|Operation We Care for Liberia President|
Bernard Gbayee Goah
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.