Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dr. Gbaba is disappointed that the TRC recommendations have not been implemented

By Emmanuel Abalo

Source: Running Africa

Dr. Joseph Gbaba
A Liberian playwright, political activist and educational scientist Dr. Joseph Gbaba says the country's TRC Report represents the mandate of the Liberian people. In a letter issued over the weekend entitled Open Letter to the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Liberia, the Philadelphia based activist who has been strongly advocating for the full implementation of the Final Report of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) told Madam Ellen Margaret Loj, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Liberia and head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) that " I am disappointed by the deaf ears UN, AU, and ECOWAS peace negotiators like you are paying to the refusal of Liberian warlords to implement the various provisions of peace accords signed by them.

Equally so, I am perturbed by the delay the UN has caused in the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report due to your biased approach to conflict resolution and the attainment of reconciliation in Liberia. As a consequence of the UN’s, AU’s and ECOWAS’ dubious roles in the Liberian peace process, perpetrators of violent crimes against Liberians and humanity were rewarded with big government jobs and the security of the victims of the Liberian civil war was once again thrust in the hands of their killers."

According to Dr. Gbaba, " ...Consequently, this decision sent a wrong signal across the globe that the security of the victims of war must be entrusted to those who massacre their people while law abiding Liberian citizens are held hostage by Liberian warlords. Thus mayhem and violence are being institutionalized in post-war Liberia through the belligerent actions of Liberian warlords and the complacence of UN, AU and ECOWAS negotiators. As a result, this is definitely delaying the conclusion of the final phases of the Liberian peace process."

The Liberian playwright and poet laureate in his letter expressed disappointment in what he said was Madam Loj's "recent statement that the Liberian people should debate the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to show “Liberian ownership.” In his opinion, Dr. Gbaba said "the UN envoy's statement regarding the issue of “ownership” is a diplomatic ploy to delay the Liberian peace process".

He challenged the UNMIL boss by saying "...You must act swiftly and bring the situation under control in Liberia, or we will ask for your immediate replacement! "

Dr. Gbaba who has maintained a sustained advocacy for the implementation of the TRC Final Report as well as caustic criticisms of former Liberian warlords and the need for their prosecution in his letter to the UNMIL Chief in Liberia Madam Loj over the weekend also focused his attention on the head of the current Liberian administration headed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

"... if you believe that the TRC Report is not “Liberian” enough, then there is a need for the Sirleaf Government to resign forthwith and to be replaced by an interim government of national unity so that Liberians may hold a national referendum to “debate the issue” and to decide the fate of Liberian terrorist warlords before free and fair elections are held in November of 2011. Other than this, allowing elections to go on next year when there is a hung verdict regarding war criminals in Liberia, and when Liberian war criminals are at the helm of national leadership and national security, then it is obvious that you are in support of Liberian warlords and the prolonged suffering of Liberians."

The Executive Branch of the Liberian Government maintains that the Final Report of the TRC raises constitutional and legal issues which conflict with the Liberian Constitution and as such the report cannot be implemented. In her quarterly report to the National Legislature over a week ago in Monrovia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf defended her opposition to the non-payment of reparation to war victims. As part of some of its recommendations the country's National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommended reparation to victims of the war.

"All Liberians are victims in one way or the other", the President said to the lawmakers.

President Sirleaf further said that her government lacks the finances for reparation to individual victims, adding that "such a process would be cumbersome because all Liberians can claim to be victims of the war".

But at an appearance before lawmakers at the Capitol Building last week, Liberia's TRC Chairman Cllr Jerome Verdier that there is a need for justice through a criminal tribunal to ensure accountability.

The Final Report and recommendations of the country's TRC remain mired in deep controversy. There is a huge support for and against the implementation of the recommendations of the TRC.

Former warlords have served notice that they will oppose any attempt to prosecute them for their excesses committed during the war.

The United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) which was established in September, 2003 as a result of UN Security Council Resolution 1509 has the following as its mandate:

Support for Implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement,

Protection of UN Staff, Facilities and Civilians

Support for Humanitarian and Human Rights Assistance and Support for Security Sector Reform

UNMIL is also mandated to support the implementation of the Liberian Peace Process.

UNMIL maintains an 8,000-strong military, police and civilian peacekeeping outfit in Liberia and has been tasked to assist with providing logistical support for the holding of constitutionally mandated Presidential and General Elections in 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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