Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Liberia: Police Brutality

Source: Public Agenda Liberia

By Fidel Marshall
Mr. Emmanuel Gonquoi

The Executive Director of the civil society group, Peace Interaction Network, has accused uniformed officers of the Liberia National Police of brutalizing him just a day after he exposed an un-talked about and yet unconfirmed US $53 million dollars deal executed by the government of Liberia and three white American security experts for the protection of President Ellen-Johnson-Sirleaf.

Speaking to this paper at the Slipway police station around the new bridge area, Gonqoui said he was brutalized by two men dressed in LNP uniform who claimed were assigned at that depot. The incidence is believed to have ensued between the civil society official and the police officers where a motorcycle he was riding was arrested by police on grounds that the motorcyclist did not wear protective helmet while plying the streets. Information gathered said Gonquoi tried to engage the officers on the matter since he was a passenger but was urged to stay out of police business.

“After the motorcyclist consented to going to court on the request of the officers, and in supporting his idea, I asked them for their identity so can be easily assessable while I help the motorcyclist pursue the case. It was how the other officer, who was later identified as Fallah Bondu, slapped me in my face. The other officer, only identified as Prince ran way when tension mounted into the case,” Emmanuel said.

He said the officers refuse to show their identities for reasons that “speaking to civilian is not a right; it is a privilege; so we will not identify ourselves.”

He said in an attempt to defend himself by blocking slaps by Officer Bondu, he received several slaps and punches; something that is said to have drawn the attention of shop owners and street peddlers.

When journalists were contacted to get comment of the Slipway Depot commander on the matter, Peter Hutches said the two officers that assaulted the civil society executive were not assigned at the depot.

According to Commander Peter Hutches, officers arresting cars and motorcycle in the streets were under the direct control of Police Chief of Traffic, Mickey Gray, whom he referred journalists and Mr. Gonquoi to.

In fact, when one of brutalizer-police officers was summoned by Commander Hutches for questioning, he denied of knowing the victim or the incident involving Emmanuel Gonquoi.

In route to the Headquarter of the LNP, a text from Information Minister, Cletus Sieh, urged Mr. Gonquoi to wait on the arrival of Min. Isaac Jackson who later met journalists and the victim at central.

When he arrived, Min. Jackson is quoted as urging victim Gonquoi to “next time stay clear from the way of the police,” something apparently impossible when the police should be regarded as a friend whom citizens run to for help and redress in keeping with laws.

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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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