There is a saying: "trying to be too smart by half." This saying is applied to people who think they are smarter than everybody, but in fact are only exhibiting regular intelligence. So it is with Cllr. Charles Brumskine.
Appearing on SKY Radio talk show on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Cllr. Brumskine told the public that he "never received a cent from (President Sirleaf), not even a brass copper" He also said that he does not know the Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote who people say is helping to finance his campaign.
All of this was in reference to his recently opened "car dealership", (the Liberty Party cars, which number almost a hundred), which he claimed was purchased by his party and members who feel obligated to do so.
True, Cllr. Brumskine may not have received a cent from President Sirleaf to finance his campaign. That does not mean that the President did not connect him to some group or company to give him money.
In fact, this is the way it is done, through connections. Some say that it is the firm that has the maritime contract for Liberia, LISCR that has been a major bankroller of Mr. Brumskine. The question is; what would they get in return?
No business gives money to political candidates without expecting something in return.
There are other foreign friends of Brumskine's local friend(s). If Brumskine is getting help from foreigners to finance his campaign today, Liberia will pay the price tomorrow. Cllr. Brumskine's statement concerning help from the President may be literally true, but misleading.
When Cllr. Brumskine says that his cars were bought by his party members, we ask for the evidence. If that is the case, then he must be having a special class of Liberians in his party, a wealthy class.
It certainly seems hard to believe that they are the same ordinary Liberians, many of whom are unemployed or work in jobs that don't pay much. Either that or, Cllr. Brumskine must be having a view of Liberians that they are not a people who can think correctly.
Perhaps, Cllr. Brumskine could lay this matter to rest by showing the public his Party's bank record, detailing the deposits and withdrawals. The withdrawals should show payments to the car company which supplied the cars to the Party.
We would encourage journalists and the public to request this information from Cllr. Brumskine. If NEC is interested in a transparent election free from foreign interference, they too should look into this matter.
Sudden riches is usually a cause for concern, especially for a Party as one observer put it "not known to be much richer than a church house rat" to suddenly become a fat cat, dining on milk and cookies. The Liberian people need a better explanation than what Cllr. Brumskine has given.
Our only concern is we do not want the future of Liberia to be mortgaged to outsiders any more than what it has been by any desperate politician who want power at all cost.
Some are suspecting a company that already has an agreement with GOL that may not want that agreement to be reviewed. So they are paying in advance on the assumption that "their man" will protect their interest. Informed observers are aware of how the game is played. An outside friend helps the one favored by an inside friend. Who is the inside friend? That is the question.
This leads into Cllr. Brumskine's other explanation. After denying the "dumboy issue" Cllr. Brumskine is trying yet another slick explanation to get out of the tribal trap he has set for himself.
He now says he was just talking about where he would be residing as President, in the Executive Mansion, and that's where he will be cooking and eating. This is either a brilliant answer, or one given on the basis that the Liberian people will accept anything for an answer.
We are inclined to think that it is the latter. We must ask Cllr. Brumskine; are these kinds of answer you will be giving to the Liberian people on the serious issue of moving the country forward?
If he is asked to explain his intention to give a bag of rice free on a monthly basis to all Liberians aged sixty five and above for the rest of their lives, is this sort of "let me trick them" answer he will give? Is that how he will deal with his free education policy? We must say that Liberians expect seriousness from their leaders.
Fast or slick talking will not be accepted. And making the loudest noise about being the most qualified candidate will also not do it. What makes the councilor the most qualified candidate? Where is the track record?
Two years or so as President pro Tempore of the Senate under proportional representation during the Charles Taylor regime? What landmark Acts did Brumskine put through as the major sponsor?
What is his legacy as a private lawyer? Has he served as president of the Bar Association? What proposals as a prominent private lawyer did he make to improve the judicial system? How many pro bono cases did he take on in the interest of the poor?
It may be fine to promise to give his used pickup trucks after the election to the health care system, but that will not stop the questions raised about how he got the pickups.
One final question; If Brumskine and others were rejected twice for the position of President, why should the Liberian people accept any of them now?
Is that how we will define finding a leader that will bring change? If so, then wherever we find ourselves as a country, we should not complain. After all, it is the "Liberian way" that got us where we are today.
Author Ballah (Contributing Writer)