Commission Probing Civil Disorder Intensifies Work


By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 2, 2005

The Ezekiel Pajibo Commission set up to investigate the recent civil unrest in Monrovia back in October 2004 has intensified its work and the 15-member Commission mandated by from the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) to investigate what has become known as the Jacob Town riot, has begun inquiries through a series of community hearings.

In an exclusive interview with The Perspective at his Ashmun Street office in Central Monrovia on January 26, Mr. Pajibo, who is Executive Director of the Center of Democratic Empowerment (CEDE), said the commission has already had two community hearings in Paynesville - Red Light and Jacob Town respectively.

According to him in the not too distant future, the commission hopes to conduct additional community hearings in areas badly affected by the 28-31 October incident.

Mr. Pajibo indicated that among areas his commission has earmarked include Soul Clinic, Du Port Road, Duala, Barnersville, Kakata, and Gbartala in Bong County.

During the public hearings the commission will seek answers to many questions and document responses from community members in order to identify victims and perpetrators of crimes during the period and in the course help, as part of their mandate, to explain the root causes of what happened.

The investigation into the violence, which lead to the death of several persons, as reported by the Justice Ministry and the destruction of over one million dollars worth of properties, Mr. Pajibo noted, is an important undertaking because it would allow Liberians to explain their plights, difficulties, and together find workable solutions.

He said, from all the law enforcement agencies in the counties, his commission has requested them to submit to their individual reports in connection with the 28-31 October incident to the commission.

“The Ministries of Justice and Defense have consented to make available their own reports, UNMIL and the Liberia National Police have not given any report as requested by the commission”, he lamented.

According to Mr. Pajibo, on February 28, 2004, the 60-day commission will make their report to the Chairman.

Reviewing the human rights sector with specific reference to Grand Bassa, Mr. Pajibo indicated that the recent arrest of 80 people in the county by government is unacceptable.

According to him, the unmasking of the high priest in the country is a violation of cultural rights, which needs urgent attention.

The lack of accountability and continued accusation of misappropriation of government funds need critical examination and must be stopped to give the people basic services.

“The pronouncement by the Chairman about the missing of 1000 diplomatic Liberian passports at the Foreign Ministry, is worrisome because we don’t know as to whether it has fallen into the hands of terrorists or criminals.

“The hike in the price of rice which according to lawmaker Joseph Cornomia, is because of the cuts officials receive from importers, is unacceptable and inhumane”, Mr. Pajibo concluded.