By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
Former Defense Minister and spokesman of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) Mr. Thomas Jucontee Woewiyu has described the regime of slain Liberian President, Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe, as the worst in the history of Liberia and attributed the origin of Liberia’s troubles to most Liberians living in the United States at the time.
Woewiyu, a founding member of the NPFL and a close buddy of former President Charles G. Taylor who is now a convict (prisoner) for war crime charges behind bars in England, acknowledged that he and others need to account for some issues that occurred during the country’s civil crisis either here on earth or in heaven but the action of Samuel Doe was the worst experience the country ever had.
He admitted that he has some regrets for the war but it was necessary that they went against a tyrant (dictator) whom he said ordered the invasion of the University of Liberia (UL) and wore a pair of short trousers and went to the Lutheran Church and killed thousands of Liberians.
“We have already addressed the issue of forgiveness but let me tell you that war is not a crime, only the act committed during the war becomes a crime. Other big countries went to war; there are treaties of war at the United Nations (UN),”he disclosed.
Speaking on a local radio talk show yesterday about his senatorial bid for Grand Bassa County in October 2014, Mr. Woewiyu disclosed that he has decided to join the race because he has the solution for Grand Bassa.
Woewiyu, also a former President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate during the regime of former President Charles Taylor blew his own horn that he created 5 statutory districts for the county while he was Senator, and created additional 7 statutory districts for Nimba County in position as Pro-temp.
“I even created an Act to establish the Bassa University but they left that charter and decided to create a so-called community college for the good people of Grand Bassa. Our government came to an abrupt end but government is continuity; they should have continued with that document,” Mr. Woewiyu intimated.
Although he announced that he would not talk much about the incumbent Senator Gbehzongar M. Findley but blasted that Findley has done less for the people of Bassa with his huge allotment of about US$1m as Pro-tempore comparing to what he was earning during his term. “My salary was LD$13, 000 and US$500 as allowance. But I am contesting for Pro-temp post; I want to be Senator of Grand Bassa,” he stated.
When asked as to what he has to offer the people of Grand Bassa, Woewiyu indicated that he brings to the table 45 years of experience both locally and internationally. More besides, he added that he is a Labor Specialist, who stands a better chance because the caucus which should be headed by the Senior Senator is completely disorganized with lawmakers keeping speech from each other.
Commenting on his previous statements concerning President Sirleaf’s participation into the war, Woewiyu said that was then and described the comment as “war talk” which he has put behind him.
As for Benoni Urey who served as former Maritime Commissioner under the Taylor administration and now eyeing the presidency in 2017, Woewiyu said he has the right to contest and he could be President for Liberia.
Thomas Jucontee Woewiyu is a former leader of the NPFL rebel group who took part in the Liberian conflict, along with Charles Taylor.
The NPFL was involved in the first Liberian Civil War in 1989 and later brought Charles Taylor to power in 1997 (Taylor stayed in office until August 2003).
In 1994, as a result of ideological dissent, Woewiyu broke away from Taylor’s forces and created his own movement: the NPFL-CRC (National Patriotic Front of Liberia, Central Revolutionary Council). He and Sam Dokie led the movement. Woewiyu later made multiple accusations of war crimes against Taylor, claiming that Taylor did not only murder his rival Jackson Doe but drank Doe’s blood.