A new Vice President

Click to supersizeIn October 1977 Bennie Dee Warner succeeded Vice President Greene. The selection of Bennie Warner shocked the nation – for three reasons. Bennie Warner, a bishop of the United Methodist Church in Liberia, was politically unknown. According to his own statements he had never participated, not even witnessed, a meeting of the True Whig Party. Moreover, never before in the nation’s history had the country been led by two religious leaders. But maybe what shocked the nation’s political class most was Bishop Warner’s tribal background. His father, Charlie Zeonbartaye, was a member of the Bassa tribe, his mother, Eli Nboramba, a Namibian woman. It was the second time in Liberia’s history that the country had a Vice President of tribal descent, the first one being Henry Too Wesley (1924-28) who was born from Grebo parents in Maryland County. 

The choice of the 42-year old Bishop Bennie Warner, who originated from Bong County, may surprise. However, the Bishop was part of the Americo-Liberian social and political circuit. He was raised in a well known Americo-Liberian family, the Warner family (descendants of Liberia's third president, Daniel B. Warner). His wife Anna Harmon came from one of the leading Americo-Liberian families and his godfather was McKinley Alfred DeShield, the powerful Secretary General of the country’s ruling party, the True Whig Party. 

Bennie Warner was selected and nominated by the TWP in August 1977, elections that legitimized his nomination were held on October 4 of the same year and he was installed as Liberia’s 25th Vice-President on October 31, 1977. 

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