In this 21st Century, I am hearing some rumblings that not only surprise, but actually shock, me.
What is to be gained by anyone whose mind is so stuck in olden times that he or she does not realize the alleged persecution of country people by Congau people is a thing of the past.
If we are to be truthful to ourselves, it is the country people who are now the main source of Liberia’s problems.
While the countryman’s rulership of the Liberian Government officially started in 1980 by the infamous People Redemption Council (PRC) coup, most country people had been their own worst enemies long before that year.
The Chiefs, District Commissioners and Tax Collectors, nearly all of them country people, are well noted for these wicked acts against their very own:
They tortured their own people for the payment of the annual $4.00 hut tax that they could not afford.
Those who failed to pay were forced to kneel on a bed of gravel with their eyes pointed upward at the hot burning sun until they paid.
They took away young men from making their rice farms, their only means of support for their families at harvest time, and sent them to do forced labor on the plantations of the President, Interior Minister (then Secretary) Jake Melton and other government officials. Think proctors.
For sleeping with a Chief’s wife, especially his head wife, would subject the offender to severe punishment like a year of farm work without pay, in addition to $15-$25.00 “woman damage.” In some cases, they were brutally flogged for daring to touch the Chief’s wife.
There are many other instances of serious abuses of countrymen by countrymen.
Some people will argue that those Chiefs and other leaders who dealt directly with their fellow country people were forced to act in that manner against their own because they were ordered to do so by the Congau people. I say to that, baloney!
Let us fast forward to the 1980 coup and the civil war that started in 1989 and continued for 14 long years.
Who were the main villains of those tragedies that will remain etched on the minds of Liberians for a lifetime and for generations to come? Congau or Country people?
It is well documented that the mass killings that took place during and immediately after the coup were done by country people. And many of their victims were Congau people. Both men and women were killed simply because they bore Western names.
As a result, many of our fellow citizens were forced to change their Western family names to country names as a desperate act for survival.
During the Civil War, who were the “General Butt Nakeds,”“General Mosquitoes,” the Prince Johnsons, the Roosevelt Johnsons, the Alhaji Kromahs or the drug-crazy child soldiers that caused the death of over a quarter million of our people and the displacement of over another million all over the world, where they experienced untold suffering and ridicule?
Nearly all those vicious killers were and are countrymen. Some of those very criminals, like Prince Johnson, appear to have been rewarded with high positions in government by their fellow countrymen for their crimes against humanity.
Let us now come to the present times. Since 1980, who have controlled the leadership of the government, from the President on down to the civil servants - Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for example?
Do I need to detail her action or inaction that has sent our country back over 50-years? Look in the House of Representatives and the Senate today.
Are there not hundreds of country men and women in those Houses who hold the Liberian people as hostages for their ridiculously insane salaries for which they do nothing for the people they supposedly represent?
Another serious crime is being carried out against our people, especially during this election season, the ritualistic killings of our children, just to feed their wicked voodoo practice to help certain people either to retain or get their high paying government positions.
There is no doubt in my mind that a majority of those committing these horrible crimes against our young girls and boys are country people.
What, over all, have the country people done for the people since they took over the leadership of government? Zero!
Today, when all around us neighboring countries like Guinea, the Ivory Coast and even Sierra Leone are developing and taking good care of their citizens, all you hear from Liberians is crying from the massive suffering of our people.
In the meantime, our so-called leaders, a majority of whom are country people themselves, rob us blind; shamelessly live luxurious lives while subjecting their own people to unbearable lack of basic needs.
No food, no electricity, no clean water, poor education due to minimum wage of our educators, no medical facilities.
How will a teacher focus on teaching his or her students when they or their families are starving and might even be worried about being thrown out of their homes because they can no longer afford the rent.
To expect them to properly teach our children like teachers did in the old days is unrealistic. And this is the 21st Century.
So, why then, in this day and age, are some fools still trumpeting around and poisoning the minds of their fellow Liberians against other Liberians?
Have they soon forgotten that this Congau/Country problem was at the root of the devastation that Liberians suffered in 1980 and the Liberian civil war?
My fellow Liberians, our Dear Liberia is going through its last throes of death. Our main focus today should, therefore, be how we can all bond together and help revive our dying country.
Instead, some characters are still continuing their divisive and dangerous rhetoric against other Liberian brothers and sisters. STOP IT!
At this desperate point of our existence as a people, we need to pray for God to send us a “Moses” to lead us from the hell that we are presently living through.
Let us forget the past and move forward as one people and stop preaching hatred and division among us.
Every group of Liberians, both Congau and Country, has done some form of evil to our people.
We should all, therefore, be honest enough with ourselves and acknowledge and be willing to bear our share of the blame for the damage that has been done and might still continue if we are not careful.
God has allowed us to survive our many tragedies and, being the loving and merciful God that He is, is offering us another chance to redeem ourselves. Tuesday, October 10, 2017, is not just a day of any election. It is a day of reckoning.
On that day, if you have never thought of Liberia that way, think of her like that mother who you love so dearly and who is seriously sick and dying.
It will be very unfair to her to consider only one group as opposed to the other group from which someone can be selected to lead her from her misery.
Choose the best man or lady who you genuinely believe can and will do the job.
That leader who is able to provide us with food, especially our staple, rice, so that we do not have to import rice into the country from foreign sources and for which we pay outrageous price; a leader who will provide us with adequate medical facilities so that we do not have to travel to places like Ghana, Nigeria or even Sierra Leone, where many of our people cannot even afford to go or take their family members for medical treatment, a leader who will provide the best education for our children; a leader who will make us proud as Liberians with the building of our infrastructure and roads; a leader who will be tough on corruption and provide better salaries for our little people (civil servants, teachers, police officers, soldiers and security personnel) so that their survival and that of their families cannot depend mainly on bribes.
In other words, vote for the person who we believe will be the best President for our Dear Liberia and not because he or she is a country man or woman, or because he or she is a member of your tribe or a citizen of your county.
Your choice of our President should not been be because the person is your family or friend. Our Liberia’s interest is much more important than such narrow-minded consideration for its leader.
I, therefore, say to you, fellow Liberians, there is only one proven leader among the many candidates who are vying for the Presidency of Liberia.
That person is the only one who has the courage, means and passion to carry our country forward in a big way. That person is none other than Benoni Urey, the Standard Bearer of the All Liberian People Party (ALP).
Liberia has a future only if we steer into the Office of the President of Liberia Mr. Benoni Urey.
If we fail to do that, we can only expect a continuation of the suffering of our people and the downward spiral that our country is now in. We should not make that mistake; this is our best and last chance.
In our next commentary, we will tell you why Benoni Urey is the leader that Liberia desperately needs today.
Garnett Y.K. Gbamokollie, Contributing Writer