Liberia: Why Kenneth Best Deserves the ‘HALL of FAME’

June 1, 2022 became an exciting day for me when I saw in the news, “Kenneth Best, Nine Others Admitted into PUL’s Hall of Fame.”

The excitement comes from the background of having a new category of recognition for media gurus whose roles have one way or the other impacted society, and during its first recognition to highlight Kenneth Y. Best, former Manager of the Daily Observer Newspaper. 

It may sound oxymoronic in the ears of many followers for me to give this testimony considering what my current relationship with the Liberian Observer Corporation (LOC) is; nevertheless, what remains clear is that everyone is branded in certain genetic personality, and being of the personality of Consciousness with recessive Locus of Control, it is compellingly binding on me to bury my biases to admit the truth. 

Furthermore, the Holy Book of God, the Bible, makes it clear that everyone will be judged independently and justly for his or her own doings and not anyone’s; therefore, Mr. Best needs the treatment that he works for as an individual based not on collectivism.

With this premise, let me state why Kenneth Y. Best is qualified for the newly organized ‘Hall of Fame’ of the Press Union of Liberia.  Although I started knowing about the Daily Observer in 1982 when it became the most trusted independent daily in Liberia amid tyrannical regime, I actually knew Mr. Best in 2005 when he returned from exile and reorganized the institution after a protracted period of civil anarchy in Liberia.

  He is one person who will want to identify with people by attempting to speak their local languages.  He is a lecturer who will always want a reporter to be by him to provide historical insights of institutions and people in Liberia.

However, his harsh approach to journalistic error is just not something to take for granted; for that will land you on the hill of discredit without respect for all the successful performances you have exhibited over the years. 

Daily Observer, at least in the midst of grammatical hazards facing newspaper writing in Liberia, can gain the credit for striving as much as possible to reduce the hazard, and it is all because Kenneth Y. Best will call you in his office to question you how you got your education and in what local language.  This means that when writing his story, if you would miss the lead, let the English grammar be in place and understood. 

Let the accuracy and clarity of the story be reflected, and let all characters in the story have their sides reflected.  Missing any of these elements will lay aside your age right and education to face the wrath of the Professor, something that internally branded Daily Observer as “Kenneth Y. Best Institution of Professional Journalism and English Grammar.”  The post-conflict strength of the Daily Observer from 2005 to 2017 and onward was basically from the orientation provided by the Prime Minister as one former senior reporter used to refer to him.

Personal Encounter with KYB

He is someone, regardless of human biases, who strives to concede with the truth when it is told.  He cherishes quality performance and draws you closer when you prove to be diligent on duty, and when he recognizes you to be workaholic, remember, you will be trusted with all the reputable institutional beats. 

Interestingly, he will make an elaborate introduction of you to reputable people he meets, and your respect will grow taller than yourself.  Motivational theorists will agree that these activities leave no one with any qualm to outperform on duty, and this is why some of us, if not most of us, took the Observer so dearly to our hearts during our stay at that institution.

Personally, there are a few instances that cannot just run out of my memory when a bell rings with the sound of Kenneth Best.  After a period of egoistic and suppressive editorial regime at some point in time, I realized from 2013 upward how Mr. Best was interested in seeing me excel. 

After an encounter wherein I did a story that displeased some potential advertisers, Mr. Best, though conscious of the theory of Self-preservation, did not heed to the pressure from the advertisers to cast me out of his institution but changed my beat from being a business reporter to Observer’s Diplomatic Correspondent. 

This new assignment exposed me to almost all of the diplomatic missions in Monrovia including major international agencies. I was one person, if not the first, to have letters distributed to embassies and consulates in Monrovia introducing me as Daily Observer’s Diplomatic Correspondent.  

It was through this assignment coupled with my performance that I got all the traveling opportunities that took me to several big countries except Russia and North Korea, and amid all, the only person to express his delight for me coming across those opportunities was Kenneth Y. Best. 

His excitement would even lead to making a request for a fabulous traveling allowance, but as time progressed, the technical team with expertise in Finance reduced traveling allowances for all on what could be assumed as institutional extravagance (nonessential, wastefulness).

The Heavenly LORD judges each person according to his deeds, and the conscience being the strongest dictator always forces one to do what is morally accepted.  Even under our own law, crime is not transferable but each person according to the Liberian Constitution is responsible for whatever he or she does.

 Additionally, education and profession are meant to make an impact on others and not necessarily what one can get, because life is not about getting and having but giving and being.  It is from these perspectives that I am compelled to chronicle Mr. Kenneth Y. Best’s individual achievements and to publicly declare that regardless of institutional disagreement, his respect cannot dwindle.