Daniel Estrada Cassell, a man who was full of firing energy, courage, and determination sadly leaped on the dark side. Peace be upon him! Our hearts are painfully hurting and the grief over his loss is inconsolable. He was the founder and standard bearer of the People Liberation Party or PLP. On the platform of his nascent PLP, Cassell robustly established and equated himself in national politics and would become a phenomenon to reckon with in the abrasive and intricate polity of Liberia. His people-center style of politicking popularised him and his party in no time.
By: Robert Kpadeh, [email protected], Contributing Writer
Before he suddenly shuffled off the mortal coil, Cassell was a fierce if not hawkish critic of the George Weah-led government. He slammed the regime for the grand corruption in which it is coddled. He detested the misrule with fire and fury. He is on record stating that the regime was extremely unfit and utterly bereft to rule over Liberia for even a day. The CDC government is corrosively notorious and is only good for one thing, and that is looting the national treasury and enriching its officials to live garish lifestyles, said Cassell. He made these strong comments in several speeches at different programs in and out of Liberia. I know this because I wrote a few of Cassell’s speeches and press statements.
For his blistering yet just criticisms of the regime, Cassell was viciously targeted by the regime. His security detail was randomly summoned by the LNP and NSA for questioning over allegation of illegal possession of arms, Cassell personally indicated to me. He was unwarrantedly denied a license to bring in his helicopter despite meeting all aviation safety requirements. Until his shocking death, he tried unachievably to fly his helicopter to Liberia, his homeland. When news broke up that Cassell was arrested in the U.S. for alleged fraudulent business practices, the ruling establishment celebrated for weeks that one of Weah’s strong political rivals has hit rock bottom.
Cassell was of the view that a united opposition matched against Weah in the much anticipated and definable 2023 Presidential election would effectively oust Weah from the Liberian Presidency. He had countless discussions with Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai and other leaders of the opposition block regarding forging a united front to decisively crush Weah at the ballot box in October 2023. In the photo hereunder attached, he had visited the home of the Unity Party Standard Bearer, Vice President Boakai, and after their frank discussions about the state of governance in Liberia and the role of the opposition community, they posed for a picture for the record. Vice President Boakai was the only Liberian politician of the highest tier that attended the funeral of Cassell and visited his home to console his family as they grieve their irreparable loss. The government is not on record of extending condolences to the bereaved family, instead, officials and partisans of the CDC were gleeful and found solace in the death of the man whose party they are celebrating for pledging support to them.
Two months after Cassell’s death and interment, the PLP on yesterday pledged support to Weah’s second-term bid and joined the CDC. Looming over the move are rumors that the decision was influenced by cash and some lucrative offers. I cannot confirm or deny this claim as of yet, however, the ‘dollarization’ of politics in Liberia is common– principally because politics in Liberia is not ideological and institutionalized–suffice this to mean politics in Liberia is polarized, not premised on national purpose.
Howbeit, the move by Tapla Doe and others to take the PLP in a direction it has diametrically opposed since its founding has left political pundits and commentators wondering what inspired the stunning move. How will Cassell accept this in his grave, that his party has pledged support to the government that suppressed him to the core? Is he not rolling in his grave and sobbing profusely to see his PLP joins a government that celebrated his downfall in the U.S. and took solace rather than grief in his death? Can Tapla Doe tell us what has fundamentally changed in terms of better governance that would possibly be the reason for such a move? Can he tell us how the ideology of the PLP and that of the CDC align at this point? A month or two ago, Tapla Doe issued a demnig statement against misrule in Liberia and now pledging support to the very president he accused of bad governance and misrule. What has suddenly changed…hahaha? Politics is nothing but a mockery and sham in Liberia.
Indeed, Daniel Cassell is no more and his legacy is sadly plunged into the dustbin. And so it goes…