Too Many Deaths In ‘Failed State’ Liberia

Independence 2016 wish for Liberia (The Land of milk and honey that has been torn apart due to greed and power …..).

The Editor,

My deepest sympathies to Minister Mobutu Nyenpan’s family. Why did he die so young? But let me get to the crux of the matter of why our people are dying, some so young: because Liberia is and has been a FAILED STATE since its independence 173 years ago in 1847. And what constitutes a failed state? Google the definition of a “failed state.”

“A state, nation, country whose POLITICAL and ECONOMIC system has become so weak that the government is no longer in control. State predation–corrupt or crony corralling/stealing of resources at the expense of other groups, the poor.” And Google mentions Liberia amongst the many failed states of the world.

Like Nyenpan, a top government official, a few names come to mind of recent government officials who died unnecessarily in post-war Liberia from either preventable and curable illnesses if we were not a failed state who sought medical care abroad and died there.

* Emmanuel Wreh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. He suffered a stroke/heart attack, days later was flown to Ghana and died there.
* Willis Knuckles, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He suffered a stroke/heart attack, days later was flown to Ghana and died there.
* Edward McClain, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He died from complications related to a bad or failing heart, was flown to South Africa, and died later.
* Mobutu Nyenpan, Minister of Public Works and former Senator of Sinoe County. He too suffered a stroke, days later was flown to Ghana and died there. These are just but a few examples, not counting the countless number of ordinary poor Liberians who cannot afford a day’s meal let alone a plane ticket to fly abroad to seek medical treatment.

But why were they not taken to our number one public medical center, the once prestigious, American-built, with state-of-the-art equipment, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia? In its prime from the 1960s to the 1980s before the destructive 14-year civil war, African presidents sought medical care at JFK. But today, you can’t even take your dog to JFK for treatment. Why? Because Liberia is a failed state.

Medical emergencies are what they are: EMERGENCIES when every second and minute can mean life or death. Strokes, heart attacks, critical conditions resulting from auto accidents, trauma, gunshot wounds, assault with knives, cutlasses all require immediate emergency medical attention. But some of our “smart” Harvard and DeVry educated politicians and presidents seem not to realize this because they seek medical treatment in Ghana, South Africa, Europe, and in the United States each year with our tax dollars. The behavior of failed state leaders.

Instead of investing the money, they spend abroad seeking medical care, why not invest the same money in upgrading JFK with the same medical science and equipment and pay our doctors and healthcare workers decent wages? But in failed states, leaders are oblivion to change, blinded by greed, they lack vision. President George Weah wasted money on his #14 Military Hospital in Scheffling when the money could have gone to upgrading JFK Hospital. Why were VP Jewel Taylor and Mobutu Nyenpan taken to Weah’s #14 Military Hospital that he touts so much as modern containing everything medical related?

When was the last time you saw, for example, a US ambassador, any foreign ambassador or their diplomatic staffers at JFK Hospital for a simple blood pressure checkup? Because they have modern medical clinics within their embassy compound with trained medical experts.

This is not my first time sounding this emergency warning and it will not be my last time….until the next unnecessary, preventable death occurs. RIP Minister Nyenpan. He died so young because of our failed state condition. Just a thought and not a sermon.

Jerry Wehtee Wion 
Washington, DC, USA

[email protected]