Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Liberia: 'Armed Men Break Into TQ Harris' Bedroom'

Source: Allafrica.com
The Liberian government and its international security partners launched the Security Sector Reform (SSR) project, undoubtedly, to preempt the domino effects the short-circuited UN-mandated Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration Programme (DDRRP) would have on Liberia. The project produced robust police and army units, all right; but one effect of the failed DDRR programme that would not go away is armed robbery. There is a number of conspiracy theories about the 'why'. What is clear, though, is that the armed robbery is observing no boundary, making observers to demand that it must be an issue for the 2011 presidential election. The Analyst has been looking at the reported attack on presidential aspirant, TQ Harris.

Several armed men have reportedly broken into the bedroom of 2011 prospective presidential candidate, TQ Harris, making away with US $40,000, L $100,000 in cash, and several valuable household and personal possessions.

Mr. Harris he intended to use the cash for his 2011 presidential campaign.

The stolen items included a US $25,000 gold Rolex watch, a US $500 gold watch, a Sony Laptop, a Memorex Flatbed color scanner, a Pentax 35mm X 200mm lens camera, and a Samsung Digital Camera.

The armed men reportedly also took away a LoneStar Cell Internet modem, two 2-GB flash drives, and six cell phones, including a US $600 unused touch-screen cell phone.

Along with these items, the visibly terrified and dejected standard-bearer of the opposition Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL) told our reporters yesterday, the armed men took several gifts he received from a relative several years ago.

The FAPL leader, who walked into the offices of The Analyst to 'bring his mishap to the knowledge of the Liberian people', said the incident started at about 2:30 a.m., Monday, July 18, 2011 when a group of armed men forcibly broke into his bedroom, wielding deadly weapons.

He said as they trained their weapons – which included clubs, knifes, and automatic rifles – on him, they demanded that he hand over all cash and valuable items in his possession, lest they be forced to kill him. "If you move, you will die!" Mr. Harris quoted the man who appeared to be the ringleader as bellowing, as he ordered his associates to begin rummaging for cash and valuables.

The presidential candidate said the armed men, most of whom he said were in their mid-20s, told him that they were sent to his home to carry out the robbery. He said the robbers did not say who sent them; neither did he say if he had any idea who might be the senders.

This is the sixth time armed robbers have attacked Mr. Harris' home; but he said Monday's attack was the first time the robbers succeeded in breaking in.

In previous attempts, according to Mr. Harris, the robbers tied up, gagged the security offices on duty, and made away with a large portable generator, over 40 gallons of diesel fuel, and several other items.

Mr. Harris had reportedly reported all of these incidents to the Zone 5 Police Depot in Paynesville and to UNMIL; but according to him, there had been no redress.

What was strange about all of these incidents, he said, was that no one has been caught, neither has any of the properties been recovered.

Another striking coincidence, he noted further, was that all of the armed robbers – though attacking his home at different times and dates and perhaps comprising different individuals – have always claimed to be acting on orders.

Monday's brazen attack on Mr. Harris came only two days after he moved into his Paynesville Community home and less than a week after he took over the leadership of the FAPL as its political leader.

Meanwhile the prospective FAPL presidential candidate said he is currently in consultation with his counsel to explore the possibility of petitioning the Ministry of Justice for permit to purchase and possess a firearm.

As part of UN effort to control the use of small arms in crimes and warfare in the country, the government of Liberia has placed restriction on the private ownership of firearm.

But Mr. Harris, who is terrified by continued attacks on his home, said there was no question that the restriction was doing more harm than good to the Liberian people.

He said if armed robbers could be brave enough to attack and rob him, despite the fact that he has security details in place and lived in a fenced-in compound, it was not difficult to imagine the ordeal ordinary Liberians have to go through every night.

Whether Mr. Harris thought the reduction of violent crimes, as a civil right issue, should be part of the 2011 presidential debate, he did not say.

Neither did he say whether the prevalence of violent crimes in the society, eight years after the official cessation of hostilities in the country and five years after President took over, is the failure of the Liberia government to address the nation's unemployment question, adequately.

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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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