Liberia: Open Letter To Uncle Joe


Dear Uncle Joe,

I pen this letter out of love and concern. My love is for you, and my concern is about the future of our country. I hope you will find both to be worthy of your consideration.

I voted for President George Weah twice in 2017. I was angry with the political system that breeds inequality, division, and was frustrated with the poor quality of education to Liberian children. I wanted to overturn the system. I voted for change. I admit my choice for President, George Manneh Weah, has failed us, and worse, continues to embarrass the country. I regret my vote in 2017, and admit that you would have been a better choice. I can’t go back and change my vote but in 2020, I voted against Thomas Fallah because he represented Weah. In 2023, I intend to vote against President Weah and the CDC. But while I regret voting for President Weah, I still want change.

I don’t want to make another angry decision in 2023. I don’t regret my vote for Dillon in 2020 but I am beginning to think had there been better change candidates in the race, knowing what we are discovering about Senator Dillon everyday, I might have not voted for him. Again, I do not regret because although I voted for him, I was voting against President George Weah and his CDC candidate, Thomas Fallah. Dillon disappoints me, but I am not discouraged about change happening in our country.

The 2020 Midterm Elections is behind us now. Toward 2023, as some of us look to right the wrongs in electing George Weah, I am really concerned that you are running again, Uncle Joe. Although I should have given you my vote in 2017, to me, you are, and should now be respectfully regarded as one of the grandfathers of our nation. Like former President Sirleaf, this position of blessed privilege should actually put you above these fights for political offices, and reposition you to help the country decide on the best candidate for the future of the country, other than yourself.

Uncle Joe, it concerns me that you will be 80 years old to take the Oath of Office should you be elected in 2023. 80!!!

As the oldest candidate in the 2017 Elections, you promised 2017 was your last run. Or, was it that you will serve only one term? Is there a real difference here? Your promise to serve only one term was in response to your age, and reports of your declining health. In 2017, you knew that at 80, even if you wanted to, the natural decline in your body and mind would not allow you to govern as effectively as you would need to. Age does not stop increasing because of a loss, nor has your health miraculously improved! In fact, the decline is accelerated with the attending stress of a major shock such as the election loss for which you were unprepared and overconfident would not happen.

In the future we seek, leaders must be accountable for their actions and promises. They must not say what they mean and mean what they say. If we can’t trust what you said in 2017, how can we trust what you will say now, or in 2023? I am also worried that electing you President in 2023 will not be about making our nation’s future better but about reliving many of your experiences of the past. Liberia does not need a President who will spend his time  looking back.

Liberia needs to move forward. Looking backward and settling scores, many of which are personal, are amongst the reasons this Weah Government has failed. I worry we really do need a clean break from our divisive and self-destructive past. I believe we need to change. Sadly, I don’t see how you can do that at age 80!

The cycle of life is about change. Nations must change generationally. This is not a condemnation of aging, or its natural effect in declining health. It is an acceptance of reality. Uncle Joe, Liberia needs you. We need all of our senior citizens. But the country does not need its seniors to become resistances to generational change, and progress.

Of late, perhaps in response to reasonable concerns about your age and declining health, your PR team has tried to cast you across social media as still somewhat energetic and fully capacitated. The only problem is that the effects of age and natural decline in health is not what any PR person can set aside with edited video clips and pictures. Aging and declining physical and mental health, are natural, biblical and scientific. At 80, everywhere in the world including in developed societies with better medical facilities and care, the organs of the body are in decline and will naturally malfunction, and underperform, whether anyone wishes them to, or not.

Psalm 90 Verse 10 says that the age of man will be 3 scores and 10 (70 years) and by reason of strength, four scores (80) years. I thank God for the special favors upon you. But please don’t try to curse our nation because of it. I therefore appeal to you to use the remaining period of your blessed years to help us find a change leader to repair the years the Weah locusts have eaten.

Uncle Joe, Liberia will need a lot of work after the 2023 elections to overcome the failures of this Weah administration. That work will begin and end with the President who must not just be ready but also healthy, and able to start work early each day, and work through long hours, 7 days a week. A President looking to naturally spend more time in the hospital than in the Mansion will be a disservice to the country.

Please, Uncle Joe.


Jessica Togba

[email protected]