Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Liberia stability fragile, needs world help: UN

UN Liberia mission
"If Liberia destabilises, it also has consequences for the whole West African region."


By David Lewis

MONROVIA (Reuters) - The United Nations must resist pressure to cut back its mission in Liberia too soon, or risk instability before elections next year, its top official in the country told Reuters.
A big U.N. force has overseen the nation since the end of fighting in 2003 and cuts are being sought because of the operation's cost, U.N. Liberia mission chief Ellen Margrethe Loj said at the weekend.

But limitations of local funding and institutions must be taken into account and ethnic clashes were a threat to stability with potential consequences for all of West Africa, Loj said.
The U.N. Security Council will vote this week on a proposal to keep the 9,400 soldiers and policemen now in the country until elections are held at the end of next year, before re-assessing cuts to the mission.

"The Security Council is definitely looking to the possibility of (the mission) being further reduced as soon as possible because it is a very costly operation and we have now been here for seven years," Loj said.

"But we have to look at that in relation to the capability of the Liberian institutions to operate independently on their own. It is relatively a very big mission but it is also a country where the national capacity is extremely limited," she said.

The mission in Liberia costs $500 million a year to run, a figure that dwarfs the government's planned budget of $350 million for this year. Other donors provide three times as much again in aid projects.

Peacekeepers are still filling in for Liberia's army, which was scrapped at the end of the war and will not be operational again until U.S.-backed training is complete in 2012. The U.N. is also rebuilding the police force.

Asked what the implications of cuts would be, Loj said: "Then we will not be able to respond to security incidents in various part of the country."

In February, U.N. soldiers and policemen had to help Liberian police put down violence that was sparked by allegations over a ritual killing but degenerated into clashes between mainly Christian Lorma and Muslim Mandingo communities in the north.

Two neighbours, cocoa-growing Ivory Coast and ore-exporting Guinea, are also recovering from conflict and political crises, and Loj warned that instability knew no borders.

"If Liberia destabilises, it also has consequences for the whole West African region."


In the years since the guns fell silent after 14 years of virtually constant conflict, Liberia has secured billions of dollars in mining contracts, mostly in its iron ore concessions.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected in 2005 and has won wide international praise for her efforts to rebuild a country in tatters. Johnson-Sirleaf plans to stand for re-election next year but will have to win over many frustrated with the slow pace of progress.

Loj said the 2011 poll would be a gauge as to whether the Liberians had "got their house in order."

"Tremendous progress has been made in Liberia but it is still fragile. There are still many of the underlying tensions on ethnic grounds, land, the huge unemployment and lack of trust in the system," Loj said.

"There is a tendency, when there is a dispute, or a crime is committed ... that the Liberians like to take the law into their own hands and then we get the violence and the disturbances," Loj warned.

Loj said the pressure for further cuts had served to intensify talks between the U.N. and Liberian authorities on handing over responsibilities. New foreign investment in the country would help, but the country was still hugely dependent on the rest of the world for help.

It was difficult for decision-makers in air-conditioned offices in New York to grasp the extent of the destruction in the country, she said.

"It has been proven over and over again that you settle the conflict, you think, and then you turn your attentions somewhere else and then the conflict re-emerges 5-10 years later."

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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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