong County, where our people will be aware of Moye and his father Sen. Tokpa evil because they will be brought to light. Our people need to know these things,” Mr. Dumoe said. Meanwhile, Dumoe has called on citizens of the County to reject Moye at the 2020 senatorial ballot box, adding we cannot give Bong to Father and Son as senators.

He said Moye is serving a top position but being silent and his Senatorial quest has undermined the interest of the people and the Development of Bong County.

 

Main Photo: Prince Moye, Smart News

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Tarzan and the Leopard Men of Liberia http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/28/tarzan-and-the-leopard-men-of-liberia/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/28/tarzan-and-the-leopard-men-of-liberia/#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 00:50:54 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20933  

Dag Walker

Years ago in Mexico City I was having coffee at a sidewalk cafe when an old guy with a bad leg and a droopy moustache sat down beside me. Soon after, he asked me where I had come from. “London, “ I replied. He pulled the ends of his moustache and said, “Ah, America.” I was polite and said, “No, sir, England.” He was a bit confused. “Oh, yes,” he said, smiling and showing all his gold teeth. “By California!” The coffee was excellent.

When I was a young boy my parents had a television for a short time. Every day during the week my mother was in front of the box staring at it like a zombie. “Why do you watch that stuff?” I asked. My mother didn’t turn her head while she said, “I like watching the wildlife.” Little did I realize that the big animal that held her attention was an American athlete turned movie star, Johnny Weissmuller, a tall, good-looking fellow who walked around in a loincloth playing Tarzan of the Jungle.

During a commercial my mother asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I wanted to be the guy who made the Tarzan yell when he used a vine to swing through the trees. My mother said that sound was made by a machine. I was supposed to try again. I said, “I want to be a laugher on television. Seems laugh tracks were made by machine as well. Third chance was to say I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. “Cowboy,” I would say.

I don’t know how it went with other kids, but getting a beating from my mother didn’t inspire me to go to law school. Nor did a bloody nose make me want to be a doctor. I really wanted to be a writer, but who could tell where that would lead had my mother ever heard me confess it.

I was a smart kid. I wanted to write books. If I had been a smarter kid, I would have said I wanted to write books that people actually read. And if I had been really smart I would have decided to write books that sell and make a lot of money. What I did know, even at an early age, is that I did not want to write stupid books like Tarzan of the Jungle.

Edgar Rice Bouroughs was a popular and rich writer of Tarzan novels. He wrote about Africa. My mother loved Tarzan, little did I realize. One of those movies she was so keen on was set in a place sort of like, but not even close to sort of like, Liberia. If I had said to my mother that the movie was supposed to be about Liberia she might well have said, “Oh, somewhere near California?” At least she didn’t have a gold teeth and a droopy moustache. Edgar Rice Bouroughs lived and wrote about Africa from his home in Tarzana, California. He made a lot of money. Smarter guy than I am.

Writers write books, sometimes about places they know nothing about. Some of those books are very good, even if they are science fiction and the writer has never actually been to Mars or Jupiter. Some books about Africa are almost science fiction, but they too can be good.

I’m not so sure I can recommend Tarzan novels, even those set in Liberia. One Tarzan novel is set there, though it is hardly about Liberia at all. It’s an action romance novel. Later, the same rough idea became a movie. For those from Liberia the experience might be like mine when I watched a movie in China about my homeland. I spent two hours laughing till my stomach hurt as hundreds of intense young Communists watched in horror as America showed on the screen, America according to the Chinese Communist government. It was to me pure comedy. To the rest of the audience, it was horror on a platter. I assume they liked it. I know I did. Sort of. In a weird way.

In this “Information Age” it’s still very common to find people expressing opinions that have nothing to do with the facts easily available to most people. Not that people are too lazy to look up information to see for themselves what is or isn’t more or less true; it’s mostly a matter of people being so convinced that their opinions are facts that they don’t think they should look further into the opinions they have. Knowing about Tarzan novels might well be enough for most to talk with some authority on Liberia. What do I know? I spend a lot of time asking questions, looking up information, and asking more questions. I could get a job and make some money, which would be a better plan, probably. It might not hurt my life to assume that all foreign places on earth are somewhere near California. If I get all my knowledge about Liberia from Tarzan novels, it doesn’t hurt that much. I guess. But, I do a bit more, being a curious guy. I read the history and details of the nation, and then, because I don’t have to go to work every day, I have time to read Tarzan novels, too. If anyone is interested in giving me a dollar for a cup of coffee, I am an interesting fellow to talk to. I might be a richer man if I just made up stuff about, let’s say, Liberia, and wrote silly novels knowing nothing at all but how to get the good guy to thwart the bad guy and save the beautiful girl as well. No, I’m not that smart. I spend my time learning, sometimes about silly novels.

How about Tarzan and the Leopard Men? It was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1933, long before the Age of the Internet. Published in serial form in The Blue Book Magazine, August 1932—January 1933.The first US book edition: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., September 1935. Say what we will, the cover is totally cool, and well worth the five cents it would have cost for the book back then.

Rather than spending a hundred dollars on a collector’s copy of this nonsense, one can find the text for free at the link: Text: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks05/0500201h.html.Being an old guy, I found it far easier to get a copy from the library. I can’t lay any claim to knowing more about the Leopard Societies of Liberia from reading this novel. I didn’t expect to learn about the Heart Men.

 

face2faceafrica

That wasn’t the point. I wanted to know about how people in America saw Liberia in 1932-33.

Or, maybe I should just confess that I was bored and tired and wanted to read a cheap pulp novel to pass a few hours.

In 1933 Liberia was facing severe hardships, an economic catastrophe due to world-wide depression, the League of Nations threatening to take over the country due to the Fernando Po scandal, Firestone Rubber demanding money from a bankrupt nation, and local rebellions tearing apart the social fabric. For an American novelist in California, the interesting thing was the beautiful girl looking in the jungle for her lost brother, two ivory hunters seeking to get rich, and Tarzan and his monkey companion Nkima coming into conflict with the Leopard Men. Let’s face it, who needs the facts from a brilliant American sociologist from the University of Chicago writing about social conditions in Liberia when one can instead read about the beautiful girl being captured by bad guys and will the ivory hunting handsome guy save her so they can live happily ever after? Damn the facts, will Taran escape from the hut to save everyone? That really matters.

Tarzan and the Leopard Men is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 18th in a series of 24. It’s terrible. It was, however, a serious hit with young mothers in America who could watch the movies with a muscular young man strutting around in his underwear. Wildlife, as my mother called it. And, yes, the movies were made in California.

There’s no deep need to police movie-goers for having bad taste in B-movies. For those in 1946 who cared to pay ten cents for admission to the movies, they could get a double feature, one of which might well have been Tarzan and the Leopard Woman. (RKO Radio, 1946), directed by Kurt Neumann. Writers: Carroll Young (original story), Carroll Young (screenplay.)

Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield.

The plot, such as it is: Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl back again. Whoops! I forgot to note that in the meantime, good guy is chased and captured by the evil bad guy, escapes, is caught again, and finally manages to defeat the villain. Life returns to normal, and everyone lives happily ever after. If only I could write such stuff!

It turns out, having done some study on my own and having some experience of the world, that Tarzan movies and novels do not reflect actual life in Liberia. Further, only very minor intellectuals would care about the misrepresentation. It’s too trivial to care about. Some do.

The funny thing about Tarzan novels and movies is that it shows us a universal truth about humanity: that most people, sadly, just do not care about the life and times of Liberia. Instead, what they do care about is love, romance, and sex. Yes, even my mother was interested in such things. I had no idea. One learns some terrible things in this life. Most people learn only what they care to learn to live their lives in some state of contentment. If for many people Liberia is somewhere close to London and California, so be it. If such mistakes are harmful, it is only to those who fail the exam. But, what exam? Life is private, for most of us. We might well go to our graves not knowing the fine details of Liberia, but there are other things to interest us. Here is a review that probably tells us more about life than the dry accounts of any hundred anthropologists.

“Tarzan’s Sexiest Movie,”  jery-tillotson-17 July 2016

“Tarzan and the Leopard Woman” is probably the sexiest Tarzan in this series. Since it’s 1946, you naturally are not presented with anything graphic, but with nearly all this cast wearing very little, the possibilities are all there for a wild sexual fantasy. Johnny Weismueller has long outgrown his days as a lean, jungle machine. Here, he’s big, buff and has obviously worked out. We see his pectorals, his concave stomach, powerful shoulders and thighs. His loin-cloth is almost a bikini. The glorious Acquanetta looks fabulous in her clinging gowns and robes as Lea, the high priestess of the leopard man cult. For once, all the male extras in their brief sarongs are handsome and buff and they really show their stuff when they perform their leopard dance. Just as sexy is Anthony Caruso who shows off his muscular torso as Lea’s accomplice. Johnny Sheffield is now a handsome teenage boy and he would soon be making his own jungle series as Bomba, the Jungle Boy. As has been cited by other reviewers, the most erotic scene is when Tarzan is captured and bound to a post in the temple of the leopard cult. His handsome body is covered with welts and his chest is thrust out with his hands bound behind him. Lea approaches him slowly, holding her leopard club with claws. The scene is played nearly silently. Tarzan’s chest is heaving up and down in anticipation and then, there’s an interruption. The nearly naked Tarzan, helpless, must have aroused many a fantasy in 1946 and by millions of TV viewers later when it played on TV. The movie is beautifully photographed and cast. This is one Tarzan movie I play regularly. Rarely did Tarzan have so many attractive cast members to play against.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039011/

 

Looking back, I see that my mother was not an educated woman; but even so, perhaps she would have made a better novelist than I. That is only because, of course, I have no interest in half-naked men. I might now turn my attentions to my latest book, The Perils of the Crazed Intellectual. Please wish me luck on that one.

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And Why Is the Legislature Mute Over The Passport Saga? http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/27/and-why-is-the-legislature-mute-over-the-passport-saga/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/27/and-why-is-the-legislature-mute-over-the-passport-saga/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 01:09:20 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20931  

Robert Moncio Kpadeh

The current passport scandal has grave national security implications. It is disgraceful, to state the least. It tarnishes our country’s already checkered image— in no small way. It is now making headline rounds on international news. It has brought the entire nation and all that it beholds to utter disrepute. It poses an existential threat to regional and international security. Trouble is afoot in the land.

In the face of this national quagmire and disdain brought upon the nation by the Executive and its corrupt agents, reportedly at the acquiescence of President George Weah and former Foreign Affairs Minister Gbehzongar Findley, the Legislature is markedly and shockingly tight-lipped thus lingering more questions than answers. Is the legislature concerned about the looming danger afoot? Where are the Senate and House’s Committees on Foreign Relations? Should they not be inviting Findley, Andrew Wonplue, and others named in the criminal issuance of the 4,250 passports to notorious individuals claiming to be investors? Should they not be launching a thorough and credible investigation into this saga by now after all the signals and leads the Americans have essentially given?

By the way, why has the revelation made by the Americans, which they classified as “Significant Corruption” not claimed the attention of the Legislature up to present? Has the legislature compromised its independence to the point where it would ignore a deadly scam that puts the security of the world in jeopardy? Do they not have an ounce of conscience and modicum of love for the place they call their homeland? Where lies their allegiance, to their country or to individuals? I wonder.

What a derelict, dysfunctional, and barren legislature, and interestingly, its members (Lawmakers) get paid handsomely for being dysfunctional and consistently bootlicking a corrupt and narcissistic President. This too is Liberia!

 

Main Photo: House Speaker, Chambers

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NDC candidate Cecelia Siaway Teah banks on womens’ support in senate bid http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/27/ndc-candidate-cecelia-siaway-teah-banks-on-womens-support-in-senate-bid/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/27/ndc-candidate-cecelia-siaway-teah-banks-on-womens-support-in-senate-bid/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 00:58:25 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20926 The President of the Women Movement of Liberia, Cecelia Siaway-Teah has declared her intention to contest as a senatorial candidate in the impending special senatorial elections of December 8, 2020. At a news conference in Paynesville, Madam Siaway-Teah said her decision to join the race comes after series of consultation with the Youth and elders, women groups, religious organizations and thousands of her supporters across the county. Teah is a candidate on the ticket of the National Democratic Coalition, a pan African Progressive political institution, and Liberia’s social democratic party.

As a female contestant in the election, Madam Siaway-Teah said she is fully aware of the challenges ahead but is counting on the strength of the women of Liberia she has served as their President and nothing can stop her from running. “I Madam Cecelia-Siaway Teah is in the race to win and change the status quo for the betterment of our beloved country and there is no turning back,” she declared.

Speaking further she noted that as a campaigner for more women participation in national politics, she was convinced that this is the right time for her to stand up and make her dream and vision a reality. The Women Movement of Liberia’s President is the latest to join the Montserrado County Senatorial race that has already been touted by political observers as a two-horse race between the incumbent Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) and Rep. Thomas P. Fallah of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

But Madam Siaway-Teah is adamant that her message will resonate well with the voters, especially the women, to ensure that there is at least some number of women’s representation at the Liberian Senate. She said owing to the low number of women in the Legislature, especially the Senate and the increasing wave of violence against women and girls, there was a need for more female representation at the Legislature. Her decision to contest also add to the number of women who will be joining the only female-Senator of the 54th Legislature, Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence of Grand Bassa County and Political Leader of Liberty Party to fight for space at the Senate. culled fpa

Main Photo: Madame Teah

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African Spirituality: Demon Possessed or Mental illness? http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/24/african-spirituality-demon-possessed-or-mental-illness/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/24/african-spirituality-demon-possessed-or-mental-illness/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 23:53:55 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20912  

By Sekou Kelleh

 

I have experienced firsthand the ideological clash between science and religion on the issue of whether people can be demon possessed or they just experience mental health issues. And l was forced to pick a side.  The Italian Red Cross  Society hired me in 2017 as a cultural mediator and a language interpreter between medical professionals and refugees mostly from Africa and the Middle East. Part of my responsibilities was to relay between patients and  doctors.

Initially l was motivated by the cash and the prestige of the job. But it later downed on me  that I was actually in a kind of a school that would change my perception of reality forever. One night a lady was rushed into our clinic half naked by her friends. She was screaming, hitting herself and talking to herself. It was obvious she was hearing voices and talking to invisible beings. I asked her friends who accompanied her to explain what happened. They said she she was “demon possessed” period.

As a west African  and coming from a Muslim background l  did believe in demons. We call  them “jinn” but when I told the doctor about it he smiled and walked away. The nurses came in after and did their normal routines. The lady recovered few hours later and appeared like she had no recollection of what had happened. She was later advised to see a psychologist for therapy. Out of curiosity l asked the doctor to explain the diagnosis. He  claimed that the lady was either suffering from PSYCHOSIS or SCHIZOPHRENIA. And that those are mental conditions characterized by disconnection from reality which results in strange behavior.

The differences are clear, while religion accuses external forces and supernatural beings for the illness  science explains it as a mental disorder caused by different factors of life including genetics, trauma, brain injury, sexual harassment, war and stress. Though I found the scientific reasoning more logical, l still couldn’t give up my belief.

Luckily for me , I found the 3rd explanation in African spirituality. Especially the ancient Egyptian and the Dogon philosophies of west Africa Like science they did not cite demons as the cause of any human behavior but INTERNAL DISORDER. According to ancient Egyptians, humans are a walking system with billions of information circulating in harmonious balance. A slight deviation caused by either internal or external factors can have dire consequences.

Main Photo: African Spirituality /Educate to Liberate

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Botswana is introducing Swahili language into its schools http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/24/botswana-is-introducing-swahili-language-into-its-schools/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/24/botswana-is-introducing-swahili-language-into-its-schools/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 22:18:49 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20908 Staff Report

Botswana aims to introduce Swahili language in the southern African country’s local schools, a senior official said Tuesday. At a language teaching workshop in Francistown, Botswana’s second-largest city, Fidelis Molao, Botswana’s Minister of Basic Education, said that the Swahili language will be introduced in schools in the future.

Swahili is a Bantu language widely spoken in the Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and parts of Malawi. If introduced, Swahili will be the first African language from outside the boundaries of the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region will be one of the major trading partners with many Swahili-speaking countries in the near future, which Botswana needs most as it is vying for an export-led economy, Molao said.

English, French, and Portuguese are the three languages currently used by the SADC

Recently, Rwanda joined the chorus to teach Swahili in its schools as an official langue in the country, said Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu. The minister added that the law was passed as an obligation to the EAC and also as an opportunity to benefit in the region.

“Swahili as an official language is, on one hand, fulfilling what we are required to do as a member country but, on the other hand, it’s a way to increase the  benefits that Rwandans can reap from economic integration.” Said Ms Uwacu With the East African passport kicking off January this year, the bill was passed without going through standing committees for further reviews.

“We are going to introduce a curriculum and teaching material and we will definitely take advantage of the relationship that we have with other partner states who already use the language,” the minister said, according to CTGN Africa. Minister Uwacu elaborated that the Presidential order will give the details on when the language will be incorporated in school curriculum. Meanwhile South Africa is also introducing Swahili into its schools, also.

Main Photo: Botswana Scool Kids, /Project Concern International 

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‘LACC Chairman Nwabudike Presiding over Pro-Corruption Conference’ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/20/lacc-chairman-nwabudike-presiding-over-pro-corruption-conference/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/20/lacc-chairman-nwabudike-presiding-over-pro-corruption-conference/#respond Sun, 20 Sep 2020 19:03:44 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20892  

 

The President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), an umbrella body of all lawyers in the country, has termed as ‘pro-corruption’ the ongoing National Anti-Corruption Conference (NACC), organized by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), thereby asking development partners not to attend it.

Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe said, because the   Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Nbudusi Nwabudike, himself a lawyer allegedly obtained his Liberian citizenship and so, any conference organized by Nwabudike is a product of corruption, fraud, deception, and misrepresentation. The NACC got underway yesterday, Wednesday, September 16,  at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.

The exercise, according to Nwabudike, is the fifth phase and the climax in the series of nationwide consultations to address the issue of corruption in Liberia. He said the idea of the National Anti-Corruption Conference came about as a result of Liberia’s dismal performance over the last three years on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

But, Gongloe said, the LACC under the chairmanship of Nwabudike lacked the legal and moral credentials to fight corruption in the country. “Nwabudike does not have the requisite credentials to fight corruption in the country, because he is a product of corruption and a person, who obtained his naturalization document under fraud and deception,” Gongloe indicated.

According to Gongloe, the LNBA under his watchful eye will never cooperate with the LACC as long as Nwabudike remains at the helm of that integrity institution. Gongloe was quick to point out that there are more qualified individuals with integrity at the LACC that can help in the government’s anti-corruption fight, though he did not specifically name anyone.

“There are qualified lawyers and individuals at the LACC that can successfully lead President George Weah’s fight against corruption,” Gongloe noted. Gongloe also vowed to campaign among Liberia’s development partners and local groups not to support an activity of the LACC under the chairmanship of Nwabudike.

“I am going to lobby with development partners and local partners not to support the LACC because its chairman is a product of corruption,” Gongloe vowed. Further, Gongloe said, Nwabudike had the temerity to invite the LNBA to attend the ‘pro-corruption’ conference.

“We later instructed the executive director to inform him that we do not recognize his authority to host a conference about tackling corruption because he himself is a product of corruption and does not have the integrity to fight corruption in our country,” Gongloe said. Google also used the occasion to call on President George Weah to replace Nwabudike if the President wants to succeed in the fight against corruption.

“How will a government retain such an individual and expect it to succeed in the fight against corruption,” Gongloe wondered. “President Weah needs to understand that Nwabudike is corrupt and he cannot fight corruption in our country. Who is he going to charge for corruption, when he himself is corrupt?” the LNBA president asked. “Nwabudike is not an agent of change, he is an agent of fraud, deception, and misrepresentation and the person that is making the public to lose confidence in the President’s fight against corruption.”

According to the Bar, Nwabudike allegedly failed to honor citations sent to him by the Ethics Committee probing the validity of his citizenship.

No description available.

The Bar wrote the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) on 3 April, which replied that it had no record on the lawyer’s residency or naturalization status. Additionally, the Bar pointed that the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Assizes “B”, Temple of Justice, also wrote the Committee informing it that it had no record of his naturalization status.

On April 6, the Bar indicated that Nwabudike wrote to the committee arguing that his citizenship was given by the Liberian government and it is only the Liberian government that can challenge or revoke it.

He also said the issue of his citizenship was now moot since the issue was not raised when he was admitted as attorney-at-law and subsequently as counselor-at-law. However, scrutiny of Nwabudike’s passports and national documents reflects four different dates of birth.

“His 2004 Liberian Passport carries his date of birth as 2 October 1963 and his name as A. Nkwuka Ndubuisi Nwabudike, instead of the name that appears on the roster of the Liberian National Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar which is A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike,” the Bar stressed.

The LNBA also noted that Nwabudike’s Liberian national identification card has 2 October 1969 as his date of birth and his name as A. Ndubuisi Nkwuka Nwabudike, while his application for a marriage certificate, dated 22 January 1992, filled in by hand, carries his name as A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, his date of birth as 19 October 1960 and his nationality Nigerian. culled Abednego Davis/liberianobserver

 

Main Photo: Bar President Gongloe

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Chea Cheapo: progressive icon and Supreme Court Chief Justice is dead- (1942-2020). http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/20/chea-cheapo-progressive-icon-and-supreme-court-chief-justice-is-dead-1942-2020/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/20/chea-cheapo-progressive-icon-and-supreme-court-chief-justice-is-dead-1942-2020/#respond Sun, 20 Sep 2020 01:00:36 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20888 Staff Report

Cheapoo (1942_2020) served in the late 1970s as a Senator from Grand Gedeh County. At that time, he also served as the head counsellor for the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), an opposition party later outlawed by President William Tolbert.  In early 1980, he served as a spokesman for its successor, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP). Following the overthrow of the Tolbert government in a 1980 coup, Cheapoo was appointed Attorney General in April 1980 under the People’s Redemption Council regime. However, Cheapoo was removed from his position and arrested in September 1981 after being accused of stockpiling arms without permission of the PRC.

Following the resignation of Chief Justice James N. Nagbe in June 1987, Cheapoo was appointed by President Samuel Doe as Chief Justice. Soon after taking office, he was accused of illegally ordering the arrest of a probate judge Harper S. Bailey whom he stated had tried to bribe him. Amid the resulting controversy, he accused President Doe of unconstitutionally releasing the culprits in question. As the controversy grew, he submitted to President Doe his resignation on 10 November 1987, but Doe rejected it and called for him to be punished with the removal of his citizenship. Consequently, he was impeached by the House of Representatives later in the month, and the Senate convicted him and removed him from office on 02 December on charges of violating the Constitution while in office. The vote was nearly unanimous; only David Menyongai of Margibi County voted to acquit.

The late Chief Justice, Cheapoo

Cheapoo was the first government official to be impeached in Liberia’s history.  Shortly after his deposition, he was arrested on a charge of defaming President Doe, but he received substantial popular support: he was cheered by crowds of commoners as he went to trial, and the Montserrado County bar association voted to boycott Judge Bailey’s courtroom until his removal.

Cheapoo later participated in the 1997 general elections as the standard bearer of a reconstituted Progressive People’s Party (PPP).  Additionally, Cllr. Cheapoo will be remembered for his struggles and efforts for multi party democracy in Liberia as he was persecuted by the political establishments he served, impeached by two different ‘Assembly’ of the Liberian legislatures, showing what appeared to be a non-ethnic cleavage to his politics, since his advocacies and persuasions while in office were against two different parties and ideologies. Accounts say, under what looked to be ’kangaroo court’ by the hegemonic-one party True Wing Party led oligarchy and the military cum-civilian governments of the National Democratic Party administrations, Cheapo was sanctioned as the legislatures of the era according to reports acted against the national interests to undermine and intimidate his person, because of his independence and outspoken personality and convictions.

“Born in Kiteabo, River Gee County, formerly Weebo District of Grand Gedeh County, onto the union of Joseph S. Cheapoo Sampson and Sarah Cheapoo Sampson, Cllr. Cheapoo enrolled at the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), where he completed his secondary education and then matriculated to North Carolina Central University, where he graduated with a law degree.”

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Henry Ossawa Tanner a brilliant and acclaimed African American Painter http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/19/henry-ossawa-tanner-a-brilliant-and-acclaimed-african-american-painter/ http://www.liberianlistener.com/2020/09/19/henry-ossawa-tanner-a-brilliant-and-acclaimed-african-american-painter/#respond Sat, 19 Sep 2020 23:43:56 +0000 http://www.liberianlistener.com/?p=20885  

By Dag Walker

 

Where I grew up in a small town in the Rocky Mountains a few years after the end of World War Two, there were no bookstores, no music stores, and no such thing as an art gallery or museum. It was a fine life for a boy, a life of fishing and mountain climbing and fist fighting with the neighborhood bully. There was little of the life of the mind, though, aside from the occasional book to be found, paperbacks, spines broken, pages torn out, coffee cup rings on pages, and random telephone numbers or grocery lists scrawled over the pages. Nearly every book I found in my early years was an account from a prisoner of war. It’s clear now that someone suffered badly. I, however, was happy to read anything I could find, even woeful tales of torture and horror.

School offered little in the way of intellectual stimulation, worse as I grew older; and finally so restrictive that I found myself many a weekday morning as the sun rose standing on the ramp at the edge of the highway hitch-hiking a ride to the nearest city, one state over, to visit the library there. There, and somehow, I became interested, at the age of 14, in a German philosopher by the name of Carl Leibniz. His books were stranger than death camps in Japan. Philosophy was crazier than science fiction. Of course, I loved it. 

Even so, I sometimes needed a break during those long days out of town. That would send me to the music room for a vinyl record to play, headphones on, and me in love with stirring music I had never dreamed could exist. One record in particular appealed to me, a long-haired hippy on the cover, the music from heaven. That first time, so enraptured by the sound, I took the record and its cardboard cover and hid it behind a library room sofa so to be sure it would be available when I returned next time. Finally, as it had to be, a librarian caught me hiding my treasure, and she said, “You know, Josef Hayen wrote other music. You might like Beethovan as well. And Chopin. Debussy.” 

It was only a few years later that, far too soon, far too young, I began what has been a lifetime of wandering, war zones to libraries to catastrophic world events, and art galleries and back again. I remember the first encounter with paintings, New Orleans, when I was still just a boy. 

I didn’t have any comic books because my mother, along with all the other young mothers in the town had heard on the raido that comic books were a Satanic plot to destroy America; and so she and all the other concerned women of the town had a bonfire and burnt them all in a study of purtain moral zeal. Not that it saved me for a life of sinful error. The lack of art, though, did leave me astounded as I stood in a tiny private art gallery in New Orleans looking at paintings the likes of which Superman comic books could not compete against. 

The owner approached me, perhaps concerned by my rapt attention to Goya’s drawings of “The Horrors of War,” something I’d had some experience with recently when two boys in the house I shared with a gang of 20 or so had been murdered. He gently guided me to images of angels and saints, Madonnas and baby Jesus. He showed me around his otherwise empty gallery for the afternoon, and seemed fairly surprised when I returned next day when he opened. He finally tossed me out when he discovered I am colorblind and will never be any kind of art critic. But, the love of art remained. It is thus that sometime over the course of the years and the miles I discovered Henry Ossawa Tanner, American painter. 

Henry Ossawa Tanner was a Black American painter from Pittsburg, Pa., born in 1859. He died in 1937. Tanner’s father was a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent black denomination in the United States. His mother had been born into slavery in Virginia, but fled via the Underground Railway to safety in Pennsylvania. Tanner studied at Avery College and Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. In 1879 Tanner enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, becoming the only black student.1.

When Tanner was 13 he met a man painting at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.2. He was inspired. His mother gave him money for paint and brushes.3. He pursued art as a career. At art school, Tanner was a favorite of a popular teacher, and he made lasting, life-long friends with some of his fellow students. However, he wrote in his autobiography: 

I was extremely timid and to be made to feel that I was not wanted, although in a place where I had every right to be, even months afterwards caused me sometimes weeks of pain. Every time any one of these disagreeable incidents came into my mind, my heart sank, and I was anew tortured by the thought of what I had endured, almost as much as the incident itself.1.

After a failed business attempt in Atlanta, Georgia, Tanner met  Bishop and Mrs. Joseph Crane Hartzell. They became his art patrons. In 1888, Tanner moved to Highlands, North Carolina for a brief period before returning to Atlanta where he taught drawing for two years. He wanted to study art in Europe, but had no money. “Bishop and Mrs. Hartzell arranged an exhibition of Tanner’s works in Cincinnati in the fall of 1890. When no paintings were sold, the Hartzells bought the entire collection. This endowment allowed Tanner to sail for Rome in January 1891. After brief stays in Liverpool and London, Tanner arrived in Paris.”2.

Tanner moved to Paris in 1891, and spent the rest of this life there. Tanner met and became friends with many painters of the time in Paris, learning from them, applying their knowledge to his own works; but by 1895 he was creating mostly religious works under  his own influence.

It is at this point that Tanner becomes an important and memorable painter in the history of art. 

Henry O. Tanner "The Annunciation" 1898 (detail) | Christian paintings,  Annunciation, Black artists
Henry O. Tanner “The Annunciation” 1898 /Pinterest

When Tanner showed his religious painting at the Paris Salon, he was “discovered” by art critic “Rodman Wanamaker, who offered an all expenses-paid trip for Tanner to the Middle East. Wanamaker felt that any serious painter of biblical scenes needed to see the environment firsthand and that a painter of Tanner’s caliber was well worth the investment. Tanner quickly accepted the offer.”1. 

He travelled to the Levant, currently Israel, and continued to learn and paint religious themes. He received from the French government one of its highest honors in 1923, when he was appointed Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, the highest national order of merit, and considered this “citation by the French government to be the greatest honor of his illustrious career.”[1.

Tanner expressed his interest in painting and humanity with elegant simplicity: “My effort has been to not only put the Biblical incident in the original setting … but at the same time give the human touch ​‘which makes the whole world kin’ and which ever remains the same.”4.

Tanner spent most of his adult life in France, a successful man and an acclaimed artist. 

In 1908 his first one-man exhibition of religious paintings in the United States was held at the American Art Galleries in New York. Two years later, Tanner was elected a member of the National Academy of Design. In 1923 he was made an honorary chevalier of the Order of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, and in 1927 he became a full academician of the National Academy of Design, the first African American to receive that honor. In his later years, Tanner was a symbol of hope and inspiration for African-American leaders and young black artists, many of whom visited him in Paris. On May 25, 1937, Tanner died at his home in Paris.2.

“Tanner’s Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City (c. 1885; oil on canvas) hangs in the Green Room at the White House; it is the first painting by an African-American artist to have been purchased for the permanent collection of the White House.”1.

Aside from the obvious beauty of Tanner’s painting of the Anunciation, what makes this work so stunning  is the look of total skepticism on Mary’s face: ‘Are you kidding,’ she seems to say, ‘I’m just an ordinary person from a small place in the middle of nowhere. How can I ever do some great thing?’ 

Woman from the French West Indies by Henry Ossawa Tanner on artnet
Woman from the French West Indies by Henry Ossawa Tanner /artnet

 

Main Photo: Henry Ossawa Tanner /biograhy.com

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ossawa_Tanner
  2. https://americanart.si.edu/artist/henry-ossawa-tanner-4742
  3. Faith Ringgold, Henry Ossawa Tanner: His Boyhood Dream Comes True. Bunker Hill Publishing, Incorporated. 2011. 
  4. Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, Sharing Traditions: Five Black Artists in Nineteenth-Century America (Washington D.C., published for National Museum of American Art by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985), 106.
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