Friday, May 6, 2011

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should not be given a second term.

Operation We Care for Liberia President
Bernard Gbayee Goah
Liberian President
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
In order for Justice to prevail in Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should not be given a second term.

By Bernard Gbayee Goah
President Operation We Care for Liberia

The presence of United Nations troops has afforded Liberians the opportunity to find solutions to the ills plaguing the nation. Knowing full well these troops will not remain indefinitely; it is imperative Liberians lay the foundation for the rule of law; because it offers the best remedy for corruption, human rights violations, land disputes, armed robbery as well as other pressing issues. Crimes sponsored, masterminded, or carried out by a handful of individuals cannot be conferred upon an entire nationality, in this case Liberians. There is no better way to stabilize Liberia than to introduce a legal system capable of holding people accountable. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and efforts to rebuild Liberia will not produce the intended results.

At minimum to create a truly transparent and effective legal system that serves justice to both the victim and the perpetrator, the system must have oversight. This oversight cannot be transparent if it is entrusted to those who were or still are involved in the attempted demise of Liberia or those who continue to use Liberia as their personal ATM. Given her high level of involvement with NPFL during Liberia’s Civil war, as well as her constant buttressing of impunity, and habitual sugar coating of corruption, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s involvement in government impedes the ability of the legal system in Liberia to function properly.

According to the US State Department 2009 Human Rights Report on Liberia corruption is widespread and systematic in the Government. In its just released 2010 Report, the US State Department noted: "The law does not provide criminal penalties for corruption, which remained systemic throughout the government, although criminal penalties do exist for economic sabotage, mismanagement of funds and other corruption-related acts." Also, the global corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI), released its 2010 world corruption barometer, ranking Liberia as the world’s most corrupt country with a score of 89%, and listing its Judiciary, Legislature, Education, the Business Sector, public officials as the most corrupt institutions in the country. All of these embarrassing reports continue to surface while Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at the zenith of authority in Liberia.

The Sirleaf led government advocacy to amend the constitution of Liberia is not geared toward providing criminal penalties for corruption; rather it is about influencing the outcome of the pending national referendum with intention to place Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on a safe political ride as regards the 10 years residency clause for persons seeking the presidency of Liberia. Madam Sirleaf does not meet the residency clause requirement as stipulated in the elections guidelines of Liberia.

Madam Sirleaf admitted at Liberia’s TRC of supporting a rebel group (NPFL) that committed crimes. However, she did not take personal responsibility for her actions nor did she show remorse but instead placed the blame on Taylor for duping her. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Had the Liberian TRC not been created, Liberians would still demand her day in court.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf may have the constitutional right to run for a second term, but where her rights end, are where the rights of the Liberian people begin. Ellen should not be allowed to use presidential protection to deny her own people justice. As long as Sirleaf is President, her day in court will not occur. Madam Sirleaf has to run for a second term in order to avoid possible prosecution by a government she no longer controls. Madam Sirleaf’s desire to run for the Liberian Presidency the second term resembles that of “calculated intention to escape from justice.”

Cognizant of the fact that years of injustice, intimidation, and abuse have rendered the Liberian people legally powerless, it is clear that Liberia’s citizens do not have the power to take Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to court. They need their government to step in and deliver justice. But with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf running the affairs of the country, justice for the Liberian populace is impossible.

Given the high level of corruption in government with the disappearances of millions of tax payers’ money under the very supervision of madam Sirleaf, reelecting her to the Presidency would be an endorsement of the status quo and a return to business as usual in Liberia.

Ms. Sirleaf is incapable of preventing Liberia from again returning to violence in the absence of the UN troops. The truth is, the presence of UN Troops in Liberia only gives a false sense of security with nothing being done to address imperative issues. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is not capable of navigating her own people through the rough waters of justice without holding herself accountable. The consensus of the people is that they do not want to see madam Sirleaf run for a second term, this should be seen by Liberians in the Diaspora and the international community as a commitment to transform Liberia into a nation with a strong and fair rule of law, and should also be seen as an effort to end the culture of impunity.

Lastly, the UN Security Council continues to demand that the Liberian Government under the leadership of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf "make all necessary efforts to fulfill its obligations" to freeze the assets of former president Charles Taylor. The delay in the freezing of Mr. Taylor’s assets by the Ellen Johnson-Sir led government reveals how involved she was with Mr. Taylor during his NPFL war.

Put simple; detesting impunity in Liberia would mean going against the very interest of Madam Sirleaf.

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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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