Sunday, May 16, 2010

PRESIDENT OBAMA AND MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS,

PRESIDENT OBAMA AND MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS,
PLEASE HOLD PRESIDENT SIRLEAF ACCOUNTABLE

By: Isaac Vah Tukpah, Jr.

President Obama, the Liberian people need your help in holding President Sirleaf accountable for corruption and the culture of impunity that prevails in Liberia.

Since 2006 when she assumed power, President Sirleaf has recognized the systemic, institutionalized, and rampant corruption prevalent in government but in the totality of her tenure, she has refused to do anything effective about corruption. Instead, this President has wrapped a protective cocoon around her appointees, family members, and protégés whenever their names have come up or when they have been accused of corruption. Madam Sirleaf has traversed the gamut of spins in defense of these corrupt individuals with her responses to their various acts by totally ignoring corrupt activities, relieving her appointees without any definite explanation, announcing their dismissals with every other reason but corruption, and has even been overly bold to the point of standing in the way of investigations of these folks without letting due process take place. Money has even been wired from her personal computer and her signature has been used in an attempt to get money from the Central Bank and still she has not made a concerted effort to crack down on corruption. It has even gotten to the point where her “hanging buddies”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chair of the Anti Corruption Commission have taken a stand on her interference in the investigation and prosecution of her corrupt appointees. President Sirleaf is standing in way of Liberia’s progress.

I am sure the international community of which she has been a faithful partner is watching and by now has some grave concerns about Liberia’s future under this President’s administration, and the ineffectiveness of her governance and management of our post–war recovery. The consistent violent economic destabilization of our fragile road to economic and infrastructural recovery are too numerous to enumerate and when we compound that with the fact that our attention span is so short and we are so inundated with the corruption activities, it seems most Liberians have become numb to new information of corruption and have resigned themselves to maintaining this level of corruption as an acceptable national position.

President Obama, the Liberian people need your help in holding President Sirleaf accountable. During the 2005 election cycle, Liberians voted for President Sirleaf because they saw her as “the lesser of two evils”. Fast forward to today, the Sirleaf supporters are using the mantra “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” President Obama, we can’t even get President Sirleaf to hold her appointees accountable for something as basic as declaring their assets. We continue to hear Madam President use the baseless corruption excuse that people sold their houses in America and used that money to build their mansions in Liberia. How true is that when the housing market was basically upside down and some of the folks she is speaking about never sold their houses and others of them never even owned houses -- but rather lived in apartments.

At the inauguration of the TRC in February 2006, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf made the following statement: “Our country cannot continue to evade justice and the protection of human rights throughout our land, especially of the kind that restores our historical place among civilized nations. Our Government will ensure that those culpable of the Commission of crimes against humanity will face up to their crimes no matter when, where, or how.” Oh, how wonderful this statement sounded back then! Unfortunately today, she has become oblivious to the commitment she has made. Most recently, she appointed Pearl Brown Bull to chair the Independent Panel of Experts responsible for vetting the appointees to the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHRC). How can she appoint a former TRC Commissioner who refused to sign the final report due to “dissenting opinion”, to such a critical position? This sends a very conflicting message.

President Obama, the United States can help to end the consistent pillaging of Liberia’s coffers to the detriment of the general populace. Liberia is in need of leadership that will support the law enforcement and the judicial arms of our nation to ensure good governance. Liberians are ready to move Liberia forward President Obama, but we need your help. When you and your officials meet with President Sirleaf this week, please impress upon her the need to:

1. End the culture of corruption and impunity, and prosecute offenders

2. Stop protecting and begin prosecuting corrupt officials in her government

3. Make the Threshold Bill law

4. Implement the full recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

5. Put in place processes and systems to ensure free and fair elections in Liberia in 2011

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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