Oxymoron of President Weah’s Construct of Opulence


Grossly Underdeveloped Rivercess County Killed Cow and Eating Dry Rice

By Mwalimu-Koh M. Blonkanjay Jackson, Author, Scholar, Development Specialist

Thinking Thoughts

In my “Thinking Thoughts” I pondered the expected gains of President Weah’s trips to several Southeastern and Western Counties. It was amazing how citizens gleefully received their son and President, as they showed off their achievements and opulence. Albeit, considering the President’s recent assertions regarding opulence as it relates to Ex-President Sirleaf and Ex-House Speaker Alex Tyler both of Bomi county, several petrifying thoughts unleashed spasm within my human agency. I asked myself, “Were the President to take a trip to Rivercess County, would the citizens be gleeful and proud to show off the application of their opulence or would they bow in shame and disgrace for their inability to explain the grossly devastating state of affairs in their County?”

Construct of Opulence

Of late, the construct of “opulence” has been construed and perceived in diverse fashions and manners. A prevalent situation was the extremely frank exchanges between former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President George Weah regarding application of opulence. The exchanges were like an amateur boxing match.

President Weah, having ceremoniously lit the “old Christmas tree” at the Liberian Executive Mansion in 2020 with a well-attended elaborate program and cantata, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came swinging with assertions that the opulence that bridled the occasion should have been otherwise applied to the welfare of the suffering masses of the country.

In blocking and swinging back, President Weah enumerated several actions of the erstwhile Unity Party Government which during its reign, indicated it was not in fact mindful of “opulence” and hence may have truly squandered glorious opportunities. President Weah furthered that the UP Government did not show that it understood the true meaning of opulence. Madam Sirleaf, then pulled off her gloves and hopefully we perceived the two were now in sync again and out of the ring.

Unfortunately, during his trip to Bomi, President Weah put on his gloves again, resurrected the opulence debate, and generated several questions. How can Bomi County continue to be underdeveloped when she was blessed with a sitting President for 12 unbroken years, and a Speaker of the House? With such an incredible endowment by possessing two highly profiled son and daughter, how come Bomi did not have electricity all along until President Weah arrived? Could the two not have applied “opulence” to light up their dark and dead Tubmanburg? 

Fellow citizens, simply in passing and not being didactic, the term opulence implies several constructs. It could imply wealth or affluence; lavishness or magnificence; sumptuousness or abundance; fortune, prosperity or riches. The user usually applies it to suit a specific situation. In my case as a true son of Rivercess for example, I have chosen to apply it to Rivercess County without equivocation as wealth or riches.

Oxymoron of the Opulent Rivercess

As a bona fide son of Rivercess who is conversant with the history and culture of the county, were I to stand on Broad Street with a megaphone and declared “Rivercess is opulent or rich”, I would be the laughing stock of the day. Some people would even select to throw debris and bottles at me for trying to deceive them.

The question would be, “How can Rivercess be opulent or wealthy when it is the least developed county in Liberia?” “How can a county with an all season bad road condition, an old broken capital city that looks like a village with a single dilapidated Cestos High School struggling for qualified teachers be opulent?”, “How can a county with a bunch of poverty stricken citizens and challenged local government officials be opulent?”,  “How can a city without a reasonable presence of police and military with a depraved Sand Beach Community where illegal mining, profuse drugs and substance use, bigotry, prostitution, lawlessness and mayhem persist without attention from a lame duck Superintendent who is hardly mobile, be opulent?” The situation about Rivercess County being opulent is therefore a complete oxymoron.

In layman’s terms, oxymoron implies the direct opposite of something that is actually not that something. Lexically, an oxymoron is a rhetorical device that uses an ostensible self-contradiction to illustrate a rhetorical point or to reveal a paradox. Devices such as bittersweet, girl boy, silent noise, dark light, stupid cleverness, educated fool, rich poor, and underdeveloped opulent Rivercess are all oxymoronic.

Opulence of Rivercess

You see, having made my declaration on Broad Street and gotten stoned and derided, I would lick my wounds and take time off to explain why I declared Rivercess “opulent” although it is grossly and shamefully underdeveloped.

Natural Resources in Rivercess

Firstly, Rivercess is endowed with vast natural resources. Gold is currently allegedly being mined excessively by illegal Ghanaian and Chinese immigrants who are using dredges, and unprofessionally exploiting and contaminating the biodiversity. As a young man growing up in Rivercess, I witnessed my kinsmen collect huge quantities of gold nuggets from the bare surface of the earth each time it rained. They did not dig any holes but simply scooped the coveted mineral as mother earth had released to them.

In addition to gold, Rivercess is blessed with forest and other resources. During the reign of President Charles Taylor, the Oriental Timber Corporation (OTC) exploited incredible quantity of logs and timber from the untapped forests and jungles of Rivercess County. Foreign fishing boats encroached upon the waters of Rivercess without fear, and drew huge catches of sanctioned species and fingerlings. Over the last decade, there has been a prospect that Rivercess contains one of the Oil Blocks along the Atlantic Ocean Coast of Liberia. This prospect eventually generated issues over the notoriety of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s son, Robert Sirleaf rendered crippled, maimed and now staggering.

Manpower Capacity of Mother Rivercess

In spite of being the least developed county in Liberia and maybe West Africa, Mother Rivercess is blessed with a huge number of highly educated so-called sons and daughters who are also opulent, affluent, wielding power, and have incredible contacts on the national and international scenes. Unfortunately, those sons and daughters have chosen to construe opulence by the definitions of Madam Sirleaf and Hon. Tyler, as asserted by President Weah.

For example, one of the top brasses of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) hails from Rivercess. Rivercess produced the Full Bright Professor Thomas Mahnwlee Duoe whose highly erudite nephew Darlington Duoe is also from Rivercess. Underdeveloped Rivercess gave birth to a Harvard scholar in person of Commercial Court Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, the former UN Representative Lewis Browne, and the successful Finance Expert Emmett Kaye. The renown National Olympics Committee top brass and the affluent successful CEMESP CEO Malcolm Wleemongar Joseph and his brother, the high profiled adroit international CPA Theophilus Dekonty Joseph are all from the lifeless dead Rivercess. World Food Program (WFP) international top brass Arthur Sawmada Jr., Judge Alexander Zoe, Counselor Paul Jarvan and CDC supporter and tough talking US trained Attorney Garmondeh Clintion are all from the dark and gloomy Rivercess. The owner of Corina Hotel Sam Mitchell, the Chairman of the CDC Coordinating Committee and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Togar G. MccIntosh, and the London School of Economics trained audacious tough talking renown Economist Samuel P. Jackson are all from the economically crippled Rivercess. Former Education Minister Othello Gongar and the Chairman of the Board of Commission of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) Hon. Ivan Gartor Gontee Brown are sons of the shameful Rivercess. The Director General of the National Port Authority Hon Bill Twehway, alias Gbekugbeh Jr. who is the President’s right hand man, the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs of the University of Liberia Pappie Garswa Jackson, Dr. Trokon G. Richards (MD), ECOBANK top brass Ambassador Dr. Trokon Jackson, and Communication Expert Trokon Tarr are all from the dusty virtually dead and kwashiorkor affected Rivercess County. Of course, National Elections Commission’s (NEC) Teplah Reeves and the proven journalist and statesman and diplomat Gabriel Isaac Herring Williams are from the woeful Rivercess. I understood President George Manneh Weah’s own biological mother hailed from Rivercess. Please, my name!

Now my people, with such a coveted profile of sons and daughters, isn’t it agreeable that Rivercess is opulent? If the answer is yes, then it is a complete oxymoron just as we would say in Liberian cycles, “Rivercess killed cow and eating dry rice” Yes, opulence in Rivercess terms is an oxymoron for it depicts, “rich people’s poor county” A Rivercess country with so-many rich and educated citizens that stands in dire need of development is a complete paradox and oxymoron.

The Benediction

Albeit, as President Weah continues his nationwide tour with his sparring boxing gloves on, it should never be misconstrued that many more perceptions if not assertions, regarding opulence would surface. Those might not be directly from the President himself but would rather simmer in the minds of officials and prominent people of those counties.

As a tradition, immediately officials learned a President were going to their counties, they would move ahead quickly to portray false pictures that all was well. Although those pranks have always been acts of hypocrisy and attempts to deceive the visiting President, they usually paid off.

Now, suppose President Weah went to Rivercess next week, what would he see there to impress his team or to count as gains? Wouldn’t it be a shame and disgrace to present to the President the list of huge number of educated and rich people who hail from Rivercess yet their county is the least developed and worst county of Liberia to live in?


Fellow Liberians, as we anticipate the Easter Season, let me leave the Rivercess people with one of the words of the cross that the Master Jesus uttered when he was being crucified, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” In my own words, “Mother Rivercess, forgive your opulent sons and daughters for they definitely know not what they do” To President Weah I say, “Do not throw jibes and gibes at Rivercess people regarding opulence as you did in Bomi, please forgive them, for that highly educated and influential bunch is in a state of oxymoron and hence do not know what they do.”

From where I sit, for my part, when President Weah enters Rivercess, Jesus should please keep me near the cross. Join me now Rivercess people, in singing two stanzas of Fanny Crosby’s (1889) hymn so that Jesus can also keep you near His cross because President Weah still has on his gloves. Note the second stanza keenly and take cue.

  1. Jesus, keep me near the cross,
    There a precious fountain—
    Free to all, a healing stream—
    Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
    • Refrain:
      In the cross, in the cross,
      Be my glory ever;
      Till my raptured soul shall find
      Rest beyond the river.
  2. Near the cross, a trembling soul,
    Love and Mercy found me;
    There the bright and morning star
    Sheds its beams around me.

Simply Thinking Thoughts

About the author:

The Rivercess man, CEO and founder of the Diversified Educators Empowerment Project (DEEP), Mwalimu-koh M. Blonkanjay Jackson holds a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Master of Science in Mathematics Education from St. Joseph’s University; he is a Yale University Teachers Initiative Math Fellow, and UPENN Teacher Institute Physics Fellow. He is part-time lecturer at the UL Graduate School of Education. Mr. Jackson served the government of Liberia diligently for four years and returned to private practice as Development Specialist and Education Engineer. The Mwalimu-koh can be reached at 0886 681 315 / 0770 206 645.


  1. Sir, I like your “Thinking Thoughts”!

    As you have passionately described your county Rivercess, know that there is no county in Liberia without immense natural resources endowment. Every county in Liberia alone can feed all the 5 million people of Liberia, provided we harnessed our resources appropriately.
    Also, know that every county of Liberia has brilliant and outstanding daughters and sons lingering or loitering out there in the diaspora while the country remains void of quality human resources.

    During the Biafra war, many Nigerians fled from their country. During the turmoil times in Ghana, many of its citizens left the country in pursuit of better living conditions. During the genocide in Rwanda, everyone went helter-skelter in search of a haven either in neighboring countries or abroad.

    Take a closer look at the countries I have enumerated above. They have embarked on harmonize development in every sector and are making Africa proud. How did they get there? They understood their foolishness, came together as one people with a common destiny to use their resources for the benefit of their citizenry.
    Seeing the positive development back home, some who left due to the war and had worked to substantially economized, came back home with their money and expertise to help shape the positive destiny of their respective countries. Such initiative can always be spearheaded by the postwar transformative leadership.

    Is Liberia different from those countries? NO, Sir! There are rich Liberians out there willing to come back home to invest. There are qualified Liberians out there willing to come back home to add their quota to a new and transformative Liberia. Have we had a leadership to undertake the initiative of luring or coercing them back home?
    The Ellen government embarked on such venture but could not meet unanimity with many Liberians. She was however able to bring some back home. Sadly, we have the currently rulership, lacking in intelligentsia and competitiveness, that would rather drive out the few people who were lured or coerced into coming back home. Can those who were skeptical of coming back home be blamed in anyway for the ruins and underdevelopment of Liberia?

    This too, should form part of your “Thinking Thoughts”!

  2. Good analyses similar to: “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

    Liberia’s problems of economic mismanagement, ethnic divisiveness, corruption, and poor leadership are not unique to the massive problems facing the continent of Africa. Why is it that Africa, which is endowed with all the natural resources in the world, still lacks far behind other continents in terms of good governance and economic development?

    Paradoxically, Liberia with all its educated sons and daughters at home and abroad seems to relish in a state of perpetual economic failure, poor leadership and gross mismanagement of its natural and human resources unlike African countries that went through similar fate or economic hardship as Liberia but are now moving up the economic ladder in Africa as Mr. Dolo well stated.

    If such schism (divide) among the various groups of Liberians continues to widen, then, the brain-drain and economic paralysis of Liberia will continue unabated: unless Liberians at home wholeheartedly work collaboratively with Liberians in the diaspora for the economic reconstruction of Liberia: irrespective one’s ethnic, religious, or political affiliation.

    If other African countries can fully benefit from their citizens who are living at home and abroad, yes, Liberia can also do the same. Yes indeed! Not only Rivercess County is “killing
    cow and eating dry rice.” All Liberians are “killing cow and eating dry rice.”

    Liberians are sitting on valuable resources but Liberia is also considered one of the poorest nation in the world. What a shame!


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