This newspaper has on several occasions warned swashbuckling government officials that attempts to stifle free speech and clamp down on rights for which patriots have paid the supreme sacrifice is bound to engender resistance and fail. This was evident yesterday when Speaker Chambers experienced a rude awakening with the turn of events yesterday clearly indicating the Speaker’s game is up. Perhaps his comeuppance has come much too soon.
This newspaper in its January 22, 2019, editorial further observed that “Liberians have suffered so much instability and endured so much and therefore any further signs by this government pointing to a return to the ugly past will more likely than not engender resistance.”
And already there are emergent signs that the ‘NO’ vote by a significant number of members of the House of Representatives, who walked out of yesterday’s session, are reportedly peeved by what they say is the high-handed rough-shot disrespectful attitude and behavior of Speaker Chambers towards his colleagues.
Interestingly, Representative Kolubah, according to reports, had previously written the body calling for its investigation into the violence unleashed against innocent and peaceful children who were on hand to attend a party hosted for them by him.
It is in this light, therefore, that the vote to sanction Representative Yekeh Kolubah and have him submit to a Justice Ministry investigation into critical and accusatory remarks he made about President Weah, which was soundly trounced, can be measured.
A popular Creole wise saying goes, “Man nor for say man nor dey because man dem dey na dis contree”. This wise saying warns against arrogance and arrogant individuals, especially those in positions of public trust. It also warns against those who, in their arrogance, hold the belief that they can get away with anything, including murder.
In their arrogance, they feel that somehow or somewhere they were destined to rule and should behave as though there is no tomorrow. As it appears, the walkout must have been totally unexpected by Speaker Chambers and, the fact that it happened while he was attempting to corral the body into compliance with Justice Minister Dean’s request, suggests that Speaker Chambers may be in for a very rude awakening down the road.
Despite such gross missteps by his officials, President Weah has to bear in mind that in this political culture the leader always “bears his cross” alone. He should take time out to reflect on President Samuel Doe and how he fell.
Loaded down with an array of newly purchased weapons from Romania, Doe felt emboldened and stubbornly clung on to power before he was eventually dislodged at a great cost to the nation.
Doe’s tearful face and his sobs filmed on video pleading with Prince Johnson for mercy, which was never forthcoming, brings to mind the old Creole proverb, “man nor for say man dem nor dey.”
On reflection, the NO vote by members of the House of Representatives and their walkout yesterday constituted a virtual slap in the face of Speaker Chambers, according to staffers at the Capitol. According to them, it was indeed a very humiliating experience, especially for those supporters of Speaker Chambers who had entertained high hopes of a Joint Resolution being passed against Representative Kolubah to boot him out of the House of Representatives.
The NO vote and walkout conveyed the message that leaders have to be careful in what they say or do and must eschew arrogance, ostentation and greed lest they become victims of their own undoing. But some officials of government see things the other way and they have made no secret of their disdain and hatred of the media, especially the Daily Observer.
But the Daily Observer has, over the years, consistently striven to provide not only accurate, objective, fair and balanced reporting for its readers and the public at large but also to provide frank advice to our national leaders on matters of national concern.
In view of this, the Daily Observer categorically rejects insinuations from some quarters that it is inciting strife in the nation by its coverage and interpretation of events. For those driven by false visions of ethnic grandeur and afflicted by such myopia that renders them incapable of distinguishing white from black and right from wrong, this newspaper owes no apologies especially to the “Baghdad Bobs” of Liberia.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf was the Iraqi Minister of Information during the last days of Saddam Hussein. Sahaf’s nickname was Baghdad Bob. His name now denotes someone who confidently declares what everyone else can see is false.
According to sources, his pronouncements included claims that American soldiers were committing suicide “by the hundreds” outside the city and denial that there were any American tanks in Baghdad, when in fact they were only several hundred meters away.
In the eyes of the Baghdad Bobs of Liberia, nothing , absolutely nothing is wrong with armed thugs invading and disrupting peaceful gatherings. When millions of Liberian dollars in printed banknotes go missing, the Baghdad Bobs claim it is a hype perpetrated by the local media. In the end, Saddam Hussein was to meet his fate, bear his cross alone having been deserted by his closest friends.
This newspaper however remains undaunted in its drive to provide accurate, fair, objective and balanced coverage and interpretation of events and developments in Liberia. And in doing so, we remain mindful of the words of that famous American patriot, John Adams, who once wrote: “Be not intimidated… nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.”