Monrovia - A nephew of the late Jackson F. Doe Doe, widely believed to have won the 1985 Presidential election, has thrown his own hat into the race for the presidency in the 2017 elections.
Jackson Doe, a household name in Liberian politics in the late 20th Century, was a native of Nimba County. Immediately before the 1980 coup d’état that brought his surname sake, Samuel K. Doe to power,
Jackson served as Senator of Nimba County. But when the government of William R. Tolbert was overthrown, he lost his office, was tried for treason and imprisoned at the former Barclay Training Center now the Ministry of National Defense. He was killed during the 1990 civil crisis.
Unlike his uncle, Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe is a social entrepreneur, an advocate who is based in the United States. He’s a senior member of one of Liberia’s newest, registered political party, Vision for Liberia Transformation or VOLT.
Dr. Whapoe, who hasn’t had any work history in the public sector in Liberia, was a prominent human rights defender during the war years of Liberia. Prior to traveling to the Unites States for study, Dr. Whapoe worked as Executive Director for Liberian United for Democracy in Africa (LUDA), a human rights group and was regarded for openly criticizing the tyrannical regime of former President Charles Taylor, when no one dared talk about ills in his government.
Many political pundits have raised questions about the US-trained sociologists and social worker’s ability to effectively function as the President of Liberia, because according to them, he has not held any elected office in Liberia.
But, a longtime family friend, George Mambia debunked the insinuation to say that Dr. Whapoe possessed the same virtues his late uncle Jackson F. Doe had.
Mambia added that Dr. Whapoe had exhibited great love for his country by his regular visitations, provision of scholarships for less fortunate school children and his agriculture projects. He said that an initiative like the agriculture program, undertaken by the aspirant, was helping to empower farmers across the country.
“He is not only a graduate of Sociology and Social Work as many person believes, Dr. Whapoe obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the College of Office Technology in Chicago, Illinois with emphasis in Network Administration; a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with emphasis in Foreign Relations from the same university before moving on to obtain a Master of Social Work with emphasis in Community Health and Urban Development from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC),” Mambia said.
He also explained that Dr. Whapoe obtained his terminal degree in business with emphasis in organizational leadership from Argosy University in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Mambia disclosed that while in the United States, Dr. Whapoe worked for both government and private institutions in several capacities, including working as a former Child Protection Officer for the State of Iowa Department of Human Services, Des Moines, Iowa.
According to him the Presidential aspirant worked as computer Science instructor at the Beacon Therapeutic High School, Chicago, Illinois and Business Communication instructor at Westwood College, Chicago, Illinois.
He also disclosed that, Dr. Whapoe also worked as Research Assistance at Cook County Housing Authority and Program Director at Jane Addams Hull House in Illinois.
“Dr. Whapoe also worked for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago as Clinical Social Worker, President for Concord Management and Consulting, Park Ridge, Illinois, President, Omega Health- Chicago, Illinois and State of Iowa Psychiatry Social Worker at Clarinda Mental Health Institute- Department of Human Services, Iowa,” Mambia added.
With agriculture seen as the preferred conduit of potential and means of improving the country’s economy, Dr. Whapoe, has vowed that when elected in 2017 as President of Liberia he will transform the country and its people through mechanized farming.
Dr. Whapoe said that the country has vest land and rich soil for rice and other crops cultivation and saw no reason why Liberia continues to import rice.
Dr. Whapoe has repeatedly said that when elected he and VOLT would work with farmers to grow more food to make Liberia self-sufficient. He disclosed under a VOLT government farmers would be turned into millionaires.
Speaking to a group of farmers, when he brought into the country a team of American farmers, the Presidential aspirant said, “By the grace of God, when I become President of this country, we are going to take the cutlasses from you and give you machines to farm with.”
He added that VOLT would work with individual farmers to improve the way they grow their crops. Dr. Whapoe said Liberian farmers were not benefiting because ‘they keep doing the same thing over and over.”
“We came doing the same thing over and over. I was born and saw my parents farming with cutlasses, like you do today” he said, while frowning on government for doing nothing to change the situation and improve the conditions of farmers.
“We don’t have government here. What we have here is private enterprise."
"It is not government. Because private enterprises look like the thing we have here, we call government. People who are part of the system get pay just like how those employed at companies get salaries”.
Dr. Whapoe said it is disappointing that Liberia is unable to feed itself despite all the rich soil and swampland which is suitable for rice cultivation.
He indicated that it is a shame for Liberians to be importing pepper and peanuts and other crops from its neighbors when they have the land space to grow those crops.
The aspirant criticized legislators for doing nothing to impact the lives of Liberians and said they have not made any law to benefit rural farmers.
Dr. Whapoe told the farmers that the country while at the same time encouraged farmers to come together and free Liberia noting that many Liberians cannot afford to get medication because of poverty, and said this make you a slave to your medical condition.
“You are not free when you can’t feed yourself. It is time to put an end to this.
I am looking forward to a new Liberia, a Liberia that you can get free medication. A Liberia that you will not be thrown out of hospital because you cannot afford to pay your bill,” he said.
Dr. Whapoe told the farmers, mainly women that “I am not going to dash out money to you."
"I will rather teach you how to fish, when I become President. My vision for Liberia is clear and simple. We will acquire available farmlands and cultivate it for farmers who would be turned into millionaires.”
He disclosed that VOLT would launch a war, but added that the ‘war will be against the country’s common enemy - poverty.
“We will kill poverty. When poverty is killed we will live the kind of live we want to live in this country.”
The Presidential hopeful said, when elected, with the help of lawmakers from his proposed party; enact a law to create an agriculture battalion in the Armed Forces of Liberia with the objectives of involving into rice and other crops cultivation.
He also frowned on the failure of the government to equally distribute the country’s wealth.
“We are not benefiting from our natural resources like gold, diamond and timber.”
Dr. Whapoe noted that the country is not poor, but it is only being poorly managed by corrupt individuals.