Thomas Weh Syen

Last updated

Thomas Weh Syen (died August 1981) was a Liberian soldier and politician. He was a leading member of the group of enlisted men that overthrow the country's government in an April 1980 military coup d'état, and accordingly he became one of the leaders of the new military junta, the People's Redemption Council. In the wake of the coup d'état, he took the title of major general in the Armed Forces of Liberia and became the co-chairman of the PRC; as a result, he was the immediate deputy of Commander-in-Chief Samuel Doe and the Vice Head of State. [1] From the earliest days of the PRC, Doe and Syen clashed; testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 revealed that their disagreements began during the coup itself, when Weh Syen and Doe forcibly disagreed about the disposal of money that had been stolen from the home of the newly murdered President William R. Tolbert, Jr. [2] While a member of the PRC, he was partly responsible for educational affairs, [1] but his time on the Council was short-lived. After allegedly attempting to overthrow Doe in a second coup, [3] five PRC members, including Weh Syen, were shot in August 1981 on Doe's orders. [4] Weh Syen was tried in a court-martial at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia. He was replaced as Vice Head of State by PRC Speaker J. Nicholas Podier. [5]

Liberia republic in West Africa

Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest. It covers an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi) and has a population of around 4,700,000 people. English is the official language and over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups who make up more than 95% of the population. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.

Coup détat Sudden deposition of a government; illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus

A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

The People's Redemption Council (PRC) was a governmental body that ruled Liberia during the early 1980s. It was established after the 1980 Liberian coup d'état wherein Samuel Doe seized power on 12 April 1980. The Council, with Doe as its chairman, promised a complete overhaul of Liberia's society, economy, and political system and the replacement of the corruption of previous regimes with respect for the rights of the Liberian people. The PRC had 17 founding members and was later expanded to 28. The PRC initially functioned as the executive and legislative body in Doe's government. However, over time Doe consolidated power as a central executive. In 1984, the PRC was dissolved and replaced by the Interim National Assembly.

He was the father of a son, Thomas Weh Syen, Jr., who died soon after his father — on 24 December 1981, the 5½-year-old boy was hit by a car while he was crossing a street near his home. [6]

Related Research Articles

History of Liberia aspect of history

Liberia is a country in West Africa which was founded, established, colonized, and controlled by citizens of the United States and ex-Caribbean slaves as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants. It is one of only two sovereign countries in the world that were started by citizens and ex-Caribbean slaves of a political power as a colony for former slaves of the same political power, the other being Sierra Leone, established by Great Britain. Settlement of former slaves was organised by the American Colonization Society (ACS). The mortality rate of these settlers was the highest in accurately recorded human history. Of the 4,571 emigrants who arrived in Liberia from 1820 to 1843, only 1,819 survived until 1843.

Samuel Doe 21st President of Liberia

Samuel Kanyon Doe was a Liberian politician who served as the Liberian leader from 1980 to 1990, first as a military leader and later as a politician. Then Master Sergeant Doe served as chairman of the People's Redemption Council and de facto head of state after staging a violent coup d'etat in 1980; he killed President William R. Tolbert, Jr., and executed much of the True Whig Party leadership. Samuel Doe in turn was murdered by his conqueror, Prince Johnson, one time ally of Charles Taylor, in an internationally televised display.

President of Liberia Wikimedia list article

The President of the Republic of Liberia is the head of state and government of Liberia. The president serves as the leader of the executive branch and as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

William Tolbert President of Liberia

William Richard Tolbert Jr. was the 20th President of Liberia from 1971 until 1980, when he was killed in a coup d'état led by Samuel Doe.

The First Liberian Civil War was an internal conflict in Liberia from 1989 until 1997. The conflict killed about 250,000 people and eventually led to the involvement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the United Nations. The peace did not last long, and in 1999 the Second Liberian Civil War broke out.

Thomas Quiwonkpa (1955-1985), a Gio from Nimba County, was a Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and founder of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia.

1985 Liberian general election

General elections were held in Liberia on 15 October 1985. These were the first elections since the 12 April 1980 military coup that brought Samuel Doe to power. During 1984, a new draft Constitutional referendum was approved, which allowed a 58 member civilian and military combined Interim National Assembly, headed by President Samuel Doe. The ban on political parties were lifted and four parties, namely, the President's National Democratic Party of Liberia, Liberian Action Party, Unity Party and Liberia Unification Party were in fray.

Gabriel Bacchus Matthews was a Liberian politician. He is considered one of the leaders in developing a multi-party system in Liberia, long dominated by the True Whig Party. He founded the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) in 1975, the first active opposition party since the demise of the Republican Party.

Chea Job Cheapoo, Sr. is a Liberian politician who served as the 15th Chief Justice of Liberia from July 1987 until his impeachment and removal from office on December 2 of that year.

William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman Jr. is a Liberian politician and member of the Reformed United Liberia Party (RULP). He is the son of William Tubman, who was President of Liberia from 1943 to 1971, and the son-in-law of his father's successor, William R. Tolbert Jr., whose daughter Wokie he married.

Vice President of Liberia

The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia is the second-highest executive official in Liberia, and one of only two elected executive offices along with the President. The Vice President is elected on the same ticket with the president to a six-year term. In the event of the death, resignation or removal of the president, the Vice President ascends to the presidency, which he or she holds for the remainder of their predecessor's term. The Vice President also serves as the President of the Senate and may cast a vote in the event of a tie. The current Vice President is Jewel Taylor, serving under President George Weah. She began her term on January 22, 2018.

Bennie Dee Warner is a Liberian politician and clergyman. He served as the country's Vice President from 1977 to 1980. Black Marks on White Paper, a documentary based on the life of Bennie D. Warner was produced in 2013. The documentary chronicles the life of Bishop Warner from his early years as a native Liberian, his education, his rise to leadership in the church and nation and his nomination and election to the vice-presidency of the Republic in 1977. The film tells the story of the military coup in 1980, which led to his decision to become a missionary to America for the last 35 years. Bob Hager was the producer/Director of the documentary under auspices of Tiny Seed Films.

Cecil Dennis Liberian politician

Charles Cecil Dennis was a Liberian political figure who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs under President William Tolbert from 1973 until the coup d'état by Samuel Doe on April 12, 1980. Along with other members of Tolbert's Cabinet, he was promptly put on trial and executed by firing squad ten days after the coup.

Constitution of Liberia

The Constitution of Liberia is the supreme law of the Republic of Liberia. The current constitution, which came into force on 6 January 1986, replaced the Liberian Constitution of 1847, which had been in force since the independence of Liberia. Much like the 1847 Constitution, the Constitution creates a system of government heavily modeled on the Federal Government of the United States.

Jackson Fiah Doe was a Liberian politician in the late twentieth century.

Fallah Varney was a Liberian soldier and one of the leaders of the People's Redemption Council, the military junta that ruled the country after a 1980 coup d'état. Born on 7 April 1957 at Korniadu in Lofa County, Varney attended schools run by the Firestone plantation. After finishing high school at the Charlotte Tolbert Memorial Academy in 1972, he enlisted in the Armed Forces of Liberia in 1974. He was promoted from private to private first class in 1975 and to corporal in 1979.

J. Nicholas Podier was a Liberian soldier and government official in the 1980s. He was one of the members of the group of soldiers that overthrew the country's government on 12 April 1980. When the soldiers formed themselves into the People's Redemption Council in order to govern the country, he became the co-chairman of the council and thus the country's Vice Head of State. In the aftermath of the government's overthrow, he was proclaimed a general, although his precise title is unclear; some sources called him a brigadier general and others a major general. He died violently in the wake of what former PRC chairman and later President Samuel K. Doe called an attempted coup d'état. Doe's government announced that Podier had died in a gun battle on one of the country's borders, although other sources questioned Doe's claims and suggested that he had been tortured to death in one of Doe's many attempts to consolidate his power.

Frank Emmanuel Tolbert was a Liberian politician and brother of President William R. Tolbert, Jr. The oldest son of William R. Tolbert Sr., national chairman of the ruling True Whig Party, he grew up in Bensonville, attended Zion Praise Baptist Church, graduated from Liberia College, and became involved in politics relatively early in life. As his family became more and more closely connected to the family of Supreme Court Justice William V.S. Tubman, Frank began to become prominent: when Tubman ran for President in 1943, he was rumoured to be Tubman's first choice for Vice President, although his younger brother William was eventually chosen, perhaps because of Frank's unpredictable moods and violent temper.

1980 Liberian coup détat

The 1980 Liberian coup d'état happened on April 12, 1980, when President William Tolbert was overthrown and murdered in a violent coup. The coup was staged by an indigenous Liberian faction of the Armed Forces of Liberia under the command of Master Sergeant Samuel Doe. Following a period of transition Doe would go on to rule the country throughout the 1980s until his murder on 9 September 1990 during the First Liberian Civil War.

References

  1. 1 2 "Gen. Weh Syen Chides Students". The Spectrum 1981-06-24: 1/8.
  2. TRC Hearing: Late Prez Tolbert's Daughter Adds More, The Liberian Journal, 2008-06-11. Accessed 2012-06-09.
  3. Mutwol, Julius. Peace Agreements and Civil Wars in Africa. Amherst: Cambria, 2009, 51.
  4. "Liberia: Moving Up in the Ranks", Time 1981-09-14. Accessed 2012-06-09.
  5. "Weh-Syen Weeps?" The Express 1981-08-12: 1/8.
  6. "Tragedy Hits Weh Syen's Family Again". Daily Observer 1982-01-12: 12.