Liberia: BEWARE of Chief Zanzan Karwor

Chief Zanzan Kawor, Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, delivers the National Independence Day oration at the Centennial Pavilion on Ashmun Street on July 26, 2023.

By S. Karweaye 

A few days ago, the Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwor made headlines in Liberia, wherein in his usual posturing, threw hard stones at the opposition political parties while endorsing  George Weah's second-term bid. 

According to  Chief Zanzan Karwor, “The people who are in the opposition should think about development in other areas for the people. But the only thing they want is to fight their leader which is not in our tradition as a people.” Chief Karwor went further by saying “don’t embarrass the traditional people. We can’t fight the hand that feeds us. I thought the opposition would have joined the President to do more for the traditional people. Let me let you know the person who feeds people, people will follow them.”

At over 70 years of age, Chief Zanzan Karwor should be respected, but unfortunately, this man has constantly made himself available to be criticized and insulted by Liberians who are young enough to be his grandchildren. Our chiefs and elders must advise, caution, and rebuke their children when they are doing the wrong things, but in the case of Chief Karwor, it is quite different. We were all in this country when all these happened before our eyes. Chief Zanzan Karwor supported the NPP and UP-led administrations of Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Today, because political power has changed hands, he is now attempting to warm his way into the heart and mind of the new man who is currently in charge in the country while harshly criticizing opposition political actors.  

An elder that sings praises to every regime while ignoring bad governance and other societal ills is not worthy to be respected. As  National Orator of the Independence Day celebration, his speech was on the theme, “Giving Our People Hope For A Violence Free, Fair, Transparent and Inclusive And Credible Elections,” but he choose to ignore the “Free, Fair, Transparent and Inclusive And Credible Elections” part during his presentation of his speech, but instead boasted of receiving 30 vehicles, 150 motorbikes, and 15 ambulances from President Weah as donations to the National Traditional Council of Liberia while chastising the opposition politicians for not joining President Weah to do more for them.

On the issue of corruption; some notable Liberians including Cllr. Taiwan Gongloe, had accused the present and immediate past government of corrupt practices and lacking the Will to fight the monster. But Chief Zanzan Karwor openly declared as Orator of the 176th independence celebration: “Our culture and religion have established norms that must be respected at all times. Our culture also says that we must respect our leaders and so we don't fight our president.”  An elder who supports corruption and corrupt practices is not worthy of being respected. An elder who encourages a sitting president to go against his commitment to significant opposition stakeholders in the country, and later turns the blame on the opposition stakeholders, is not worthy to be respected.

The question is; what moral justification does Chief Zanzan Karwor have to condemn and attack the opposition?  I am happy that reputable newspapers like the Daily Observer and eminent Liberians including Cllr. Taiwan Gongloe have all come out to condemn Chief Zanzan Karwor for his hatred of democracy. 

This old man who is parading himself as an elder statesman must be told this is the time the Liberian people need him to be Neutral as Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, rather than taking up this responsibility to humiliate the opposition political parties in Liberia. 

It is high time Chiefs and elders weigh their speeches before going public. They should be sources of blessings to this country. They should be sources of blessing to the new generation of leaders in this country. They should be sources of inspiration to the young people of Liberia but, most unfortunately, some of these old men are daily disappointing us with their unguarded talks and selfish attacks on democracy. If the Unity Party had been re-elected in 2017, believe me, Chief Zanzan Karwor would have been the first person to congratulate them by telling us how wonderful, mercurial, and great Joseph Boakai is. Now that reverse is the case, Chief Zanzan Karwor has shown that he is a desperado, senseless, and a glorified bootlicker.

Liberia has changed, and so have its people. We will no longer condone anti-democracy sentiments from Chief Zanzan Karwor and his likes. They should visit National Icons like Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Kenneth Yakpawolo Best, Dr. Elwood Dunn, Cllr. Winston Tubman, etc., and have good tutorials on being responsible and respected elder statesmen. A word is enough for the wise. I rest my case.