LIBERIA: MOJA Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh

Tuesday, 21 March, 2023: The Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) was established on March 21, 1973 by University lecturers, students and workers led by Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh.

The purpose of the movement was to fight for justice on the African continent and for the African people around the world.

Consequently, it supported the liberation struggles in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola as well as Guinea Bissau and the Spanish Sahara.

MOJA established strong link with the Marcus Garvey movement in Liberia, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) by creating awareness of the struggle of the black people in the diaspora through an evening school established by the organization, which was run by MOJA members led by the Late Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer as its principal.

In the early days of the movement high officials of the Government of Liberia led by President William R. Tolbert joined MOJA because they supported the freedom of the African people from colonial rule.

However, when MOJA began to create awareness among the Liberian people about the similarity between the injustice perpetrated by the one party state and apartheid in South Africa, the members of MOJA that were members of the True Whig Party Government stopped being active members of MOJA.

Motivated by the work of MOJA, a group of Liberians in the diaspora established a Liberian political movement in 1975 called the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL).

PAL established a newspaper in the United States of America, referred to as the Revolution which was circulated in Liberia through the Movement for Justice in Africa.

In the late 1970s MOJA helped workers to negotiate with employers, largely rubber plantation and mining companies, about improving their wages and other conditions of service.

The movement also assisted workers who were illegally dismissed to seek redress at the Ministry of Labor (then the Ministry of Labor, Youth and Sports).

Additionally, over the years the movement has helped Liberian youth and student movements to build their intellectual capacity in raising national and international issues affecting Liberia and the rest of Africa.

Further, MOJA worked through Susuku and other grassroots organizations to alleviate poverty and food insecurity in Liberia by building the entrepreneurial skills of small business owners, mainly street sellers and market women and helped farmers, mainly swamp rice farmers by giving them technical support to improve their yields.

One example of MOJA’s work with farmers through SUSUKU was the Putu Development Corporation (PUDICO), in Putu, Grand Gedeh County.

MOJA further assisted civil society activists in their legal battles with powerful forces in Society. One example was the case filed by Finance Minister Stephen Tolbert against Albert Porte for his publication of a pamphlet entitled: Liberianization or Gobbling Business.

MOJA established a support group for the defense of Albert Porte called the Citizens of Liberia in Defense of Albert Porte (COLIDAB).

In their struggle for justice, members of MOJA, over the years, suffered in the hands of the Government of Liberia. The first of such experiences was the arbitrary dismissal of Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh from the University of Liberia in 1974 and Dew Tuan Wleh Mason subsequently from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1979, many members of MOJA, including Dr. Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Commany Wesseh, Siapha Kamara, John H. Stewart, George Klay Kieh, James Logan, James Yarsiah, James Fromayan, Dusty Wolokollie, amongst others were arrested following the popular protest of the Liberian people against the increment in the price of rice.

Many comrades of MOJA lost their lives in the struggle for rights and rice in Liberia.

Their deaths must not and cannot go in vein. The struggle for rights and rice must continue unabatedly. Following the military coup on Saturday, 12 April, 1980 MOJA and all other political organizations were banned along with the True Whip Party by the military government.

That ban had a devastating effect on MOJA, because the movement has not regained the level of vibrancy it had before it was banned.

On its 50th anniversary, MOJA says its struggle for justice has been, largely, successful as the liberation struggle in Southern Africa has ended, Liberia does not have a one party rule anymore and although the challenge of good governance has become more difficult, the political space is open to all Liberians to form political parties, civil society organizations and to express themselves on national issues.

MOJA says the new phase of the struggle for justice in Africa is to struggle for free, fair and transparent elections on the one hand and good governance on the other.

In this regard, MOJA urges all Liberians to be the observers of all processes leading to the 2023 general and presidential elections in order to ensure that in the end, the results reflect the true intentions of the voters.

A statement issued by the National Secretariat today, March 21, 2023 said.

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