Former Central Bank Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones is also a student of history as he drew experiences from it to drive his position home to Liberians yesterday – particularly to those who may have entertained the idea that the recent affirmation of the Code of Conduct by the Supreme Court had dealt a heavy blow to his presidential aspirations.
In a one-hour speech at a program held at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia, where thousands reaffirmed their support to Dr. Jones’ presidential aspiration, he was emphatic with his declaration when he repeated, “I will not bend my back to anyone, I will not bow before any self-imagined master, and I intend to be in this presidential race.”
Flanked by his wife, Mrs. Jones, and the chairman of the Movement for Political Empowerment (MOVEE), Dee Maxwell Kemayah, and other party stalwarts, the man described as ‘poverty doctor’ made it clear that he would not back down, even to his political enemies.
Repeating the words of a song that was popular in his native Greenville, Sinoe County as a child many years ago, he said, “free born Liberian/before I be a slave/I’d be buried in my grave/and go home to my Lord/and be free,” and then declared: “I say here today to the people of Liberia, I intend to be in this presidential race. I look forward to the beginning of the transformation process in this country.”
In a message embedded with harsh words for politicians, specifically mentioning, among others, Montserrado County District #6 Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, Dr. Jones once again sought relief in history when he said: “And I say to the resurrected Napoleons, there is still a place called Waterloo.”
History records that it was at Waterloo in Belgium, that the Corsica-born Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest military strategists in history, rapidly rose in the ranks of the French Revolutionary Army during the late 1790s, and later suffered defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington in Waterloo, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history.
Immediately after the Supreme Court upheld the Code of Conduct, reports went wild in the media the following day pointing fingers at Dr. Jones, and suggesting that his presidential dream was over.
MOVEE reacted by accusing politicians and their cronies for putting out misinformation on their standard bearer. In his reaction yesterday, Dr. Jones described that action as ‘crab mentality’ and said “Attempts to keep me off the ballot is not because I am a threat to the state, but a threat to some self-centered politicians; not because I am incompetent, but because under my leadership I will not tolerate the selfish intent of those who see Liberia as their family farm; not because I lack patriotism, but because I have no regard for those who believe in tribalism; not because I have no vision, but because I stand up for the poor and the marginalized.”
Dr. Jones believes that “the misinformation campaign is a campaign against change for a better Liberia. This misinformation campaign is an attempt to prevent a new vision for Liberia. But worst of all, this misinformation campaign is an attempt to deny you your right as citizens of Liberia to choose the person you think can best represent your interest. In sum, this effort to stop me from running for president is aimed not at me, but at you the people who believe that I am your hope for the future. Not just my constitutional right, but yours as well will be denied.” He said the diabolical scheme against him will not work because “Liberia is for all Liberians; and that is how it is going to be.”
In his own defense, Dr. Jones said, “I have endured much, while saying little. For me, that is a sign of maturity. And being president of a country requires maturity. It is not about talking loud and saying nothing. But I will keep quiet no longer. From the time the public began to acknowledge my work as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, I began to experience difficulties from senior people in government. These selfish, unconscionable and we-don’t-care-as-long-as-we-get-our-way politicians want to convince us that they love Liberia by excluding certain citizens from the political process rather than focusing on defeating poverty, building infrastructure, establishing good health care and educational systems and trying to grow more food, including the rice we eat every day.
That will not happen! Dictatorship triumphs when complacency replaces a nation’s sense of dignity. Let the word go forth that the age of complacency is over.”
Jones said the Code of Conduct as it stands resembles a political minefield and suggested that the UP-led government should take the initiative on its own to find a speedy solution “to this political minefield called The Code of Conduct” that he, along with two other members of the Supreme Court, believes is bad for the nation.
Perhaps taunting those he considers the originators of the Code of Conduct misinformation against him, Dr. Jones declared amid cheers, “I have killed no one; have not carried or encouraged the carrying of coffins in foreign countries against any government; have never advocated for stopping foreign aid to Liberia; have not brought war to Liberia; have not paid for war to come to Liberia; have not been sanctioned in the TRC Report, or any report for that matter. Some who have gotten on the ballot in recent times cannot say the same.”
His statement, broadcasted live, elicited responses from many in the political establishment in the late hours of yesterday; and even Rep. Snowe, presently in Nigeria, weighed in, denying the claim by Dr. Jones that he sought loans for his business from the commercial banks.
Rep. Snowe, however, admitted sending Dr. Jones a letter of appreciation about his good service to the Liberian people as CBL Governor.
But as Liberians and their politicians digest Dr. Jones’s message, it is safe to say that they
should be reminded that sustaining peace in Liberia, after more than ten years, will depend on the actions and inactions of what they can agree to disagree on for the common good of the nation.