Monday, June 28, 2010

Old Anti-Corruption Soldiers, New Allies, New Scripts

Old Anti-Corruption Soldiers, New Allies, New Scripts
New Democrat (Monrovia)
By Tom Kamara

27 June 2010

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201006281391.html

This is promising to be a fascinating and revealing era, one in which once former gallant soldiers in the war for reforms and against corruption are lining-up against the very reforms they fought for in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, many jailed for their actions.

The logic is that the actors on the stage have changed, so the scripts must change, too. Mistakes were made in the past that most now be corrected. It does not pay to be consistent, for the wise man changes. Fools keep believing in the same, old values.

Victims must be remembered and honoured in thoughts. When President William R. Tolbert entered the thorny stage after the death of strong-arm President William Tubman in the early 70s, under whose rule democratic demands were anathema let alone cries for accountability, the doors were flung open through which many who entered pressed demands, prime amongst them accountability in the use of public money. It was widely agreed that the True Whig Party, under the command of a few privileged men and women, and refusing to reform, was the cause supreme in obstructing reforms. It was accountable to no one. There were no institutions pressing for reforms. All who vied for a piece of the cake had to fall under its wings. Those who did not were pathetic fools. FOOLS DIE AND GO HUNGRY.

Within this period rose many activist organizations with reforms on the agenda. 'Monkey works, baboon draws', meaning those who worked the soil, were not reaping the benefits of their labour, became the enticing slogan earning believers. For President Tolbert, it was understandably a difficult period--yielding to reforms that would dismantle the entire state machine on which privileges were built. There were protests, and more protests, for change. For the first time, people could openly challenge the regime and declare their wish to be president without being arrested and jailed. Free at last, free at last, thank God, free at last! Nothing would ever be the same as things fell apart, for opening the doors partially led to the smashing of these doors. Incrementalism in political approach would not be accepted and possible. In the end, on April 12, 1980, 12 hardly literate soldiers, with absolutely no political or economic blueprint, seized power, but not until executing the President and 13 of his top officials. Their crime was 'rampant corruption', for which they were tried in a kangaroo court.

About 30 years after, many of those actors in this ghastly tragic comedy are still around, casting in another play but now with different scripts. The hardliners of yesteryears have mellowed beyond recognition, teaming up with individuals in what they call political parties that they would not have sat with at the time. The wise man changes. Fools don't.

This has to do with the declared war on the same corruption for which others were executed certainly without due process. What is baffling is that some once gallant actors and soldiers that circulated underground leaflets against the state and its functionaries are now demanding sealed lips on corruption, the same enemy they fought for in the 1980s, with many jailed, since the military junta of Samuel K. Doe was completely opposed to public discussion of corruption.

What is new is the new General Auditing Commission (GAC), new because international actors, mainly the European Union, placed its creation as a key pre-condition for economic engagement with the government. With this, one would have expected that despite problems, the old soldiers of the 1980s against corruption would be its allies, since its prime task is revealing corruption. But to the contrary, the old soldiers of the 1980s has greased its weapons, ready for war against the one institution that is making the use of public funds an issue of public debate ann.

This not strange. That some have remained consistent is because others remain consistent, too, with misuse of public funds in arrogance still the issue. Nothing has changed, only the actors.

What is expected, however, is that the war be fought on principles, not with innuendos and personal attacks and insults. Any fool, even a mentally insane person, has the mental capacity to insult. The difficulty is knowing the facts and reading them. A crazy person cannot.

Are soldiers of the old, now on the side, prepared to scrutinize the GAC audits and render them useless on the basis of the facts? If they can be convincing that contrary to GAC reports, the roads, schools, orphanages, clinics, amongst what the Government said it has built indeed exist, then there is reason to join their army on the basis of the facts and justice. But insisting that secrecy on corruption be the rule, these people have shown that all along, their enemy was not corruption. All they wanted was to join the gang. They are consistent in disguise.

Whatever one's perception of Mr. John Morlu, he has given a way out. He says if the Government, through an independent and professional auditing firm, armed with the same information he was provided, can prove him wrong on the audits, he will resign and refund all the money the EU has paid him. We need that money for villages. And this is a fine, easy way of getting rid of a 'troublesome' man.

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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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