By Henry Mamulu, 0880672889
From Under the Tree to the Mansion
The things that one does in this world leave a blue print; DNA of sorts or finger print that indicates who may have performed the act. Sometimes the evidence can be so exact and not only name the actor but explain the whys because it may be a style unique only to the actor or a motive particular to a circumstance.
If you think I am lying, just ask Buster Coleman, Commissioner of Police, RL. He will tell you that at any crime scene the police investigate, they look for the modus operandi to determine the character of the crime, the first step to ascertaining who may have been the perpetrator of the crime. You see every criminal has his distinct behavior.
Then you want to know: Is Machiavelli evil? Depends if you live in Liberia or were born and raised in the West. The name Machiavelli associates itself with anything dubious, sinister, under water ninja conniving, cunning and full of snake-like duplicity. The dictionary says: “Machiavellian – cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics or in advancing one’s career”. The thing about it is, the doer is never seen participating in the act. Just like 666, it is the number of a man. “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” – Revelations Chapter 13 verse 18.
One day in 1998-99, we were “Under the Tree” on Staten Island in New York. Under The Tree was where the refugee community on Staten Island gathered to meet friends, sell food from home and meet other Liberians from any part of the world visiting America. On this particular day, it was packed with people “selling their markets”.
Ma Mary Payne had her Sweet Mother, Big Moore had her dried fish and Dedeh was selling pisty cold beer and stout. The air was heavy with the scent of killy willy, roasted corn and GB. It was July and all the professional footballers were on break. My group under the Tree included Ralph Peabody, Natty B. Davies, George Weah, Kojo Norty and Prince Yates. I guess it must have been the scent of the fish roasted on the hearth that so intoxicated me that I blurted out, “Oppong, you know that you can be president?” He got up and said, “that’s why I do not like to talk with you, you like too much politics”.
In my book “Calm before the Storm” written during 2003-2004 I said, ”George was more important to Liberia than Mandela was to South Africa because George was ‘hope itself’”. You see, it was in the heat of the Liberian Civil War and “a drowning man would cling on to a straw”. Indeed, the whole country was grabbing for straws. Well, most of the intellectuals of that day raged hell with me. Nora Peal called me a traitor (none mind yah), and Welma Campbell said “you wrong on this one Mamulu,” to have even compared the two in the same sentence. Please bear with me here and read with an open mind and heart.
Recently on the bus from Barnersville to town at 5:30 a.m. some friends who usually discuss the Issues at Baba Atayee shop just across from Fire Service, said: “Your will hear soon, the Old Ma took Oppong to the Embassy and she told him Robert will be the “go-between” person for the two of them (Oppong and the Old Ma)”. The go-between is an intermediary. Look up that word, students!
A week and a half later the papers read. “Robert joins CDC”. There was nothing wrong with that. However, two years ago, during the Senatorial elections, do you all not recall Robert Sirleaf being referred to as a social deviant and spoiler of the youth? (Socrates was made to drink hemlock for no less). Was he not dragged over the coals for the whole NOCAL fiasco and his Ma distracted us by deflecting the blame unto herself? And where is NOCAL today — wait now, no more oil in Liberia? How come he is a sweet heart now? If Robert is a snake, can Oppong tame him and turn him into a pet? However we are assuming that he is in CDC even though it is not confirmed by any party.
However, this is what I know. Only Eugene, Ledgerhood, Brownie, Dillon, J. Wes and I know and do not think that the Old Ma is a demon. Look, she can’t be a raving drunk either. The woman is old and works too hard and too long to be drinking all night with the kitchen cabinet. Nearly all of Liberia and 95% of CDC believe that her only girl child is Queen of Sheba and that her Excellency lives under the sea and comes out only at dawn. She then heads to work at the mansion. I am serious about this.
Let us believe that it is true Robert is in CDC; YOU THINK THAT HIS MOTHER IS FAR BEHIND? If your don’t think so then your do not know Mandingo people. I, Henry Mamulu, son of a Madinka man can tell you. Oh, you thought they were what, Congo? I beg you yah. From the mouth of Fumba at Mickie’s hotel on 14th Street, “but we nothing but Mandingo people; ehn your say Mandingos can’t be President?” (And by the way I found Fumba to be intelligent, charming and kind. My real Mandingo brother.) Now if we are like Costa and believe she is the aunty of Satan, what do you think she will do when she gets to CDC? “Dilemma of the Ghosts?” Come on now, you know the book that you buy every year for your high school child. Work with me now. Do not wilt under the pressure.
My people, I do not mean any harm here, but I can only write based on how you think and have thought over the years. Ok, ok. So I am begging George Weah to tell the boys them “your don’t whip Papey Momo”. “He just broke”. “Them belly full but we hungry; A hungry mob is an angry mob; A rain a-fall but the dutty tough; A pot a-cook but the food nah nuff” -Bob Marley.
Now I live in Barnersville. Let me tell you a little about Barnersville. We drink a lot but still the majority tries their best to raise up their families with dignity. The girls are the most beautiful in the world and let God bless them. Barnersville is a very pro-Liberian community and for me more of an enclave than anything else. And there is nothing wrong with that also. Barnersville residents believe that the people who came from America spoiled the country. I am told that nearly every time I am at the Barnersville football field. I am not talking about 1822, but the recent returnees. They in Barnersville believe that people stayed so long in America that they became less Liberian than they who did not leave during the war. In essence, the belief is that people who stayed in America that long became selfish. The Majority of people in Barnersville, like most Liberians, dislike the idea of dual citizenship. We can assume, therefore, that this kind of pro-Liberian stance induces a little anti-Americanism sentiment into the “Better Liberian”, the “stay to”. Let me explain.
Remember Stephen Allen Tolbert? Hate him or love him Stephen was pro-Liberian, and because of our definition, a “Better Liberian”. Stephen hired Liberians and paid them well depending on the skill level. After the 1980 coup d’état, guess who took over Mesurado Group of Companies? Peter Bonner Jallah, Jr. His salary of over $6,000 per month plus benefits was the envy of all. That was after he reduced his own salary from $14,000 to $6,000.00. The $6,000 salary in 1980 Liberia was probably more than the salary of the President, VP and President Pro-Tempore combined. To his credit, Peter divided his salary with the less fortunate and Better Liberians working at Mesurado. Stephen Allen Tolbert sang the National Anthem with his whole heart and tried to renegotiate the Firestone Contract in order for “Better Liberians” to live a “Better” Life. In 1974, April 25th, Stephen’s plane went down into the Atlantic Ocean on take-off from Greenville, Sinoe County.
Today, all of you in Barnesville and elsewhere believe that Steve’s death was caused by some sort of sabotage because of his pro-Liberian stance. Not one of you since the 70s has said in any gathering that I have been in since the 70s: “it was mechanical failure” that brought the plane down. So I write just the way you think.
President William Richard Tolbert, Jr. wanted Liberia to become self-sufficient in food production. In terms of education, he went all over the world including Liberia’s non-traditional allies for scholarships and grants. Peter Coleman, Roland Massaquoi, Joe Charles, Izetta Wesley, Emmanuel Paymah, Joseph Lord Bunyan, Willie K. Mulbah, to name a few, benefitted from those endeavors in Russia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere in the world.
Then entered the Progressives from abroad and advocated for change or a “Better” Way of Life for “Better Liberians” including a multi-party system. Nothing was wrong with that either. However, Machiavelli entered the palava, we were distracted and the issue of vote got deflected to matters of cold bowl “food”. Here is an example. We are now told to concentrate on agriculture to prevent starvation in the future. Meanwhile it is a distraction from the real issue, the taking away of our gold by the container full by a company in Cape Mount. In Liberia, Me, Myself and I, our attention is distracted by the fanfare, noise and heat of the poorest so-called “erection” (oh excuse me yah my Grand Ma or my Pa side was from Gsekedah in “Rofa”), sponsored by Machiavelli. Meanwhile they are passing laws in these last months that will not benefit us. For example the one currency Law; Somebody please tell me why I must no more receive my US Dollars that Aunty Florence will send in the future in US Dollars but in “fiamomo” money. Is it called “Liberty” because it is “free of value”? That is only my own personal observation but I want to believe that investors come to this country because of the free movement of the US Dollar. I have reached this conclusion because there don’t seem to be foosah going on here anymore.
Senator Cooper thinks the One Currency Law is a great idea but wants us to go to the soil and become food responsible. The Old Ma said the same thing at ECOWAS. Nothing wrong with that. In the meantime, Aureaus Gold is taking our minerals away by the truck load. It is a distraction that reflects on the wrong things as perhaps even ebola was.
Back to the Madison. There was a violent riot over the price of rice in 1979 and by 1980, Tolbert was overthrown and killed. I have not heard one of you say that it was the PRC who executed the coup. You even said Mrs. Tolbert wrote a book and said that she saw a man with blue eyes. I read that book at Terry Brown’s house in Clayton, New Jersey and do not recall that part. You further claimed that the PRC was too ignorant to have conceived THE PLOT even though they were soldiers or as they say in “Rofa” NOKOS. You believed that the act was staged by a group of foreign soldiers led by Jacques Kline. The same Kline who was the first person to greet the captured Taylor on Liberia soil. I lie on you? President Tolbert was pro Liberian and therefore a “Better Liberian”.
The “progressives” meanwhile, fell out of favor with the People’s Redemption Council. Soon their training from the schools run by Machiavelli came into play as they undermined everything from Doe on down, except this administration. The progressives seem to love this administration. I wonder why? All of them still able work for Ma Ellen.
Saint Samuel K. Doe is widely believed in present day Liberia to be Liberia’s best President. Nothing wrong with that. Born in Tuzon, Grand Gedeh or perhaps Ivory Coast, this man was pro-Liberian from cradle to the grave with credentials like these. He declared early, “Liberia dah nah nobody pah farm”, turned to Nigeria for the supply of rice thereby ditching the PL-480, a US inspired rice supply program that purchased pussawa rice from US farmers.
SKD (who became our man), as he was affectionately called, declared that Liberia’s resources could generate the money needed to pay off its debt. Da day same resources we are now distracted from looking at BUT DEFLECTED to look at the soil. The pekin was sharp and already in places like “Rofa” they are comparing Weah to Doe, but only in places like “ROFA’. This was the same debt Her Excellency begged them to erase and they did. What happened to Doe for his pro-Liberian stance? Helloooo!! ”TANGO, TANGO, THIS IS SUNSHINE”; would you like a Bud Light please?
Remember Joe Tate? He died in a plane crash along with Col. Walter Pelham, Annie Wreh, Cecilia Lewis, Flt. Capt. Joe Sumo and Catholic Father Paul Dickrell. Well, John Zayzay the electrical engineer at RIA ran from home in Smell-No-Taste and turned on the lights but it was too late, the plane was already down. John, who had an enlarged heart, also fell and died as a result of the tragedy of that day. Oh you did not know RIA had lights that worked on that day? And is it strange that even the Catholics don’t talk about Father Dickrell? Joe, just like President Duterte of the Philippines, took no nonsense from drug dealers and armed robbers in Liberia and people say that they felt safer on the streets on Monrovia during the Tate era. As Inspector General and family to MacArthur, he was uncompromising when it came to Taylor’s security and he had love for Liberia even though he was a war lord. Till today you still think Joe Bayogar was killed in an act of sabotage.
And even Charles MacArthur Taylor self; Chief Cyril Allen, my boy told me: “And Taylor told Exxon Chief, the integrity of The Republic of Liberia demands that we get 45%” of the oil profits. A month later the famous words were said. “Taylor got to go”.
So now if Oppong wins the election, do you want him to become a pro-Liberian President and end up with the other dinosaurs or follow the Old Ma into the sea every night? Here is my candid suspicion of how things will play out. But first, some local news.
Three months ago, the thing belonged to Uncle Joe. It was a foregone conclusion that Joseph Boakai would be the next president. Then entered the Old Ma. She put on her football boots, Ronaldinho jersey and dribbled us like Brazil versus “Rofa” Defence Force. The whole town went zaca (crazy), wondering who she supported. Finally we said “she wants Brumskine”. However Liberia believed that if Brumskine ran against his shadow, guess who will win? “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men”? So why support a man nearly everyone called “Feecee or Gbelleh”?
Liberians called Joe Boakai “sleepy” but the people from “Rofa” said he can be flying over the room when you think he is sleeping. Many Liberians in the street honestly felt that “Uncle Joe”, as he is affectionately called, differed with the president on many issues and could therefore rightly and justifiably distance himself from the shortcomings of Delilah’s decisions for the country (Affectionately she is called Delilah by most Pastors). Liberians were hopeful that, like William R. Tolbert, II, who emerged as president after serving as vice president for 19 years under WVS Tubman with radically new and positive policies and programs, “Sleepy Uncle Joe” would catch fire if given the chance.
Liberians started getting scared by two significant events in Uncle Joe’s campaign development. First was the declaration of the “country boy ticket”. We will probably never know if this was the intention of the Boakai ticket or whether a Machiavellian orchestration. Whatever the case, it was deviously orchestrated and Uncle Joe’s campaign has neither been able to explain this away nor escape the stigma of its sting. Second, his selection of a vice presidential candidate seemed to be a confirmation of the “country boy ticket”. Emmanuel Nuquay, a relative unknown with no record of having achieved anything, was announced. He soon said they will not tolerate people who came and wanted their jobs. Rumors that he supported the campaign to the tune of 2 Million USD so he could become running mate to Uncle Joe have not helped.
There are a fair number of Liberians who also think that, in spite of the seeming differences, the Old Ma actually runs things at the Unity Party and that the act of the Party “shooting itself in the foot” is deliberate and orchestrated and intended to distract. The rationale for this may become apparent as we proceed.
I have already mentioned the rumored courtship with George Weah of the CDC and need not mention Benoni Urey as his affiliation with former President Taylor would make it highly improbable that Delilah “as she is affectionately called” would engage him or his party directly. Speaking about deflection, why would they want to beat up on poor Jewel and say “she wants to bring back the Taylor agenda” when she does not even have the man’s money. Come on now, can someone please “show me the money”? Nobody even accuses Benoni about promoting Taylor’s agenda despite his access to Taylor’s Money, former fighters and who knows what other resources? Oh how these folks talk down to the Liberians that they have failed to educate. Is this the reason why we refuse to educate Liberians? The ultimate deception and deflection if you ask me!
Alright now, who does Delilah (as she is affectionately called) want to win this election? If you think that Delilah “a name of affection” has nothing to do with this, think again. In a recent article, she admitted that the sum total of her achievement amounted to “relative peace in Liberia”. MY PEOPLE WE GOT PEACE IN Liberia because the Liberian people want it so. Not the International Community. If we follow them we will go to war with ourselves.
Peace, for what and whom?
However the word “relative” is important here. Why was it necessary for Liberia to be peaceful? You don’t hear it much these days but the popular Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was cited in every official conversation and its targets were to be achieved by this administration. After two terms, what is the score? Let’s state the goals that were to be achieved by 2015 below:
- Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger. SCORE (0): Is gari yokor considered a meal?
- Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling. SCORE (What do you think?); “Education is a Mess”.
- Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education. To a large extent, girls are in school all over especially in Montserrado County.
- Reduce by two-thirds the number of children who die before their fifth birthday. That one also is just God oh!
- Reduce by three-quarters the number of women who die in childbirth. Child birth 10 women 2.
- Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other killer diseases. SCORE (see above. We succeeded in adding another killer disease to the list, EBOLA.);
- Ensure environmental stability, including halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. SCORE (see LWSC). Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!
We did not forget these promises, folks, but we let them get lax because we must get hit with the next wave of problems. Then they can come and practically own us in order to help us. They want us to go back to the soil. In the 1970s that was Tolbert’s mantra. 40+ YEARS LATER they telling us that’s what we must do.
We do have agricultural companies but they grow stuff for export. Sime Darby, Equatorial Palm Oil and Golden Veroleum are all here but we do not produce palm oil, palm butter or even Pankana (palm kernel) rings. And were it not for the global downturn in the steel industry, Arcelor Mittal would be booming. The point is, it is always said that “a stable environment is needed for investment”. So my friends, I completely concur with the Old Ma that she has been successful in providing stability. The question is, for whom and for what purpose? Certainly not to achieve the Millennium Development Goals that addresses the needs of the people.
Deal but don’t sell!
Back to elections. I see the former head of one of the biggest corporations in the world and my friend Alexander B. Cummings going all the way because he understands the agenda. Alex did not get discipline in Corporate America; Alex was composed in CWA when we hung out with Fulton Reeves and his sister Julia who went to Convent.
The work that was started by The Old Ma must continue. Flirting with other parties have only been deflections and distractions so that we would not notice where the real support was. Oppong is essentially a kind and generous person but will either not understand the agenda, or will not be in agreement with most of it. Furthermore, if any aspect of the code of conduct were upheld, then Cummings as well as Weah would be disqualified. But the main intended beneficiaries of that whole mess were Cummings and Weah. Cummings because he understands the agenda and Weah because of his proclivity to make a deal. Then on September 16, a campaign seemingly stuck in the mud was pulled out and turned into a horse race by none other than guess who? ”Sleepy Joe”. Go figure! Will “Sleepy Joe” agree to the deal? Folks a deal must be made for the soul of this country! We have yet to see whether the turnout was a march in support of “Uncle Joe” or a march in defiance of “Delilah”. Brilliant move if the latter! Now rumors abound about a merger between ANC and CDC. Are we worried that “Sleepy Joe” will not agree to a deal? Time will tell.
And so my prediction: There will be a first round success for Weah. Many believe, as I do, that Weah actually won both the 2005 and 2011 elections but “sold” them as we say in Liberia, especially in 2011, when, partnered with Winston Tubman (now defected to ANC), his supporters were asked not to show up at the polls. Winston Tubman, for many CDCians, represents a sellout; an unfortunate departure from whatever was good in his father’s legacy. Maybe he did hail from Togo after all! He blew his greatest opportunity to represent the interest of the Liberian people, an opportunity handed to him on a “silver platter” by George Weah in the 2011 election. No wonder the young people do not trust us anymore! Let us stop selling out and someone please die for Liberia!
So George, my advice, if you win this one, don’t “sell” it. Nobody expects you to be the Minister of Finance, Education, Transport, Agriculture and Labor at the same time. Your success will ride on your ability to use the right people for the job. But, you seem to like to run for president because you miss the cheering of the crowd at IE, Tonierre, Monaco, Paris Saint Germaine, Chelsea and finally as “King George” in AC Milan. And so you enjoy the folks egging you on for a few weeks of exhilarating fanfare but when it comes down to the wire, you are just as afraid to take that position as you enjoy basking in all this election splendor. What do I mean? The boys in CDC say you are talking about reducing the term of a president from 6 to 4 years and it sounds just like you to try and do something good “but they will force you to serve what’s on the books”. “Then they will tie you to the chair to get their twelve years because they suffer behind you”. Yes George, I am also scared for you son, because I know you as a good boy. But with choices come sacrifice. Are you willing to make the sacrifice? If not, then stop wasting our time!
LIB needs love
Folks, the world you live in will be run by multinational companies. Ten years from now, the same man you buy tissue from in Nigeria will be the same you will buy from in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. And guess what? Surprise, surprise… MacDella Cooper, the only female candidate, will be there “picking up the pieces”. Cummings understands what they want and also what we must do and how to do it to get what we want. What we must hope for is that after such a long stay out of the country, that there is still an iota of patriotism to Liberia so that he will salvage something for the country. People point to the apartment building that he has erected. It is beautiful, but Lebanese do that too. I am talking about love, genuine love for the country, not a flamboyant show. So Alex, my friend, I think you are best qualified but please love OUR country. “Don’t hurt our country oh! Da our chicken egg”.
We are used to the fact that politicians say what they must to get elected. We do not see those shenanigans in you but the best have bowed to the pressures that come with the job. Our astute Harvard graduate could only boast of being a peacekeeper after 12 years when the billions in foreign direct investment could easily have overshadowed that claim. Arcelor Mittal alone was 2 Billion. But the fact is, no Liberian is clear today on how the country will benefit from those activities and many ordinary Liberians are worse off for it. That is why the “peace” must take center stage. Another clever deflection; or deception? I’m confused.
Oppong thought he was footballer but the Old Ma can dribble more than him…only she did not score the Millennium Development Goal for the Liberian People. And as for MacDella, well, I love you too. I think Liberia needs a hug after being “banged” for so long. What a refreshing affectionate alternative to these tough-talking, do-nothing, gutless, heartless, warmongering controllers of our destiny! Liberia needs affection and tender loving care which McDella seems to have enough of. At least it will ease the pain if we must bend over. As for me, I am going to Rofa for the “erection”. And Alex, get a vat of Vaseline and grease up son, for love is in the air. Take it like a man for the people but not with the people. This time, In the Cause of the People, the Struggle Discontinues!