Monday, December 13, 2010

Presidential candidate T. Q. Harris meets President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Presidential candidate T. Q. Harris left
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf right
Photo: Ousman Diallo/Executive Mansion

 Monrovia Liberia—Presidential candidate T. Q. Harris on Monday paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, informing her that while he was an aspirant to the presidency, he considered himself an opponent, not an enemy, and his sole interest was for the betterment of Liberia.

In welcoming Mr. Harris, the President said: “We would like to see people come home. If they can come home for good, we applaud; if they can come home for a little while, see what we are doing, give us their suggestions, join in the effort, we welcome that too.”
The President continued: “This government is open; we’re not perfect, we’ve made some mistakes, no doubt about it but, by and large, our commitment to do the right thing is there. The political will is there; our institutions are weak, our capacity underdeveloped, so sometimes we don’t achieve the targets we set. But our aim is to do for the country the best we can, and to leave it better off than we found it.”

Mr. Harris congratulated the Liberian leader for her successes in the areas of debt relief; for raising the issue of gender to the national level; for her role in the Mano River Union; for the peace and stability the country is experiencing; and for the many concessions agreements that have been signed to bring investments to the country. He offered to help the government and the country in whatever way he was asked. We may differ on issues, but we can still work together, so call on me anytime, he told the President.

Among issues he sought to raise with President Sirleaf, Mr. Harris said, were these: funding for the 2011 campaign to create a “level playing field” for all candidates; the plight of ex-combatants; land disputes in Nimba and elsewhere; the need to improve the economy in order to create jobs for the youth; and implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), urging that all the work done not be ignored.

Responding, President Sirleaf commended Mr. Harris for his “spirit of positivism and commitment” to be part of the constructive forces of change and development in Liberia. She pointed out that in all the areas he had mentioned, things are happening. She urged him to consult with the institutions concerned that are handling these matters to be briefed. Efforts were being made to assist ex-combatants through vocational and other training, the President said. Jobs would come as a result of the concession agreements that had been signed, as government could not absorb everybody.

Concerning the land issue in Nimba, the President said that what was needed was implementation of the recommendations of the Special Commission, and that would be done with funding support from the Peacebuilding Fund. The land issue existed in many parts of the country, and a Land Commission had been established to sort out the various disputes. She urged Mr. Harris to visit that Commission to be briefed on the work being done there.

On the matter of campaign financing, the President said that at some point there would have to be election financing reform, but she doubted that it could be done this year because of the serious budgetary implications and the need for legislation to achieve that objective. Liberia would get to that point, but was not there yet. She was, nevertheless, open to suggestions on how to achieve that.

As to the TRC Report, President Sirleaf said that its recommendations were so profound and complex that there was no way to implement all of them at once, and their implications had to be studied. The body responsible for this work was the Independent National Human Rights Commission, which was now operational and working on a roadmap for implementation. There were also serious financial and constitutional implications associated with the TRC recommendations and these were being looked at by lawyers. Again, the President urged Mr. Harris to visit any and all the institutions dealing with these matters. Hers was an open government, with no secrets to hide. And under the Freedom of Information Act, everyone was entitled to information.

In any of the areas discussed, the President said, if there was something specific which Mr. Harris and his group believed they could partner with the government, she welcomed an exchange on those areas where cooperation was possible. “That does not take away from the fact that you want to run; that is your constitutional right, so you can exercise it.”

The President said she welcomed open, constructive and positive competition. “Let us all respect the process; that we do not say things that will incite and create the kinds of problems that will come back to haunt all of us. That’s why maintaining the peace, encouraging people to go and exercise their mandate, being a part of the process, and working constructively to make sure that these elections are free, fair and acceptable is so important. Whoever wins will want to have a very clear mandate that passes the test of time. In that way, we can build upon the progress that we have now because we need that in order to take Liberia to a different level, and the potential for doing that is very good. All we need is a positive, constructive spirit in working together.

Mr. Harris came to the meeting with a six-member delegation, including a television crew.

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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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