Liberia: "I Am Disappointed in Sen. Milton Teahjay"

I was a junior student at Temple University in Philadelphia in 2001 when it was reported that Milton Teahjay had gone missing in Nimba County, Liberia. At the time, Mr. Teahjay was a thorn in the flesh of the powers that were. Charles Taylor was president of Liberia. It turned out Mr. Teahjay was reported to be seeking refuge at the US embassy near Monrovia.

There was a smothering tension in the country, then. The tension created a geopolitical impasse that permeated both the Diaspora in and around West Africa and those on the ground in Liberia. As a result of this relentless tension, the proliferation of militia groups was the order of the day.

About four years earlier in 1997, Samuel Dokie, a prominent citizen of Nimba County and then deputy speaker of the Liberia's transitional government, but also a staunch opponent to Charles Taylor, went missing in the same Nimba County. For several days, relatives and friends of Mr. Dokie searched the Nimba County where he was reported sighted. The charred remains of his vehicle and Mr. Dokie's wife along with two other companions were found lying in ruins on the Ganta-Sanniquelie highway. The assailants have long been gone.

Because of the cascade of these events and unsolved murders, I wrote a poem about Nimba County in 2001. And while I do not wish to republish my Nimba Poem, I extoled Nimba County's ability to be the bread basket of the country and its rearing of prominent sons and daughters who became national leaders. But I questioned the countless mysteries of unsolved disappearances of individuals opposed to the Taylor government at the time. It was a no-go zone. "How can this happen under your watch, Nimba?" I cried. I sent my Nimba Poem to BBC Focus on Africa and Daybreak Africa. The poem was read on both programs and people in Liberia and Ghana, where I had my mother, heard it and called me to let me know they've heard my poem.

Milton Teahjay was my favorite lawmaker when Taylor was in power. He has been assertive, poignant and critical to the dictator Taylor and his government. I've followed Mr. Teahjay all these years and he seemed to be making progress. But his latest move to clear his name from bribery charges by suing a newspaper prompted me to write this piece again.

The decision to sue FrontPageAfrica over a story that he may have received bribe from a failed nomination from President Weah was ill-advised and perky in my opinion. Teahjay is categorically wrong to bring this frivolous lawsuit again FrontPageAfrica.

When I initially read the print version of the story, I was doubtful about its veracity. But when the newspaper published the corresponding audio, I felt the reporter did not embellish any half-truths.

I give credit to Henry Karmo, the reporter. He reported the story just as he heard it from the horse' mouth. The publication which the Sinoe County Senator claims is libelous clearly indicated that Teahjay denied ever receiving money from Cllr. Nwabudike. The reporter quoted him denying the allegation by saying, "To say Milton Teahjay showed his hands and someone gave him five dollars, that's not true." No one has come forward to refute the story.

What is libelous about this? Perhaps the legal minds will decipher this. But mark my word: Teahjay is on a political suicide if he does not withdraw this lawsuit. It is frivolous, perky and utterly stupid. I am woefully disappointed in you, Mr. Teahjay.

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