Monrovia Liberia: The family of the late Dr. C. Cecil Dennis have challenged a man claiming to be, C. Cecil Dennis III, advocating for reconciliation between himself and the son of late President Samuel Kanyon Doe, to take a DNA test to prove his genetic connection to the family.
Until he is prepared to take a DNA test to prove his genetic connection to the family, please know that C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. family does not recognize him as whom he purports to be – (Bindu Dennis Woode)
“I’m ready for DNA any day. She (Bindu Dennis Woode) is my sister and I love her very much.” – C. Cecil Dennis, III
Bindu Dennis Woode first contacted FrontPageAfrica Tuesday suggesting that the C. Cecil Dennis cited in a reconciliation piece published this week is an imposter.
She later emailed a letter written by Mrs. Agnes Cooper-Dennis, widow of the former Minister alleging that the man is not a member of their family.
We read your article in today’s FrontPageAfrica, “When Cecil Dennis III Met Samuel Doe II: Reconciliation – 36 Years in the Making”. We too pray for peace and harmony for Liberia.
We would just like to state for the record that as the family of C. Cecil Dennis II, we do not know who this person is, who claims to be C. Cecil Dennis III. We do not recognize him as family.
It has been brought to our attention, his “so-called” name, and some of his viewpoints that have surfaced on social media.
However, the emerging of this article today is somewhat concerning to us, because this person is essentially a stranger.
We see him as an imposter, and as such he has deceived Samuel K. Doe, FrontPageAfrica, the Liberian people as well as others who comprise FrontPageAfrica audience.
Until he is prepared to take a DNA test to prove his genetic connection to the family, please know that C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. family does not recognize him as whom he purports to be.
Although we consider FrontPageAfrica to be an esteemed publication, we do not view this article with any authenticity because of the source.
Widow, on behalf of the family
DNA Challenge Accepted
But Mr. Dennis insists that he is indeed the son of the former Minister and is willing and ready to take a DNA test to prove that he is. “I’m ready for DNA any day. She (Bindu Dennis Woode) is my sister and I love her very much.”
Bindu however says the process regarding any DNA testing must be on the family’s terms. “We will choose a reputable testing agency, and the testing will be done here in the United States, where both my brother, Murvi Cecil Dennis and this “so called” C. Cecil Dennis, III must be present.”
Bindu described the situation as being of great concern to the family and a DNA test will once and for all diminish what she described claims by “a license to impostor”, claiming to be a member of the Dennis family.
Cecil’s Brother Says Possibility Exist; But Unsure
James Dennis, the elder brother of the slain former foreign affairs Minister when contacted by FrontPageAfrica Thursday said while the legitimacy of Mr. Dennis’s claims could not be entirely erased, his late brother never told him that he had a son named C. Cecil Dennis III.
James Dennis explained that he first gained knowledge of the saga during a memorial service for the victims of the April 22nd remembering the lives of the thirteen former Ministers of the Tolbert era who were executed by firing squad in 1980, ten days after the Samuel K. Doe-led military coup ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule in Liberia.
James Dennis explained: “It was at the April 22nd memorial in Maryland a few years ago when this fellow came out and said he was C. Cecil Dennis’s son. Now Cecil and I were very close brothers. We were from the same mother and the same father.
I just happened to be a few years older than he was. Now, Cecil told me everything, practically; and he knew everything about me practically. But this little boy’s name never came up.
And it was strange. Now, perhaps it was something that did happen but the mother did not reveal anything at a certain time or so and he (Cecil) wasn’t fully aware of it – or something like that but we never discussed it.”
Cecil Dennis III agrees, at least partially: “Uncle Jimmy is right, that was the first time everyone saw me and I met everyone. I was overwhelmed and extremely excited. That day when my father’s sister, Gwen introduced me, the heavens open and glory filled my heart…
I will be meeting my brothers and sisters after many years of desiring to meet them…after those days, Bindu, Murvi, Doll and Moshe and I continue talking and getting to know each other.”
Hint at Family Split Over Legitimacy
Dennis III explained that there has been a division in the family for some time over his legitimacy.
“My mother is different from her’s. Their mother was married to our father. Doll’s mother is different. Murvi, Sonia and Bindu are from the same mother. Charmelle, Thelma and Moshe have different mothers too.
They say Doll, my father’s first is not his child as well. Moshe and everyone else except the three of them – Murvi, Bendu and Sonia
Drawing a similar path from his own experience, Mr. James Dennis explained:
‘These Things Can Happen’
“Now I give you a similar situation in my case. I have a son who is now the oldest boy in my family and I never knew he was my son until he was fourteen years old. You see… these things can happen.
But when I saw the fella and my mother and father saw the fella, they were all convinced that he was their grandchild and he was my son, including my brother who was the ringleader in this whole thing.
So we discover this whole thing here. But it so happens that all of us were living. Now when this situation came up and the boy said he was Cecil Dennis’ son, I was shocked like the devil but couldn’t say anything because Cecil was nowhere around you see… So Rodney… this thing has me in limbo. I have not met the mother and I don’t know anything more than what I discovered at the memorial service in Maryland few years ago.”
The late foreign Minister’s brother further noted that since he returned home to Liberia, people have asked him about the man now claiming to be his brother’s son.
“All I can say is that’s what he says but we do not know of a Cecil Dennis III by Cecil Dennis. We know of a Cecil Dennis III named after my father who happens to be my son. You see what happens… I tell you the story is very sad, if you have the time.”
He further explained: “When I got married and had my son, I named him J. H. Dennis the II. When Cecil married he had his first son, Cecil and named him Cecil Charles Dennis II. When the old man heard the news, his whole attitude changed.
So, we were wondering what happened to the old man. So Cecil went and said ‘Daddy, I thought you would be happy, Jimmy had his son, he named him JH Dennis II. Now I’m naming my son, Charles Cecil Dennis III’.
Added James Dennis: “Because my father was living, he was C. Cecil Dennis I. So the old man said well if that’s how you feel and you want me to die, well I will have to accept it but if anything happens don’t’ bring it to me and that’s it.
So, Cecil got really concerned because he hadn’t even left the hospital and said ok we will change the name, we will change the name. But that dad told us the story why he didn’t want the child to be named the III.
Then he said well the tradition is when you name a direct heir, the first, the second and the third, directly that way, the old man died. So Cecil said I don’t want to be held that way so I will withdraw that name.
So they named his son, Murvi Dennis. And so that’s how it went. So when I had my second son, this interesting part, the old man was the first person who came up and said we will name him Charles Cecil Dennis III. But then Cecil said, Oh. But Dad, anyway… . He got quiet.”
One Family; Two Cecil Dennis?
Mr. Dennis further explained that his late father later explained why he pressed for him to name his son, C. Cecil Dennis III.
“The old man said the name could be name that way because it is not a direct descendant, you see. So I was James Cambridge III, he wanted the name to be perpetuated so he said my son should be named Charles Cecil Dennis III and that boy is in America right now, my son.
So, when this little boy came up when we celebrated that 25th anniversary in the states, the children were confused because they said they only knew one Charles Cecil Dennis III but that was my son who was not their brother, he was their first cousin, you see.
So, that’s how the children. So it must have appeared that what happen was that this lady, perhaps she got pregnant; she had this child, maybe she and Cecil went together, I don’t even know the mother, perhaps she on her own decided to name the boy Charles Cecil Dennis III which was already in existence.”
Truth in Limbo: Mother Not Julia Gibson
When asked to confirm whether the mother of the man claiming to be C. Cecil Dennis was Julia Gibson, Mr. Dennis replied:
“No! Julia Gibson’s son name is Moshe, named after the great general of Israel, that’s Julia Gibson’s son which we all know and the children know as their brother. So that’s what happen with this little boy.
It’s in limbo because now, how can we have two Charles Cecil Dennis III in the same family. You see the thing. So that is the real story and I think you should know this.
So that’s what happened. But I believe let’s let sleeping dogs lie, leave it like that unless something else comes up that will make it necessary for you to explain.”
Let Sleeping Dog Lie, Brother Pleads
Mr. James Dennis suggested that the family put the saga to rest. “That’s what I think; we should just let sleeping dogs lie.”
Does it look right now for you now to come and say something when the person is dead? We are the ones alive and can’t substantiate it. So that’s the story. At least I’m alive to explain that part. That’s the story.”
When made aware of her late father’s brother’s explanation, Bindu agreed. “The story Uncle Jimmy told you about the naming of my brother, Murvi, my parent’s first child; is one we often giggle about and look back on with great fondness and affection.
Grandfather was quite adamant about making sure his life was not cut short by any means. We do feel as a family, and I emphasize, with my mother’s blessing; that publishing the letter is the right thing to do at this time.”
The uncertainty over the legitimacy in the absence of a DNA is likely to raise more questions than answers. But one family member with knowledge of the situation lamented Thursday:
“He (Cecil Dennis III) has been hurting all these years. It is right to make amends and reconcile and move on. It is also fine for others in the family to disagree, but not use this as a way to castigate him.”