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09.06.2021 Rejoinder

How Toxic Rodney Sieh Is Contaminating Journalism in Liberia

A Rejoinder To Frontpage Africa’s Editorial: “LIBERIA: The Urey Mystique In The Opposition Collaboration”
By James Kemokai- MSc, MBA
Rodney Sieh speaking at Ryerson University in Canada. Picture: SUPPLIED
LISTEN JUN 9, 2021
Rodney Sieh speaking at Ryerson University in Canada. Picture: SUPPLIED

Journalism is considered a noble profession in the realm of epistemologies or professional fields of studies, the world over. It is a profession that ultimately thrives on probity, morality, truth-telling, integrity, and equity. Good and ethical Journalists against all odds unyielding endeavor to expose the excesses and anomalies within every spectrum of society with the righteous intent to make society a better and just place. Journalism is a crusading profession that fights valorously against injustice, inequalities, oppression, bigotry, corruption, poverty, and other strings of societal abnormalities that can potentially paralyze a nation and render its people unsuccessful and despair.

That's is why Michael Parenti, the Italian-American political theorist pontificated that only men with a sound ethical compass and moral incline must be permitted to practice journalism in any given country. Parenti further stated that Journalism is a significant and indispensable profession in many respects, and a nation without a wholesomely functioning, responsible, ethical, effective, and efficient press corp, is doomed, to say the least. Parenti's powerful perspectives about the relevance and nobility of the journalism profession succinctly argue the point that the journalism profession is not a calling for toxic, unethical, uncouth, reckless, embedded,

disingenuous, and dissonant character like Rodney Seih and his kind. In short, this is not a profession for people with woeful character defects to venture into. And if we ever discover such ridiculous character of people wandering and marauding the vineyard of this noble journalism profession we must not hesitate nor compromise in ferociously exposing them. Rodney Sieh is one of the menacing monsters impeding the forward march of this country by sadly hiding under the cover of the journalism to sow seeds of discord and ferments crisis among leaders of Liberia, a country still reeling from the blistering consequences of fifteen years of a foolish bloodbath that reportedly claimed the precious lives of about 250 million of its citizens and shattered its infrastructure valued in billions of dollars.

Accordingly, this rejoinder to Rodney Sieh’s poorly written, fundamentally flawed, obnoxious, pointless, and erroneous editorial would essentially engender to accomplish two things: 1.) To unmask and fiercely chastise the rascal and dishonorable Journalist Rodney Sieh, owner of the fading and unethical Frontpage Africa Newspaper. 2.) To illustrate a fair and factual comparison between Mr. Benoni Urey, political Leader of the All Liberian Party or ALP, and Mr.

Alexander Benedict Cummings of the Alternative National Congress or ANC.

Who is Rodney Sieh?

Rodney Sieh is an utter disgrace and disdain to the noble journalism profession. Sieh and his fading and unscrupulous FrontPage Africa newspaper are glaring contrast to the sacred precepts and canon of the fine journalism profession. Sieh is a compromised and embedded journalist who is known for taking bribes and gifts from every President he has encountered, government officials, political leaders, Business Executives, and institutions as well as anybody that is

financially capable of greasing his greedy pockets. He is currently a card-caring member of the ANC and the Chief Communications Consultant to Mr. Alex Cummings. Imagine an Editor of supposedly Liberia’s leading newspaper (FPA) holding membership in a political party and providing consultancy for a presidential candidate. Where is his sense of ethical independence and moral judgment? Rodney Sieh does not practice Journalism, he instead practices “Pen-

Gangsterism”.

For the record, Rodney Sieh has never been an independent and ethical journalist. He is simply one of the toxic "join-the-list" who continues to contaminate the journalism profession to the detriment of Liberia. His lust for money would lead him to the dining table of the devil. His eagerness to ‘get-rich-quick’ and live in grandiosity would lead him into compromises to the peril of himself.

We are aware that Rodney could not go after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her children like he furiously did to some officials of her government because Ellen paid him handsomely not to report or expose their blatant and callous looting and plundering of Liberia’s resources. We know some officials of the Ellen administration who were wrapped in streams of excesses but were not published by the front Page Africa newspaper because those officials had Rodney Sieh, the ‘money-minded rascal’ on their monthly secret payroll. For example; did you see the BOYS at the Ministry of Finance in the pages of the FPA? Nope!Except for Sabastian Moah who refused to dole out some money to Rodney. Besides the huge sum of money

Rodney was dashed by corrupt Ellen Jonson Sirleaf and her band of vampire officials, we are reliable aware that he was rewarded with countless travel opportunities with Ellen and some of her top officials. Ellen and her officials fell out of favor with Sieh during the final days of her administration when they were no longer dishing out the stolen money to him. In the government circle, it was an open secret that Rodney Sieh was netting bribes from the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) headed by Robert Allen Sirleaf the nefarious and notorious son of Johnson Sirleaf. He was also collecting monthly payments from the National Port Authority (NPA), Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), the Ministry of Finance, Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), and other lucrative government functionaries. He collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Ellen administration for doing absolutely nothing order than casting a blind eye on their looting of the country. In effect, Rodney Sieh and his fading and unethical FPA newspaper crudely connived and colluded with the Ellen Administration to misgovern Liberia, deprived, subjugate, and impoverished its people.

It can be recalled in 2018, President George Weah in his first meeting with the Liberian media held at the Foreign Ministry, publicly disgraced, exposed, and humiliated this very Rodney Sieh when he stunningly revealed that the Frontpage Africa's owner and Managing Editor collected $10,000 United States dollars to do some publicity for him (Weah). But Weah expressed shock and dismay that Sieh did not perform the job he was paid for but would rather muster the audacity to embark on a malicious expedition by writing negative stories against him in the Frontpage Africa newspaper. Media executives in the room were spellbound by the startling revelation of a man they hail as an honorable and forthright professional journalist. This tells you the extent to which Sieh is dishonorable,

disreputable, vicious, malicious, and irresponsible. In the first place, why did he collect money from George Weah during the election when he opposed the Presidential bid of Weah from the very onset? What a shame! This is certainly a man without ethos and bereft of integrity. It is criminal (Theft of service) to collect money to do a piece of job for someone and you willfully refuse to do the job and would turn your sword on the very man whose money you have collected. This sheer wickedness! Who does such shenanigans? Only a Rodney Sieh, the disgusting money-grubbing journalist or "join-the

–list". For Rodney, it is all about the money. It is about what he savages within a given time, not about the country and the plight of the struggling Liberian people. In his dissonant thinking and an insatiable taste for material wealth, journalism is the surest way to amass wealth. Sadly unfortunate for Liberia, the country this phony guy is believed to be an acclaimed journalist.

Now, what is his issue with Mr. Benoni Urey? For some time now Rodney Sieh has raised his sword at Urey—dedicating pages of his fading and poorly written FrontPage Africa newspaper to Urey in condescending and uncharitable manners. He has been running berating, blistering and bruising commentaries, features, and stories about Urey political life, how “he earned ill-gotten wealth” amongst other libelous and preposterous conspiracy theories. But what baffles me is that over time his hate and resentment for Benoni Urey has ballooned to the zenith, to the point he is now dedicating his editorial to denigrating and bullying Mr. Urey, the political leader of the ALP, the political party this writer is a full-fledged member of.

With no doubt in my mind he is doing this to the liking and delight of Alexander Cummings, for we are aware that besides his membership with ANC and his close ties to Cummings, the Coke Cola executive- cum-Presidential Aspirant is heavily funding the FrontPage Africa

newspaper at the moment. The FPA covers every move of Cummings and does PR for him. In principal the FPA has endorsed the Cummings presidential bid and is only waiting for 2023 to announce it should he appear on the ballot any which way. Well, nothing is wrong with that insofar they supporting him on conviction and not because he is heavily funding the FPA. It is up to Sieh and his fading FPA. However, what we categorically detest and will not tolerate at any inch is the inordinate degree of hatred and bracing insolence being meted out against Mr. Urey by Rodney Sieh and thereby using his paper to publish stupid and groundless assertions against our dear Leader and friend who has well earned his stripes.

Interestingly, Urey is no stranger to Rodney Sieh. I am reliably told that in the early days of FrontPage Africa in Liberia, Urey graciously assisted Sieh to obtain a printing press for the FPA. I wonder what might have gone wrong down the line. But we know Rodney has no permanent friend. His relationship with people is temporary and contingent on money—how long can one liquidate the wallet of Rodney will determine the longevity of one’s friendship with. Money is what it is for Sieh!

Urey and Cumming, who is more accomplished?

In his uncontrollable and unjustified hatred for Urey particularly because Urey and the ALP are clear and forthright on their unbending support to ensuring that Mr. Joseph Nyuma Boakai heads the much-anticipated CPP ticket on grounds that he is the most experienced of the four leaders of the CPP and that Boakai has the integrity and wherewithal to ably govern Liberia, Rodney Sieh musters the temerity to write this annoying trash of an editorial;

“THE Coalition of Political Parties (CPP’s) fractious political marriage

has approached the breaking point on several occasions over the all-

important question of who the standard-bearer will be against President George Weah in 2023.

SOMETIMES it has been a clash of personalities, as a successful businessman and ANC head Alexander Cummings butted heads with a less successful businessman and ALP head Benoni Urey demonstrated when they feuded in February.

ON OTHER OCCASIONS, Differing priorities have produced tensions. The crux of the issue, however, is who can secure the mandate to run against Weah. And it seems that some would-be candidates need to get over their delusions of grandeur, and quickly, if the CPP is to achieve unity in time.

THOUGH PAIRINGS have gone in and out of fashion on social media over recent months, the race for standard-bearer now appears to be between Former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party and Alexander Cummings.

THE LEAST LIKELY of the four options, All Liberia Party's Benoni Urey, appears to be trying to gauge which frog is most likely to carry him across the river to the Executive Mansion, or perhaps to a prestigious position in a new government.

UREY HAD PUBLICLY held that Joseph Boakai is his candidate, as long as the former Vice President was the presumptive standard-bearer.

AMID A STRONG challenge from Cummings, however, Urey has maintained a telling silence, even as his friends and colleagues began declaring for Cummings and the ANC. He’s not yet ready to jump ship, but he has also failed to defend his supposed first choice for president.

MEANWHILE, despite publicly arguing with Cummings, Urey is quietly making it clear his options are open.

IT IS NO SECRET that Urey got his start in politics and in business on Charles Taylor’s coattails. On his own, he has failed to make much headway.

DESPITE HIS BOASTS that he could beat any of the candidates for president in the first round, Urey suffered a humiliating defeat in 2017. It was proof he needs a strong elder to follow to be successful.

THOUGH BOAKAI certainly offers age and experience, signs of strength have been scarce. If he does turn to another option, that individual would be wise to remember how quickly Urey abandoned his previous benefactors.”

In this poorly written gibberish by Sieh, he astoundingly describes Urey as a "less successful businessman” but crowns Cummings as a "Successful Businessman". Are you kidding me? Has Rodney Sieh’s bromance or romance with Cummings driven him frenzy crazy?

Order than working for Coke Cola where every manager works with an approved template and not on account of his/her ingenuity, what business does Cummings own and has run successfully? None that we know of? Unlike Urey who jointly established and operated the largest GSM Company in Liberia and still maintains a good share in the Lone Star Cell after several years. He owns and operates the largest Chicken poultry at the Wulki Farm located in Careysbury for several years. He owns and operates over 500 acres Farm of multiple cash crops in Batala, Bong County for several years now. He also owns and operates 2000 acres of rubber farm in Konola, Margibi County. Urey is arguably the largest private producer of rubber in Liberia and it is important to note herein that the value of rubber has whopped on the world market, which means Urey is generating huge earnings from his massive investment in rubber. He has the largest real estate in Liberia with valuable properties in prime locations

across Monserrado County to include Mamba Point, Sinkor, Tubman Boulevard, Congo, Paynesville, the emerging Marshal City, Careysburg City, and other properties in other parts of the country. He is earning millions from his Real Estate every year. These are all booming businesses he has operated for close to twenty years now. Do we know Cummings Businesses, Rodney Sieh? Do we know from where Cummings earns his money besides what he earned from Coke Cola? Can Rodney list Cumming’s businesses and earnings in his next Editorial of cheap gossips?

In this gossip tantrum penned by Sieh he vaguely suggests that Urey is uncertain about maintaining his support for Boakai on grounds that he has been silent about where he stands lately with regards to the CPP ticket. This flawed theory certainly flows from the lens of Cummings and it sounds comical, to say the least. Liberians know Urey is a bold and direct guy. He doesn't bite his tongue when it comes to expressing his political viewpoints. He doesn’t play games in his politicking. Urey has since been clear like a northern star about his support to Boakai and has never uttered anything to the contrary. He is an honorable leader who thrives on integrity and patriotism.

His brilliant daughter who is a political-rising star Telia Urey has been quite bold and overt with her support to Boakai. She expresses that daily on her social media pages and platforms. How come Sieh and his political Leader Cummings do not see that or are they experiencing optical degeneracy? Urey publicly goes with Boakai at every function. He meets and strategizes with Boakai at least three times a week. More often than not, the pair visit each other more frequently. They are strong allies and their political relationship has grown into a family bond.

Urey is a serious political leader who talks only when it becomes necessary and relevant to do so. He is not like grieving and desperate

Cummings who is running all around the place like a decapitated chicken looking for relevance—and scavenging radio stations with his redundant and flawed arguments.

Rodney Sieh in his usual hypocrisy and dishonesty attempts to elevate his political Leader Alex Cummings over Benoni Urey as a more accomplished man and underrates Urey as the least of the four Leaders within the CPP. This is not only untrue but hilarious to the core. Was Rodney hard on some substance when he wrote this silly editorial? The fact is glaring as to who is more accomplished of the two men. Politically, Ben Urey is more established than Urey. We know his numbers in the 2017 election were slashed down by Ellen and her gang of fraudsters, as they did to Joseph Boakai. This was done on purpose, to devalue Urey’s stakes and relevance in the power politics of Liberia. There is no way Cummings who was obscured or little known in the politics of Liberia and couldn’t have won Maryland County his supposed native home town could have gotten more votes than Urey. The fraud was clear. Ellen wanted to embolden Cummings whose campaign she partly funded. Three years on, Cummings continues to prove his critics right that he is nothing but an overrated political weakling who commands no support from the people of Maryland County and does have a political base. He was asked recently by OK F.M. Clarence Jackson about his base, he fumbled by saying Liberia is his base. How? It is a given in politics everywhere around the world, that every politician seeking the highest office in the land must have a constituency, as they say, “all politics is local”.

We must also indicate here for the record that Urey envisioned the ALP and ideologically established the ALP and made it a serious political party, which makes him the true vision bearer of the ALP unlike “Big Money-boy” Alex Cummings who arrogantly came to the

shores of Liberia and purchased the ANC and its standard-bearer slot. He knows nothing about how the Party was established and did not experience the pinch and complexity of forming the ANC. Chairman Gould and other funding fathers know what it takes to establish a political party. There is a clear distinction of political experience and maturity that stands out here. Rodney Sieh knows that but as a Cummings avowed surrogate, he would pretend not to see this vivid distinction.

Then we come to experience in government. Cummings, the Political Leader of Rodney Sieh and funder of the fading and unethical FrontPage Africa has ZERO experience in government, whereas Urey has vast and rich experience in the convoluted craft of government. Cummings has never served in a Director position in government but Urey has served in the highest echelon of Government—Former President of the National Housing Bank, Former Maritime Commissioner, Deputy Director for Training and Planning for the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) including serving on several government boards and trustees.

Then we move to education. Benoni Urey has two solid masters with distinction from the revered and prestigious University of Southern California (USC). He obtained a Master in Planning and another Master in Public Finance. He obtained his Bachelor's degree In Chemistry and General Science from the Cuttington University College (CUC). Whereas, Cummings has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics from the Northern Illinois University and earned an MBA in Finance from Clark-Atlanta University. The two academic profiles here clearly state who is more educated. And by the way, both men attended CUC but two years into his studies, Cummings matriculated to the USA.

With these available and irrefutable facts, It marvels me how Rodney Sieh the toxic journalist can muster the effrontery to pin Urey down as an underachiever and a less accomplished man. How delusional can this guy be? Has politics blinded the eyes of Rodney Sieh to the glaring realities? Has the clamor for power and his quest to become a Press Secretary in a Cummings-led government turned him into a consummate liar and cynic? What is he embarrassing and hurting Cummings? Why is he picking a fight with Urey on parochial grounds? Cummings must be fully aware that his bromance with this money-minded Rodney Sieh is like riding on the back of the tiger, you would one day end up in the mouth of the tiger. Rodney does not represent good and ethical journalism and he is one of those who are desecrating and bastardizing the journalism profession. Why is Rodney Sieh sowing seeds of discord amongst the leaders of the CPP? And why is Mr. Cummings permitting this man to do such counterproductive propaganda in his name? Is Cummings seeking a fight with Urey? If that is why he has embarked through Rodney Sieh then it is a misadventure and the consequences thereof would be ominous. What's the logic in picking a fight with a man who has nothing to lose? Urey is not running for President in 2023 and has so much to his advantage to fight back and inflate severe bruises on Cummings.

I am calling on Mr. Cummings to call off his attack dog in Rodney Sieh or we will turn on him in a manner he would not imagine. Rodney is nothing but a toxic guy who uses his pen for money, but he must be warned that his attack on our Leader Benoni Urey will be repelled in proportional measure, and moving forward, every time he attacks Urey, we will go after Cummings in a dreadful and bloody manner.

Enough said! We are watching!

By: James Kemokai- MSc, MBA

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