Bowier: Barclay-Tubman Transition Parallels Sirleaf-Weah

Rev. J. Emmanuel Bowier said he was physically present when the wife of Solomon Badio, Steve's suspected killer, informed police investigation that Badio punched Steve several times in his chest.

Former Information Minister, Emmanuel Bowier, has said that  the current transition from President Sirleaf to George Weah, bears close parallels to that of President Edwin James Barclay’s transition to William V.S. Tubman in 1944.

Bowier who is widely known for his riveting orations of Liberian history and who worked in the administration of Samuel Kanyon Doe, told journalists last week that there are unfolding events that parallel the two transitions, and that more will unfold as the new government moves on.

Pointing out similarities between the two transitions, the former Information Minister, who is also a clergyman, noted that as President Sirleaf stated on the fringes of the United Nations summit last year that it was about time to turn power over to the younger generation, so did Barclay with Tubman who was younger than he.

Bowier said at that time, Tubman was not considered presidential material because he lacked a college education, had only completed the 8th grade but who studied law, succeeded in becoming a Senator for Maryland, Associate Justice and a “practicing lawyer in his own right.”

Similarly, he noted that Weah has over the time been heavily criticized for not being  presidential material but a mere footballer.

“Tubman was a popular man who people accused of being a womanizer and one that loved the good times.  This is the same way Weah is popular and branded here today,” Rev. Bowier added.

Besides Weah’s football career that made him popular in Liberia and in the world, he was elected in 2014 as Senator of Montserrado County, where he served up to his election as President of Liberia, a position Tubman similarly occupied including other positions in government.

Though the turnover from Barclay to Tubman was smooth and hitch free, the relationship could not hold as time progressed in the administration of William V.S. Tubman.

According to Rev. Bowier, Barclay being an older person and a well seasoned politician thought he could sit in the background to control Tubman in running the government.

“But this was not the case.  There was a time Barclay went to Tubman to tell him what to do as was the usual case, but Tubman at that time refused his instruction and said Barclay should give him a chance to do what he (Barclay) could not do,” Bowier narrated.

An instance he considered to be a repeat of history was the failure of lawmakers to pass the 22 bills President Sirleaf submitted to the National Legislature for passage in a short period of time.

He said before annulling the passage of the bills, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was consulted and Weah and his partisans conceded that the bills should not hastily be passed because it is they who are to work with them.

Bowier said President Sirleaf, being a veteran politician who has had 12 years of experience in the presidency may want to control Weah from the background as Barclay attempted, but may find it difficult because Weah is observed to be very decisive.

“Though he may not be a public speaker, I observe that Weah is decisive and can make decisions that he stands by.  So no one must take him and his coalition for granted,” he added.

In his suggestion as to what may be one of the first priorities for the new government, Bowier said the CDC-led Government should give preference to transportation for the people.

“You will see that every morning and evening in this place people line up along the boulevard and other places to board vehicles and can find it difficult.  They have the money to pay, but they hardly board vehicles soon to go to their destinations,” said Bowier.


  1. George Weah (with all due respect), owes it more to himself (than Liberians) to defend the honor and integrity of his personhood–his good and popular character–he has strenuously built over a very long period of time. Though Liberia and Liberians look up to him expectantly, but I believe Pres. Weah should look up more to George Weah. Why? He’s got so much to gain or lose of himself than Liberians. George Weah has been placed on trial and his government will be his defense. Therefore, Pres. Weah must know, first hand, that whatever decision he’s going to make will answer to the quality of his integrity–his desired ability to affect substantial changes for Liberia and Liberians, the kind Liberians have never had. God is going to give him all the wisdom (he lacks) to lead this nation prosperously and peacefully.

  2. Amen to the prayers of Dr. George, and Mr. Fahn for the GMW administration, prayers that undoubtedly mirror the wishes of peace – loving Liberians everywhere.

  3. Rev. Bowier, thanks for sharing this much needed historical insight regarding our outgoing and incoming leaderships. We continue to pray for God’s guidance and direction for President-Elect George Weah to lead a peaceful and prosperous Liberia.

  4. They say becareful what you wish or pray for. Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wished for and worked hard to have Weah succeed her, with the hope and conviction that Weah will be her puppet and do her every bidding. Given all her cunning, manipulative and Machiavelli​an nature, this political calculation may well turn out to be the most regrettable miscalculation of her political life. She must never forget that CDC and their collaborators have in their midst individuals and groups that hate her guts and may well now have a chance or an opportunity to get even with her and her friends and relatives. My sincere advice to her is for her to go take a rest somewhere outside of Liberia (e.g. Morroco, South Africa, Equitorial Guinea or Trump’s U.S.A) and leave Weah alone to his own devices.

    • Sadly she manipulated the past election to have Weah to win. She wanted a young person and not who should be elected by the Liberian people.

      It means the position of president of Liberia is left with Helen throw over to anyone she selects as long as she is around. It means Helen is partly in 3rd term in office. Similar situation was being done between Goodluck and Obasango. He mentioned to Goodccluck once,& I put there and you can be removed. This is what Helen learned from Obasango. Hope it not work with Weah.

  5. Rev. Boweir; Thanks! You’ve raised a very important issue–TRANSPORTATION. Indeed, public transport in Liberia is a major problem. A Nation that can not move the population efficiently, is definitely “A STALLED NATION”. Transportation can not be overlooked. It affects every aspect of development. To solve Liberia’s “Public Transportation Problem” ; especially in over crowded Monrovia, the Government should consider building a Light Railroad System; to move people EFFICIENTLY. It’s a lot cheaper than some may think. One advantage, The Rail System will pay for itself over time. Build a BELTWAY; cycling Monrovia, from Down Waterside, running through Sinkor, Congo Town, Paynesville to Redlight Market; then along Somali Drive( Freeport Road) leading back towards Waterside. Such a Rail-System can run alongside the already existing roadways without interrupting the flow of motor vehicles traffic. To supplement Government Expenditures for TRANSPORTATION, there should be TOLL collection on some of our ROADWAYS. That money collected, should be put to good use; for “ROADS MAINTAITENANCE.” Only. *LET’S THINK POSITIVE! NO NEGATIVE PLEASE!!


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