Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Congressman's Prophesy on Liberia

By Tom Kamara

July 2010

Source: allafrica.com

His remarks, as incisive and relevant as they are, have sent loyalists of Mr. Charles Taylor in steaming anger. There are real reasons. Just when they are attempting to re-stamp their political relevance in readiness for 2011, a significant voice from afar is passing a verdict on everything they represent as evil and dangerous.

US Congressman Patrick Kennedy, here as a member of a US Congressional delegation, warned Liberians that should, in any event, Mr. Taylor return home as a political figure ("God willing I'll be back'), there will be a renewal of the destruction spree that he initiated on 24 December 1989, ending in 2003 with his reluctant exist after opposition rebels quarantined the capital and dislodged from many other parts of the country.

He said: "People might like the guy (Taylor) but that doesn't mean he is a good person in terms of what he represents in this politics. If he ever is able to make it back to this country as a political figure, he will destroy the credibility of Liberia in the international community, where they will look at his return here."

"President Sirleaf has secured Liberia's future in terms of the international reputation of Liberia. The fact is that the international community has done a lot to support Liberia's economic development and I think it will damage Liberia's integrity and its ability to develop the credibility internationally if Charles Taylor will get any credibility by returning to Liberia."

The he gave a hint that perhaps not many people caught. Anyone like Taylor will take the country down with him or her. And there are many Taylors in the race for 2011, those, like Mr. George Weah, who see him as having produced "a great party" and "great people":

"If we see that someone like him will still have the kind of support, It will undermine the support that people will have for Liberia if that kind of support was given to the likes of Taylor who led this country to a civil war situation."

He further sounded a note against the kind of politics, he added, that Mr. Taylor represents.

"I think people's expectation is that everything will improve and this is a process that takes time. I think Liberia has exceeded many expectations.

"I think people need to understand that progress comes over times. Liberia has made strides that everyone could imagine but people need to understand that these things come through collective effort.

"And the reason I say that I am worried that some kind of demigod will come along and say democracy doesn't work. And I think Liberians certainly know what that means. That means the lack of protection and safety and it will return to a very unstable world."

Following the American's remarks, one of Mr. Taylor's ardent loyalists, Mr. Cyril Allen, took the airwaves in rebuttal, warning Congressman Kennedy to mind his own business and stay off Liberian affairs.

But for what it is worth, examining the politico-economic terrain that prevailed under Mr. Taylor, even for supporters, dismissing the fact that destruction was the order, with political clampdowns common, can be expected but not denied with evidence.

The country was littered with internally displaced camps, operating on an US80m budget with international pariah status decreed, and absolutely no economic blue print for recovery. It was free for all with dangerous prescriptions for the future.

On a visit here during this period, Mr. Ruud Lubers, then the UNHCR High Commissioner, was appalled, as he openly questioning the sane nature of Taylor's leadership while members of the regime denounced him. "Liberia is not for sale", they declared.

Whatever the immense personal benefits of this period for a select few, the void, in terms of creating political and economic structures and space to woo much-needed international financial backing, therefore putting the economy into gear to benefit "above all else the people", (Mr. Taylor's celebrated slogan), is one of the after-effects of Taylor's rule that the Congressman is talking about.

Refugee International, in a 2004 report, "Peacekeeping in West Africa: A Regional Report", observed:

"The conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire have their roots in regional political and economic instability. The effects of those conflicts have spilled over their individual borders to regional neighbours as people have sought refuge also in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea. It stands to reason, therefore, that the cessation of conflict and the re-building of these countries must be based on country-specific remedies, but also on the regional factors that affect long-term stability in West Africa.

"The fates of these countries are linked to each other because their individual conflicts are the result of regional tensions and factors. Their porous borders have allowed wars to spill over into neighbouring countries for more than a decade, as Liberian fighters, for example, entered Sierra Leone in support of rebels there. Those same borders allow arms smuggling and theft of resources to support regional conflict. And as conflicts rage, they drive civilian populations--mostly women, children and the elderly--from their homes and frequently across borders to neighbouring states, which are in turn impacted economically as they provide for the needs of refugees and also protect themselves from possible armed soldiers crossing borders with legitimate refugees. There are Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia, Guinea and other states..."

With the absence of large and significant numbers of the actors from the political scene in the affected countries, Liberia remains the only country in which these actors remain politically relevant. Moreover, with their significant financial position as a result of the war economy they ran and owned, these actors, in an underdeveloped and poverty-dominated political setting, still command following, although less so now than when Taylor in command and control.

Despite this following, the only glue capable of holding his political outfit together is the persona of Charles Taylor, primarily because the political machine to which they remain loyal, and from which they accumulated their fortunes, was his creating from the onset and his creation only. All those who sight belonging to it had to pay homage to him and accept his unquestioned supremacy in all spheres.

Certain truths are hard to accept. It had to take an American with nothing to lose to blow the horn of truth that no Liberian politician would have attempted.

When Mr. George Weah described Taylor's political outfit, the National Patriotic Party, as being "great" for producing "great people", he his tong was different from Congressman Kennedy's. But the American has prophesized: the fangs of danger are not yet defeated, for they appear in many forms. Taylor's return, he tells us, will be accompanied by doom and despair that is if he returns at all.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

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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