Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fearing 'Gbagbo’s' Reprisal: Ivorian Refugees Begin Pouring into Liberia

- S. Tarkpo Gaye, FPA STAFF WRITER; Nat BayjaySource: FrontPage Africa

Lugautou, Nimba County-

Fearing reprisal from looming retaliatory maltreatment from loyalists of disputed Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo, over 300 Ivorian refugees have crossed into Liberia owing to ongoing growing post-electoral tension in that neighboring country.

The influx of the refugees, hailing mainly from the Ivorian town of Danane and surrounding towns and villages just a few kilometers from the Liberian border, comes on the heels of double swearing witnessed in the Ivorian city of Abidjan Saturday by both contenders.

The bridge used by some of the refugees to enter Liberia.

The incumbent Gbagbo in whose favor the Constitution Council overturned the result took the oath to serve a new term, but within hours Alassane Ouattara who had previously been declared winner by the electoral commission too was sworn in as president in what could probably be the first of its kind in recent history for two electoral contenders to be sworn in as presidents on the same day.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica Friday in the Liberian border town of Lugautou, the refugees said they crossed into Liberia because they fear Gbagbo’s loyalists and security personnel might come after them out of the perception that their votes helped to make the Ivorian election commission to have declared Alassane Ouattara the winner of the election despite an overturned result in the former’s favor.

Martha Queketa, an Ivorian mother of three children, speaking in her native tongue, said, “We are afraid that Gbabo’s men would come after us because they say we voted Ouattara to power.”

Another refugee, Sam Pete, added, “We have been hearing them say we voted for Alassane. They said it was a betrayal on our part to vote for him when we are living in Gbabo’s territory.”

Neighboring Ivory Coast had closed its borders and stopped broadcasts of international news media into the country with an overnight curfew remaining in place up to the weekend.

Friday afternoon, they were seen carrying out temporary registration pending the swift intervention of any humanitarian organization like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Liberia Refugees Repatriation Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) all based in hundreds of miles away in the capital Monrovia.

On Thursday, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared that Ouattara had won the November 28 run-off by 54.1% to Gbagbo’s 45.9% but after Gbagbo and his supporters alleged the ballot had been fraudulent in some northern region, the Constitutional Council- run by Gbagbo's ally-overruled the Commission’s decision.

The Council said Gbagbo had secured just over 51% of the vote.

The Liberian government Friday during an emergency press conference in Monrovia confirmed the arrival of the Ivorian refugees, mainly dominated by women and children, it said have crossed the border into Liberia fleeing the tension in the country as a result of election contention.

Information Minister Cletus Sieh, announcing that women and children began entering the country last Wednesday and are spread in villages of Nimba County near the Ivorian borders, said: “The situation in Ivory Coast is worrisome, the government of Liberia is very concerned because people have began leaving and coming into Liberia through the border.”

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf chairs the Mano River Union (MRU), the sub-regional organization to which Ivory Coast is the newest member after Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea had initiated the process.

Sieh added, “As head of the Mano River Union, Madam Sirleaf has begun collaborating with other West African leaders intervene”.

The Information Minister sounded the warning: “What we as Liberians have experienced don’t want the same to happen to any other country. So we tell countries in the sub-region that the best way to go is dialogue and keep the peace rather than confrontation. We want to assure our citizens that the government is very much engaged; the United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) forces and our own security forces are watching the situation so there is no need for panic.”

Despite the Ivorian authority’s restriction of the border, the Liberian border is said to remain open in order “to allow more people in while the country authorities are working out ways to accommodate those who have already crossed over.”

News Headline

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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