Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The price of political dishonesty

In October 2007, Cllr Eddington Varmah paid the initial price for his past political dishonesties. This event took place in his home town of Bopolu, the capital of Gbarpolu County. According to sources closed to the National Elections Commission in Liberia, the by-election “to replace” the late Gbarpolu County Senior Senator Samuel Tormetie has been scheduled for December 4th 2007. Recently, a “Unity Party” mini convention was he in Bopolu, ‘the capital of Gbarpolu County’. During the convention, several candidates for the recently created vacancy were scrutinized. Amongst them was Eddington Varmah. On August 29, 2007, Gbarpolu County Senior Senator, Samuel Tormetie, was pronounced dead in Ghana in the process of recovering from medical treatment in that West African Country. Eddington Varmah quickly packed his glut “as usual” and cross carpets to the very unity party he overtly campaigned against on the last day of campaign during the 2005 presidential and parliamentary election in Liberia.

On August 30, 2007, the “Liberian” Daily Observer carried a caption, “NPP stalwart crosses carpets to U.P.” This caption caught the attention of many Gbarpolu citizens and other political commentators and observers around the world. Many questions began emerging from different political backgrounds. Many observers presented their questions to family and friends in and out of Gbarpolu whilst others that had no direct contact with residents of Gbarpolu pondered their questions and suggestions privately. Couple of days later, this author received an anonymous call at about 9:00 pm Eastern standard time. The anonymous caller asked: is this Sam Zinnah? I answer at the top of my voice, yes, I am. He asked the second question: are you from Gbarpolu County? I again answered, yes I am. Before I could site up and ask for his identity, he asked his third and most resolute question: I remembered when the lives of countless civilians were marred by power greed violence during the days of the notorious National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) under Eddington Varmah as Justice Minister, in neither words nor kindness, Eddington did not intervene directly or indirectly, instead, he was busy escorting and defending Charles Taylor. In 2007, “after inflicting enough mayhem upon the people of Gbarpolu and Liberia”, Eddington was rewarded with senatorial seat, in 2008, he abandoned the senatorial position and accepted an appointed position offered him by Charles Taylor; the above are just few of his political activities. My question to you “Mr. Zinnah” is that; do you support the idea of re-electing Eddington Varmah as the next senator to replace Sen. Tormetie? I responded by saying; I am not Gbarpolu County, neither am I the chairman of the elections commission. The answer to your question lies in the hands or minds of the voters in Gbarpolu. I also told the caller that my personal answer did not represent the county or the electorate. He ended the conversation with a disappointing tone of voice and had to draw his Curtain to take his leave.
Few weeks after Cllr. Varmah’s dubious cross to the ruling Unity Party, a citizen of Gbagpolu County, “Mr. Andrew Fahn” thought it wise to get the pains of his chest. He added his voice and analysis to the many in and out of the county. He overtly told Starradio that it would not be in the interest of Gbarpolu County for Cllr. Varmah to return to the upper House to represent the county.
When contacted by Starradio, Cllr. Varmah said it was pre-mature for anyone to discuss his political future when in fact he had not made any statement. But Fahn, Sam Zinnah, and others being from Gbarpolu and knowing the type of commercial and chameleon politician Cllr. Varmah is, knew exactly what his (Varmah’s) intentions were.
Few weeks after telling Starradio that “it was pre-mature for anyone to discuss his political future, Cllr. Varmah joined the queue of Unity party candidates that was headed to Bopolu “the political capital of Gbarpolu” where the Unity Party mini convention was scheduled to take place. According to sources from Bopolu, three candidates were laid before 12 delegates to choose from. The candidates included Theo Momoh, Bartu Dorley, and Cllr. Eddington Varmah. Cllr. Varmah, after being introduced along with his co-constants, raised first to open the floor since in fact Bopolu ‘the County’s official capital” is his home town. He spoke and his speech was followed by Dorley and later Momoh. The election later took place and the Cllr. Was dumped in his home town and probably few yards from his house.
While looking at Cllr. Varmah In retrospect, I thought it wise to name few of his political victims.
Victim # one: During the 1997 elections that took NPP to the executive mansion, Cllr. Varmah made a covert fool of former lower Lofa County representative “Edward Mends-Cole”. The Cllr. Put Representative Mends-cole under the impression that he (Varmah) was going to introduce Mends-Cole to Ghankay to contest the representative seat in the County. Cllr. Varmah instead met Ghankay and painted Mends-Cole as the worst bukuman to Ghankay. He (Varmah) returned to Mends-Cole and made him to understand that Ghankay was studying his proposal. So, Mends-Cole “like any normal politician” was anxiously awaiting the president’s respond. That respond is yet to come.

Victim # two: During the same 1997 elections, Bartu Dorley, ‘also 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 is search of advise 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.

Victim # three: During the 1997 elections, Cllr. Varmah was elected as senator for Lofa County. In 1998, he was appointed by his political mentor “Charles Taylor” as justice minister and Attorney general of the republic of Liberia. Eddington Varmah “like any politician” had the right to resign his senatorial position in 1998, but he was under the moral and traditional obligation to at least inform his constituency that he was leaving his position as their senator to serve as justice minister for Taylor but instead, he cleared his desk and immediately headed to the justice ministry under heavy police escort.
In this case, Lofa County was left “in the cold” to struggle for another senator to replace Cllr. Varmah.

Victim # four: In March of 2001, Amnesty International wrote the minister of justice “Eddington Varmah” providing further details of human rights abuses witnessed by Amnesty Internationals’ Investigators at Gbatala “ATU” base. The letter asked justice minister Varmah to inform his boss “Taylor” about the dehumanizing condition at Gbatala ATU base. The letter requested a response from Minister Varmah and his government with regard to the situation discovered in Gbatala, but no response was ever given up to the unceremonious departure of Taylor and his human hawks in August 2003. Violence and abuse of human rights were probably the best definitions or descriptions of the notorious National Patriotic Party (NPP) under the leadership of Cllr. Eddington Varmah.

Victim # five: In 2001, fifteen students of the University of Liberia, mostly of the Student leadership; Student Unification Party (SUP) and the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) were coerced to flee to Ghana for safety of their lives. The students had taken precautionary measures in lieu of statements made by Charles Taylor’s war lieutenant and Justice Minister Eddington Varmah that the students were “collaborators” of what he and his NPP referred to as “dissidents” in Lofa County at the time. It was under the leadership of Justice Minister & Attorney general Eddington Varmah and his political mentor “Charles Taylor” that the continued repression of Students was reinforced not only at the University of Liberia but at other higher institutions of learning in Liberia.
The tenuous relationship between the NPP and the University of Liberia came to a head-on collision on March 21, 2001, when the University of Liberia campus was invaded by the notorious Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU). The ATU was well known for their brutality against not only students but innocent civilians as well. Upon arrival on the campus of the University of Liberia, the ATU began flogging students who were hosting a peaceful rally and fundraising organized “by students” in support of four journalists of the independent “The News” news paper who were also imprisoned on bogus charge of ESPIONAGE for reporting the NPP government for misusing public funds to repair helicopters and buying gifts for Charles Taylor’s personal friends and family members.

During the same March 21, 2001 invasion of the University campus, University professors and some administrators were also severely flogged. Cllr. Eddington Varmah again stood in defense of his ATU and NPP as justice minister. In a press conference after the UL campus flogging, Justice Minister & Attorney general Eddington Varmah charged that there were students on the UL campus who were “collaborators” of what he referred to as “dissident forces in Lofa county at the time’. “Based on evidence gathered by our intelligence sources, we have confirmation that there are dissidents operating on the University of Liberia campus”. Those were the exact words of Cllr. Eddington Varmah.

Victim # six: During the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections, Cllr. Varmah encouraged medical practitioner and close relative “Norris David” to join the National Democratic Party and run as representative for Gbarpolu County electoral district number three. Cllr. Varmah personally introduced Mr. David to the NDPL and later abandoned him to struggle on his own.

Days after his (Varmah’s) unceremonious departure from the senate, the battle began for the vacant post. Armah Jallah and Gibson Tania made it to the primary in Bopolu. In the first round, Gibson Tania defeated Armah Jallah but that defeat lasted for few days. In just couple of days, Gibson was still celebrating his primary victory when covert operators planted by paramount chief JallahLon took a photograph of Gibson Tania and made an ALCOP “a political party headed by former warlord Alhaji Kromah” ID card out of it and took it to then NPP chairman Cyril Allen alleging that Gibson Tania was a member of ALCOP. Gibson Tania “without being investigated” was immediately thrown out of the race. Armah Jallah automatically became the winner of the primary. Election was later held and Armah Jallah emerged as the winner of the “suppose”election.

Victim # seven: After serving as Justice Minister under NPFL in Gbarnga, Cllr. Varmah moved to Monrovia with Ghankay and was again appointed as Justice Minister, Attorney general and chairman of the join chief of staffs of the republic of Liberia (all under NPP). In August of 2003, Cllr. Varmah’s political mentor “Charles Taylor” was coerced out of Liberia, leaving his partisans and child soldiers to struggle in meeting the expense of their survival.
After the departure of Ghankay in August 2003, Cllr. Varmah was chosen to serve as deputy speaker of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly of Liberia (NTLA).
The 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.

On March 14, 2005, Cllr. Varmah was involved in a USD $150.000.00 scandal at the NTLA. He and his boss along with two of their ‘colleagues at the NTLA’ were suspended indefinitely for their alleged role in the $150.000.00 scandal. Since then, Cllr. Varmah has been a political bull dog especially with the indictment of his political mentor, Charles Taylor, who’s presently deposited in a jail cell in the Netherlands awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. In this case, the NTLA became the Victim. I could go on to hundreds of pages.

The price for such dishonesty is now at the doors of Cllr. Varmah. I guess is time for the Cllr. To manage his “Big Dream” store and forget about politics.

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