Friday, August 20, 2010

Political, Social Divides Threaten Strides in Shoring Up Peace, Says Ban


Although Liberia continues to make considerable progress in consolidating peace and security, enduring political and social divides, among other factors, could roll back the strides made so far, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cautions in a new report.

He also warns that limited gains on national reconciliation and the far-reaching perception of the prevalence of impunity are also obstacles to progress in his most recent report to the Security Council on the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia, known as UNMIL.

While the West African nation's overall security situation is stable, it is fragile due to ethnic and communal tensions, disputes over access to land and a lack of confidence in the criminal justice system, the report notes.

Rape, armed robbery and other forms of serious criminal activity, it says, continue to be prevalent, expressing concern that more than 70 per cent of reported rapes between February and August have involved victims under the age of 16.

"Relatively minor disputes continued to rapidly escalate into major destabilizing incidents," Mr. Ban writes.

He points to the example of widespread violence in Lofa County in northern Liberia between the predominantly Christian Lorma and Muslim Mandingo communities triggered by allegations of a ritual killing and aggravated existing tensions.

Armed with cutlasses, shotguns and other weapons, the two sides attacked each other and property, including places of worship, resulting in four people being killed, 18 others sustaining injuries, and many churches, mosques and homes being destroyed.

UNMIL, along with the Emergency Response Unit of the Liberian National Police, stepped in to restore order.

In Maryland country in Liberia's southeast, UNMIL and the national police prevented violence in April when a witch doctor identified those allegedly behind a ritual killing, leading to the arrest of 18 people - including influential figures in the area - and sparking a community protest.

"As events in Lofa and Maryland counties demonstrate, low public confidence in the State's capacity to deliver justice frequently leads to rapid flare-ups, threatening overall law and order," the Secretary-General notes.

He also says that although security institutions are continuing to make progress, they have yet to reach the capacity to respond independently of UNMIL, especially outside the capital, Monrovia.

"It is crucial that the development of the security sector becomes a main priority for the Government and the international community so that those institutions become independently operational, and are fully resourced," Mr. Ban writes.

He stresses that next year's elections will be a "critical milestone" for Liberia, testing the capacity of national institutions, and urges the Government and others to create a plan on how to take the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee forward.

UNMIL was set up in 2003 to bolster a ceasefire agreement ending a war that killed almost 150,000 Liberians, mostly civilians, and sent 850,000 others fleeing to neighbouring countries.

In this report, the Secretary-General says that he is pleased that the Government and its international partners have started planning for the eventual handover of security responsibilities from UNMIL to national authorities.

The mission has entered that its third stage in its drawdown, with the repatriation of more than 2,000 troops and dozens of armoured personnel carriers and three attack helicopters.

The police component has maintained its authorized strength of 1,375, and Mr. Ban recommends that UNMIL's current military and police levels be maintained until after the 2011 elections, "a core benchmark for UNMIL drawdown and withdrawal."

He also called on the Council to extend the mission's mandate for an additional year until 30 September 2011.

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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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