Open Letter to Henry Costa

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Chairman Fromayan- We work within the legal framework to control the flow of small arms.jpg
James M. Fromayan

By James M. Fromayan

Mr. Costa,

On Wednesday morning, November 14, 2018, I was driving towards central Monrovia from Paynesville.  At some point, I began monitoring your show (The Costa Talk Show) on a local radio station. You accused people you referred to as “progressives” for a host of ills, including “fomenting of troubles” in the country.   Progressives in this context refer to Liberians, who were and have been in the vanguard of the struggle for social justice and equality.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, you failed to make reference to “reactionaries,” opportunists and people, who sat on the fence and dared not speak out in the face of injustice in the country even if such was glaring and obvious.

You began your erroneous narrative by making the following wild allegations: That according to your twisted logic and warped interpretation of history, Liberia was very good under President William R. Tolbert, Jr. until the “progressives” entered the political scene and “started inciting” Liberians against the establishment.

Additionally you claimed that it was the “progressives” who told the Master Sargent Samuel  K. Doe and his People’s Redemption Council (PRC) colleagues to execute the 13 former officials of the Tolbert government. You further claimed that it was the Israeli Intelligence Agency, the Mossad that spearheaded the assassination of President Tolbert, Why? Because according to you, the Israelis built the Executive Mansion, and so they knew their way to the President’s bed room.

Quite frankly, your reasoning and logic beats the imagination given the hard facts provided by former National Security Minister Wilfred Clark that it was he, given his intimate knowledge of the Executive Mansion, who was using a VHF radio handset (walkie talkie) directing  President Tolbert’s assassins on that fateful morning of April 12, 1980.  This is by Mr. Clarke’s own admission on oath when he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  I really do hope you can provide some empirical evidence to support your claim to convince the public of the “Mossad” connection to the April 12, 1980 Military Coup that led to the killing of President Tolbert.

Mr. Costa, the notion that Liberia was a “Paradise” until the arrival of the “progressives” is as absurd as the belief that the world is flat, a notion purveyed  by the little ill-informed person, whose ignorance of Liberian history is indeed telling.  For your information and enlightenment,  Liberia was a de facto one-party state in which women were denied the right to vote until 1947, and one in which the right to one man one vote was restricted due to laws requiring individuals to own property to be considered eligible to vote.

It is also worth noting that Liberia under the True Whig Party (TWP) Government, was a de facto one party  state where civil servants were forced to make monthly contributions from their salaries to support the TWP machinery. The EdwarJ.Roye Building in Monrovia stands  as testimony to the compulsory deductions paid by civil servants to the construction and completion of that building.

In the face of suppressive laws on the books and harsh measures meted against political opponents, it was the “progressives” who stood up against such measures using the laws of the land, not guns or  other violent means in clamoring for democratic change under a multi-party system.

Mr. Costa, here are some of the issues that the “progressives” fought against during the period under review: The Gambling Bill of 1973- The TWP Government had intended to make gambling legal in the country. It took patriotic and decent Liberians, including the veteran and renowned  human rights advocate, Albert Porte and the “progressives” who mobilized Liberians from diverse backgrounds to defeat that infamous bill that was poised to be passed into law. There was even a dangerous bill known as the “age of consent.”

What that bill literally meant was that at age 13, a girl was now considered a woman and could  therefore engage in sexual activity. This was happening in a government run by a head of state, who was also once President of the Baptist World Alliance. The Vice President, Reverend Bennie Warner was simultaneously serving as Bishop of the Methodist Church. That proposed bill was killed not with guns, but by citizens’ action organized by the “progressives” and other well meaning Liberians.

Let me also inform you, Mr. Costa that in 1978, two Lebanese merchants residing in Monrovia strangulated a young Liberian store boy, named Gberi to death. Gberi was reported to have stolen a candy, which led to the Lebanese killing him. It was the Student Unification Party led ULSU government that mounted pressure on the TWP Government, which led to the arrest, imprisonment, trial and conviction of the two Lebanese.

There was also this primitive and backward property clause law, which I mentioned earlier,  that was designed to keep away the masses from participating in elections, and equally so contesting elective posts. That law which was on the books until the 1986 Constitution came into effect, required people who were desirous of contesting for elective offices to own property in fee simple.  Opposition to that law, however  did not move the TWP Government.

The 1979 Rice Protest: This episode is a long story that requires a long narrative to put it in the proper historical context, to debunk the pseudo intellectuals, who have the audacity to distort history due to their lack of knowledge of the event they often wish to discuss.

In a nutshell, the Tolbert Government had intended an increment in the price of rice, which meant a US$5 for a 100 pound bag, which was at the time sold at US$9.50 per bag. The reason the TWP Government gave for the proposed increment was that it would “boost” local rice production, thus enabling farmers to “earn” more money from their harvests. The government was not truthful in its plan to increase the price of rice.

For there was no way that a subsistence farmer using backward farming tools, such as cutlasses, axes, hoes would have been able to feed his household, let alone to talk about a commercial venture. People who stood to benefit from any increment in the price of rice were few wealthy farmers, and the importers of rice which counted wealthy Liberians, including  Frank Tolbert, the President’s brother.

As a student leader at the University of Liberia at the time, I took part in the 1979 Rice Protest opposing the increment in the price of the commodity. At the Buzzi Quarters Gas station, I saw a soldier beating a police officer. The military were in effect against the increment in the price of rice. The reason why I presumed the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), refused to support the position of the government was simple.

They were at the very bottom of the  government salary scale. Besides, the living quarters of the rank-and-file members of the AFL was very deplorable at the Barclay Training Center (BTC). The BTC zinc shack residences of the AFL was infested with flies. It was simply hell on earth. Therefore it was little wonder why the army stood on the side of the people unlike the Police. The indiscriminate killing of protesters by police officers on that day left more than 60 persons dead.  A school mate of mine, Ms. Irene Nimpson was killed by a strayed bullet.

Mr. Costa, I would like to educate you on what happened during the 1979 Monrovia Mayoral election period. A member of the “progressives” Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, in an attempt to draw official attention to the need for a credible voters roll, threw a challenge to the TWP candidate for the office of Mayor of Monrovia, Chuchu Horton. After a century plus in power, the TWP was unprepared for democratic election. Faced with a challenge from an independent candidate, the party was caught pants down.

Unable to play the game by their own rules, the TWP Government under the leadership of President Tolbert, kept postponing the election for fear of imminent defeat by an independent candidate. What broke the back of candidate Chuchu Horton was when his younger (biological) brother, Steve Horton endorsed Dr. Amos Sawyer in an opened letter that was published in one of the local dailies at the time. In this case, it was the TWP that was running away from the ballot box. And Mr. Costa you want people to believe you when you falsely blame “progressives” for the ills of our society.

What annoys me the most and I am inclined to believe that it is an insidious and malicious attempt to paint the “progressives” as evil minded individuals is when you claimed that we were “responsible” for the execution of the 13 former officials of the Tolbert government. Mr. Costa, I think this falls below the standard of journalism. It is a pure act of a mercenary posing as a journalist. As catalogued above, we had disagreement with the TWP Government on policy issues.

Our disagreement with the TWP Government did not in any way suggest that we wanted to see President Tolbert and his officials dead. Mr. Costa, you only fell short of saying that it was the “progressives” that planned and executed the 1980 Military Coup d’etat. We all know that the AFL has always been under the training and mentorship of the United States Army, and that its influence was used to usher in violent regime change in the country.

Don’t venture into a terrain that you lack knowledge of Mr. Costa.  You need to read Victoria Tobert’s book in which she laments the fact that those that called her husband, a friend had the worst things to say about him behind his back, and they dared do even in the Executive Mansion. I can understand that you have great dread for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court, because of your strong ties to individuals with a tainted past.

As a matter of fact, I still see President Tolbert as the most progressive Liberian leader in history since 1944. His development agenda was all embracing with considerable emphasis on education and agriculture and the political inclusion of indigenous sons and daughters in national governance although he had his faults..

Mr. Costa, you may recall that in April 2017, you claimed on your talk show that when I served as Chairperson of NEC, I “offered” my friend, John H. T Stewart, a “consultancy” worth US$5,000 a month. In your tirade, you failed to indicate what the “consultancy” was about neither did you offer any proof of your imaginary claims, including check stubs or returned checks or anything of the like.

Up till today, you have still not produced such evidence. This simply goes to show that you were hired by certain interests to tell such lies in order to distract attention from accountability issues at the NEC. That was such a blatant lie concocted by you and your paymaster at NEC during that time. I once more challenge you and your paymaster to produce any evidence that shows that John Stewart ever worked for NEC under my leadership as a consultant.  You have since failed to establish any evidence to support your bogus claims.

Finally Mr. Costa, as a young man, you have the potential to be a good journalist. You are articulate on radio and you do a little bit of research over our average journalist. I think it’s about time that you choose between being a credible journalist or a rented mercenary. Above all do not forget that the freedom, which you now enjoy to even cuss people on radio did not fall from the sky. It came through bitter sacrifices by committed individuals dedicated to the cause of freedom, justice and equality in Liberia.

Thank you.

57 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you James for bringing to bed some of the historical facts some of us lacked. I think part of the reasons for such distortion and gross misinformation is the lack of available information. If the Progressive can find way to write a book that outlines the roles of the Progressive in the history of our country; then, the average Joe will be enlightened enough to counter the lies and misinformation by others.

    But i truly enjoy reading your letter.

    • Sir, thanks for the level of information and education shared in your letter. However, like most readers I suggest that you author a book on the contribution of the progressives, such initiative will better inform generations to come.

  2. Mr. Fromoyan thanks so much for this piece of information. It clarifies a lot of issues. One thing that is clear is that even some of the so-called journalists and talk show hosts are paid agents of some people who want to continue to maintain the corrupt status quo. They have made the journalism profession a hustler’s paradise. But gradually, they are being exposed as you have done to Mr. Costa. Unfortunately, you will realize that they have no conscience and shame. They will continue spewing lies and half truths and their ignorant followers will hail them as heroes. Such is the Liberia we live in today.

  3. Many may claimed you and your fellowship as heroes but in reality you guys fail Liberia as it was about self and not for the country as most of you were card toting communist as it shows when you head any institution as you are power greedy.What did the progresives do that is worth mentioning or applauding as look at where we are today socially and politically,ZERO and it is all because of you and your friends personal greed and quest for power that you weren’t ready for.
    Told being hail as a progressive is true but coming from the likes of you is a joke as all you all wanted was your moments of fame and forgot the good things he was doing.It was petty hatred for a group of people who had come from slavery and built one of the greatest black nation on earth while you all were about “Do you know who i am” and i am a country man.
    I am challenging you today today to show me your personal contributions than taking as at your age you should be retire but there you were a few months ago supporting Boakai for a fat post.Shame, shame,shame when the people you guys rubbed shoulders with over the years owns institutions in their countries while you all are still stealing from the very government you say you love but you all will face God for what you all did to Liberia and your generations will carry the curse as it is generational.
    Write your book for al you can but Costa was right as his immediate family were victims while you all celebrated their death.Shame as the blood of all who were rape and kill is on you all including the civil wars that you guys started and supported as well as benefitted from.
    How dare you even stand up today and say something for a fail state of affairs as because of you, Liberians now feels that they can use violence to get state power and scare people with Intergrity and merit away.
    Shame as your track record is nothing to write home about and the revolution of showcasing who’s who in Liberia has began as the likes of Richleiu Dennis whose family were murdered by you guys and is today the richest Liberian from selling natural beauty products tat you native progressive do not even use to Alexander Cummings and many more.
    you all cannot stop us and never will as we came out of slavery with a thick skin to survive and no matter what the likes of you who sold them into slavery do, you cannot stop them.
    I am disgusted by such editorials and you should ashamed that the younger generation thinks less of you so call freedom fighters as you fought for yourself.

    Emeka E.Johns-Obiamwie

    • Emeka, Did Liberia sell anyone into the Mid Atlantic Slave Trade? I say A very Resounding No, my dear! May be, the ACS, and other groups led by Marcus Garvey probably did not choose Ghana, Senegal as places of re-enteries because of the engrained bitterness these settlers returned with and innocent Liberia had to be in this mixture of Bigotry, Theft, Pride, Suppression, and War, poverty amongst many.

      * This is the problem we face: Grudge by the settlers because their African folks betrayed them, Hatefulness, Pride, Prejudice, honest jealousy by those called the progressives because of the repressive behaviors of SOME & MANY of your ancestors, and the unforgiven hearts towards one another, sad and shameful, may the Lord help us!!!
      Still calling others “country” when that is your origin(countriness), is a problem the “others” cannot easily swallow and it needs to stop.
      Did Coming out of slavery serve as a means to SUPRESS and Repress the innocent, where as it is the very thing your ancestors decided not to remain in the West for? Many of your folks treated innocent/progressive Liberians as “slaves”, I saw that growing up and so many Liberians account for the same, my husband tells stories of friends who their parents had gate keepers, the country Mary’s and Johnnys as slaves called Servants in their homes, some of us were called “Heathens” because their last names were Yarkpahzuo, etc, dangerous, dangerous Irony.

      Regardless of what you hold against this writer, let’s be truthful that The information laid out by this Gentleman here is worth being placed into historical reproduction and archive which we so lack in Liberia!!!

      Again, I believe the “progressives” have issues of their own faults too and that’s why WE LIBERIANS MUST LET GO of ALL this aged old bitterness, etc mehn and allow God to heal and make us Whole again. Biblically After Egypt, Ethiopia, Liberia is recorded as the Oldest country in Africa, let’s be one and let go of what brought us to this low current state( Poverty, Division). Stay blessed and May the Lord Lord keep us, LIBERIANS as One, I pray🙏

      • Thanks Babara. Emeka did not address the issues James put forth. He too is being personal and seemingly doesn’t know anything about the struggles from one-party Liberia. Violence has occurred in different forms in every part of the world. Nigeria-Biafra secession quest that left more people dead than all Liberians that died during the hostilities. Biafra is still going on. Boko Haram is another case being overlooked.

      • Yes, there were Liberian tribes who participated in the trans Atlantic slave trade and sold slaves to the Europeans. There are historical records of this. In addition through genetic testing done today several African Americans can trace their ancestry to Liberian tribes like the Kru, Kpelle and Mende. Google Oprah Winfrey genetic test and India Arie genetic test.

  4. WOW! Most of what is penned in your narration happened when I was a child or not yet born. I now get the clarity of how President Tolbert was killed.

    Thanks for the education provided to not only Mr. Costa, but also to most of us, sir.

  5. What do you say can the progressives take blame for orchestrating the riot that led to the death of the sixty persons including your friend? What is the price of rice now and what will be the price of rice after a year if nothing is done to promote rice farming locally, which policy tool Willie R. Tolbert trufully constructed? What was the relationship between Ellen Sirleaf, Florence Chenoway and the progressives? Were the cabinet members in the Tolbert regime conferring with the progressives to make the government unpopular for the coup to take effect shortly? What were some foreign policy issues apart from domestic policy that gladly watched the coup to unfold or participated along with the military? What was the none alliance movement concerned about? Was the progressives simply poppets and fool used by Ellen and Florence every time? What good was the progressives when called to government at the interim Government of National Unity (IGNU)? What is the corolation between the printing of money by Amos Sawyer then and the missing 15.5 billion Liberian dollars now?

    You shot your legs in your narrative by giving credence to Henry Ciasta. Coasta was driving a wedge that in my view, the progressives are burdens and pimps who could not manage Liberia every time tested. Interim regime, you failed by the many proliferation of warring parties. You worked for Ellen Sirleaf who used the progressives like rats while plummeting national wealth with her children. She gave you governmental reform to throw slur. You have not recognized your error in the peril of Liberia, gives Henry Ciasta great leverage to dig more. The above question may narrow on you since you have started practicing to expose your ignorance in the name of coming clear.

    Further more, you hailed Willie Tolbert Aggriculture policy but opposed a policy instrument to protect the policy. That’s crazy publicity stunt. Just stop being rats used by dangerous people like Ellen Sirleaf and her friends.

  6. Mr. Fromoyan, I was in high school (12th grade) and do remember very the debate on the si called ” gambling bill”. The bill did actually pass by the National Legislatures and was sent to President Tolbert for his signature. Tolbert refused to sign it into law and he vetoed it. One of the reasons for his veto was, this would had exposed the country to severe high crimes; subsequently posing problems for the unsophisticated youths. One of the proponents, if not of this bill, was his brother, Steve Tolbert, then Minister of Finance. JMCOLEMAN, MD

  7. Many thanks to you Comrade Fromoyan for such briefed explanation to the people of Liberia. In deed, you have done justice to some of the issues and would have done more if have the time and space. Whoever desires to read, analyze and learn from your explanation will do so or via verse.
    As we are all preparing to celebrate this festive season, may we reflect on the goodness of our Creator and son, Jesus Christ for the many things we went through from January 1, 2018 to this day. Let’s all be very grateful to God for everything and commit the year 2019 unto Him.
    Wish My Fellow Liberians Blessed Christmas and Year of God’s Uncommon Favor 2019.
    Be blessed.
    l

    • Gmasonah Togba-Aboah, Fromoyan, Commany Wisseh, Boima Fahnbulleh, and the rest of them have proven to be the same money-power-seeking hypocrites who hide their selfish interests behind the “false-face” of progressivism or patriotism. 12 years ago these very people were the key lieutenants to the most corrupt regime in ASfrica – the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. They even stole elections. So for Fromoyan´s rants here is nonesense. Take for example, Boima Fahnbulleh he served as adviser for the past twelve years as he and their gang looted the country. This is why today, he has to use aliases -n fake names or use the names of those kids at the university of Liberia to carry out his rants. For them (ESPECIALLY BOIMA FAHNBULLEH), once they are not at the table of the national cake, then there should be no cake. We respect Tipoteh and Dew Mayson and not the hypocrite Boima Fahnbulleh who has been AN INGRATE TO DEW MAYSON.

  8. Comrade fromoyan, your rebuff of the illogical claims by Mr. Costa is well noted. People who during the course of the senseless Liberian civil war were nurtured in the cesspool of diabolic propaganda and had lived their entire life in falsehood, must at some point in time be told that they are bankrupt and do not have the moral rectitude to speak to certain issues. they are just mascarades, having a false sense of importance about themselves. These are swindlers who get their livelihood by spreading lies about decent people in society, because of the pittance they get from their masters.

  9. Sir, thank you for this well written enlightenment, I pray many of the facts you laid out here gets to be a Staying part of our written historical archive, which we really lack in Liberia, Sir, thank you!!!

  10. Great and timely insight, an instructive and compelling eye-opener, indeed, as provided in your open letter to Henry Costa, brother James Fromoyan, a man I considered a big brother in the true sense of the word. What renders your open letter instructive and compelling is not so much that it represents factual accounts, which it is or that it is full of critical information so important for historical reasons, which it is. No! It is mainly because it represents the accounts of a man, a son of the soil, who himself was and remains a major character, a key actor, in the true story, the significant history, of the political struggle of the nation. Three of the many critical points called to attention in your piece deserving to be briefly highlighted here for emphasis include your dismay expressed about what you rightfully term as insidious and malicious attempt to demonize the progressives as evil in the minds of Liberians for supposedly being responsible for the execution of the 13 former officials of government, your expression of respect and recognition of President William Richard Tolbert, Jr. like I myself have often asserted of him as the best president Liberia ever had in living memory and, last but not least, references made of Henry Costa perhaps as part of a deliberate scheme by hidden hands with a grand purpose to distort the true history and castigate progressives as responsible for the worst that has happened to Liberia.

    It is proper to begin with your own words when you wrote that “What annoys me the most and I am inclined to believe that it is an insidious and malicious attempt to paint the ‘progressives’ as evil minded individuals is when you claimed that we were “responsible” for the execution of the 13 former officials of the Tolbert government. Mr. Costa, I think this falls below the standard of journalism. It is a pure act of a mercenary posing as a journalist. As catalogued above, we had disagreement with the TWP Government on policy issues [not on violence as an option].” Evidently, this clarion clarification was made in addition to various other salient points on which you provided education to the reading audience. To simplify this further, let us look at another case of deception and misinformation targeted at the Liberian progressives, where two actors of the war made false or mistaken representation regarding what should be the heroic roles played by the progressives in the political struggle of the nation.

    Cyril Allen of the defunct NPFL when defending his killer master Charles Taylor against the progressives and G. V Kromah of the erstwhile ULIMO-K are heard on TRC hearing videos, where both men claimed to have been told on the very day of the execution by then Speaker and later PRC Vice Chairman J. Nicholas Podier blaming the progressives for the execution of the former government officials. These two former wartime actors claimed to have met Gen. Podier at his Capitol Hill office on the very day and hour of the execution and that he angrily told each of them separately that he was surprised to hear of the execution taking place on the beach in the BTC and that he was supposedly angry at the progressives for being responsible for the execution. But the host of Facebook talk show, Rev. Jeroy Cummings, clearly replayed the TRC videos of these false claims by the two men and Rev. Cummings himself then went on to debunk the lies made against the progressives by these two men. Just like me, Rev. Cummings narrates the story of how he was on the beach on that fateful day of the execution on April 22 where he saw J. Nicholas Podier gleefully present among other soldiers at the scene. This is one classic example of designs to tarnish the audacious men simply they helped to dethrone a more than century old corrupt and decadent oligarchy – the TWP, that which will be resisted, exposed and defeated ultimately.

    An additional point of reference is your expression of respect and recognition of President William Richard Tolbert, Jr., like I myself have often asserted of him, as the best president Liberia has ever had in living memory. This is certainly a statement of facts that cannot easily be challenged by any informed person. And it is made ever clearer where you, James Fromoyan, wrote of the late and respected Liberian leader that, “As a matter of fact, I still see President Tolbert as the most progressive Liberian leader in history since 1944. His development agenda was all embracing with considerable emphasis on education and agriculture and the political inclusion of indigenous sons and daughters in national governance…” It is, therefore, needless to belabor the points here.

    And last but not least are references made of Henry Costa perhaps as part of a deliberate scheme by hidden hands with a grand purpose to distort the true history and castigate progressives as responsible for the worst that has happened to Liberia. In my books, I see Costa as a young and upcoming brilliant young man still needing more time to learn, improve and mature professionally or politically. But as a man with a hidden agenda bent on merely demonizing progressives, I would not go that far. If anything, he may be found to sometimes fall victim to the grand scheme of deep-rooted TWP paragons, apologists and mainly those still bearing deep-seated grievances of lost power, prestige and properties. Top in the group are ones like Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Charles Taylor, Cyril Allen, Gen. Coo Coo Dennis, Estrada Bernard and so forth. But Costa has the potential to be a force for positive transformation when the appropriate time comes. But as for those TWP archetypes, until these characters completely become part of the past with no relevance to the nation’s history and existence, every well-meaning Liberian must be ready to identify, resist, expose and defeat the hate of these characters against the Liberian people and nation-state

  11. How do you like Liberia now under the current administration and Tolbert’s? Tolbert was a visionary taking Liberia to higher heights. Can your honestly tell us where Liberia is headed? Enough has been said about Tolbert and the TWP; it’s going to 40 years since they were slaughtered ,what Liberia proudly show for getting rate of him? Given the choice among many evils,I believe the Liberian people will choose William R. Tolbert jr., a visionary who had and implemented policies to improve the living standards of the Liberian people.

  12. Liberia as a nation became worse after the actions of the progressives! Increased poverty, authoritarianism, corruption, killings and eventually war. That is a FACT no matter how you try to portray or create a false narrative of their movement being some sort of “blessing” to Liberia. PUAH!

    • Agree with you 100 percent. During the 70’s, these same “progressives” (Dew Mayson and his socialist minions–Dr. Tipoteh, Dr. Sawyer and Dr. Fahnbulleh) used to go around the country preaching victim-hood and promoting ethnic polarization among Liberians ( “The Congo people” vs “The Country People)

      Then on April 12 1980, claiming that the “country people had been politically marginalized by the congo people for more than 133 years”, Master Sergeant Kanyon Doe and his bunch of illiterate thugs staged a bloody military coup and established a murderous regime, of which our “progressive” brothers (Dew, Tipoteh, Sawyer, Fahnbulleh) held powerful positions!

      Oh sure the April 12 coup ended 133 years of the True Whig Party “oligarchy”, but hey, how did it work out for you when Dew Mayson, his socialist minions and the illiterate thugs became our new rulers???

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d argued that when Dew and his minions seized power in April 1980, we as a country became worst off… In less than 10 years– Doe Mayson, his socialist minions, and the illiterate thugs led us back into the dark ages (133 years backwards)!!!

      • False! Otherwise, you would not have being writing like this. You got the incorrect information from those that were booted from power. There was the “country vs Congo” factor before the coming of the progressives. The ones you hail as angels, managed this country for the benefit of the few elites. for your information, more Liberians build their own homes and acquired properties after 1980.

        • I agree with you, James. In the 1949 version of the hinterland regulations, people from the coaster settlements are referred to as “civilized” and the rural populations are various called “natives”, “aborigines”, etc.

        • No matter what perception you have of Liberia under the TWP the FACT remains that Liberia as a nation got worse because of the actions of the Progressives! This is because many of them were opportunists and had no good intentions to begin with! Others were simply misguided by their rhetoric. Its simple logic! If Liberia had grown and become a more prosperous and peaceful nation after 1980 THEN the Progressives would be deserving of credit BUT THE FACTS are that everything got worse! It has nothing to do with Congo vs Native or who is better than his friend. Stop the ignorance and tribalism!

      • Who can blame you Martin, for the constant stupidity you exhibit here. Victims of years of sodomy like you will always take your warped anger on innocent others in society. Some like you have even taken their anger one step further, by gunning down innocent others. We pray that yours will remain on these social platforms where just a few are bothered by them. May God exorcise you of your warped thinking some day.

  13. Henry Costa, knows nothing about the Progressives contributions to what we are enjoying today. He is one of those ungrateful Liberians who thinks freedom is free and what we have today just happened. The Progressives paid with their sweat and blood.
    Liberia is getting better. I gave the credit to the Progressives.
    Thanks, we need a book.

    • Sir, this is beautiful piece of literature. But to every story there are two main parts: The Plot and the Theme: what was the Plot in the “The Progressives” movement?
      What was the or is the Theme of the ” Progressive” movement. ” these question none of you so-called ” Progressives have been able to answer.
      As a young boy are hailed you guys a agent of change, because I didn’t know much then. As I grew older, in this country, I have come to understand that the ” plot” of your movement was orchestrated directly against Tolbert because of his Nonalignment agenda. A ” Plot” you so successfully excuted with the backing of your masters.
      Now as I tried for long to unravel the sense of the ” Progressive” for which you guys so cheerfully adored, I have again come to understand that you so-called ” Progressive ” movement was to bare pressure on Tolbert to give up on his agenda…in this you succeeded somehow by his assassination.
      With the true intent of the word ” Progressive ” you guys have not shown any freaking achievement that which have lifted Liberia in terms of infrastructure, economic, social and health.
      You yourself have admitted that Tolbert was the most progressive in terms of development.
      So what in the freaking hell did you guys do.
      Your slogan should have been
      ” In the cause of the people their struggle shall get worst.”

  14. I remember so well, James Fromayan. The lies in favor of the minority group of people that siphoned the wealth of the country and stifled democracy for more than 100 years has to STOP. Their stooges and beneficiaries who were enslaved by their blind love think they were the best. A strong rebuttal like this in public arenas can play a major part in dispelling the misinformation and bring shame to them. Otherwise, they shall remain slaves forever. I pray this will “liberate them from mental slavery.”

    • No matter what perception you have of Liberia under the TWP the FACT remains that Liberia as a nation got worse because of the actions of the Progressives! This is because many of them were opportunists and had no good intentions to begin with! Others were simply misguided by their rhetoric. Its simple logic! If Liberia had grown and become a more prosperous and peaceful nation after 1980 THEN the Progressives would be deserving of credit BUT THE FACTS are that everything got worse! It has nothing to do with Congo vs Native or who is better than his friend. Stop the ignorance and tribalism!

  15. Thank you Mr. Fromayan, for this historical vignette in response to that Henry Costa mercenary of a journalist, as you aptfully described him. It is self-seeking ingrates like Costa who sometimes make people to regret the fight against tyrannical and repressive regimes, if for nothing else, just so they could taste what it means to live under such horrible dispensations. Provided, that is, if it were possible that those undemocratic tendencies were directed at them and only them. But the overwhelming tongue lashing exhibited here by people aggrieved by his sophistry, should tell him and think-alike that all Liberians are not gullible after all, to the garbage they emit from whatever the orifices. Thanks again, senior brother.

  16. Just a simple issue that caught my attention: According to the writer, the progressives fought against gambling being made legal in Liberia. Now may I ask: What is the status of gambling in present-day Liberia? Is gambling not so legal that government is also benefiting from it?
    May I clearly state that some of the things the so-called progressives fought for were meaningless and their fight was for them to have access to state power and their term to loot the resources of the state.

  17. …An apt response by a man who was a key participant during the heydays of the progressive struggle of our people. Thank you James Fromoyan, and I hope this response will nip Costa’s tirades and rants in the bud. The Progressives are among the most educated and experienced statesmen this country has known in the last 40 – 50 years. If it was mostly for their self interests, as some argue, the Progressives would have all gone up to West Benson Street and joined the Masonic Craft. With their membership of the Craft, they could have been given fat jobs, absorbed and assimilated into the ruling establishment. But they decided to take the path not easily taken: to challenge the status quo, speak truth to power, and bring about a democratization of the Liberian society. The Progressives might not have fulfilled all the promises they made to the Liberian people. The Progressives might not have succeeded in all the good things they set out to do. They might have failed to hold together to provide leadership for the country in the 1980s, the 1990s and even thereafter. But surely, we cannot ignore the by-product of their sacrifices and daring resilience: multiparty democracy, an expanded Legislature, a Judiciary void of partisanship, multiple radio stations and newspapers, acceptance and inclusivity irrespective of one’s surname, etc.
    It is argued that Liberia was better before the coming of the Progressives? Who created New Kru Town, West Point, Buzzi Quarter, SlipWay, and other urban slums? Were the Progressives the ones who allowed Firestone to build huts for Liberian workers while migrant workers from Asia and the West lived in bungalows overlooking Liberian tappers carrying 150-pound latex on their heads and shoulders?
    I close my comments by adding my voice to other voices calling on the Progressives to help write our history by writing about their contributions – successes and failures – to the struggle to build a better Liberia. If you don’t write, the Public will not know. Until the Progressives can have their own historians, or, until our history of the last 75 years is written in its proper perspectives, the platitudes of today will always glorify the pseudo intellectuals.

  18. The most interesting and hypocritical thing about the Progressives and their supporters is the fact that they like to take credit for some called “achievements” after 1980 but they refuse to take responsibility for all of the failures; which are many! Today’s Liberia is a result of their actions! Just like how they say the TWP was responsible for all of the problems before 1980 then who is responsible for the problems afterwards? Who is responsible for the massive corruption, poverty, authoritarianism, and murder that took place after 1980? Ask a Progressive and they will then place 100% of the blame on Doe or some imaginary culprit! Ridiculous!

  19. Read Henry Mamulu’s “Children of a Lesser God” and “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”.. Thank you Emeka for having the guts. I also add this piece that I stole from Hortense D. Grimes:
    Iust had to add my piece to this one. Yes, It is great that the society is now working tremendously well for the large majority. Finally, after all the evil treatment, in today Liberia everyone has multiple jobs options. Students have cadet jobs, including vacation jobs at their disposal on every semester break. It is amazing how all high school graduates gain admission to UL and Cuttington University; additionally all graduates have access to scholarships to study abroad. One just has to pick their school of choice. Wonderful, that there is no need for human waste removal since every home has indoor plumbing and other people children children don’t need to carry slop buckets for Congau people. Besides no one needs to live with anyone other than one’s own parents so there is no more child slavery. And gone are the days of understated abuses by those “so called” good people who took care of other people’s children for FREE. The society can now breathe calmly and rest from all the trauma of the past suffered in those so-called good people hands. The past certainly worked for a small minority. It is absolutely heartwarming to see how the systems are all working perfectly today for the larger majority. Don’t we just love the new Liberia! This Liberia that is finally free from those evil people. Long live Liberia where the real good people now have full control. This new caring Liberia where children roam the streets day and night selling two sticks of chewing gum and one orange. Because this new group in town does not know about helping the less fortunate. The majority is free! Those evil people who destroyed Liberia can now Rest In Peace. Liberia is the best it has ever been in all its history. Thanks to the good riddance of all the evil people. The country is now a beacon of hope in Africa. Liberia in the hands of real Liberians. Really.

    • Thank you Ian Yhap for this wonderful narrative and i would like to call it “we are free”.Free from or free to suffer.The mistake made in 1980 is effecting us our whole lifetime and aren’t the haters tire yet as the more they hate a group of people, the bigger they become.Haven’t we seen that yet?
      Rodney Sieh at the launch of his book talked about the how the 13 distinquished statesmen were murdered in 1980 and the effect it had on him watch it live on TV as well as the troubles of the 1980s, the war and up till present all because of corruption that has plague Liberia since 1980 and is the order of the day.who wrote it? The Congau people or TWP? we aren’t no more stupid in this place as we know where we are from to where we are today and we are going down hill because of our past actions and current ones.
      we are in a mess and look at old man like Fromoyan still looking for a job when he should have retire since.A curse to a few and their generations who helped to destroy Liberia.Damn Shame.

    • Such myopic interpretation of Liberian history. In this line of thinking, Mr. Yap, what then can you say about the corruption, decadence, deceit and immorality persisting in the darn church today? Is it because the prelates or perhaps God did, or is doing nothing about those vices? With such narrow-mindedness perhaps you just read in future instances and keep quiet, than trying to make fool of yourself with such denseness.

      • Thanks Mr. Fromayan,

        Just to add to what Mr. Fromayan said during the 70s people who stole and found guilty in court were whipped 25 lashes Every Saturday in Bong Mines..

        I watched those lashes on the backs of who were found guilty of stealing..in Bong Mines on Bong Range Tarbellah footballer field..

        And those slaves without any country who were looting our resources and building houses in country that doesn’t even value who they are…

  20. Thank you Mr. Fromayan. It’s about time our children understand that the freedom we enjoy today is the result of the sweat, tears, and blood of others – and the Progressives played a major role. How can we ever forget those brave men and women who stood up when we all thought change was impossible? Aluta, Continua!

  21. Thank you Uncle James for this educative piece of information. But Costa will refuse to accept these facts because of his shared ignorance.
    Most of these paid journalists like Costa and others have caused most Liberians to see the journalistic profession as a field of blackmail, insult, and moreover, disrespect to leaders of our country. We don’t count “journalists” like Costa worthy and serious of their profession any longer in our nation.
    We are aware of the Radio Kigali reportage that destroyed millions and millions of lives and properties in Rwanda. Therefore, as they prepare to destroy our country through their profession, we are prepare to present the true to many Liberians all over our country.

  22. Mr. Flomoyan,
    Your writing is informative. Especially, for most Liberians who were not born in Monrovia before the Liberian Civil War and those who migrated to the city and were not given the opportunity to earn genuine high school education but, sadly, said people are now in positions of power.

    You intentionally chose to not tell your readers that the first appointment that Msgt. Samuel Kanyon Doe made in the PRC government included the following “Progressive” party people.
    1) Amos C. Sawyer
    2) Gabriel B. Mattews
    3) Togba-Nah Tipoteh, etc.

    Interestingly, these individuals were senior advisors to the PRC regime when the decision was made to execute the 13 former government ministers of the TWP.

    Given this piece of critical information, who would you say advised SKD to kill those 13 people?

    We need to forget about this ‘darn’ Native vs. Americo-Liberian myth and prosecute the perpetrators of evil in our Liberian society. Until we do this, we will not move forward as a people with one common goal.

  23. Let me start by saying that I wasn’t in Liberia on April 12, 1980 and got appointed NSA Director on September 20, 1980. But by a previous invitation of President Tolbert had visited twice in 1978 and 1979 when interviews for a position took place at various National Security institutions, including the office of Hon Counselor Oliver Bright – late Minister of Justice – from where the first Joint Security Coordinator after the coup, retired Colonel Younge, saw data about me. Coincidentally, both of us had attended the same Police Academy in London, UK at different times. This suggests I don’t know about events leading to the coup better than Mr. James Fromayan, a participant of the rice protests and am not going to pretend either, especially so, in a conversation of national security importance.

    Notwithstanding, though I agree the “Open Letter” is a rightful response to a recent virulent strain of mostly unverified opinions and half-truths (unbelievably, bully pulpit rant), which have infected our media environment, it isn’t a resounding rebuttal of the repeated accusations against Progressives for the coup and by implication Civil War. And the danger was that this enduring wrong perception shielded the real culprits who were therefore encouraged nine years later to destabilize the country through an invasion by Liberians. And if what had happened elsewhere is a prologue, unless they’re named and shamed, our country would be game for yet another covert aggression onslaught; this time, probably, via a media-driven uprising or assassination. We don’t wish for any, at the same time the thought should not be taboo.

    For instance, Mr James Fromayan linked rice riot to military intervention – soldier assaulting a policeman – and said that AFL “has always been under the training and mentorship of the United States Army, and that its influence was used to usher in violent regime change in the country”. But he left readers guessing about identity or nationality of the “assassins” Minister of National Security Hon Wilfred Clark reportedly confessed to have directed through the maze-like Executive Mansion. It urges the question, were these “assassins” different from the seventeen non-commission officers that took credit for President Tolbert’s murder, thus, the coup? The unstated fact underpins everything; motive for Costa’s misinformed and malicious attack on Progressives and the main purpose of this otherwise well-written “Open Letter”.

    Granted that the author wants to be cautious about making accusations without proof, a Costa trap, the surprise of younger commenters, some of whom live in Liberia and ought to be vigilant about public safety, demands that they know of past activities of our American partners vis-a-vis the 1980 Coup and 1989 Invasion. The CIA deals with probabilitities – circumstantial evidence – and process them into timely actionable intelligence. Whereas, the FBI would look for direct evidence of facts for prosecutorial reasons. That is why though the latter’s agents knew that few 9/11 hijackers were in US flight schools learning only how to take off, not land planes, it didn’t ring a bell. If the CIA had that information, they would’ve prevented 9/11. Thank you, Mr. James Fromayan, let’s remember: “To be forewarned, is to be forearmed”!

    • NSA director under murderous Doe! Your hands are bloody! May God bless your soul my brother you worked for a murderer who continued to kill after the hanged 13. What about quionkpa etc! YOU DIE AND GO TO HELL SYLVESTER MOSES MY DAD HATED YOU UNTIL HIS DEATH

  24. We may all agree that there were injustices that were nurtured and meted out by the TWP government; those same vices, however, exist today and have mutated in worse forms than they were prior to the 1980 coup. What have the progressives done about them since their co-conspiratorial ascendency to power with the military in 1980? History tells us that when the struggle for political power finally receded following the 1980 coup, the progressive’s movement became latent and considered their fight for social justice–mission accomplished.
    They became doers of the things they once advocated against. The progressives advised the military as to whom to place on the poles for execution. The military had very knowledge about who to line up for execution. Why they did spare Jackson Fiah Doe? The lingering question is: “Where are the progressives now amid all these societal ills the country is reckoning with?

    • AND Boima Fahnbulleh is the main valian and culprit. After twelve years of advising Ellen with his machiavellian advises, he wants to tell the Liberian people that he is a patriot; when the fact is that he is worst than a thief – an ingrate at that.

  25. Please enough of the country and Congo nonsense. Liberia was and still a shiteholes country. A country that has been around since 1847 never build even a library 📚. As for those who are proud of slavery, I say kodos to you. And to the writer and mr Costa, enough is enough. Liberia 🇱🇷 is about to perish. Let’s come together and build our country. Stop 🛑 the argument!

  26. Mr. James Formayan, you just keep quiet because your incompetency makes Liberia almost when to civil war. You claimed to have fought for injustice and you have the opportunity when you saved as Election commission to be crackerjack or virtuoso to correct some of the ills that you profess in your purport but because your ineptitude, and been so exiguous in your judgment make you not to any moral character or
    lily–white to say anything about Liberia politics.

  27. Hahahaha, this is so laughable. Those victims of historical fallacies on this platform claim to be voicing out support for Henry Costa’s mercenary journalism need to make a properly historical research. William Tolbert was the one that was giving scholarships to the progressives and promised them multi-party democracy. Apparently, our dearest president, at the time vice president was weary of the longevity of Tubman authoritarian rule so he was mostly closed to the progressives. Sadly Tubman passed and Tolbert took office and then the progressives were happy because the leader that promised multi-party democracy was now in control of state power. He was given a long time to address the issue of multi-party democracy, hence the progressive grew wary of waiting and started to be very vocal in the call for multi-party democracy and thereby challenged many government policies.

    When speaking of the progressives, this Congo vs Country can not be of real substance in the leadership configuration of the progressives whose most vocal leaders were of the Congo persuasion. Dr. Togba Nah Tigboteh’s name was Rudolph Robert and his father served once as disbursing officer at the Ministry of Finance, owning numerous properties up central Monrovia. Cllr. Chea Cheapo was once called Joseph F. Chesson Jr. Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh’s mother was Nettie Sie Brownell. The progressives were honestly purporting a justifiable cry for change which Tolbert should have considered. Tolbert started the non-align movement at the height of the Cold War where the West (US) and East (USSR) were vigorously seeking allies. The movement did not go down well with the Colonial Masters of Liberia’s elite, therefore they took advantage of the internal political upheaval and deceitfully overthrew Tolbert and put in place a very ruthless ignorant group of soldiers thus making it very difficult for the progressives to achieve their objectives when called to leadership. However I also do blame the progressives at some point because it was the division among themselves that created the confidence crisis with the military that decided to fully take the reins of leadership, refused to return to the barracks, and launched one of the most tyrannical leadership in the history of the county. Both the Tolbert regime and the progressive are to be blamed for the current state of affairs in the nation today.

  28. Other members of the progressives included Emmanuel Shaw, Emmanuel Bowier, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Amos C. Sawyer, Florence Chenoweth, Jackson F. Doe, Gabriel Baccus Matthews, etc.

    Judging the advocacies of the progressive on the precept of job seeking would be very preposterous because these folks were highly educated and already in positions of trust and were destined for heights in the Tolbert Government.

    The veracity of the historical issue that created the friction is that the divide between the “haves” and “have not” was too vast and needed immediate resolution but the Tolbert government was too slow in the methodological approach to alleviating the problem.

  29. Reading thru Fromoyan’s ‘Open Letter to Henry Costa’, my attention has been drawn to the portion of ‘hard facts’ given by Security Minister Wilfred Clark on ‘Oath’ before the TRC that he was in contact with the plotters directing them by VHF handset (walkie-talkie) to the Executive Mansion. By implication, he (Clark), was part of the plotters; if so:
    1. Why then was he detained?
    2. Why it took almost 4 years BEFORE he
    was appointed Police Director (first PRC position)?
    I have not read the entire TRC Report but this assertion by Fromoyan I find too incredible. I worked with Wilfred Clark for nearly 6 years in the SSS and knows him very well.

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