The fact that they could all sit there and see their only medical center, the F.J. Grant, deteriorate into ruins means that a lot of people were not paying attention.
The man they recently elected their Senator, Milton Teahjay, was their Superintendent for several years. He succeeded smiling Sylvester Grigsby who everyone knows is far from a fussy man. But even he, an economist, one time newspaper publisher and scion of one of Sinoe’s great families, seemed oblivious to the health and medical needs of the county and raised no alarm about the deteriorating F.J. Grant. He was succeeded by Milton Teahjay, whom everyone knows is no prince of peace. Remember his physical bout with the man to whom in the early 1990s he was Deputy at Information—Joe Mulbah?
Superintendent Teahjay had problems with then Senator Mobutu Nyepan. And despite the people’s elevation of Teahjay as their Senator, a position that should automatically elevate one to statesmanship, he is at it again, fussing with his successor, Superintendent Thomas Quioh. Quioh accuses Teahjay of “stirring up confusion and trouble, and being the chief architect behind Quioh’s removal as Superintendent.”
Who is Kru and who is Sapo—and what in the world has that got to do with governance? Indeed, good governance denotes that the trivialities of tribe and ethnicity are sidelined in the interest of peace, harmony and the greater good, conditions that constitute the basis of all peace, development and progress. Without them, development and progress are bound to elude (escape) any community.
And so it is with Sinoe today, even though for the second time in a row, the county runs the risk of denying itself the opportunity of hosting our greatest national celebration, Independence Day.
Reporter Leroy Sonpon, who returned to Monrovia Wednesday from a special assignment in Sinoe, has given us the whole background to the grumble in Greenville. And, you guessed it: Teahjay is Kru and Quioh is Sapo, both very close cousins, even brothers. And yet these two groups seem to be perpetually at war with each other.
The Bible says that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That is Senator Teahjay. Instead, he seems to be pursuing tribal strife by battling against Quioh who, observers believe, if he is allowed to preside over the successful Independence Day celebrations, might be favored by Sinoeans for the Senate, replacing one of the two incumbents there, who is also Kru.
Do the Krus in Sinoe have no sense of justice and equity? Why must they insist on Kru dominance in Sinoe?
Yet they—the Sinoeans—say the rest of us in Liberia should elect their son, Dr. J. Mills Jones, as president of Liberia. How feasible is that when Sinoeans cannot get their own act together? The same Dr. Jones, during his last visit to Sinoe, became aware of the Kru-Sapo rift, and called on them to reconcile. But no sooner had he left than they began fighting again. When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf got to Sinoe in May, she saw placards from the Kru side calling for the removal of Quioh as Superintendent. She told them she was not there for politics but to inspect the Independence Day projects. But Ellen should have known that politics is everything—politics can make or break anything, in the same way politics destroyed Liberia, for over a century a citadel of peace and stability.
Speaking of governance, perhaps the first person that needs to intervene to stop this fratricidal strife in Greenville is Governance Commission Chairman Dr. Amos Sawyer, one of the experienced and respected “Sinoe boys.” He needs to gather as soon as possible a group of Sinoe elders and convene a roundtable of all leading Sinoeans to resolve this madness and save their county from another round of shame and disgrace.
As we said in Wednesday’s Editorial, they all must quickly fix the F.T. Grant Hospital. But now they must first rescue Sinoe, which is dying from fuss. Nothing constructive can happen before that.