Monday, November 14, 2011

Liberia: Operation We Care for Liberia calls on President Obama to step in!

Operation We Care for Liberia
calls on President Obama to step in!

By Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia

Operation We Care for Liberia calls on the Obama administration to discuss the state of human rights in Liberia with the Liberian government, and in particular, to urge the Liberian government to establish a superior court capable of investigating crimes against humanity in that country.

The Liberian government must create an Independent board of inquiry to probe into the killings of innocent Liberians on the eve of Liberia’s elections day.
We have heard that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has named fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee, to lead a new peace and reconciliation initiative to include the investigation of what took place on the eve of Liberia’s elections day.  While we believe madam Gbowee may have contributed to women’s rights advocacy in Liberia, her recent involvement with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf creates conflict of interest. Madam Leymah Gbowee publically supported Sirleaf during the campaign period, and voted for Sirleaf when her fellow Liberians including innocent women and men were either wounded or killed by state police loyal to Sirleaf on the eve of Liberia’s elections day.
We see the appointment of a fellow supporter to head such a critical case as nepotism at its highest level. We believe that Madam Leymah Gbowee is loyal to madam Sirleaf; therefore she would heavily economize the truth of the matter surrounding the incident that took place on Monday thus denying the victims justice.   Appointing madam Gbowee to spearhead such investigation is a complete injustice to the victims.

Presidents Obama should take this opportunity to discuss with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf the crucial role the Liberian administration can and must play in ensuring justice, accountability, and respect for the human rights of all Liberians.
The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) created in May 2005 under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was mandated to promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation by investigation more than 20 years of civil conflict in the country and to report a gross human violation that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and 14 October 2003. The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was released July 1, 2009. In the final report, issued June 2009, the TRC included Sirleaf in a list of 49 names of people that should be "specifically barred from holding public offices; elected or appointed for a period of thirty (30) years" for "being associated with former warring factions. On 28 August Liberia's parliament consisting mostly of members of former warring factions announced it must consult its constituents for about a year before deciding whether or not to implement the Commission's recommendations.
In January 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the TRC's recommendation was a constitutional violation of the listed individuals' right to procedural due process, and that it would be unconstitutional for the government to implement the proposed bans. 
Even though her testimony at Liberia’s Truth Commission hearing proved otherwise, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has claimed consistently during these elections period that she had no role in the war that maimed and killed innocent people and destroyed the country’s entire infrastructure. She must be presented an opportunity to exonerate herself in a credible Liberian war crime court. If Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is responsible, as the evidence indicates, regardless whether such crimes were committed in Liberia or elsewhere pre or post 2003, it would be a travesty of justice to have indicted former president Charles Taylor and removed him from office; but yet allow Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to remain head of state even though she also financially supported as well as ordered a rebel group (NPFL) to committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.  There is a wise saying: “The dangerous part of a snake is not its tail but its head”.  And there can be on other snake head in the Liberian 20 years carnage then Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.  
While plans to implement the TRC final report remain in limbo, the country has experienced and continues to experience ongoing violence and internecine conflict, striking deficiencies in judiciary, police, and corrections operations, vigilante justice, and high incidence of rape of young men, women, and girls. We agree that madam Sirleaf has the right to procedural due process. However, we are only too aware that the right to procedural due process cannot happen in Liberia if a credible court system does not exist.  Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising judiciary system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of human rights violations.  We call on the Obama administration to buttress our call for Justice in Liberia.  We call for the establishment of a credible justice system designed to address these problems and help reduce the incidence of human rights abuses. We believe that a peaceful West Africa demands total peace in Liberia. Any conflict in Liberia at this time would greatly destabilize the entire region. As such, We call on  the Obama administration and the Liberian government to make the establishment of a superior court (Liberian war crimes court) capable of investigating crimes against humanity  a top priority so that peace and justice may be restore in that region. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in West Africa especially so Liberia will not produce the intended results. 

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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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