Sergeant Doe and the 1980 Liberia military coup: What lessons for President Bio and other African dictators? Op ed

Kabs Kanu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 September 2022:

Saturday April 12, 1980 was a day like no other in Africa. It was the day when soldiers stormed the Executive Mansion in Monrovia, assassinated President William Tolbert and overthrew the True Whig Party government. And I was there and saw it and heard it all.

We recall the coup today as ECOWAS threatens to start applying systematic sanctions against the coup-makers in neighboring Guinea. It seems that ECOWAS is a foolish problem-solver. It is only concerned with sanctioning regimes. It is not concerned with causative factors that provoke coups. Today, we will educate ECOWAS that they need to look more at how coups happen than seeking to punish those who stage them.

Though many condemned the Liberian coup, let it be conceded right here that the disaster took many, many , many years in the making. And this is one of the lessons any president living today and thinking he can oppress his people, create a one ethnic group state, commit human rights abuses galore and feed fat on the countries resources and get away with it for long should always remember.

I was there. I saw the coup and the tragic events , including the angry public execution of government officials by firing squad later and I can tell with authority how it happened. Why it happened, I can also tell–The people were very angry with the TRUE WHIG PARTY and the Congaus who have ruled Liberia with a black apartheid, one ethnic group styled oligarchy and denied other Liberians their rights and dignities for over 100 years.

PHOTO: SAMUEL K. DOE, WITH WALKIE-TALKIE, POSES WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF HIS GROUP OF SOLDIERS WHO STORMED THE EXECUTIVE MANSION ON SATURDAY APRIL 12, 1980 TO OVERTHROW THE TRUE WHIG PARTY GOVERNMENT

I was there when the rumbling that led to the coup started. I listened to the complaints of the people. They were angry because they were being excluded from governance and the National Cake. The Congaus controlled power and privildges and denied the so-called Country People their rights.

I listened to my students, many of whom were participants in the affray that followed. They were angry for the same reasons their parents were angry. I listened to the grumbles and complaints of the people in Douala buses ( Poda Podas ) taxis, pubs in New Kru Town, Buzzay Quarters and Biafra. They were angry.

I listened to the complaints in my neighbourhood of Caldwell Road , Douala and New Kru Town . I listened to the angry rhetoric of the reformers Gabriel Bacchus Matthews, Oscar Quiah, George Boley, Boima Fahnbulleh, Togba Nah-Tipoteh, Amos Sawyer, Chea Cheapoo and Albert Porte.

I attended some of their street meetings that were broken up by armed police. I read their leaflets. I read the magazines produced by Old Man Albert Porte. They were full of appeals for change . They were full of angry rhetoric against oppression, suppression , corruption, greed,and political and economic exclusion. Everybody was angry. Liberians were angry. They felt that they had been pushed to the wall for too long.

I was there. I met an angry nation waiting to explode. And I witnessed the bloody explosion that ensued later.

PRESIDENT WILLIAM R. TOLBERT SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO LIBERIANS AND THE REFORMERS

President Tolbert should have listened and initiated constructive engagements and peaceful negotiations with them with the prospects of initiating meaningful socio-economic and political changes in Liberia. He did not.

Instead of listening to the reformers, he and his government called them terrorists, arrested them, and locked them up at the notorious Post Stockade. It was being rumoured that the President was even planning to put them on trial and execute them—Just for fighting for the rights of the people. The military realized that there was no hope for Liberia and intervened to redeem the people.

A year before, when Liberians went into the streets to demonstrate against a proposed hike in the price of a bag of rice, President Tolbert sent armed police to kill them. At least one hundred protesters were shot dead.

However much we condemn coups, as it has just happened in the Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso and neighbouring Guinea, let us remember that coups do not happen in a vacuum. Coups, like accidents, are caused. Let us remember that coups do not happen in a flash. Coups take long in the making .

Coups do not solve any nation’s problems, but they have one redeeming quality—They teach African leaders that when you press your people to the wall for long, they snap and do kick back, often with tragic consequences . No people can endure injustices, neglect, marginalization, tribalism, ethnicism, extrajudicial killings, abuse of their human rights etc for too long.

Coups also result when leaders deny their people every legitimate avenue for change, rig elections, deny people their rights to vote and elect their leaders and gloat over it in triumphalist glee.

President Bio is the latest African dictator on the block. He is oppressing his people. He is suppressing his people. His police and soldiers are killing people on the streets of Sierra Leone for demonstrating for their rights. President Bio has created a one-tribe oligarchy in Sierra Leone. Only members from one ethnic group and region are being appointed to all positions.

His ministries , departments and agencies ( MDAs ), the military, the police and even the elections commission are saturated with people from just one ethnic group or region. President Bio is thumbing his nose at the nation and the international community . President Bio is creating a dangerous situation in Sierra Leone. He is following the same path pursued by the True Whig Party in Liberia that led to the 1980 military coup.

Samuel Kanyon Doe is dead and gone but he represented a hypothesis and a theory. If you are an African leader and you deny your people their rights , suppress and oppress them , kill their children for demonstrating for their rights and deny them any avenue for change, you create the danger for a Samuel Doe to arise and seize power in your country.

Nobody is unbeatable. Nobody is invincible. Dictators ultimately meet their match.

18 Comments

  1. This is the mindset of our Reverend as long as his APC are not in power: LEEROY KANU says:
    AUGUST 23, 2022 AT 4:13 AM
    Young4na, do you think these SLPP gravy-seekers, idiots and numbskulls renouncing these facts we are presenting do not know everything ? DECEPTION IS THEIR STOCK-IN-TRADE. They know the whole accusation about APC terrorist attacks and military coup plot are effusions from sick minds burdened by deceitful and poison-politics.

    Kabs Kanu, with over one million readers now in the social media and online, “is writing stupid things with a straight face” , eh? I did not stop laughing at this retarded statement by another dumb SLPP defender describing himself with a fake handle as Hashim while also faking to be APC. Hashim, continue making yourself the laughing stock you and your daft President and government have become with your lame excuses for this disaster calling itself a government.

    I do not have time to respond to you miserable hoboes again. It is an absolute waste of time. I just write my articles now and “scatterize” ( Distribute ) them throughout Facebook, Whatsapp and online newspapers . And boy, are people gobbling them ! ! Even the international community is now in touch with me and fully aware that these SLPP zealots are just spreading abominable lies about a demonstration that we all know was staged by the PPP ( PEOPLE’S POWER IN POLITICS ). Don’t you see how the Liberian and Nigerian media are ridiculing them ? Even the BBC African Service lampooned Bio . In fact, I heard that the BBC has now placed Peter Nartey on the ground in Freetown so that he will be sending them accurate information and thwart the incidence of fake narratives and bold-faced lies from these political misfits.

    I heard some audios today in which the PPP are threatening more protests in Sierra Leone. Let SLPP continue bashing us, the messengers. That is all they are noted for and that is their game plan. DOE GET FOR CLEAN PAN DEM BY SURPRISE and you will bite their miserable fingers and see no blood. Unless you are looking for war ( And you were taught on August 10, the people are ready to fight it ) , you are on your last foot. Maada Bio and his tribalistic fiefdom will soon be history. Then, it will be time for us to punish some of you who may have a case to answer.

    You have just seen the kickoff. The bigger game has not been played yet, according to the PPP in their audios.

  2. I hope the author will not claim he is prescient and saw the one in the land of the upright people – AKA Burkina Fasso – coming. Those who talk about coups, whether you are an opposition figure or an outspoken First Lady, especially in inherently unstable West Africa, could be accused of tempting fate.
    Coups have not changed much the economic fortunes of Africa in general and West Africa in particular where they appear entrenched and endemic. Proponents could argue though that coups should be seen through the lens of an abberration, Their raison d’detre should be in a short-time-limited frame to check excesses of runaway dictators, those who risk tearing their counties apart or those who are non-performing and tank their economies, They could go on and display the poster of Ghana and ther maveric of a leader – the charismatic Jerry Rawlings, and declare it did a world of good to Ghana. What makes Ghana’s case unique is the fact that their last military interregnum more or less made a clean sweep of the stables wherein current and past top political players at the time – the whole bubch of nation-wreckers, and even the pre-indepence parties that were churning out the rogue and nation-wrecking politicians, were prematurely sent into their graves or political oblivion and irrelevance.

    Sierra Leone’s nemesis and one of the oldest political parties in the African continent – the dinosaurian SLPP and APC – did survive the ten military coups in the country and rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the scorched-earth barbarism and brutality of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Who is to say that they will not do the same again after yet another coup or another war?

    Should we then keep faith with our election cycles that have more than once delivered a change of ruling parties and seen pragmatic North Westerners on more than one occasion scrambling for a shade from the hot-burning sun and voting for parties other than their beloved APC? The good old people of the South East have also once or twice put aside their nostalgia of the shelter of the canopy of the palm tree and deserted their grand old party (GOP), the SLPP, in droves. The people of Sierra Leone are no mugs and are wily enough to know that a gun is not always pointed at them in the safety and privacy of the polling booth. They know that on their special day they are far away from the coercion and prying eyes of their tribesmen, friends and family, They know tgey are kingmakers or potentially rainnakers and have all the time in the world in their moment of fame to examine their consciences, reflect on basic bread and butter issues and do the right and decent thing, and kick a non-performing Government out of power. They have done it not only once but on more than one occasion, not allowing to be intimidated and defying attempts and expectations of politicians who indulge in exploiting the demographic faultlines of the motherland without any compunction. There are still good and ordinary people on both sides of the political divide who have a strong value base, and who will not always hold their noses and vote for the parties of their parents and grand parents even if those parties are holding and whacking the country’s economy, polity and body politic with the biggest-ever wrecking ball.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-63098217

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-46783600

  3. Mr. Yillah, certainly two wrongs don’t make it right in any case. Firstly, I’m non partisan and I consider myself an objective thinker and a Sierra Leonean at its best. Back to the case in point, there’s a track record of “Cocorioko” a propaganda news outlet of which Mr. Kanu is an Editor or perhaps owner. Ever since the APC lost the presidential elections in Sierra Leone every article about Bio had been about extra judicial killings, tribalism and theft and all other vices one can concoct. I think its about time for Cocorioko to start writing factual, credible and receipt producing articles that makes sense. One more thing, equating Maada Bio to Samuel Doe is an over used narrative that have no relevance in Sierra Leone body politics. Its about time for this Falstaffian character to perhaps visit Sierra Leone to have a first hand look.

  4. What is your point Mr Francis Alieu? Are you saying that two wrongs make a right? If as you claim the Ernest Bai Koroma administration was ‘littered with Northerners’, is it acceptable and justified for your Ngor Bio’s own administration to be littered – as indeed it is – with South Easterners? As thinking and rational beings, we are expected to learn from our mistakes as individuals and as a nation and then move on and do what is right. Bio will surely carve for himself an enviable place in our political history if he makes the promotion of national unity and cohesion his number one priority.

    You accuse Mr Kabs Kanu of peddling tribal politics and go on to produce a list of names from Koroma’s administration to underscore your position. What an irony! You are defending and legitimising there the heavily skewed tribal make-up of the Bio administration! That is tribal politics for you.

    I am one of those readers of Mr Kabs Kanu’s article that you call gullible. Can you explain to me the tribal political nature of the points made by the author? Where is the evidence that Mr Kabs Kanu is railing in his piece against the Mendes of the South East on behalf as you imply of his beloved Limbas, Temnes, Lokos and so on of the North and North West?

    Like the rest of us, Mr Kabs Kanu may well have his political and ideological views and preferences. However, the piece on the causes and consequences of coups in our subregion bears in my view the hallmarks of clear-eyed, objective journalism. Undemocratic rule and the intolerance and violence it breeds do not certainly make for a stable, cohesive and prosperous country most Sierra Leoneans are at present crying for. The tragedy that was Tolbert’s and Doe’s Liberia is a case in point. Bio and his government would be well advised to learn from it. This is the point Mr Kabs Kanu is making, and quite rightly so.

    • “Like the rest of us, Mr Kabs Kanu may well have his political and ideological views and preferences. However, the piece on the causes and consequences of coups in our subregion bears in my view the hallmarks of clear-eyed, objective journalism. “ (Dauda Yilla )

      Dauda Yilla, where there are 10 SLPP zealots, may God produce 20 clear- sighted, patriotic Sierra Leoneans like you. SLPP supporters do not think of Sierra Leone as a unitary nation amalgamating all ethnic groups and regions. Their perversion has always been a one tribe- controlled Sierra Leone and anybody who highlights their depravity is an enemy to be gunned down either by verbal abuse or worse still by bullets as was done to Evangelist Sampson and the many Sierra Leoneans they killed for demonstrating for their rights on August 10. Such is the sad and pitiful state that has befallen our beloved nation.

      I am however thankful to God Almighty that there are serious Sierra Leoneans like you helping us to record the atrocities of this SLPP government, atrocities that they will pay for one day, however long it takes. If Daudis Camara , the Guinea junta leader and Blaise Campaore and Burkinabe leaders who killed Thomas Sankara are facing justice, there is no way SLPP will escape justice.

      Thank you for your enlightened response to blind zealots !!!!

      All those empowering this sick Maada Bio tribal dictatorship will be brought to justice. They can run with this to the bank.

  5. Good Ole Kabs Kanu always peddling tribal politics. In retrospect the APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma was heavily littered with Northerners especially the Temne’s, Limba’s, and Loko’s. Lower level cabinet ministries were reserved for select few South Easterners-the usual suspects Victor Foh and Co. So for you to distract your gullible readers with this “BS” is absurd. You are like the educated version of ADEBAYOR if not more. See EBK’S cabinet as of 4 January 2013.

    President Koroma’s Third Cabinet
    3 December 2010 to 4 January 2013

    Ernest Bai Koroma**
    President

    Sahr Sam-Sumana
    Vice-President

    J.B. Dauda
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Deputy Minister: Ebun Jusu

    Dr Samura Kamara***
    Minister of Finance and Development
    Deputy Ministers: Momodu Kargbo,*** F.B.L. Mansaray***

    Major Rtd. Alfred Paolo Conteh***
    Minister of Defence

    Musa Tarawali***
    Minister of Internal Affairs
    Deputy Minister: Raymond Kabia***
    Frank Kargbo***
    Minister of Justice and Attorney-General
    Deputy Minister: Arrow Bockarie
    Dr. Richard Konteh***
    Minister of Trade and Industry
    Deputy Minister: Mabinty Daramy***

    Oluniyi Robbin-Coker****
    Minister of Energy and Water Resources
    Deputy Minister: Martin Bash Kamara***

    Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo***
    Minister of Information and Communications
    Deputy Minister: Sheka Tarawalie***

    Vacant******
    Minister of Health and Sanitation
    Minister of State: *
    Deputy Ministers: Borbor Sawyer, Mamoud Tarawalli***

    Alimamy P Koroma***
    Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructural Development
    Deputy Minister: Abdul Babagaleh Barrie

    Dauda Sulaiman Kamara***
    Minister of Local Government and Rural Development
    Deputy Minister: Ibrahim Kaloko***

    Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray****
    Minister of Mineral Resources
    Deputy Minister: Abdul Ignosis Koroma***

    Dr. Sam Sesay***
    Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Forestry
    Deputy Ministers: Ali Badara Mansaray, Lovell Thomas

    Capt. Allieu Pat Sowe***
    Minister of Lands, Country Planning & the Environment
    Deputy Minister: Ahmed Kanu***

    Dr. Soccoh Kabia***
    Minister of Marine Resources and Fisheries
    Deputy Minister: Feremusu Kawusu Konteh***

    Stephen Gaojia
    Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs
    Deputy Minister: Rosaline Oya Sankoh***

    Victoria Saidu Kamara***
    Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs
    Deputy Minister: Syl Goba

    Vacant*****
    Minister of Labour and Social Security
    Deputy Minister: Emmanuel Gaima

    Dr. Minkailu Bah
    Minister of Education, Science and Technology
    Deputy Ministers: Dr Algasimu Jah, Dr Lansana Nyallay

    Paul Kamara***
    Youth Employment and Sports
    Deputy Minister:

    Vandi Chidi Minah
    Minister of Transport and Aviation
    Deputy Minister: Sylvester Osmond Hanciles

    Alhaji Alpha Sahid Bakar Kanu***
    Minister of Political and Public Affairs
    Deputy Minister: Mohamed Benson Suwu

    Dr. Komba Kono
    Minister of State, Office of the Vice-President

    William Juana Smith
    Resident Minister, East

    Moijue Kaikai
    Resident Minister, South

    Alie D. Kamara***
    Resident Minister, North

  6. “When you wish good things for others, good things may befall you “. This is the law of nature. Never give up! Never give in and stay away from negativity.

  7. I want to thank you, the open-minded, objective and honest citizens who saw my drift and appreciated my article . To a few others, the truth is always bitter and objectionable and this anti-democratic disposition in some of our countrymen feeds well into the thesis of my article. Until we appreciate and accept the truth, Africa will ever continue plodding in the dark.

    For those so blinded by their partisan bias that they could not comprehend a simple message, all I am saying is that African leaders should become more democratic and ensure that they do not block the channels for meaningful democratic change in their countries. I am enjoining them to learn from history that when leaders make change through democratic channels impossible, they open the door to unwanted extremist actions like coups to effect the change the masses are crying for..Is this salient truth too bitter to swallow ?

    President Tolbert would have avoided the sad and gory fate that befell Liberia on Saturday April 12, 1980 by listening to the complaints of the people and engaging them constructively in peaceful negotiations to address the thorny issues that bedevilled Liberia at the time. It was wrong for the Congaus to seek to control power by subterranean means ad infinitum. Imagine a single political party and the same ethnic group ruling a country for over 100 years and denying other political parties and the so-called country people ( the indigenous citizens ) the opportunity to determine who governs them. They had laws in place to ensure that their one-party system continued for as long as they wanted, e.g the property clause in the constitution that dictated that you had to be a property holder to contest .As if that was not bad enough, they oppressed and suppressed the indigenes and treated them like non-citizens. They controlled power and access to all the resources of the country. Did anybody expect the indigenes to continue to bear with such injustice forever ? Tolbert should have initiated socio-economic and political reforms, allowed political parties to be formed and freely contest elections. He should have given indigenes abundant opportunities to serve in government and hold positions in minstries, departments and agencies ( MDAs ) .Liberia belonged to all Liberians, not just the congaus.

    When the reformers arose and started agitating the people’s cause, Liberians saw hope that at last channels were being opened to usher in change in the status quo. But when President Tolbert sent police into the streets to kill demonstrators who were protesting the increase in the price of rice on April 14, 1979 and then banned political activities, arrested the reformers and imprisoned them the following year, the hearts of Liberian sank that the president had suppressed all other available channels of change. It was a dangerous thing to do, because President Tolbert created a vaccuum that Samuel Doe exploited. What is so difficult to understand in this message ?

    We do not want any more chaos in our beloved country. However, peace, tranquility and stability come at a cost. They do not fall like manna from heaven. Governments should create the fertile ground for them. This is not being done in Sierra Leone presently. President Bio and other African leaders should learn from history that when you destroy democracy , oppress and suppress your people and create a one ethnic group state, you are sowing the seeds of chaos in the country. Only people with retrogressive mindsets and aversion to truth will not understand this message.

  8. Mr Kabas Kanu is right. Coups are never the answers to the harsh economic relalities we found ourselves .In fact in vast majority of African countries that have experienced military takes overs , majority of them in later years have decended to civil wars , as in the case of the 1960s -1970s Nigerian Biafran civil wars in which more than a million people died .The civil wars that took place in Liberia was a direct results of the Doe dictatorship .Or think of African military dictators like , Idi Amin, Emperor Jane Bendel Bokassa , CAR , Col Mabutu Sessesko of the DRC, Col.Mengesto of Ethiopia , General Zafa Numerie , of the Sudan, Col.Gaddafie of Lybia , General Sani Abacha, Blase Compahore , Col.Dadish Camara, Mubrarak of Egypt and many others like them.One thing they all have in common they ruled their people with an iron fists and they all ended badly .

    Mr Solomon Kamanda you suggested none of us that offered our opinion on this piece about the history of Liberia and what led to the civil war knows what we are talking about . I will refer you to the testimonies given by former Liberian NPLF rebel leader turned President Charles Taylor in his trial at the special court for Sierra Leoen in the Hague . Maybe you will come away with little bit of eating a humble pie and accept you haven’t got a clue what you are talking about .please don’t insult our intelligence by promoting Bio’s narrative on this forum. We might be a nation of illiterates and gullible Sierra Leoean population but there are still a tiny oasis of litrate Sierra Leoeans that are allergic to political propaganda .Charles Taylor, testimony charts the history and the origin of the causes of the war in Liberia dating back from President Tubman in the 40s to Doe in the 80s and 90s .And there is a lot to learn from there . None of his testimony suggested Liberia, was the utopia of West Africa or better still the Singapour of Africa . And that despite your fake news propagandist message you tried to promote on this noble platform that the US state department records showed Liberia’s economy was doing well as we left the decades of the 70s and entered the troubled years of the 80s that culminated to the overthrow of William Tolbert doesn’t corresponds with what actually took place

    .As Mr Kabas Kanu pointed out ,he was in Liberia , an eye witness account by a foreign observer about the the issues that led Liberia to desend to hell . No country that is economically self sufficient will engaged in civil wars . Because everyone is looked after .No citizen is left behind .And most of what he wrote about is buttressed by Charles Taylor, during his trial . And you can’t get any better unvanished information about Libeira than the main actor himself .At one point in his testimony, Taylor wanted to used Sierra Leoe as his spring board to launched his so called revolution , only to be denied by Hon .Bambay Kamara .He was arrested and locked up at Pademba road prison and subsequently sent back to Ghana. Later to launched his war from the borders between Ivory Coast and Liberia. That was even made easy because the Ivorian Learders dislike Doe. The history of Liberia and Sierra leone are interwoven with the same string of blood spilling that have visited our two countries.The causes of the NPLF and RUF civil wars are two sides of the same coin .

  9. The land that we love MAMA SALONE needs us like never before. We have the power to change everything for the better.
    There is a saying that God helps those who help themselves. And because Sierra Leoneans are ready to prosper, prosperity will surely come to us.
    Fellow citizens, we owe mama Salone unity, peace, and justice. We need to be reminded of our commitment to this land at all times.
    The power of what methods to use in the pursuit of sustainable development is all within us. The only way we can attract sustainable development is to constantly exercise it both mentally and physically. For example Campaigns, seminars, symposiums, and other programs that will effectively attract growth. These movements should be planned and directed to citizens’ active participation, especially youths. We need a nationalist movement, and the courage to collectively see development as our flagship program devoid of our desire and choices. There’s a huge need for a round table discussion. Theirs no way conflict can facilitate growth.
    We should wake up and refresh our minds, we should endeavor to say the positive affirmations that will stimulate better change for our nation. Affirmations like positive attitude, cooperativeness, blessings, gratefulness, enthusiasm Honestly, respect, peace, love, friendliness, trustworthiness, integrity, good character, helpfulness, growth, understanding, diligence, reliability, veracity, forgiveness, generosity, flexibility, sense of humor, patience, loyalty, etc.
    Please fellow Sierra Leoneans I wish to kindly remind you that attracting sustainable development starts by constantly being willing to exercise it and make it part of us.
    Everything will be fine, everything will settle down, and everything will eventually work out for MAMA SALONE, Amen…

    By: Amadu Wurie
    Development Communicator and Advocacy officer from the University of Makeni ( UNIMAK)

  10. All of the writers on Liberia Civil War did not occur as a result of cost of any commodities consume by the inhabitants.

    No record on the State Department record on both Liberia and Sierra Leone bloody war.

    Liberia in the 70’s and 80’s has a balance economic and VISA on arrival to the United States of America. Liberia in the 80’s has strong economic standing with Japan.
    Revolution or Rebellion in Liberia, Sierra Leone , Rwanda and around the world has no fact checks on an increase in life consuming food.

    Sierra Leone was base on dictatorship leadership by the then APC.

    True Wig Party in Liberia was also a dictatorship leadership from Late President Tubman, Tolbert that was ousted by a military coup.

    Kanu has no idea about the source of Liberia civil war that later as tribal war.

    Each and every one is entitled to their opinions that does not give right to anyone writing false and misleading information.

  11. Mr Kabs Kanu is entitled to his opinion. Like him or loathe him, he does write superbly, persuasively and – dare I say- convincingly. His piece on Samuel Doe and Liberia rings true in that it draws on his experiential, indeed visceral, knowledge of those dark days in Liberia. And as it turned out, those days impacted our lives in Sierra Leone most devastatingly for over a decade.

    Some readers of the piece seem incensed by its author’s party-political views and sentiments. However, I would urge such readers to consider the piece a cautionary tale first and foremost, that is, a warning addressed to African political leaders, be these civilians or military men, of the dangers of divisive, ethnocentric, dictatorial rule.

    Put simply, Mr Kabs Kanu is telling President Bio and his ilk that just like the rest of us, they are, in the final analysis, only too human, that is, frail and fragile beings. Their sense of being powerful and invincible is simply a delusion, a mirage as they too can be beaten, toppled or even killed like those ill-fated opponents of theirs they often send to an early grave in their desperate and foolhardy attempt to retain power at all costs.

    Mr Kabs Kanu’s grim yet deliciously-written and morally instructive tale of Samuel Doe’s brutal rule and the evil that befell him in the end fleshes out the fundamental truth that this age-old saying teaches us: those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Dictators kill and can get killed in turn. This truth is colour-blind politically. It is naked, unvarnished truth Mr Kabs Kanu is speaking to power here, be it power green or, I presume, power red. He is a true patriot and an exciting writer.

  12. Kabs Kanu is a great patriot. He always speaks the truth and the reality in Sierra Leone. The truth is always difficult to swallow! If this reckless, power thirsty, dumb guy called Maad Bio is allowed to rule this beautiful country for a second term, there is the high likelihood that this prosperous – but sadly poor country – will descend into another senseless war. And nobody in his moral and logical senses would anticipate for this to happen – especially when one recalls the inhumane atrocities that took place during the last war, which allegedly he (Maada Bio) is complicit of.

    The problem in Sierra Leone which everyone – in particular Maada Bio and his gang of blind supporters – is shy of talking about, is the fact that former president Earnest Bai Koroma has set a standard in governance that is very difficult for any president (past, present and future) to emulate. Maada Bio knows this, and that is why he is putting in all effort to detract or diminish Earnest Bai Koroma’s stature in order to have a breathing space. Though, unfortunately for Maada Bio, most of the people in Sierra Leone today are not stupid any more. Across the populace, everything that Maada Bio does is irrelevant as long as it cannot be equated to Earnest Bai Koroma’s achievements. And Maada Bio also knows that in a free and fair elections, the odds of him winning the presidency again, are minimal. In effect, he was just an accident the last time around. He is not a president for Sierra Leone as a whole.

    At times when Maada Bio says ‘One country, One people’ it brings hypocrisy into override. To critical Sierra Leoneans, it reflects in their subconscious minds to ‘One Mendeland, One people’. This thinking is born from the fact that since the time of independence (or even before) South Easterners, being autonomously Mende in etnicity, had never fully accepted the concept of a Sierra Leone comprising of a dominant Temne tribe in the Northwest. Why? Presumably, politics is a numbers game. And notwithstanding the Limbas, Lokos, Kurankos, Fullahs and other Northern tribes, the Temnes are in large numbers – in fact the largest tribe in the country. Could this be the greatest fear of the power-hungry Southeasterners?

    It is surprising though, during my boarding school days at St Francis secondary school in Makeni, there were all tribes living together in the dormitories. Temnes, Mendes, Limbas, Kurankos, Lokos, Fullahs, Konos, Madingos, Krios, Sherbros, Susus, Yalunkas, Kissis, and all, were all one and the same!!! There was no discrimination or tribalism. One is judged according to his attributes in certain subjects or his talents in sports. Today, seemingly Maada Bio and his ‘new direction’ have changed the narrative. Is this the leader you want for a second term?

  13. In a recent fund raising event in the US , Mrs Fatima Bio unashamedly told her audience that her husband Maada Bio has a “PHD ” on how to organise and execute coup plots against sitting governments .She alluded to the fact the recent cost of living demonstrations , and the organizers of the demonstrations against the Bio government would have failed if they have tried .Rev.Kabas Kanu is right to revisit the history of Liberia under President William Tolbert in the 70s and 80s when the cost of living sought up after Liberia hosted the Organisation of African Unity , annual conference for vanity purpose only to leave his country in an economic mess with no where for his government to turn to for a bail out .Hence the spiking of the price of rice and the subsequent demonstration that led to his overthrow and the beachfront excecution of thirteen of his former ministers as the crowds cheered on. The prisoners were made to sit for an hour in unaircondition prisoners buses whilst they erect the poles for their excecution .

    That fateful day the blood of those that were executed sowed the seeds of discontent against Master Sergent Samuel K Doe , and in later years that saw Charles Taylor, took up arms against the Doe government. Mr Kabas Kanu is right in comparing the way the Bio government is conducting themselves to that of President Doe. Those that failed to learn from history are bond to repeat the same mistakes.Doe came to power and made history by ending hundred and fifty years of Americo -Liberian domination of the political landscape of Liberia .Thirteen ministers including president Tolbert and his Brother were excecuted in cold blood .Bio and Saj Musa and others came to power and ended twenty six years of APC one party state rule .Twenty nine innocent people were excucuted including Hon .Bambay Kamara the former inspector general of police.

    In 1985, with the support of the Momoh government , General Thomas Quiwonkpa , attempted to overthrow the Doe government , it failed and he was captured and cannibalised in the streets of Monrovia. Hence Doe unleased his Kran members of the armed forces, of Liberia against the Gio tribesmen of General Quiwonkpa in Niba county killing many and others fled to the Ivory Coast, later to play an active role when Charles Taylor and his NPLF coming knocking and found willing partners to take the fight back to Doe . In terms of governance , the respect of the rule of law , lack of free press , and the abuse of citizens rights , and corruption on steriods there are lot of similarities between Bio’s government and that of Doe. At the end of the day none of us want Bio and his Ministers end up like Tolberts or Momoh’s.

  14. Kabs Kanu has once again demonstrated his lack of patriotism and hideous tribal prejudices. Your post is so very misleading and divisive filled with distorted information. For a man who benefited so much from the previous administration of Ernest Koroma which ran this country to the gutters with massive corruption and looting of state resources, you really need to shut up and enjoy what is left of your loot. Your appointment as minister plenipotentiary blah blah blah did not even get parliamentary approval. The tribe and region that you keep castigating is where you and your family acquired your education and other benefits in life. Yourself like Joseph (Joskyn) speak Mende fluently and yet you are always fanning the flames of tribalism.
    There will be no coup in Sierra Leone

    • Mr. Gbebay Bangalie, I do not generally respond to people with misguided, fallacious, jaundiced and ill-conceived notions and views; Generally, I leave them to stew in their own juices of ignorance. however, for the records, I see a compelling need to correct your erroneous assertions.

      1. There is nothing divisive about my views. You should be man enough to confess that the paopa LEMBEYMA VILLAGE and FULAHUN POLITICS are so ingrained in you ( What a pity ! ! ) that you are fighting the truth. You guys are living in a fool’s paradise where you think that Sierra Leoneans should just sit down and accept the charade and madness that pass for governance in their country under this clueless and backward SLPP Government. You fail to realize that we are no longer living in that unfortunate stoic era when Sierra Leoneans stomached the depravities of political psychotics and did not express their views.

      2. In your tirade, you displayed astonishing ignorance that typified you as the regular run-of-the-mill paopa supporter with an empty head . In the diplomatic heirarchy, Deputy Ambassadors and Ministers Plenipotentiary do not undergo parliamentary approval. Only the Permanent Representative and Ambassadors do. You will never find a Deputy Permanent Representative who had to go through parliamentary approval.

      3. You also displayed your bigoted disposition of the typical Paopa misfit that marked you out as one of the problems of our country. I got my education in the South and so what ? Is the South not part of Sierra Leone and am I not a Sierra Leonean ? Does the South belong to you ? My family had every right to settle wherever they wanted in as much as they are Sierra Leoneans and every inch of the country belonged to them. Secondly, they did not live on charity. They were very hardworking and industrious people and my father paid taxes and our schoolfees . He did not live freely or send us to free schools . We therefore owe you no obligation for living or earning our education in the South.

      4. I served my country diligently as Minister Plenipotentiary and Coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10 ( C-10) on UN Security Council Reform . If President Bio, on assuming power, has a template to work with in the UN Security Council Reform negotiations, I was one of the dedicated people who provided it. Our foresight, learned responses and contributions during negotiations and reports and papers written on behalf of the African Group, whom we headed in the negotiations, ensured that today President Bio has something to work with in pursuing Africa’s Common Position in the reform negotiations. You will find my name in all the reports and papers as a key member of the team. Additionally, I represented Sierra Leone in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S Stock Exchange ( Where I became the first Sierra Leonean in history to ring the NASDAQ bell ) and through my efforts, INVESTMENTS AND COMMERCE went to Sierra Leone. Therefore, I deserved whatever my country paid me for my hard and diligent work.

      5. You displayed inate ignorance by describing my emoluments as loot. It must exercise your puerile brain that I served the Sierra Leone UN Mission in a very senior capacity as a diplomatic minister ( Third in command ) and my name was never mentioned in corruption. You would realize if you have brains to do so that my name never appeared in any of the commissions of inquiry . Nor was my name mentioned in the ongoing case of alleged misappropriation of millions of dollars meant for the renovation of the building. I am very proud to say that though SLPP would have relished and enjoyed trapping me in corruption, they could not, tried as they did. I am as clean as a whistle and I am proud of my record.

      6. I do mix my family in my profession . I stand all alone in the execution of my professional work or beliefs and I consider it in very bad taste that you are mentioning the name of one of my family members in your tirade. That was most unethical . I advice you to keep it strictly between me and you. Thank you very much.

      As I said earlier, I do not make it a habit to respond to just everybody , however enticing and provocative the prospects. People can hold whatever views it pleases them to inculcate about me. My life is not guided by what people think of me. You are entitled to your beliefs. That will never change who I am, the profile I have built for myself and my views. I will always stand for something, even if I am alone. And I will always be proud to be KABS KANU.

  15. Who wrote such gobbledygook?

    There can be no correlation to a well distinguished democratic leader such as President Bio within the diaspora.

    If president Bio has been attentive to most of his followers many so-called big guns from the opposition APC party that had orchestrated the August 10 riot would have been arrested, send to jail, or executed if the death penalty was still in situ. To even compare President Bio who had the tenacity to abolished death penalty to other president who had no such mettle illustrate blatant disregard for the truth.

    The writer has used political crystalline lens to juxtapose the dictate of his Op ed.

  16. The writer is completely wrong as per Liberian CIVIL War and later end at tribal war. President Tolbert made Liberia Middle Income Country. Please double check your facts as all information provided by your office are completely false ad misleading but yo will be judge by what you say and do. I participated in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia disarmament and all facts about the three countries you can find on the Truth and Reconciliation Council (TRC).

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