Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gbarpolu County, A Possible Way Forward?

The recent electoral shuffle in Gbarpolu County is one of the latest changes in the history of the newly created County. Gbarpolu County was created under the leadership of former Liberian President “Charles Taylor” in 2001. Gbarpolu County Capital “Bopolu” was the historic headquarter of the Condo Kingdom which led to the establishment of Liberia as a nation state. The Qua speaking are the dominant ethnic group in the County. Gbarpolu was formerly a very important part of Lofa County. Known for it dense forest and wildlife collection, Gbarpolu County is also economically known for it logging, mining, and agricultural contributions to Liberia.

On December 18, 2007, voters (even though less than fifty percent of register voters) queued up to cast their final ballot in the county’s run-off elections. In that final, Independent candidate A. Kanie Wesso suffered an embarrassing 29.5% defeat. His challenger “Unity Party’s” Theodore Momo won with a hurricane force of 70.5%. Momo comfortably led from day one of the entire process. Momo’s potential force was detected when he pocket more than nine of the twelve votes at the Unity Party Primary in Bopolu. During the first round of the bi-election which took place on December 4, 2007, in the crowded electoral field of nine candidates, Unity Party ‘Theodore Momo’ obtained more than 39% of the total valid votes cast. The rest of the votes were shared among the rest of the eight candidates. Theodore Momo’s rival A. Kanie Wesso “according to the NEC” obtained 17.8% of the votes left behind by Theodore thus pushing him in the second place position to wrestle Unity Party young giant Theodore Momo in the run-off. Although Independent Kanie Wesso nudged high among his remaining eight colleagues into the first round of the elections that was over crowded with nine senatorial candidates, the story changed on December 18th when Unity party “Theodore Momo” came back with a determine and well strategized smack down in which independent “Kanie Wesso” suffered a huge casualty.

The electoral race in Gbarpolu was a titanic struggle between Unity Party Theodore Momo and independent candidate A. Kanie Wesso. The by-election was an important millstone in the current development and political crisis in the newly created county. Unity Party ‘Theodore Momo’s emergence as a senior senator of Gbarpolu County starts the disintegration of Armah Jallah, Jallah Lone and former Lofa County senator Eddington Varmah’s political influence and clout, and the emergence of alternative leadership in Gbarpolu County. In a recent telephone interview with cross section of Gbarpolu County Citizens in the Diaspora, Theodore Momo’s election has drawn a close attention to the County’s development agenda. According to one of the Gbarpolu Citizens interviewed in the Diaspora, “the people of Gbarpolu deserve more than what has been offered (if any) in the past”. He went on to further explain; we have had too much from the old or recycle Politicians in our area, even when we were still under Lofa County. When we were part of Lofa County, we had Willie Belleh as a Senator. Willie Belleh was one of the voices of those days. All he did was to second all motions in the house at the time. In 1997, Cllr. Eddington Varmah was elected the first Senator of Gbarpolu County, a year later, he willingly packed and walk out of his elected position to take an appointed position offered him by Charles Taylor. Those are just few of the disappointments we’ve had over the decades. I think our elders and other residents of Gbarpolu are just tired of political rhetoric.

Another person (who also preferred to remain unidentified), referred to the recent electoral Smack down as “a new alternative for development”, he described Theodore’s emergence as very timely and maybe wise since in fact Theodore Momo is a brand new name among the many questioned ones in the County. He said, most talents are discovered through delegation of responsibility and authority. He further explained; over the decades now, we have not had the chance to exercise this level of Democracy that we are exercising now. “None of us from the Belle District would ever imagine someone from the “minority” Gbandi speaking area to be elected to such high position in our County, but it has come to reality. I think it is for a very important reason”.

During “District #3” Representative Dickson T. Yarsiah’s last visit to the U.S., this author had an exclusive interview with Hon. Yarsiah. During that interview, Hon. Yarsiah was asked:
Q. What are your legislative caucus’ major development pillars for Gbarpolu County?

Dickson T. Yarsiah: Immediately after our induction into offices, we wrote a five years development package covering four major key focuses, those focuses are: one, road network, two, health, three, education and four, agriculture. We decided to do these as priority because of the fourteen years of destructions our country experienced. As you know, all of our social institutions were destroyed. Roads were locked, right now; most places are not still accessible. This is why we decided to make road network our priority. Next is health, and that’s followed by education, and as we said, four is agriculture so as to make them self sufficient.

Q. According to your county development agenda, the first priority is placed on the rehabilitation of road networks. To date, Bokomu and Ngue-nwolala districts are still land-lacked and completely inaccessible to NGOs and other humanitarian institutions that may want to deliver basic social services to residents of the two Districts, what percentage of your priority has been achieved after nearly two years in office?
Dickson T Yarsiah: Well as you know Sam, a nation on this fate with a little over three hundred and some years when the war came for almost fifteen years and destroy all those institutions, we cannot just build them over night. When it comes to the roads leading from Bopolu to Gue-Ngwolala and Bokomu districts, that includes also Belle District, really Gue-Ngwolala and Bokomu Districts have been land-locked since the existing of our country. Belle District had some kind of path roads where some past so-called investors used to only harvest their logs and bring them forth. So, Sam, to be candid with you, this government has done all she could. What we decided to do first was to ensure that we prepare a development agenda or package. Well, now that we’ve prepared the development package, as we speak, we’ve started rehabilitating the roads from Tubmanburg “Bomi County” to Gbarpolu County capitol “Bopolu”. And from there we are going to continue the road rehabilitations as promised by this government. We will also ensure that the road is build between Belle Yalla. That will also touch portion of Bokomu district. We will later be connecting Gbarpolu County to Bong County by way of the St. Paul River to palakolleh. We just got a company that has agreed in principal to build the bridge over the St. Paul River. That company will also be extending the bridge construction to the Tuma River in Bokomu. So, this government has just started the implementations of those promises made to our people during the campaign. But the first two years or the first twenty months were designed to prepare ourselves to commence your work. You know you can’t just get up to build roads without studies because it is capital intensive and there are lots of studies you need to do. You first of all need to survey, you need to do assessment, blue print, before you can commence and this is exactly what we are doing.

The above analysis by Representative Dickson T Yarsiah seems to be a new direction for Gbarpolu County. Many believed that with the hard working and clean record of Theodore Momo on board the development drive, Gbarpolu might be heading to a positive direction. Theodore Momo’s election also coincided with the formation of Gbarpolu County Association in the Diaspora. The formation of this Association “on the County level” is the first of it kind in the County’s history. The Interim leadership of the Association has been arranged. Those selected at the meeting were: Sam K Zinnah, Interim Chairman, Cllr. Alvin Teage Jalloh, Interim Secretary, Dwanah S. Dwanah, Interim Treasure, Dempster Khuta Yallah, Interim head of the constitution committee. With the work of the Gbarpolu County legislative caucus and other appointed County officials backed by the Diaspora development oriented force, Gbarpolu is likely to graduate from the current development sink to emerge as one of the fastest growing Counties. The possible way forward is our center of attention for now and in the future.

Sam K Zinnah
Smyrna, Delaware

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Sure Way To Restore Liberia's Image

By: T. Q. Harris, Jr.

Ironically, the most compelling argument we have heard in favor of AFRICOM has come from one of its strongest opponents.

General Victor Malu, a highly respected Nigerian military officer, does not mince words when he speaks of AFRICOM. There is no mistaking his position regarding this issue. The U.S. Africa Command, in Gen. Malu’s opinion, will not benefit Africa; rather it is intended solely to protect America’s interests.

But here is where the good General unintentionally makes the case for AFRICOM: In a recent interview with a Nigerian newspaper, General Malu said he urged leaders of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) not to dismantle the ECOMOG (Economic Community Monitoring Group) following its successful missions in both Liberia and Sierra Leone. He also proposed standardizing the weapon systems and training the troops together on an ongoing basis. Much had been learned, the General intimated, in resolving the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia. These lessons, he believes, would prove highly beneficial in future peacekeeping and/or peace enforcement operations.

But his advice went unheeded. Hence, today ECOMOG as a unit does not exist.

Failure on the part of political leaders to heed General Malu’s advice only strengthens the argument for AFRICOM or any serious efforts to maintain law and order and prevent unnecessary loss of human lives.

Why would those charged with seeking the welfare of West Africans not listen and act upon the recommendations of the man whose military and diplomatic prowess brought an end to a war which claimed upwards of 200,000 lives and disrupted the economy of the entire sub-region? Should another conflict similar to that of Sierra Leone and Liberia break out today, what plans are there to prevent mass killings of defenseless civilians? Guess where again we would turn for help?

Pride – or should we say fool’s pride - has been the cause of much heartache and pain for the peoples of Africa. It often clouds our judgment, resulting in a lack of progress. Pride in earnest is at the root of the crippling poverty and disease that is devastating Africa’s human capital.

After all the posturing, speeches, hugging, backslapping, and name change, the African Union to date has not offered any real hope. Right from the start, it has failed the first major test. The organization has been totally ineffective in halting the massacre and rescuing those barely clinging to life in Darfur. While the leaders speak of a unified Africa, there is constant unrest and disunity within the individual countries. At this very moment conflicts linger in Chad, D R Congo, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda, to name a few, as HIV/AIDS and malaria claim the lives of tens of thousands of Africans with no end in sight. It’s obvious we need help, but perhaps are too proud to ask. We would rather watch our women and children suffer and die needlessly while blaming others and proffering excuses.

In the case of Liberia, a century of gross mismanagement and the extremely destructive war has thrown this country back into the dark ages. Along with its stature, confidence has been lost. Liberia is now fighting for a place at the back of the line. We have leaders who cannot lead. In order to recover; we - the people - must aggressively pursue every available opportunity and stop pegging our progress to that of nations which themselves are backward. It’s high time we reclaim our rightful place among the nations of Africa and again become the leader that we are.

Democracy is not an event; rather it’s a way of life. Therefore we collectively without hesitation must demand whatever improves our wellbeing. And never as a nation must we lose sight of our strengths and uniqueness.

An awesome opportunity is knocking at this very moment and we cannot afford to lose it. We must wrest it with all the vigor we can muster and claim it now!

Liberia and the U.S. Africa Command are a perfect fit. Therefore the headquarters of AFRICOM must be based in this country. To make this happen we urge all Liberians to immediately call, email, or send a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense and tell him We Want The Headquarters of AFRICOM In Our Country. The final decision regarding a home for these facilities will be made shortly. This is an opportunity for you to help restore this nation’s image while demonstrating that Liberians are ready to turn a new page. Nothing would be more hurtful than to watch another African nation accorded this privilege. Do not delay!

With or without AFRICOM, the resources of Africa – human and material – will continue to flow outward. To ensure there is balance, we must develop an effective strategy. And those in leadership positions must come up with a plan that empowers the individual. Meanwhile, we no longer can continue on the current path of endless talk, criticism, blame, dreaming and finger pointing while the vast majority of our people languish in abject poverty, ignorance and disease.

We are aware that a number of African countries are opposed to AFRICOM. They believe it offers no benefit for Africa. Yet not one of these critics has put forth a viable alternative they are prepared to pay for. However, we believe they mean well. But it is clear they do not have a plan that will transform the impoverished and unstable nations of Africa.

Therefore, we must inundate the offices of the U.S. Secretary of Defense with petitions, so there will be no doubt Liberians support AFRICOM and welcome its Headquarters. If our country is not selected, let it not be because we – the people - did not ask diligently. Although the infrastructure currently are inadequate, there is no doubt Liberia in time will prove to be the best alternative. It has been a dependable ally of the United States with strong historical ties. As stated in its objectives, AFRICOM will work with the African Union to promote stability and rule of law wherever needed; if there is a country that needs this right now, it’s Liberia.

For those uncertain as to whether they should support this campaign, ask yourself this question: Am I willing to forfeit the benefits to be derived by allowing the headquarters of AFRICOM to be based in another African country?

The vast majority of our compatriots, due to circumstances beyond their control, are not in the position to submit petitions. Therefore, if you have family members in this category who share your views regarding this issue, please include them in your petition. Indicate the number of persons you represent in all written and/or oral communications.

Let your voice be heard by calling, emailing, or posting a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense:

Mr. Robert M. Gates Voice Mail: (703) 428-0711
Secretary of Defense
The Department of Defense Email: 1400 Defense Pentagon Click on: Make a Comment…Washington, DC 20310

The Author: Mr. T. Q. Harris, Jr. is currently the General Chairman of Liberia Contemporees United Patriotic and Strong (Contemp UPS: and a former vice presidential nominee. He can be reached by phone in the US at (562) 394-0285 or (979) 599-2295; in Liberia - (231) 652-4295, or email him at

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Yet another defeat

On December 4, 2007, register voters all over Gbarpolu County headed to their various pooling station to elect their senator. According to reports from several stations, turn out was a bit low during the morning hours. One observer attributed the low turn out to “many polling stations” compared to the 2005 elections which had fewer stations. He said; if you compare the number of stations we have now to the number we had during the general elections, you will find a huge difference. So, many of the people that were at these stations during that time are now in their own local areas”.
Another observer said most of the register voters were farmers. The observer said most of them decided to take care of personal business before returning to cast their ballots in the evening.
At about 6:00 PM Liberian time, I called Radio Gbarpolu and spoke to several representatives at the Bopolu Central High School Campus. All the representatives described the process as free, fair and transparent. According to them, ballot counting began immediately after the pool closed. Few hours after the pool closed, preliminary results began to pull in. According to the NEC and other observers, Ruling Unity Party “Theodore Momoh” is in a comfortable lead ahead of eight other candidates. If the Ruling Unity Party “Theodore Momoh” keep grip on his comfortable lead, he will be pushing several other candidates into “yet another defeat”.

Full story coming soon!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The possible consequences of the electoral battle in Gbarpolu County by-election

On December 4th 2007, the Gbarpolu County by-election is scheduled to take place. Voter’s registration is all set and ready for the elections. Gbarpolu County was created under the leadership of former Liberian dictator “Charles Taylor” in 2001. Gbarpolu County Capital “Bopolu” was the historic headquarter of the Condo Kingdom which secured the establishment of Liberia as a nation state. Gbarpolu County has a huge number of Muslim populations. The Qua speaking are the dominant ethnic group in the County. Gbarpolu was formerly a very important part of Lofa County, Gbarpolu is known for it dense forest and wildlife collection. The County is economically known for it logging, mining, and agricultural contributions to Liberia.

In this analysis, I will be looking at various candidates and the possible consequences of the electoral battle of Gbarpolu County. I will also be drawing out an in-depth analysis of electoral forces and their orientations in the county.
The electoral race in Gbarpolu will be a titanic struggle between Unity Party Theodore Momo, Congress for Democratic Change Malikee Dukely, independent Kanie Wesso, National Patriotic Party’s Siafa V.G Konneh, and former Lofa County senator Armah Zulu Jallah. Mr. Jallah also ran as standard bearer of the National Party of Liberia (NPL) in the 2005 presidential elections. His NPL won 0.4% vote in the presidential pull and fail to secure or win any seats in the senate or lower house. This by-election will be an important millstone in the current development and political crisis in the newly created county. If Former Senator Armah Zulu Jallah Wins, he will cement his position as the logging company’s choice. Since the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections, Armah and his National Party of Liberia (NPL) have been very dormant. It was reported in the November 16, 2007 edition of the Liberian daily observer that Armah Jallah is contesting the by-election as an independent candidate. The unanswered questions are; is Armahs’ National Party of Liberia un-acceptable to the people of Gbarpolu? Why would Mr. Jallah abandon the political party “he formed” to run as independent candidate? Is Mr. Jallah the only member of the party?

Many have viewed Armah as a photo copy of his father (Paramount Chief Jallah Lone) who has always been in search of greasing his elbow. During the Notorious Charles Taylor regime, Chief Jallah Lone was seen as one of the bones behind the regime. A year after the 2005 elections that brought the Unity Party to power, Jallah Lone appeared on Star radio to divorce his relationship with Former President Charles Taylor. When asked who crowned Charles Taylor as Dahkpannah, the Paramount Chief overtly announced that Charles Taylor hijacks the Dahkpannah title and now that the former president is indicted and deposited in The Hague, he (Jallon lone) script Taylor of the title and is now the holder of the title.
Meanwhile, if Unity Party Theodore Momo wins, this will start the disintegration of Armah Jallah, Jallah Lone and former Lofa County senator Eddington Varmah’s political influence and clout, and the emergence of alternative leadership in Gbarpolu County. Armah Jallah, Jallon Lone and Eddington Varmah, the three, while differing in personality, share the same beast-men-ship temperament and tyrannical thirst for power.

However, Armah Jallah and Eddington Varmah share additional flow, “a propensity to pocket what belongs to the public”. Their chief political vulnerability is that all three men (Armah Jallah, Jallah Lone & Eddington Varmah) greedily pursue personal fortune, and has no qualms about using their public clouts to pursue wealth for beyond anything which might be called their needs or want. Events recently caught up with former Senator Eddington Varmah who was politically dumped in his home town “Bopolu” during the Unity Party primary. Mr. Varmah was fairly whipped by Theodore Momo.
The steaks are very high and the battle in this by-election has an ominous feel about it. Some analysts are predicting that a compromise maybe reached at the end of the first round. The Armah Jallah group will preferred to hang on a Malikee Dukuly leadership than to hang on a Theodore Momo leadership. Armah Jallah can easily relate to Malikee Dukuly than Theodore Momo or Kanie Wesso. To date, according to reliable sources closed to the National Elections Commission in Liberia, there are 22,502 registered voters in Gbarpolu County. Of the amount, a huge percent is from electoral District #3. That part of Gbarpolu is headed by Representative Dickson Temo Yarsiah. Gbarpolu County Junior Senator Daniel Naatehn is also from District #3. Both Hon. Naatehn and Hon. Yarsiah are driving the “Theodore Momo campaign wagons” in their constituent which is believed to be hosting the majority of the by-election’s registered voters in Gbarpolu County.

Cllr. Kanie Wesso is another candidate from District #3 and is going as Independent candidate. Cllr. Wesso “according to sources from Gbarpolu”, lost terribly during the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections. According to the sources, Cllr. Kanie Wesso won less than twenty votes in Bopolu and Gbarma. Prior to the 2005 elections, people from Cllr. Kanie Weso’s home District (Belle District) complained about his disassociation with his own people. He was described by one colleague as “very self centered”. The colleague cited few examples: “look! We all went to Belle Yalla when President Sirleaf visited the place. On our way back, Cllr. Kanie Wesso drove his car empty while our elders walk days looking for means of transportation to Monrovia. Will this gentleman be a true representative of our people”? On another occasion, some youths from the district went to his (Cllr. Weso’s) office to try to find out his side of the political issues between him “Cllr. Weso” and Hon. Dickson Yarsiah. Kanie again arrogantly drove the youths out of his office and threaten to whip anyone found in his office to talk about such issue”. Keenly analyze those two instances and tell me weather we “from his own district” should queue up for him.

In the U.S., this author has been fortunate to talk to few people from the Belle District residing in the U.S. The responses from some of the people were reverberating. One of his former school mates narrated. “I called Cllr. Kanie Wesso when I had some legal problems that I needed help with in Liberia. I mainly called him because I felt he’s from my District, my former school mate and even a family to me, but surprisingly, he charged me exorbitantly and was “above all” very rude in the process, I believed he’s not the right person for this job”.
Many believed Cllr. Kanie Wesso has been undertaking development projects in the District only because he was badly whipped in the 2005 elections in which he was running as Senator. The 2005 electoral shuffle is one of the latest changes in the history of Liberia. People who considered themselves as “political brand names” were disappointed when the elections results were announced. During those results, three major things happened: People were surprised their names were not in the winning numbers, people were surprised who won & people were surprised why they didn’t win. Liberians are now getting to know the real patriots from the political opportunists.

During the Unity Party primary in Bopolu, Bartu Dorley was one of those whipped by Theo Momo. Batu’s trouble started during the1997 elections. Bartu Dorley, a close relative of Cllr. Varmah, had spent time out of her home County of Gbarpolu and hardly knew anyone in the county. She contacted Cllr Varmah in search of advice and reunion with her origin. Bartu put a package together for her people in Bopolu. She asked Cllr. Varmah to take the token to her people and inform them that it was a gift from their daughter “Bartu”. A perfect case for a chameleon; Cllr.Varmah transformed himself into Bartu Dorley and presented the token in his own name. When Batu appeared in Bopolu to talk to her people, she was considered a complete stranger. Batu is a very hard working lady but she unfortunately used the wrong medium of contact or reunion with her people. What she probably needs to do now is to work independently to prepare her self for the next general parliamentary elections. Her withdrawal from this by-election race was a very smart one.

There is also rumor of withdrawal of Coalition for the transformation of Liberia’s (COTOL’s) Isaac Manner from the race. In a recent Front Page Africa grade board, COTOL scored a “B”, but others referred to the party as “empty place”. COTOL won 7.8% in the presidential race and secured eight seats in the Senate and seven seats in the House of Representatives. Manner’s reason(s) or plans to drop from the race are still not known but if he does, he will be putting Unity Partys’ Theodore Momo, CDCs’ Malikee Dukuly at the top.

Not much is known about Isaac Johnson. Recently during a workshop in Bopolu, Johnson ‘along with other candidates’ was asked by Gbarpolu County development Superintendent “Mr. Monlonporlor” to remove their campaign vehicles that were packed on Government property in Bopolu. Isaac Johnson cried fetid political harassment by the superintendent but observers says Mr. Johnson is not even the fourth potential person in line for the job.

Unity Party Theodore Momo has built an extraordinary reputation for himself and his party over the years. Theo “a graduate of the University of Liberia” is currently the deputy director of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS). Sources closed to the Unity Party hierarchy says Mr. Momo is highly favored by President Sirleaf for his hard work and clean Character. With his campaign team being headed by District #3 representative, Hon. Dickson T. Yarsiah and Gbarpolu County junior Senator Daniel Naatahn “whose also from District #3”, Theodore Momo stands a better chance than all of the candidates in the race.

Congress for Democratic Changes’ Malikee Dukuly is observed by many as “the second potential person in line for the job”. Malikee is from Medina, a Town few miles south of Bopolu City. Malikee Dukuly, Armah Jallah & politically battered ‘Cllr. Eddington Varmah’ are all from the same environs but are politically diverse. In 1998, Cllr. Eddington Varmah unceremoniously walked away from his elected senatorial position to take on a presidential appointment under his political mentor and creator Charles Taylor”. The price he’s eventually paying for his unpopular 1998 political decision is just unimaginable.
Cllr. Varmah’s replacement process started few months after his unceremonious departure from the Senate. In that 1998 primary held in Bopolu, Armah Zulu Jallah was fairly whipped by Gibson Tania but that defeat lasted for few hours. Armah’s father “Paramount Chief Jallah Lone” dispatched a team to Cyril Allen. Allen served as the Party Chairman of the ruling National Patriotic Party at the time. The team was well prepared to kick Gibson Tania out of the race. An identity card was covertly made with Gibson Tania’s photograph, making him “Tania” a member of Alhaji Koroma’s ALCOP. When NPP’s Cyril Allen received report on his desk about Gibson Tania contesting the election under false identity, he “Mr. Tania” was immediately thrown out of the race, putting Armah Jallah in the luxury seat at ease. Jallah Lone’s action was just a repeat of his usual ways. It can be recorded that Jallah Lone was whipped several time in election in Bopolu. In one of those elections, Jallah Lone went against the Late Malikee Siryon. At the time, voters queued behind their choice of candidate and a head count was conducted to determine the winner. Malikee Siryon whipped Jallah Lone several time but Jallah Lone went to Monrovia and returned with Presidential mandate “declaring him the legitimate winner of the election”. Malikee Siryon won several time but was never inaugurated in office.

Armah entered the Upper house but was soon found collecting money from investors that were expressing interest in logging in Gbarpolu County. In mid August of 2003, Charles Taylor was coerced into exile. After his departure, the National Transitional Legislative Assembly ( NTLA) was created as part of an August 2003 Peace Agreement that ended a civil war between the government forces of Charles Taylor and two rebel groups: The Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), and Liberians United for reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). The agreement also called for the broad-based transitional Government that would rule for two years, ending with the holding of elections in October 2005. The NTLA replaced the bicameral Legislature, which was elected in 1997. That agreement automatically took away Armah’s ax.

Since the departure of their creator “former Dahkpannah”, they have been hunted by the stigma of their political mentor “Charles Taylor”. Armah is likely to pay the price for his past actions and connection to the NPP regime.
During the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections, Siafa V.G. Konneh Sr ran on the National Patriotic Party’s (NPP) ticket but was electorally manhandled by his opponents.
In the November 16, 2007 edition of the Daily Observer, reporter J. Rufus Paul reported that the Gbarpolu by-election campaign is in high gear and voters are eyeing three candidates. Looking at the number of voters’ registered in Gbarpolu, Bopolu is not a place to determine who the possible choice of the voters is. Armah Jallah and Malikee Dukuly are all from suburban Bopolu so residents of the area are quite familiar with them. As the old saying goes, “the strength of Tamba is limited to Foya”, so Armah, Malikee, and Siafa need to expand their campaign else where to test their popularity.
Secret ballot election is quite deceitful. Because of politicians tricky games in the past, electorates are all prepared to clap for anyone who offered something in return for votes but the real price will be awarded at the ballot box.
With the crammed full electoral field in Gbarpolu, first round winner is just unavoidable. With this predications and analysis, I anxiously wait for the first round results.

Sam K Zinnah
Smyrna, Delaware

Monday, November 12, 2007

CDC responds to Mulbal Morlu

A Statement Released on the Accusation Made Against the Standard Bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change

Today brings to attention the true nature of a handful of thugs, lots and gangs who lack the moral rectitude and face in the Liberian society. These handfuls of men acting under the sunshade of opinion leaders in the Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) have embarked upon a smear campaign, not only against our Standard Bearer Amb. George M. Weah but also the National Leadership of the CDC.

Mr. McDonald Wento who was thrown out of the CDC for fraud, incitement and rebellion has again embarked upon his inherent criminal trait by using miscreants, mendicants and mediocres like Forum for the Establishment of War Crimes Court Chairman Mulbah K. Morlu to defame the hard earned character of Amb. Weah and the CDC leadership.

The life draft of War Crimes Court Mulbah is beset with disappointment and contradictions. At one point in time Mulbah became an evangelist for a church in the Gardnersville community and was said to have been involved in a sex scandal that led to a pregnancy that he heatedly denied. This embarrassment, pair with his religious defense for former Liberian dictator, Mr. Charles Taylor landed him into trouble with his congregation. He had to seek exile in Ghana. While in Ghana, the Mulbah teamed up with one Pastor Bah on the Buduburum refugee camp and earned the religious title ‘General’. General Morlu who resided in the home of his fiancĂ©e Memunah chose to beg her consideration for him to go into matrimony with a lady he met on the internet. The consideration was granted and General Morlu went ahead to marry Queen Sheba, an American and a victim of the September Eleven bombing in the United States of America.

Waterlogged into desperation and utter poverty, General Morlu in his religious garment envisaged this marriage as a redemptive path for his state of grunginess. The marriage was enchanting, as Buduburum became a center of desirability for General as those who know him from Ghana call him. He used this marriage for the establishment of Queen Sheba Foundation that was intended to help impoverished and war affected Liberians seek greener pasture in the USA. Under this gambit, millions of cedes were extorted from both Liberian refuges and Ghanaians.

This long-winded journey to the USA became an optical illusion and disgruntlement was soon to set in as deluge of calorific outburst engulfed the General and Pastor Bah. For safety of his life, General Morlu kept from the camp and took refuge in Accra. While in Accra, Ghana, General Morlu got in contact with Representative Dusty Wolokollie who encouraged and helped him to be in Liberia today. General Morlu made a commitment to work with Representative Wolokollie and his party, the Liberian People’s Party (LPP).

After collecting few cash from the representative, Mulbah became an out of the ordinary in the hands that fed him.

At this juncture, General Morlu began lobbying with stalwarts of the Liberian Action Party (LAP) to serve in the public relations area. To further buttress this point, Mulbah was live on a talked show hosted on Power FM when a female caller from the offices of Cllr. Varney Sherman acrimoniously referred to him as one who went to LAP in search of becoming part of their public relations bureau and succeeded in getting some funds. General Morlu this time headed an advocacy group named and styled ‘’Progressive Action for Change’’ (PAC) that charged Cllr. Sherman and LAP for pre-campaign activities. Again, Mulbah became a deviant to the hands that fed him. Today PAC is a dead concept due to Mulbah’s incessant piggish attitude and faux pas.

No sooner, General Morlu emerged on the mesmeric grounds of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). As we drove towards convention in the city of Buchanan, internal political tension for the chairmanship of the party got heated up. The interim chairman L. Horatio Gould faced serious opposition from Mr. Jacob Kabakolle. Morlu was again seen at the cynosure of this political debate. On one occasion, he blended Gould as ‘’the devil from hell’’ and in few days he was seen with Gould and this time chanting the slogan ‘’Jake the snake,’’ an epithet given to Mr. Jacob Kabakolle by Mulbah. Both the hands of Gould and Kabakollie fed him but Mulbah care less to retrospect.

At the primaries that qualified applicants to run on the ticket of the CDC in the general and presidential elections, Mulbah received a devastating whip by Montserrado District #8 Representative Dave Koomey. Being frustrated by this genuine whip, Mulbah went on to the party’s convention vowing for the Assistant Secretary General position in the National leadership.

Again, the delegates punished him with their votes.

As the 2005 general and presidential elections got on its way, Mulbah with the expression of pity beg to operate with Madam Cooper who was elected to head the Press Bureau of the CDC. It was at this point General Morlu was instructed to go on series of operations but to the dismay of his co-workers he began a solo operation. The campaign was ended and we went on to protest the result. We took the cadres, women, elders, lawmakers and revolutionaries with us in the match and the strategy was for C. Mike Doryen (Montserrado Chairman), Sidiki Fofana (National Youth League Chairman), some lawmakers, few elders, the women league and others to keep the peaceful protest in the thematic order of non-jungle justice. Amb. Weah kept reminding us of the legal path which was to take our case to the National Election Commission, the commission whose head, Cllr. Francis Johnson Morris was accused of stealing “the cookies from the cookies jar”. There was serious political tension throughout the 38,000 sq miles of the nation-state Liberia, disarmament has just ended, emotions were high, and the pronounced victors of the presidency and her partisans were not celebrating, as celebration is an integral part of election victory.

Many of our partisans kept the pressure on us to reject a Sirleaf Presidency since she also did same to the late Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. Some of our collaborators kept quiet, while others demanded a final statement from Amb. Weah. By this time, we were on our way to the Supreme Court and the Liberians state was experiencing bitter exchanges amongst it inhabitants. Amb. Weah is not only a politician and a former soccer legend but we have all extol him as a peacemaker, the reconciler and the true unifier. With these attributes compatriots James Kollie, Samuel D. Tweah, Mulbah K. Morlu and the rest of the CDCEANS kept the most so-called educated elites in our society running for their money.

Understanding the history of the after effects of presidential elections in our country, coupled with the path of blood bath and extreme devastation, we met as leaders of our party with many of our allies and debated. The forum included Dr. Tipoteh, the late Baccus Matthew, Professor Alhaji G.V. Kromah, and Amb. Weah, the CDC leadership and General Morlu who was privileged to have been taken in by Amb. Weah. The forum was climaxed with a consensus to abandon any further legal or political action. The next day Amb. Weah spoke to the press on our decision to save the Liberian state and move on with our lives. We all applauded him as a true patriot and nationalist but today as hunger and hardship have engulfed militant Mulbah, he has decided to become a bag boy to the misfits and detractors of our noble institution.

It is unfortunate that a piteous boy like general Morlu would become so susceptible and go astray to begin alleging that the Government of Nigeria gave three million United States dollars to the Standard Bearer of the CDC to abandon the court action. If there is one Liberian who has a history of defending Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe and referencing President Sirleaf as a rebel president, the name Mulbah K. Morlu will take superlative over all others.

There are available recordings, newspaper articles and internet reports to show how Mulbah went on the extreme to defend Hon. Snowe. When did General Morlu get to know that Weah traded this position? Is it after he took thugs to the Unity Conference Center to attack the representatives or after he sold Hon. Snowe’s computer and can no more see the honorable man in person.

For the speaker’s election, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe had an absolute numerical advantage as lawmakers from every political institution saw him as the messiah. Even the initial fifteen representatives of CDC could never hold as a bloc. We were found in a catch 22 situation and had to live with this bizarre by taking the two immediate deputies to former House Speaker Snowe.

Two months ago General Morlu insulted Hon. Snowe, the hands that fed him and today he has turned on the one he described as “God Sent” and ”manna” for Manneh, the middle name of Amb. Weah.

Today, the Forum for the Establishment of War Crimes Court exists in theory but it remains a pragmatic dead end. Many Liberians embraced this idea as a stand-in to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee but ironically General Morlu is on record to have signed a joint statement with ex-fighters and seeing in open parade with some ex-AFL soldiers which landed him behind bars twice. To have him released, I had to personally get Amb. Weah involve in demanding his right to trial and asking the up led Government to respect his human rights.

As Mulbah K. Morlu remains in a desperate search for political asylum and being the stooge and creature of his creators like the mediocre Wentor and few invisible hands, we will intellectually resist unprincipled men using the CDC as a vehicle for pre-eminence.

Let our friends in the media be cautious that Mulbah K. Morlu and his cohorts are not executives of the CDC and they lack the moral rectitude and political authority they claim to have. The Congress for Democratic Change will be jealously sheltered by its partisans and the few detractors in our midst who think that they will halt the forward march of this party will be sent into deep hole.

Signed: _________________________
Acarous M. Gray
National Assistant Secretary General, CDC

Sunday, November 11, 2007

If it was in my Village

Value which is defined by the “American heritage school Dictionary” as a principle standard or quality considered worthwhile, plays an essential role in the rural African communities. Each of the complicated societies in the African world has its basic value and numerous ways, tribally distinctive, just as more than 800 African languages and cultures. We should also emphasize that traditionally, Africans tend to view human natural as neither inherently good nor evil. According to most Africans (like the people of my village), human nature is simply neutral. Although a good man in tribal Africa is the one who fulfills all his obligations to his kinship circle, human beings nonetheless are fallible and capable of error. To most Africans, the human nature is relatively crumbled or strong. However, it can become weaker or stronger. The most essential part of a man’s judgment in relationships to his being good or evil, generous or selfish, depends mainly on the social outcomes of his actions.
For many years, I witnessed lots of people die from Diseases that could be prevented, cured or simply treated if only there were train medical personnels to handle the issues. On more than five different occasions, I saw people die from a disease that recently appeared in my khakis. I began recollecting memories of past instances where I experienced severe pain in my abdominal. In my Village, when I was much younger and smaller, it was treated with some leaves and salty hot water. After escaping into refuge “in Ghana”, I began reading about different diseases. None of my readings was directed to Appendix. Deep in my khaki pants, near my penis, there was a hidden or extended intestine already developed and waiting to rapture.
Fortunately for me, my appendix relaxed quietly while I was hustling in refuge to meet the expense of my survival and education. Quality health care and Medical insurance was something that never cross my and that of thousands of refugees minds.
On October 9, 2007 at about 7:55 pm, I was rushed to the bayhealth medical center in Dover, Delaware where I was admitted. Few tests were administered to me whilst other procedures were arranged. One of those procedures was the CT scan.
CT scan is a computerized axial tomography scan more commonly known by its abbreviated name, CT scan or CAT scan. It is an x-ray procedure which combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body. A CT scan is used to define normal and abnormal structures in the body and/or assist in procedures by helping to accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments. A large donut-shaped x-ray machine takes x-ray images at many different angles around the body. These images are processed by a computer to produce cross-sectional pictures of the body. In each of these pictures the body is seen as an x-ray "slice" of the body, which is recorded on a film. This recorded image is called a tomogram. "Computerized Axial Tomography" refers to the recorded tomogram "sections" at different levels of the body.
When these levels are further "added" together, a three-dimensional picture of an organ or abnormal body structure can be obtained.
Few hours after the CT scan, the Medical Doctor ‘on duty’ slowly walked into my room and closed my door. He announced to me that “I had appendicitis”. He quickly noticed the change in my facial expression. As a professional, he pulsed for few seconds to observe my reaction. Minutes later, he asked me weather I’ve ever had surgery before? I responded by saying no? He said “well, you are about to have one done here in few hours”. Where in my Village would I ever have such an opportunity?

What is appendicitis?

Appendix is a closed-ended, narrow tube up to several inches in length that attaches to the cecum (the first part of the colon) like a worm. (The anatomical name for the appendix, vermiform appendix, means worm-like appendage.) The inner lining of the appendix produces a small amount of mucus that flows through the open center of the appendix and into the cecum. The wall of the appendix contains lymphatic tissue that is part of the immune system for making antibodies. Like the rest of the colon, the wall of the appendix also contains a layer of muscle, but the muscle is poorly developed.

Digestion takes place almost continuously in a watery, slushy environment. The large intestine absorbs water from its inner contents and stores the rest until it is convenient to dispose of it. Attached to the first portion of the large intestine is a troublesome pouch called the (veriform) appendix. The appendix has no function in modern humans, however it is believed to have been part of the digestive system in our primitive ancestors.
Appendicitis means inflammation of the appendix. It is thought that appendicitis begins when the opening from the appendix into the cecum becomes blocked. The blockage may be due to a build-up of thick mucus within the appendix or to stool that enters the appendix from the cecum. The mucus or stool hardens, becomes rock-like, and blocks the opening. This rock is called a fecalith (literally, a rock of stool). At other times, the lymphatic tissue in the appendix may swell and block the appendix. After the blockage occurs, bacteria which normally are found within the appendix begin to invade (infect) the wall of the appendix. The body responds to the invasion by mounting an attack on the bacteria, an attack called inflammation. An alternative theory for the cause of appendicitis is an initial rupture of the appendix followed by spread of bacteria outside the appendix.. The cause of such a rupture is unclear, but it may relate to changes that occur in the lymphatic tissue, for example, inflammation, that line the wall of the appendix.)
If the inflammation and infection spread through the wall of the appendix, the appendix can rupture. After rupture, infection can spread throughout the abdomen; however, it usually is confined to a small area surrounding the appendix (forming a peri-appendiceal abscess).
Sometimes, the body is successful in containing ("healing") the appendicitis without surgical treatment if the infection and accompanying inflammation do not spread throughout the abdomen. The inflammation, pain and symptoms may disappear. This is particularly true in elderly patients and when antibiotics are used. The patients then may come to the doctor long after the episode of appendicitis with a lump or a mass in the right lower abdomen that is due to the scarring that occurs during healing. This lump might raise the suspicion of cancer.
How is appendicitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of appendicitis begins with a thorough history and physical examination. Patients often have an elevated temperature, and there usually will be moderate to severe tenderness in the right lower abdomen when the doctor pushes there. If inflammation has spread to the peritoneum, there is frequently rebound tenderness. Rebound tenderness is pain that is worse when the doctor quickly releases his hand after gently pressing on the abdomen over the area of tenderness.

Symptoms of appendicitis

The main symptom of appendicitis is abdominal pain. The pain is at first diffuse and poorly localized, that is, not confined to one spot. (Poorly localized pain is typical whenever a problem is confined to the small intestine or colon, including the appendix.) The pain is so difficult to pinpoint that when asked to point to the area of the pain, most people indicate the location of the pain with a circular motion of their hand around the central part of their abdomen. A second, common, early symptom of appendicitis is loss of appetite which may progress to nausea and even vomiting. Nausea and vomiting also may occur later due to intestinal obstruction.
As appendiceal inflammation increases, it extends through the appendix to its outer covering and then to the lining of the abdomen, a thin membrane called the peritoneum. Once the peritoneum becomes inflamed, the pain changes and then can be localized clearly to one small area. Generally, this area is between the front of the right hip bone and the belly button. The exact point is named after Dr. Charles McBurney--McBurney's point. If the appendix ruptures and infection spreads throughout the abdomen, the pain becomes diffuse again as the entire lining of the abdomen becomes inflamed.

Complications of appendicitis

The most frequent complication of appendicitis is perforation. Perforation of the appendix can lead to a periappendiceal abscess (a collection of infected pus) or diffuse peritonitis (infection of the entire lining of the abdomen and the pelvis). The major reason for appendiceal perforation is delay in diagnosis and treatment. In general, the longer the delay between diagnosis and surgery, the more likely is perforation. The risk of perforation 36 hours after the onset of symptoms is at least 15%. Therefore, once appendicitis is diagnosed, surgery should be done without unnecessary delay.
A less common complication of appendicitis is blockage of the intestine. Blockage occurs when the inflammation surrounding the appendix causes the intestinal muscle to stop working, and this prevents the intestinal contents from passing. If the intestine above the blockage begins to fill with liquid and gas, the abdomen distends and nausea and vomiting may occur. It then may be necessary to drain the contents of the intestine through a tube passed through the nose and esophagus and into the stomach and intestine.
A feared complication of appendicitis is sepsis, a condition in which infecting bacteria enter the blood and travel to other parts of the body. This is a very serious, even life-threatening complication. Fortunately, it occurs infrequently.

Appendicitis treatments

Once a diagnosis of appendicitis is made, an appendectomy usually is performed. Antibiotics almost always are begun prior to surgery and as soon as appendicitis is suspected.
There is a small group of patients in whom the inflammation and infection of appendicitis remain mild and localized to a small area. The body is able not only to contain the inflammation and infection but to resolve it as well. These patients usually are not very ill and improve during several days of observation. This type of appendicitis is referred to as "confined appendicitis" and may be treated with antibiotics alone. The appendix may or may not be removed at a later time.
On occasion, a person may not see their doctor until appendicitis with rupture has been present for many days or even weeks. In this situation, an abscess usually has formed, and the appendiceal perforation may have closed over. If the abscess is small, it initially can be treated with antibiotics; however, the abscess usually requires drainage. A drain (a small plastic or rubber tube) usually is inserted through the skin and into the abscess with the aid of an ultrasound or CT scan that can determine the exact location of the abscess. The drain allows pus to flow from the abscess out of the body. The appendix may be removed several weeks or months after the abscess has resolved. This is called an interval appendectomy and is done to prevent a second attack of appendicitis.

Appendectomy procedure

During an appendectomy, an incision two to three inches in length is made through the skin and the layers of the abdominal wall over the area of the appendix. The surgeon enters the abdomen and looks for the appendix which usually is in the right lower abdomen. After examining the area around the appendix to be certain that no additional problem is present, the appendix is removed. This is done by freeing the appendix from its mesenteric attachment to the abdomen and colon, cutting the appendix from the colon, and sewing over the hole in the colon. If an abscess is present, the pus can be drained with drains that pass from the abscess and out through the skin. The abdominal incision then is closed.
Newer techniques for removing the appendix involve the use of the laparoscope. The laparoscope is a thin telescope attached to a video camera that allows the surgeon to inspect the inside of the abdomen through a small puncture wound (instead of a larger incision). If appendicitis is found, the appendix can be removed with special instruments that can be passed into the abdomen, just like the laparoscope, through small puncture wounds. The benefits of the laparoscopic technique include less post-operative pain (since much of the post-surgery pain comes from incisions) and a speedier return to normal activities. An additional advantage of laparoscopy is that it allows the surgeon to look inside the abdomen to make a clear diagnosis in cases in which the diagnosis of appendicitis is in doubt. For example, laparoscopy is especially helpful in menstruating women in whom a rupture of an ovarian cysts may mimic appendicitis.
If the appendix is not ruptured (perforated) at the time of surgery, the patient generally is sent home from the hospital after surgery in one or two days. Patients whose appendix has perforated are sicker than patients without perforation, and their hospital stay often is prolonged (four to seven days), particularly if peritonitis has occurred. Intravenous antibiotics are given in the hospital to fight infection and assist in resolving any abscess.
Occasionally, the surgeon may find a normal-appearing appendix and no other cause for the patient's problem. In this situation, the surgeon may remove the appendix. The reasoning in these cases is that it is better to remove a normal-appearing appendix than to miss and not treat appropriately an early or mild case of appendicitis.
All of these are done through advance technologies and access to good medical facilities. At about 3:00 am on Friday “11/9/07”, my surgery was performed without knowing how long, who did the surgery, and what was used. What if this was in my Village, would I survive?
After leaving my recovery room, I landed in the soft hands of “not only an RN” but a professional
To be continued.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Victoria K. Zinnah's speech at her graduation on September 17, 2007

The administration, distinguish guess, fellow graduates, Ladies and gentlemen.
Today marks a very important day in our educational and career journey as we complete our trainings. On August 17, 2007, we entered this building individually. Today, we are walking out as an extra ordinary class. In my own description, I would refer to this class as “courageous”. You may never know the potential of a person until you delegate a piece of responsibility to them. When we initially entered here, our perceptions were a bit divorced until we began taking on responsibilities.
As you may all know, the responsibilities we are about to shoulder today are very dedicate. The decision we’ve made to enter the field of nursing should not be based on how much money we can make from working but how we can all contribute the building a better healthcare system in America and around the world.
We all sit together today with the primary goal of graduating from Always Care, but do we all have the same goal of working to build a better health care system? That’s one question that I kept asking myself throughout our trainings.

Like many refugees or exiles, I find it very difficult to dismiss memories of my experiences prior to my decision to join the field of nursing. When one flees a war zone, all that one often takes are memories of painful occurrences and otherwise. Many store these memories as images of the world left behind. Some keep them as stories worth telling later on. Images or memories followed us wherever we go and can define and shape our dreams and choices. Sometimes too, the paths we choose in life are strewn with discarded images of our past and our conversations with others are colored by our past experiences.
In 1989, my country “Liberia” was hit by senseless civil war that claimed thousands of lives and properties. During that war, I witnessed infants die in the arms of their malnourished mothers. Epidemics like, cholera, malaria, fever or something that could be simply cured with antibiotic, killed hundreds of thousands of people. After witnessing all of the above and many others, I grew passion for the field of Nursing. It is my dream and aspiration to provide quality health services for people with special need and in all other medical conditions.

Let’s us all be grateful to God for the many protections and opportunities we have access to. Take a look at some countries around the world today. For example; some people in Sudan, Somalia, Iraq and many other countries are denied simple or basic human rights. Here, we have access to them. Many are denied access to food by their leaders, here, we have access to them.
For hundreds of children in some countries, the streets are where they look to find their homes, parents, playground, education, healthcare, and their love. To go without healthcare, is the plight of many people in third world countries. Today, I want to remember my home “Liberia”, one of the most visible symbols of my lifestyle in a way that may seem intangible. I want to take this time on behave of the class to say many thanks to all of our instructors for all the knowledge they have imparted into us. We will always remember you for that and to our family and friends for all the support and encouragement you give us through out this training. Not forgetting my husband who has been there changing diapers while I study, I appreciate you a whole lot.
Thank you and May God bless you all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

An exclusive interview with Rep. Dickson Temo Yarsiah sr

Recently, some Gbarpolu County citizens residing in the Diaspora invited one of their representatives to address the formation of Gbarpolu county Association in the Diaspora and brief them about happenings in the newly created county. Gbarpolu County was created in 2001 and is one of Liberia’s newest counties. Gbarpolu occupies an area of approximately 1,263 square miles, and was estimated to have a population around 131,227 inhabitants before the civil war.
The vast majority of Gbarpolu consist of forest. Mining was the primary economy activity in Gbarpolu prior to the Liberian civil war, in addition to farming. However, the civil war devastated all sectors of the County even before the 2001 legislation that granted legal County status to the newly created County.
Prior to the creation of the county, lack of development was amongst major problems in the area. To date, Gbarpolu is still far behind the current/ongoing development activities in Liberia. Gbarpolu has three electoral districts. There are three representatives and two senators. On August 29, 2007, Gbarpolu County senior senator Samuel Tormite Died in Ghana while undergoing treatments. A by-election to replace the late Senator termite is scheduled to take place on December 4th 2007. While in the U.S. attending the Gbarpolu County Association formation meeting, Sam K Zinnah had an exclusive interview with:
Hon. Dickson Temo Yarsiah Sr.
Representative, Gbarpolu County, Co-Chairman, Ways Means & Finance
Co-Chairman, Planning & Economics Affairs & Member Maritime
Republic of Liberia.


Q. It is almost two years now since your election as Representative of electoral district number three in Gbarpolu County, how would you describe your relationship with your constituent?

Dickson T. Yarsiah: Well, it is cordial, since our election, we’ve made frequent visits to them. We mainly designed those visitations to ask them what their priority needs are and also to work along with them. As you know, as their true representative, we have to work as per amended, so, to ask me about the relationship between us, our relationship is very cordials and transparent.

Q. What are your legislative caucus major development pillars for Gbarpolu County?

D.T.Y: Immediately after our induction into offices, we wrote a five years development package covering four major key focuses, those focuses are: one, road network, two, health, three, education and four, agriculture. We decided to do these as priority because of the fourteen years of destructions our country experienced. As you know, all of our social institutions were destroyed. Roads were locked, right now; most places are not still accessible. This is why we decided to make road network our priority. Next is health, and that’s followed by education, and as we said, four is agriculture so as to make them self sufficient.

Q. According to your county development agenda, the first priority is placed on the rehabilitation of road networks. To date, Bokomu and Gue-nwolala districts are still land-lacked and completely inaccessible to NGOs and other humanitarian institutions that may want to deliver basic social services to residents of the two Districts, what percentage of your priority has been achieved after nearly two years in office?

DTY: Well as you know Sam, a nation on this fate with a little over three hundred and some years when the war came for almost fifteen years and destroy all those institutions, we cannot just build them over night. When it comes to the roads leading from Bopolu to Gue-Ngwolala and Bokomu districts, that includes also Belle District, really Gue-Ngwolala and Bokomu dDistricts have been land-locked since the existing of our country. Belle District had some kind of path roads where some past so-called investors used to only harvest their logs and bring them forth. So, Sam, to be candid with you, this government has done all she could. What we decided to do first was to ensure that we prepare a development agenda or package. Well, now that we’ve prepared the development package, as we speak, we’ve started rehabilitating the roads from Tubmanburg “Bomi County” to Gbarpolu County capitol “Bopolu”. And from there we are going to continue the road rehabilitations as promised by this government. We will also ensure that the road is build between Belle Yalla. That will also touch portion of Bokomu district. We will later be connecting gbarpolu County to Bong County by way of the St. Paul river to palakolleh. We just got a company that has agreed in principal to build the bridge over the St. Paul River. That company will also be extending the bridge construction to the Tuma River in Bokomu. So, this government has just started the implementations of those promises made to our people during the campaign. But the first two years or the first twenty months were designed to prepare ourselves to commence your work. You know you can’t just get up to build roads without studies because it is capital intensive and there are lots of studies you need to do. You first of all need to survey, you need to do assessment, blue print, before you can commence and this is exactly what we are doing.

Q. I understand you (Representative Dickson T. Yarsiah) and Senator Daniel F. Naatahn constructed a five bedroom clinic in kpayeakolleh, Gue-Nwolala district, what are some of the means of maintenance of this clinic since if fact the district is land-lacked?
DTY: Well, that there, after the building of the clinic, infact we build this clinic during the campaign because we believe in positive actions, we believe in results, we told the people before you even elect us, we are going to do this. So, what we did was to construct that clinic in Kpayeakolleh. Immediately after the construction, it was turned over to government. Government is now sending drugs and paying staffs & Nurses. Just the other day in June, when I visited there, I took a generator there so at least at night they can be able to have lights to cater to patients especially in the case of emergency. Government is doing her own possible best and also NGOs around, like the CCC (a local NGO) are helping with drugs.

Q. The chairman and MD of FAPCO “a logging company” Ghazi Bazzi on September 22, 2007 wrote a letter to your honorable office. In his letter, Mr. Bazzi outlined a number of development projects his company is willing to undertake in the county. Does Bazzi’s FAPCO offer meet the requirement of your county standard for investors? If yes, what are some of the procedures your administration has designed to protect the interest of the County “Gbarpolu”?
DTY: Thank you very much for that very good question. Right now Mr. Zinnah, we can assure you all at home and in the Diaspora that we are not doing it hastily to just commit ourselves to any investment companies. What happen to this company “FAPCO”, as you know, they existed in our area from 1988 up to 1990, two years before the war came in Liberia and we know exactly what they did. At the time, they did not care or cater to the needs of our people sufficiently, in fact, not even to count on any development. Lots of commitments were made, so, these commitments as I said earlier, we do not believe in too much promises or rhetoric. What we’ve told them is that we will continue to receive applications from investors and then we will liaise with our people or constituent to decide. These are the people that we represent and these are the same people over 150 years who have really pay taxes for those areas. Some of them were taken into force labor in the process so we are not just hastening to accept companies. We will sifter them, we will appraise them, we will ensure that they meet up with the requirements of the people and more over, we are not going to sit with potential investors in Monrovia. We will make sure to take them to our elders and residents of the county. The current forestry law says that “the investors have to sit with the indigenous people to come up to some social agreements”. When we talk about social agreements, it can’t just be done in Monrovia because we represent them in Monrovia. The people must be given the time and chance to participate. Their voices must be heard and that their decisions will be the final. We are not hastened, our area is a virgin forest, we have lots of un-tip resources, we are very proud to say that. Our area is like a virgin girl that before we give it to any body or man, we must know the kind of man you are, not just because you have the dollars. We have to make sure that even you “in the United States or other parts of the world add your own views”. Our children or sons and daughters must participate in the decision making process so that they too can have their own take or input before we can accept these companies. As you are aware “Mr. Zinnah” Bazzi operated a huge portion of our forest prior to the civil war, we wonder why he did not make these offers to us during the early stage? Why is he now committing himself this much?. This time around, we are not just looking at Bazzi, we are also looking at those other companies that will be in the position to deliver to our people.

Q. Couple of months ago, I received a phone call from a resident of a border town between Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties. During the conversation, it was reported that there’s a border dispute between both sides of the border towns, are you or your caucus aware of anything of such? If yes, what actions have you or your caucus instituted or planning to institute?
DTY: Thank you highly too for that beautiful question. Land dispute “for your information” is not only between the Belle District and the Kolahun District. It’s almost everywhere in Liberia but this area really caught our attention. Some two or three months ago, the Hon. Representative from kolahun District in person of Hon. Vaforay Kamara and me cited the citizens of the areas to a meeting at the G.W. Gibson high school campus in Monrovia. We met with them on two different Sundays. Those meetings were well attended by residents of the two areas. What we did was to ask their views on the issue. We consulted them and then we wrote the elders and other residents that could not make it to the meetings. We understand that the dispute started between the two groups when people from the Kolahun District started doing commercial fishing and hunting in the Lofa river ‘which serves as the official border between the two counties or Districts’. The misunderstanding started when the fishing resulted to wildlife killing and collection of money from our people by residents from the other side of the border. The alleged money collection was not yielding any economic benefits to our people. So, later, our people decided not to allow the continuation of the economic exploitations. But as you know Mr. Zinnah, the people co-existed before the political desire. Meaning that before lower loaf was considered as a county, there were intermarriages, and there were other relationships & common understanding between our people. Because of these commercial activities, heated argument erupted amongst them and we as their representatives decided we will not sit down and look and look on so we wrote asking them to wait for us. By November, latest the 20th, we will be going in to ensure that we settle whatever dispute between the tow areas. Besides that area, we have received another report of dispute between Salayea (part of Lofa county) and the Belle District around the Via River. We will also be going there to try to resolve the issue. All over Liberia right now there are disputes, I mean border disputes. The other day there was similar thing between River G and Maryland counties and the caucus there had to move in. So, our caucus is really taking this serious, we are not going to put it aside, we will make sure to reach them in our efforts to water down the conflict so that the people can continue to co-exist.

Q. In August of this year, there was a homicide incident in the Belle District town of Lowoma. According to confirm reports from Lowoma, Police went to Lowoma and made several arrest in the town. They brutalized them and requested the sum of LD 2,500.00 from each of the town officials, when the requested was not made available by the town residents; they were made to walk more than 50 hours one way to Bopolu to face investigation. The homicide victim’s father was among the group. The alleged homicide suspect was left loose until a formal complain was file against him by the victim’s father. While the group was in Bopolu awaiting investigation, news of their brutality spread. In a cell phone txt message, I contacted the members of Gbarpolu County legislative Caucus; You (DY) immediately responded to my inquiry request and promised to lunch a full scale investigation into the issues. Weeks later, a local association “LOKOGASA” filed a formal complain to the county authorities (of which you are a part), did you by any chance get a copy of the formal complain filed by LOKOGASA? If yes, what have your caucus done about this case?

DTY: Yes indeed, we received complains not even from LOKOGASA. We heard it from the local authority from the area. In fact the parent of the homicide victim came to Bopolu and as far as Monrovia. He attended our meeting in Monrovia. We saw the father, and we all continue ‘up to now’ to say look, enough is enough. I personally told them when I visited them in last December that “if you don’t want to be killed, do not kill”. This guy was murdered and luckily for us, one of our own sons is the police commander incharge of the detachment in Gbarpolu County. What we did was; we wrote him & even sent for him. We told him to make sure that the alleged killer faced justice. The alleged killer was immediately taken from the Belle District and moved to Bopolu “the county headquarters”. And you are quite right Mr. Zinnah, the police mad-handled our people. I told them look! If you sit down here as a son of the county or the district, moreover as a Liberian police officer and let our people be mad-handled, you will share some responsibilities. You know this government is against killing, you sat down here and send your own people to go in the interior to mad-handle our people and took money from them?. As alleged, we are not in favor of it. We have vowed to lunch a full scale probe into the allegation. For your information, this gentleman “the police commander” sends an independent body to go and investigate the allegation. As soon as we leave from here, we are going to collect the report from them and then send it to you people. We are not going to sit down and shoot this thing under carpets. Enough is enough. The fellow that did the killing is already in jail in Tubmanburg “Bomi County” because we do not currently have jail in Gbarpolu County. As I said, he’s currently behind bars awaiting trial. We will follow it up to the final day in court. This we really promise you, we mean it

Q. According to the analyst Newspaper in Monrovia, on the night of October 18, 2007, Gbarpolu County Development superintendent fell to the brutal hands of Gbarpolu County Police. According to the paper, police flogged the superintendent for failing to buy the police more drinks as requested by the police. What is your county Caucus and officials doing to promote cordial relationship between county residents and police?
DTY: Oh! Are you saying October of this year? SKZ; Yes. DTY, well, I did not hear about up to my departure from Liberia. I communicated with the county Development superintendent prior to my departure for the States. I even told him that the priority need now for the 2006/2007 budget where government allotted USD 18,500.00 is to be used to start the construction of a high school in Belle Baloma “Belle District”. So, if anything of such happen, he should have informed me. So, honestly I’m not aware if anything of such exists. As you are aware, under our own style of government structure in Liberia now, the superintendent’s office is an extension of the president’s office and development superintendent is the next in line. If he can be brutally handled as alleged, then the police would have to be questioned. But as soon as I leave from here, if the information is true, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Q. During the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections, I closely followed campaign activities in Gbarpolu County. I noticed some issues between you and Cllr. Kanie Weso. I thought it was just campaign issues but it seems deeper than what I thought. Nearly two years after the elections, residents of Gbarpolu and close sources to authorities of Gbarpolu are still complaining about the dark relationship between you and Cllr. Weso. How would you describe your relationship with Cll. Weso compared to the public’s perception?
DTY: I think by now the people whom we represent are quite aware that those promises made during the campaign are being highly worked on. And Brother Zinnah, I don’t think individual interest will overshadow the interest of our people and the development of our area. Those that will fail to join the national wagon, the wagon of development, the wagon reconciliation, the wagon reconstruction, the wagon of forgiveness, are we going to waste out time behind them? We are busy fostering our development goals ahead. When it comes to Weso and I, I don’t think anything’s between us. As our own culture dictates, traditionally; when something happen between sons and daughters of the land, the elders steps in. And the elders “from my own understanding” have already settled whatever existed between Weso and myself “if any ever. Infact, there was no dispute between us in the political struggles. When you talk about elections, you will definitely find oppositions at each others throats. At the end of elections, the country comes first and then let bye-gone be bye-gone. Unfortunately for this brother and myself, we never had anything in common interns of conflict, so I don’t for see any conflict between us. We will continue to talk to our people as we leave from here again. Before even coming to the U.S. to inform you people on Development issues, we already went on air and inform all of our people. Upon my return to Liberia, I will be proceeding to my constituent to embark on development activities such as; construction of schools, clinics and also the rehabilitation of our roads and construction of new roads. So when it comes between Brother Weso and myself, if he has anything against me, accept you have complain. I think one day when you come to Liberia, then we all can sit and see how we can handle things but we should not encourage group or handful of people’s interest to overshadow our people’s interest.

Q. According to reports from Monrovia and Gbarpolu County, there are about 13 candidates gearing up to contest the up coming by-election comes December 4th 2007. Among them is Cllr. Weso. If you were given the chance hand-pick one of them to fill the position, who would you pick and why?
DTY: Well, power is inherent in the people. I wouldn’t decide for the people. From our own existence since we were born, our people know what we have done for them. For the political party side, the Unity party”which am a full flesh member of”, an executive member too, have selected Theo Momo as the party’s candidate. His selection was done at the mini-convention held in the County’s capitol “Bopolu”. Under the Liberian constitution, every citizen at the age of 25 for representative and 30 for senator can vow for the position accept you have some tinted or criminal records. But anything other than that, you are given the chance to participate. So, it’s left with the people, they have the power, they have the gavel. But on the party line, we have selected Theo Momo “of the Belle District” as our candidate.

Q. Would you work with Cllr. Kanie Weso if he’s elected as the next Gbarpolu County Senior Senator?
DTY: Ooh! Yes, the people’s choice is our choice. The people elected us, anybody they elect will be worked with so that we can bring development to our people. Our arms are open to anybody who wins. We even learn that one of our colleagues (Margibi County District # 4 representative, Flasher Chideryou) who died in Nigeria after a brief illness. So there is another by-election in that area. We are already 63 and the upper house is 29 because of the death of senator Tormite “may his arches rest in peace”, so anybody that will be elected to fill the vacancies will be worked with. As I said, our arms are open, even if Cllr. Weso wins, we will work with him.

Q. You are currently on a three months agriculture break, what are some of the activities you’ve planned to undertake in your constituent?
DTY: Well, before I came, in electorial district # 3 mainly Bokomu , Gue-Ngwolala and Belle District, we visited Bokomu and Gue-Ngwolala in June. The citizens there told us that they wanted clinics as their development priority. So we have already contributed ten bundles of zinc, five boundless to each district. I have already contributed LD 82,000.00 personally as their true representative. We will be making follow ups as they are making the blocks. We will go through the ground breaking and begin the constructions as soon as possible. There are the priority developments we are undertaking during our three months vacation. After the ground breaking in Bokomu and Gue-Ngwolala, we will be proceeding to the belle District where we will also be making blocks for the construction of a high school in Belle Baloma “our District headquarters”. The residents of fassama have also requested a construction of a public school. We will be making ten bundles of zinc available to them for that project. The people of Teigele have also expressed interest in constructing a clinic. We have pledge ten thousand Liberian dollars and five bundles of zinc for that project too. Out of the amount, we’ve given them LD 6,000.00 and will make sure that the remaining is turned over to them as soon as possible. In the Gbandi area (LOKOGASA), before I came to the states, I was written. The people (of LOKOGASA) requested a meeting with us to commend us for out tireless efforts in trying to seek their well-being. They (LOKOGASA) have planned an honoring program for the Gbarpolu County legislative caucus to give us our flowers while we are alive. They also intent to build a five bed room clinic in Gatima, “a Town in the Belle District”. We will also make sure to make significant contributions to that project. As you are aware, on April seven of this year, we took the president of the republic of Liberia “her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf” to Belle Yallah where we broke ground for the construction of vocational institution. We also made pledges there. The Gbarpolu caucus pledge USD1000.00. We will also be making personal contributions.
We have also begun making Communion farms in the constituent or electorial Districts. We’ve made some farms but we thought the sizes are not impressive so we want to go back there. Sometime this year, we called on the three districts to get involved actively. We told them that the District that will make the largest farm will receive a price of USD 1000.00 and USD500.00 to the individual farmer with the largest farm. We did this because we believe in encouraging competition in our area so that the people in our area can be encouraged to produce their own food. As you know, we used to be with Lofa County. And those days, we used to be considered Liberia’s bread basket. Now that we are politically separated from lofa County, we want to be the bread basket of Liberia. When it comes to help and road network, we have contacted the German Agro Action (GAA) “a local NGO”. They have agreed to re-condition some of the bridges from Bopolu to Belle District. They even asked us to give them names of implementing partners. We’ve forwarded the name of the Belle District Development Association (BDDAA) and a local Church which has an NGO status. Those two will be helping the GAA to re-condition the roads from Bopolu to Belle. For your information also, last year, we gave scholarship to seven students from the Belle District to attend the “Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts” (TNIMA) in Monrovia. This year, that number has grown up to 12 students. The reason we are sponsoring these students is that the clinics we are building or talking about in our areas need Nurses to operate them.Just before I departed for the States, I instructed my office to make the first check available for the initial payment to TNIMA. Besides TNIMA, we also have some students at other institutions in Monrovia. They are going to be educated by us because we believe modeling the mind of our own children and preparing them for tomorrow but they must be able to serve their people. These are just few of the things. We cannot name all now but I can assure you that there are major things that we are going to do during the three months break. Beside those named, Myself will be making a farm. It will not be a communion farm, it will be a farm that I will make and turn over to the District.

Q. On March 22, 2007 Internal Affairs Minister “Ambulai Johnson” appeared before the Senate to explain circumstances surrounding the disbursement of the county development funds that was allocated for the 64 districts in Liberia. During his appearance, Ambulai Johnson, “according to some journalists witnessing the event” could not account for the funds. There are reports that some counties received cash from the minister while others are yet to. Did Gbarpolu County receive any portion of that money, if yes, how much was received and how was it utilized? How was the decision “to utilize the amount receive” derived at? Were the constituents directly involved in the project identification process?
DTY: Well, the amount you are talking about was the initial amount after we took over from the Bryant government. That amount was around 80 to 90 million dollars. When we came, we had to recast the budget. We had a period from January to June 30th, so we talking about some five months. Our recast budget that was passed into hand bill amounted to about USD44.1 million. Of that amount, we had one million dollars for county development. We divided that amount by the 15 counties regardless of size or population. I think each county of us (county) received about $66,666.64 cents. That amount was divided by the six districts in Gbarpolu County. But because we had just assumed office and were still in a kind of formation stage, we were done hastily. So our people “even we as members of the caucus” were not conferred with as to how that money was used. This is why we had to invite the internal Affairs minister to clarify how that money was utilized. It was not only in the upper House, the lower House also did the same so that he could make a comprehensive report to us. He appeared on two different occasions but was sent back. Up to now, his report is pending. And I can assure you Brother Zinnah & citizens of our own Country, we are not going to sit and relax. This government preaches against corruption and believes in transparency and accountability. So, we will not just talk like past leaders. If we came to change, we must see change in Liberia. This government will ensure that positive changes come to Liberia. So I can assure you that the legislature is not taking it light, we are not taking it free. Anybody who consumes public money must be held liable for his or her action. If you don’t give account, well, it may imply that you will not serve in our area. Either we declare a vote of no confidence in you that you cannot serve the people. I told him when he met us. I said “Mr. Minister, you position is one of the sensitive positions n the whole country. Reason being that you are dealing with the people that elected us. Don’t only sit behind your air conditioned desk and receive report and be satisfied with those reports. Get up from behind your desk and go in the rural areas as we are doing. Right after his appearance at that session, even the journalists asked me why I was so though on the minister when in fact we are all from the same ruling Unity Party. I told the journalists that I was simply being objective. In my family, if you do wrong and don’t want to be told the truth, then don’t call me there because I will tell you the true. So, I can re-assure you ‘Brother Zinnah’ when we return, we will ask the Minister to come back and make his report. But we really told him that it was unfortunate and an abuse to us for them to purchase sand, timbers, crush rocks and other materials to take in our county where we have dense forest and don’t even know how to fell our trees. We told him it was an abuse, so this is where we reach sir.

Q. For decades now, the system of representation in Liberia has been quite different from other countries. In the past, when a political party won an election, all the contestants on that party’s ticket were declared winners. The 2005 elections broaden the horizon of the Liberian legislature. Representatives and senators from different political parties were elected. Most Liberians “including me” thought this 52nd legislature would be very though but a surprise grabbed Liberians world wide when the Senate’s standing committee on ways, means & Finance disclosed to the public that each member of both Upper and lower houses of the Liberian legislature would be receiving USD 1,500.00 as monthly transportation allowances while civil servants still received less than $50.00 per month. As a member of this 52nd legislature, what would be your justification for such a huge gap when in fact law makers are accused of not attending sessions or doing what they were elected for? As a Co-Chair on ways, means & Finance, could you explain how did the Senate’s committee on ways, means & Finance derive at this figure?

DTY: Well, that’s a very beautiful question. Maybe you would like to ask again, how much other countries parliament, congressmen, assemblymen are earning? SKZ, California law makers take home $110,880 per year making them the best paid Legislatures in the United States. The State (California) gross domestic product is $1.3 trillion-plus only behind Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. If you look at the yard stick that we used, we look at Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote de’ Voire, Gambia and other neighboring countries and compare their salaries, ours is absolutely nothing. Besides, the $1,500.00 is what we met. The Taylor Government made it, the Bryant government made the same thing. When we got in the recast budget $1,500.00 was accepted as our gross allowance. Of the amount, $320.00 is paid as tax. Take home will be around $1,180.00. Brother Zinnah, as your own representative, you think that amount is so………much that a representative can earn after we have looked at what other people make, and with the kind of contributions we’ve made and continue to make and you are saying that Liberians are saying it’s too high? I think Liberians are now convinced that we are underpaid. For your information, a civil servants salary was $15.00 when we took over. We have increased it to $55.00 a month. It is not less than fifty dollars. You have to be paid as per your status in society. If it is the Liberian people’s will that we should not even make anything and we should work, well, if we will have to make the sacrifice, then so be it! I was very delighted when you mentioned about the congress men from California. You see, they worth millions of dollars, they have their own budgets. Just about five months ago, we received some Republicans and democrats that we talked to in Liberia. They themselves agreed with us that we are underpaid. Though we are not making the money right now, but there are your representatives. If the Liberian people say we are making more and it should be reduced, then they have the gavel. This is what we did, we did not just take it from the blue sky. We only accepted what other people made. It was even the executive who saw us during the first recast budget of $44.1 million, the second recast budget of $134 million and the third one, they said no let’s increase this thing to two thousand dollars. I can’t hide anything from you, right now, our allowance has increased to $2000.00. The net take home is around $1,400.00.

Q. Since the birth of the financial autonomy act, corruption scam has been hunting the National legislature, few months ago, the senate committee on rules, order and administration of the lower house was rocked when a starling revelation was made by George Mulbah who is the chairman on right sizing and downsizing. Several fraudulent or ghost names were discovered on the legislature’s payroll. On May 10, 2007, Bong County’s George Mulbah insisted that he would ensure that the right thing be done in the legislature even if he’s blame in the process. He also vowed to expose any ghost names he found on the legislature’s payroll. How far have the legislature gone with this case? If any ghost names are found what would be your recommendation as punishment for the perpetrators?
DTY: Well, for your information, he was not the rightsizing. Mulbah is a member of the labor committee, he’s also a member of the Forestry committee. We decided to give that investigation to committee “outside of the Ways, means & Finance” to do the investigation. Mulbah and his colleagues or team went in and the problem came from the central administration. The mandate from plenary was that he “Mulbah” goes there and see weather he finds ghost names. He was also mandated to find out how many people had reach the retirement age. That’s the only thing we can do from that study and report, from that report, we would be able to analyze how many people are being over worked. If any ghost names found, those names will be dropped. For those that have reached the retirement age or stage, we will find or put together a package for them. Mulbah and his five member team prepared the report. Out of the five, only two members signed the report. Plenary said obviously there was something wrong. Why would a five member committee report be signed by only two persons? Plenary recommended that Mulbah’s committee return to committee room. So, they are still in committee room, they will get back to us as soon as they are ready or finished with their report. If we find out any ghost names, obviously we will drop those ghost names and hold those responsible for placing the ghost names. All those at the retirement age or stage will be retired with their benefits or package. If we say we are against corruption, it must start from above, from the first branch of government to the last. It should not only be down there where we will be looking at messengers, ministries & agencies. I can assure you also as we leave from here, we are going to make sure that Mulbah’s committee comes out with the report and if we find ghost names, we will drop them. If we wanted to hide any names, we ourselves would have done that.

Q. Some Liberian economists are suggesting that instead of internal Affairs Minister “A.B. Johnson” acting in dual capacity: for eg; county development official whilst serving as Minister, the Liberian legislature should pass a historic law that will comprehensively establish national development benchmarks that will serve as a blue print against which all current and future national development policy from one administration to the next in a consistent manner to ensure speedy and systematic development of Liberia. What is your position on this suggestion?
DTY: Well, what we’ve done even before that act you’re talking about can be passed or introduced. In the 2007 and 2008 budget, the amount of $2.5 million dollars was reached because of our own experience about the $1million development funds. We said that the internal affairs ministry will not be the sole institution or agency of government that will do the implementation. If they will, then they will have to work with the caucus, other stake holders and other county officials. We give priority to our citizens and this is why the amount of $2.5 million is still in escrow account and has not been used up to this time. As I’m telling you right now, that man will not touch that money until the people in the counties identify their projects. And for your information, we have also set up a standing committee comprising of one member from each county to make sure that the money be used for the people and for the intended purpose. So if legislation is suppose to be passed again to point out, we will not have any problem but we don’t want to make the mistake of the past where our people were given money but they did not see the money. The money did not work for them. This time around, we will hold people accountable; we will make sure that people are prosecuted if they are found diverting public money for their personal use.

Q. On October 27, 2007, you attended a Gbarpolu County formation conference in the U.S. what were some of your impressions about the conference and what did you “as a member of Gbarpolu County Legislative Caucus” recommend to the interim leadership of the Association?
DTY: Well, first and foremost I like to take hat off for you all “particularly to you, Brother Zinnah & Cllr. Jalloh” for a job well done. If you hold a teleconference in the United States where people are busy twenty-four hours and 22 persons attend the initial conference, for me, I feel it was an achievement and success. I just like to admonish you all “like we stated before”. I would also like to take this time to encourage you all to work collectively to make sure that the organization is well established so that we can be able to emulate other counties in Liberia. I know it is difficult but it is not impossible for everybody to meet. I’ve seen it, I’ve witnessed it, other people were given some responsibilities but they gave excuses. This should not deter your. We should not only this organization to the Diaspora. All of you can collectively support development in our country “Liberia”. Again, we say hats off to you ‘brother Zinnah’ for your leadership role you’ve play and continue to play in bringing your colleagues together and not relenting in ensuring that a Gbarpolu association is formed in the Diaspora. I was very impressed when a citizen of Gbarpolu called from Sudan and stayed on the conference for the entire two hours plus. As soon as your elections are held or right after your interim period, if you want you elected officials to be inducted into offices in the county capitol of Bopolu, our arms will be opened to receive you. As we leave from here, we will convey the message to our people. We will let them know that the association already has an interim body. The task of nation building is not the sole responsibility of those who reside in Liberia nor is the responsibility of those who reside in the Diaspora but rather, it is a collective responsibility. Let us consider it as our obligation. Our people have asked us to please tell you to work together to help build their lives and that of their children.

SKZ. Thanks for your valuable time and I look forward to talking to you another time if need arises.