Tuesday, December 7, 2010

‘Stay Out of Ivorian Conflict’: Ellen Warns Ex-Liberian Warlords Amid Contact Claims

‘Stay Out of Ivorian Conflict’: Ellen Warns Ex-Liberian Warlords Amid Contact Claims


CALL FOR RESTRAINTS: Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, current Chairperson of the Mano River Union is appealing to all Ivorian parties to exercise restraint and give mediation a chance for peaceful resolution of the crisis that will preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the Ivorian Nation.

Monrovia –

The President of the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued a stern warning to Liberians to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the Ivory Coast. This comes on the heels of reports that certain individuals and former warlords have been contacted “unofficially” to intervene.

A Foreign Ministry news release issued in Monrovia late Monday night did not name any former warlord, but quoted the Liberian leader as saying that the people of the sisterly and neighborly Republic of Ivory Coast need all the support it can muster as they are currently going through a difficult period following the contested election results.

Skirmishes of demonstration are continuing in the Ivory Coast amid uncertainty in the West African nation. Both the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and the declared run-off winner Outtarra have been inaugurated as presidents and neither apppears willing to give in.

Meanwhile, the Liberian leader and current Chairperson of the Mano River Union has appealed to all Ivorian parties to exercise restraint and give mediation a chance for peaceful resolution of the crisis that will preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the Ivorian Nation.

Sirleaf’s warning came on a day the situation in the Ivory Coast remains unchanged. Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki failed on Monday to settle an election row between Ivory Coast's presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, but appealed to both for a peaceful solution.

Mbeki had hoped to defuse a power struggle enveloping the country since an election which the electoral commission and international observers say Ouattara won -- a decision reversed by the Constitutional Council, backed by the armed forces chief.

Gbagbo refused to concede defeat after the election commission said the November 28 poll, meant to reunite the region's former economic powerhouse after a 2002-03 civil war, had been won by Ouattara with 54.1 percent of the vote.

Analysts warned the dispute could now pit the army against pro-Ouattara rebels, who told Reuters they would defend themselves against any attack, or even divide the army itself.

"The African Union is very keen that peace can be sustained and every effort should be made to ensure this transition to democracy succeeds," Mbeki told journalists at Gbagbo's house before leaving, adding he would file a report to the union.

"Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) needs peace and needs democracy ... We indeed hope that the leadership of this country will do all that it can to ensure peace is maintained."

The United Nations is temporarily moving 460 non-essential staff from its mission in Ivory Coast out of the country because of security concerns, a spokesman in New York said.

Ouattara's team at the Golf Hotel, where he is holed up under U.N. protection, held its first 'council of ministers'.

"Everything except the departure of the old president is on the table for negotiation," said Patrick Achi, Ouattara's spokesman, adding that he thought the crisis could be resolved internally, rather than through international sanctions.

Small groups of Ouattara supporters burned tires and blocked roads in Abidjan on Monday as police in riot gear patrolled the streets. There were no reports of violence. At least 10 people were killed in clashes in the previous two weeks.

The military extended a curfew for an extra week, until Sunday, but relaxed the hours to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The political deadlock gripped the world's top cocoa grower after the Constitutional Council -- run by a Gbagbo ally -- scrapped hundreds of thousands of votes from Ouattara strongholds, reversing provisional results giving him victory.

President Barack Obama has backed Ouattara, leading calls from the United Nations, France, the European Union, the African Union and West African bloc ECOWAS on Gbagbo to accept the election commission ruling. ECOWAS leaders are due to hold an emergency summit on Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

Gbagbo has scorned the international rejection as an affront to Ivorian sovereignty and has threatened to expel the U.N. Ivory Coast envoy for interference in internal affairs.

Citing a "breakdown of governance," the World Bank and the African Development Bank said they would reassess aid.

Ouattara has named Gbagbo's former finance minister, Charles Koffi Dibby, to his cabinet, a move which would strip Gbagbo of an official praised for his handling of debt talks. Dibby was not available to confirm he had switched sides.

The World Bank tied $3 billion of external debt, estimated to total $12.5 billion, to smooth elections. But Gbagbo's hand on the economy is strengthened by cocoa and oil revenues.

Benchmark ICE cocoa futures traded at a four-month high of $3,028 a metric ton on Monday on fears of supply disruptions.

Despite the stand-off, Ivory Coast reopened its borders on Monday that had been sealed during a tense wait for results.

The army chief of staff has sworn allegiance to Gbagbo and troops appear to be on his side. Ouattara has the open support of the New Forces rebels occupying the north.

"We've put our troops on alert," New Forces spokesman Seydou Ouattara told Reuters. "If we are attacked we will defend our zones and we will take the rest of the Ivorian territory."

Gbagbo has been in power for a decade but faces isolation, though diplomats said Russia, whose Lukoil is exploring for oil in Ivory Coast, has blocked U.N. Security Council efforts to back Ouattara.

The crisis in what was once West Africa's brightest star has forced up the yield on the country's $2.3 billion Eurobond to 11.67 percent, from below 10 percent before polls.

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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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