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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Here Comes Brother Mac – A Eulogy to My Friend and Brother Macdonald Wento

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By Lenn Eugene Nagbe

The dimly-lit lobby of the Urbano Hotel in Accra was crowded, busy and musky. It was early September, 2003 and the Accra Peace Accord had just been signed a fortnight earlier.

I had stopped by to chat with Sam Wlue, and ensconced in a nook between the bar and the bathroom, we managed to keep a conversation of sorts in spite of the din. Then there was a lull as many of the patrons, mostly Liberians, turned to gaze as a goateed, burly man swaggered in with much aplomb.

Here comes brother Mac, Sam said as Mr. Goatee finally approached our table after somehow managing to shake hands with almost all of the customers. After Sam’s quick introduction (Yo Brother Mac, meet my pekin Gino, typical Sam), Mac got straight to the purpose of his visit; we had to go to Budumburam camp to make donations and ‘help get our people home’.

Sam being Sam and Mac being Mac, an argument ensued as Sam wanted us to plan well ahead and Mac was for a spur of the moment expedition. After much back and forth, I intervened and off we went.

At Budumburam, Mac was in his element, doling out food and cash. When he ran out, he scraped Sam and I and continued with his quirky humanitarianism.

But that was Brother Mac. Enigmatic and selfless. He was a maverick with a cause, the belief that Liberians should be at the forefront of concessions of our natural resources; big players and not just spectators.

This belief drove his entire being. Whether it was his sojourn in politics as one of the founding fathers of the Congress for Democratic Change, or his runs for the Presidency, it was his determination for Liberians to control the country’s resources that marked the quintessence of his existence.

There was always a Project, or I should say a juggling of Projects with Brother Mac. He balanced his love and care for friends and family with his passionate drive for seeing his manifold projects through.

He was always on the move, a perennial optimist even in the face of seemingly insurmountable hurdles. He had an uncanny sixth sense of how a business deal would succeed.

When Mac did not succeed in a particular venture, the failed venture was just a bridge to the next – and that would happen so seamlessly without any brooding over the past.

I would be remiss not to mention his social skills. He could bond with anyone anywhere. He was as comfortable in a five-star bar/restaurant in Dubai or Monte Carlo as he was in a Lappa Be Door/gana-gana joint in Slipway or Garglor.

Brother Mac was a great guy. He had an infectious positivity in and out. We sparred, disagreed and fussed over many issues. We clashed over politics. But Brother Mac would pick up the phone and start a brand new conversation the next morning as if whatever quarrel never happened. He was a good guy. He will be missed.

Yes Brother Mac, you will be missed by your wife, your children, your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your friends and all those whose lives you touched. Gino will miss you too.

Rest in Peace My Friend. Till we meet again

 

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