Blah Bites Tongue: “I Was Forced to Testify”
Former President Moses Z. Blah has said that he’s feeling the blame for his predecessor Charles Taylor’s guilty verdict handed down last Thursday, 26 April after his five-year trial at The Hague.
Many Liberians, mainly supporters of the former President, blamed Blah for his testimonies before chamber II of the UN- backed Special Court of Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague.
But Blah, in a furious reaction, told the BBC on Monday that he should not be held responsible.
“Though I am feeling guilty of the verdict, but what can I do? My testimony was not to prosecute Taylor."
"Therefore, I should not be blamed,” Blah clarified, claiming to have been threatened with indictment by the court if he refused at the time to honor the invitation.
“Being that I was threatened with an arrest warrant, I was forced to go and testified, but not at my own freed mind. Because Taylor was my boss and a revolutionary brother,” the former president noted.
However, Blah said in spite of the verdict he can never divorce Taylor. “I cannot forsake Taylor as a human being and brother.” On 2 August, 2003 Taylor handed over authority of the country to Blah before going into exiled in Nigeria.
Blah was President of Liberia for 3 months (August, September & October) before handing over power to the transitional Head of State Charles Gyude Bryant. Before coming to prominent, Blah was an auto mechanic, working with LAMCO in his home county, Nimba in the north of the country.
He went into exile as a result of the 1983 ‘Nimba Raid’ under the military regime of the late Master sergeant Samuel Doe, and was later recruited in the Ivory Coast and onto Libya for training from where he became one of the Special Forces with the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), the military wing of the US-based Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia.
The ACDL was a political organization established by exiled Liberian politician in the United States to battle the regime of M/S Doe, who they perceived as an obstacle to democracy in Liberia. Moses Blah was trained alongside other exiled Liberians at Tarjura military training camp in Libya in the 80s.
He and others, including current senator Prince Y. Johnson, alias Prince Tonic Water, led by Mr. Taylor launched the ACDL/NPFL rebellion on 24 December, 1989 against the late Samuel Doe’s regime which occasioned untold destruction and a loss of about three hundred thousand lives in Liberia, including children.