Tuesday, January 18, 2011

West Africa: MRU Ministers Convene 2-Day Meeting On Ivory Coast Crisis

Source: allAfrica.com

The Mano River Union (MRU) Ministerial Council yesterday convened a two-day Extraordinary Meeting on Peace and Security in Monrovia as a result of the troubling civil crisis in one of its member state, Ivory Coast.

The forum is among others discussing the crisis in Ivory Coast aimed at taking steps that could lead to peace in the member country that has been engulfed by crisis since November 28.

The Peace and Security meeting is aimed at saving the MRU Basin from eminent crisis with the focus of the meeting taking into consideration the importance of peace in the Basin, reminiscing the recent past.

Speaking during the opening session, Liberia's Planning Minister Amara Konneh, Chair of MRU Ministerial Council, decried the situation in Ivory Coast, "one of our member states."

He said the Union was very concerned about the escalating crisis and the Chair of the Union, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had requested the Council to discuss the security and humanitarian consequences.

He described the crisis as a threat to peace and stability in the region and feared that it will soon endanger trade, commerce, agriculture production and revenue generation for countries in the basin.

Mr. Konneh said peace remain fragile in the basin. Guinea, with its newly elected government is moving ahead slowly, Sierra Leone is making progress with its democracy, while Liberia is preparing for elections in October.

Minister Konneh warned that if the situation in Ivory Coast is not handled now, with the level of porous borders in the MRU basin, the crisis to spill over with a devastating effect on the rest of the region.

"We have come to Monrovia [this meeting] because one of us is in danger," Minister Konneh stated, adding that all member state need to work to find an amicable solution to the Ivorian imbroglio.

Host country Liberia and other MRU member countries are seriously troubled by the crisis in La Cote d'Ivoire and going to take steps to consolidate the fragile peace and security in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and save the MRU Basin from further political, economic, and social decadence.

UN Secretary General Special Representative Ellen Magarethe Loj said the Ivorian crisis seriously threatens Liberia's fragile stability and comes at a critical period when Liberia the her international partners are gearing up for the country's second postwar elections later this year.

She said the UN was seriously monitoring the situation and has been working with relevant agencies to respond to the humanitarian crisis posed by the influx of some 30,000 refugees into Liberia.

Liberian security forces and those of the UN, she s aid, have been deployed to beef up monitoring and patrols at the borders with Ivory Coast. "No doubt the situation is challenging on the ground," Madam Loj noted, calling for quick and serious international interventions to address the humanitarian crisis caused by influx of refugees in Liberia.

MRU Secretary General Elhadj Chierno Diallo, too, described the Ivorian crisis as being critical to the basin and called for a concerted effort on finding solution.

He indicated that whatever affects one country affects the others in the region, and hoped for a better discussion at the two-day conference.

Delegates are from three of the MRU countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone except troubled Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast has been engulfed by serious internal deadlock since a November 28 2010 presidential run-off election conducted between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara.

Both Gbagbo and Quattara have claimed the presidency after the elect0ral commission declared the later winner, but the constitutional court overturned the results in favor of Gbagbo.

The two men were separately inaugurated as President and the impasse has left the country with two governments, each with its own group of cabinet ministers, appointed simultaneously.

The current political standoff between Gbagbo and Quattara has placed La Cote d'Ivoire at the brink of a full scale civil war.

The United Nations, ECOWAS, EU, AU, and other multilateral institutions as well as the governments of France, USA, and other western countries are all backing the results released by the Electoral Commission which announced Quattara as the winner of the election; and are calling on Gbagbo to relinquish state power.

He has vehemently refused to step down, prompting ECOWAS to threaten military force to end the crisis after several failed diplomatic intervention.

At least 200, people are reported dead so far. About 30,000 Ivorian refugees have fled into Liberia for safety and humanitarian crisis is said to be on an unprecedented rise.

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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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