By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
First, let’s apologize to my late grandmother who taught me never to be discourteous in dealing with public officials and leaders of the country because of their status in society. She said I should always be mindful of my choice of words in dealing with issues that concern those leaders. Today, I have to apologize to the old lady in her grave because I am departing from the advice she gave me many years ago because of the use of the word, NONSENSE,” which I know if she were alive, she would had taken issue with me, because of the use of this word.
Yes, as a student of communication, I am aware that at times, it is prudent to employ euphemism, which really relates to the appropriate use of decent words to send out a piece of communication that relates to certain individuals, like national leaders in society. But today, I decided on the use of this discourteous word because of what continues to exist between the leadership of these two counties, something that saw the luke warm reception or low turnout in Greenville, Sinoe County, during the recent 168th Independence Day celebration that was held in Grand Kru and Sinoe Counties.
As I listened to one of the Representatives of Sinoe County yesterday, Mr. Matthew Zarzar on the LBS Super Morning Show (SMS) hosted by Sorbor George and Christopher Sirlee on the recent low turnout during the July 26 celebration in his county and my recent interaction with a lawmaker from Grand Bassa County, I was reminded of the popular adage that, “THE FISH GETS ROTTEN FROM THE HEAD.” Contextually, “the heads,” in this maxim, refers to “leaders” or those in authority to govern.
This maxim may be interpreted many ways, but whenever it is used to refer to confusion among leaders and their subjects, it simply suggests that when those in authority or elected or selected to lead the people are at loggerheads, this obviously would trickle down to the common people, thereby undermining unity, progress and development. In such a mouse-and-cat situation, it brings about division; the common people attach themselves to certain leaders in the conflict situation. Indisputably, this is the kind of situation in Bassa and Sinoe Counties.
I always take interest in such confusion in these counties because if the heads or leaders of these counties that I am also connected by consanguinity are divided, this would always affect activities in these counties, as was with the recent celebration in the county. As I listened to Rep. Zarzar that others were excluded from the process and that the projects were decentralized, pointing accusing finger at former Superintendent, now Senator Milton Teahjay, I wondered how the county could have moved forward in such a situation. What really amazed me was when he said that there was nothing to celebrate as others were excluded.
Sometimes when there are crises, many persons blame this on the lack of education or illiteracy. Now, in the case of the leaders of Grand Bassa and Sinoe counties, are we to attribute the foolishness being exhibited by some of these counties’ leaders to lack of education or illiteracy? To this, I say a BIG NO. Let me say that these are well learned and literate people governing these counties, some of whom for selfish reasons continue to put self-interest above the interest of the people and the county.
Whenever I ruminate over this, I wonder why individuals charged with the responsibility to lead their people are always in a state of confusion, as this is completely diametrical to the reason or objective for which they were selected, elected or appointed.
Disappointingly, sometimes the reasons for these unnecessary conflicts are matters that can be handled amicably, but self-interest, self-aggrandizement as well as tribal interest have always been the obstacle or bridge between these leaders and that once these vices continue to persist, there would always be conflict among the leadership of these two counties, in that, those who should be working for growth, development and unity, are themselves divided and at variance; as such, nothing substantial would be achieved, but only the show of nonsense.
Just as I write this piece, the Legislative Caucus and Superintendent of Grand Bassa cannot see eye-to-eye, with some of the legislators declaring no confidence in the Superintendent, Etweda Cooper. This is not the first time of such conflict or “nonsense” among the leaders of the county. Similar ‘nonsense’ was also exhibited in the leadership of the county when the now Minister of Gender, Julia Duncan Cassell, was Superintendent.
Even recently, a member of the Legislature who hails from the county, Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue took issue with the Superintendent. Up to now, there is still bad blood between the two and other leaders of the county. Can such as county prosper with this kind of “nonsense.”
As I always said, as human beings, given our idiosyncrasy, there would always be differences, but the way and manner in which these leaders and officials of the county go about in handling these differences, has been the matter of concern and reason for division in the county.
As the former superintendent of Nimba County, now, Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Harrison Karweah said yesterday when he called during the program, some of these problems are not only peculiar to Sinoe. He cited an example in Sinquellie-mag in Nimba County, people of different tribal backgrounds live together in peace, and that the people of Sinoe can emulate this peaceful co-existence. But he pointed out that this must be led by the county, to include elders and former government officials.
And someone with connection in those two counties, I urge the leaders of those counties to see reasons to handle whatever conflict, as there would always be conflict. They should learn to cultivate the spirit of a win-win situation and avoid insisting only on what they want to get.
As leaders, there must be mutual respect for one another, whether elected by the people or appointed by the President; there must be a giver-and-taker in conflict resolution and above all, the interest of the people and not self-interest would prevent the “nonsense” among these leaders.
Until some of these leaders of these two counties stop this “nonsense” and childish behavior to the detriment of their people and counties, I will not cease to continue to comment in such discourteous tone so that the head of the fish does not get rotten. For now, I Rest My Case.