The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Legacy Of Charles Walker Brumskine

By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)

Death is considered as something that is “inevitable.” That is, it is that which no one has control over, as it is beyond the control of man. It is because of the uncertainty of life that the Holy Book said, “work while it is day because no man knows when night cometh.“Night” for me, denotes the unexpected, the unanticipated or death. But what matters is the life one lived and the kind of legacy that would live on from one generation to the other.

It can be recalled that during the funeral of the great JULIUS CAESAR, one of his friends, Mark Anthony said, “the evil a man does lives after him, and the good is often interred with his bones.” Mark Antony was alluding to the fact that evil deeds in history are often more easily remembered than the good ones.

 It is believed that one of the purposes of Mark Antony’s speech is to mitigate any evils that Caesar may have committed while highlighting the good that he did. Additionally, it is said that a “legacy also leaves behind the story of a person so they are not forgotten.”

But today, I would do the reverse of this by saying “the evil man does lives after him, and that the good even lives after him and is not interred with his bones.” This is where the issue of legacy comes so that the positive contributions of people, like the late Cllr. Brumskine, “are not forgotten.”

As it is said “a legacy is a part of a person that lives on long after that person has passed.” And so today, I want to reflect on a part of the legacy of the fallen renowned Liberian lawyer and politician, the late Charles Walker Brumskine, who over a year ago, departed this world. It was on November 20th last year when the nation went into shock over the news of the death of this son of the soil who in his short political life, left a great legacy.

I met this learned counsellor many years ago when he had his office  in the first “Glass House” known as Euro Bank on Broad Street, near Crown Hill when he asked me to do a story to save the then Hotel Africa from the hands of vandals and hooligans who at the time were massively looting the building. Regrettably, his efforts failed as the building was already looted, as it is visibly seen today.

Obviously that assignment built a strong bond of friendship between the two of us, like the unlike poles of magnets. Fortunately for me, his partnership with one of my New Kru Town brothers, Cllr. Oswald Natu Twe, heightened this bond of friendship, as it was like a consanguineous relationship, as it has transcended the issue of friends, to that of brothers.

Our relationship saw a new dimension when he decided to get into politics, and fortunately emerged as Senator for Grand Bassa County on the ticket of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) and subsequently became President Pro-temp of the Liberian Senate. While in that post, a misunderstanding ensued between him and some higher-ups in the party because he wanted an open Senate.

But this was to the displeasure of some individuals in the party, as he was not working at the whims and caprices of some “BIG BOYS” in the Party, but the Liberian people by also promoting transparency and accountability.  This disagreement created a cat-and-mouse relationship, something for which he was constrained to quit the post and later resigned as a Senator.

Months later, he fled the country for security reasons, as it is said that ’it is better to say there goes the living coward than to say there lies the dead hero,” anything any rational person would do considering the FIRST LAW OF NATURE.

While out of the country, he was seen as one of the possible candidates to confront the then President Taylor in the next elections. As a result of this, group of people, mostly young men and women, organized what was known as “FRIENDS OF BRUMSKINE” to set the stage for his return to participate in the presidential election.

 Years later he returned to the country and formed the Liberty Party (LP) as its founding father and also as its Standard Bearer. Initially, he associated with late Teacher Gabriel Kpolleh’s Liberian Unification Party (LUP).

But because of political chicanery, deceit and hypocrisy, he left and later formed the LP.

some political- Benoni Urey, Alexander B. Cummings, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai and the late Charles Walker Brumskine

But the conflict at the time thwarted the democratic process, as the planned elections could not take place. However, when things subsided after few years, he contested, but was not successful, coming third in the process. The rest is history.

But as we sincerely reflect on the life of this great son of the soil, what is of concern is his political legacy.  As we are told, legacy is the story of a person so they are not forgotten, as I try to do in this eulogy of my fallen friend, what we can remember him for.

To make long matters short, his desire to operate an open Senate, which is germane in any democracy and is also an antithesis of surreptitiousness, as it would put the people in the know of the working of their lawmakers elected by them to seek their interest.

The late Brumskine’s desire was never again to reintroduce or resurrect the old system of “SO SAY ONE SO SAY ALL.  Disgustingly, this was a system that discouraged scrutiny of anything from the Executive Branch or prevented lawmakers from scrupulously and critically looking at issues from the Executive; it was like a taboo.

It was for this the late BRUMSKINE encouraged the open system so that whatever comes from the Executive and others would be reviewed properly. Unimaginably, this good intention, which is in line with good tenets of democracy, was misunderstood, thus putting him at loggerheads with the incorrigibles in the NPP.

Besides, it was also intended not to just approve whatever came from the Executive Branch of Government, but to ensure that proper scrutiny was done whether it was confirmation hearing or the approval of contracts and agreements.

As a former presidential reporter, I am aware of instances in which the Presidents became infuriated over reports that some lawmakers, particularly some Senators were critical of presidential nominees. Some of the Presidents saw lawmakers as their stooges or protégés, as well as subservient that MUST always succumb to them or work under their whims and caprices. This was some of the undemocratic practices my good friend was trying to reform, or change for the betterment of the society, but was crucified, something for which he fled into exile.

Whatever the past situation, as we remember or memorialize him, let all of ensure that the desire for an open Senate would continue to discourage the old system that undermine transparency, accountability ,as well as good governance.

To my fallen friend, I say, well done that good and faithful servant; you have left your footprints on the sand of time; rest on.

To his family, especially his children, particularly his daughter, Charlene who I see in the shoes of her father, I say take solace in the Lord, as “THERE IS NO SORROW THAT HEAVEN CANNOT HEAL.”

Yes, as I suggested in the headline, he is gone, but not forgotten.

I Rest My Case.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.