Rights Activist Questions President Weah’s Second Honorary Doctorate Degree, Writes AMEZU President

President George Weah (left) and the African Methodist University (AMEZU) President, Dr. Benjamin Larry…

Recently the African Methodist Zion University (AMEUZ) during this year’s convocation awarded the Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah an Honorary Doctorate Degree, a ceremony which has been questioned by Martin K.N. Kollie, Exiled based Liberian rights activist.

In a communication to the  President of the University, Dr. Benjamin Larty said it was difficult to comprehend the logic for the university’s action.

See the full text of the letter below

Letter to Dr. Benjamin D. Lartey, President of AME Zion University in Liberia

Martin K. N. Kollie

Exiled Liberian activist and former student leader

June 18, 2022

Dr. Benjamin D. Lartey

President

AME Zion University

116 Benson Street, Monrovia – Liberia

Ref. The Bastardization of Education in Liberia has to STOP and stop now.

Dear Dr. Lartey:

On June 9, 2022, AME Zion University had its 31st Commencement Convocation. Let me seize this moment to congratulate all 356 graduates who obtained academic credentials in different undergrad disciplines.

Dr. Lartey, you did not just invite Pres. George Weah to serve as your Keynote Speaker but you also conferred on him an Honoris Causa (Doctor of Humane Letters – DHL) in International Relations.

This is George Weah’s second doctorate degree that he is receiving from AME Zion University since 1999. Twenty-three years ago, you also gave him another Doctorate Degree in Humanity. How does this sound to you even though your school, AMEZU, does not even offer master’s degree in any academic discipline?

This bastardization of education has to STOP. The motivation behind your unjustified decision to award Mr. George Weah another doctorate degree was transactional judging from facts in our possession. Education MUST never be monetized and commodified. Neither is education a horseplay nor a pantomime. Why must AME Zion stoop education so low?

Far before your 31st Commencement Convocation which was held on June 9, 2022, Mr. George Weah promised to pay $160,200 USD as graduation fees for all 356 graduates at $450 USD per graduate. In his Keynote Address which was more of a fairytale, he again assured you to pay this amount.

Must education in Liberia be commercialized to this extent? You even conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Mr. Musa Hassan Bility in April 2021 simply because he donated a 67-seater bus to AME Zion University. Bility is also calling himself “Dr. Musa Hassan Bility”. This is unthinkable. Honoris Causa is a distinguished honor and not a transactional one. Dr. Lartey, this bastardization of education in Liberia has to stop.

AME Zion cannot and must not be a hotbed of academic fraud. The Board of Trustees has to RETHINK. How can you even give out what you do not have? It is like promising your guest/awardee a diamond even though you can only afford silver. You do not even offer master’s degree, let alone doctorate degree, but you are proud to give out honorary doctorate. Which serious university does this?

Since our system of education in Liberia is modelled or patterned after the great United States of America, can you point out a single University in the USA that confers an honorary doctorate without offering an academic doctorate? I am waiting to see one.

When I served as a student leader at UL, I had to argue with Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks and UL’s Board of Trustees when they woefully chose to confer an honorary doctorate degree in Sport Management on Mr. George Weah even though UL does not offer any academic program in Sport Management and it is not a doctorate degree-granting institution as well.

UL, AMEZU, TU, and CU have all allowed themselves to be bastardized and politicized. And Mr. Weah is now calling himself and he’s being referred to as, “Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. George M. Weah”. This is more of a tragic flow and such bastardization has consequential repercussions. History will hold all of you responsible for this fraud. I hope UMU, AMEU, SMPU, AUWA, etc. would be different.

These are indeed sad times in Liberia. The Republic is being wrecked and hoodwinked in all sectors: education, health, security, justice, agriculture, social welfare, economic governance, foreign relations, public administration, sanitation, infrastructure, business, mining, forestry, etc.

What would Joseph Jenkins Roberts have to say about EDUCATION in Liberia today especially education at AME Zion University? As I sit in my lonely apartment in exile, I am shedding tears right now for my country. It is really sad. The stakes are high and times have even become tougher. The country has become a crime scene and a fortress of scandals. This sad narrative offers zero hope for a new dawn. STOP bastardizing, commodifying, and politicizing education. May God salvage Liberia.

I will end here.

Signed: Martin K. N. Kollie

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