The Liberian Democratic Future Speaks On Issues Of The Day

The Perspective

Posted: April 9, 1998

According to Article 3 of the Liberian constitution, "Liberia is a unitary sovereign state divided into counties for administrative purposes. The form of government is Republican with three separate coordinate branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Consistent with the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances, no person holding office in one of these branches shall hold office in or exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches."

Nominal, rubber stamp legislature

But despite this clear constitutional provision, President Taylor wants a nominal, rubber stamp legislature which will be an extension of his powers. He wants a Liberian legislature in the mode of the "so say one, so all", useless parliament similar to that which existed during the dictatorships of the True Whig Party and Samuel Kanyon Doe.

Quite recently, When Senator Brumskine, President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, met with some Liberians and business people during a secret trade meeting planned by George Kiadii and Carolyn Agho under the auspices of the surreptitious Liberian International Trade Conference, questions concerning Liberian-Libyan ties and President Taylor giving mining rights to Amalia Gold Mining, a South African company, came up. The senator vigorously defended the Taylor government for its ties will Libya and concluded that it had no bearing on his trade meeting with Americans businessmen. On the question of mining contracts being given to South African company, the senator said he read about it, but he said there was no such thing like a contract since any contract had to have the approval of the senate. But Taylor did enter into an agreement with a South African company.

Looking at developments between Senator Brumskine and President Taylor, you will conclude that the senator was just trying to be diplomatic and in the process preposterously defended the former warlord, Charles Taylor.

According to reliable sources, here is a synopsis of what appears to be the beginning of the usurpation or taking of powers from the elected representatives by the president.

Long-time Taylor confidant and Senate President Pro Tempore counselor Charles Brumskine may be replaced by Taylor sycophant Senator Grace Minor, a high school dropout. Sen. Brumskine has gotten into hot water with Taylor because he apparently expected that once Taylor and the NPFL/NPP achieved the presidency and control of the country, the rules of democracy and good governance would prevail.

The Perspective has learned that not long ago, Brumskine and Taylor had an explosive meeting over the manner in which Brumskine was running the Senate and the way Taylor was conducting foreign policy. Taylor reportedly lambasted Brumskine for the Senate's insistence on scrutinizing all Taylor governmental nominees, not passing sections of the interim budget and attempting to review all government contracts. It's obvious that Mr. Taylor did not expect or want an independent legislature, but Brumskine felt that legislative oversight and seriousness were necessary to help curtail government corruption and mismanagement. Brumskine may have miscalculated his influence.

Sen. Brumskine reportedly also told Taylor, according to our credible sources, that his dealings with Libya benefitted only Taylor and not the Liberian people. The senator claimed that Liberia's long term future lay in continuing to be a close ally and friend of the United States and the west.

Brumskine's reported replacement, Senator Grace Minor, is also an Americo- Liberian and renowned for her unquestioning devotion to Taylor. Over time, this high school degenerate has gained Taylor's confidence and is the only person to be listed as co- signatory on his Paris Societe Generale Bank Account. In 1996, when Taylor paid his first official visit to Taiwan, Minor accompanied him and assisted in transferring funds from Taipei to Paris. Minor was also included on the recent delegation to Tripoli, which resulted in an agreement to re-establish official relations between Libya and Liberia. A highly volatile personality with street smarts, she would probably do anything asked of her by the president.

Other developments

In other development, ethnic tensions appear to be on the rise, not only among Mandingo and Krahn, but also among the Gio, Sarpo and Kru.

The sources said that "The Gio, Taylor's largely uneducated Nimba County fighters, are disappointed and angry, like many other Taylor fighters, for not receiving what they consider the spoils of winning the election: Government jobs, cash payments and flashy vehicles. One highly visible action that infuriated many Gios was what they believe was a Taylor-backed effort to replace Enoch Dogolea, his Gio vice president. Taylor quickly withdrew his support for impeachment, when he heard about the outraged response of his Gio followers, the largest group in the former NPFL. Taylor did an abrupt about-face and chastised the legislature for having dared to institute impeachment proceedings against Dogolea, a move which confused the loyal NPP legislators."

Another ethnic group that appears increasingly disillusioned with Taylor is the Kru. In 1994, when the Liberian Peace Council (LPC) invaded Sinoe County, the Kru became NPFL supporters because of the wasteland tactics of the LPC. The Sarpo, their neighbors and long-time rivals who were allied with the Krahn remained with the LPC.

During the presidential election, the Kru voted overwhelmingly for Charles Taylor. Today many Sarpos are moving towards the coast where the Kru live. Conditions along the coast, however, are no better than in the interior: severe malnutrition, no medicines and no clothing. As the government has failed to respond adequately to this humanitarian crisis, tensions are increasing between the two tribes as is Kru antipathy toward Taylor administration for its apparent inaction.

Security matters

Prior to his departure for Taiwan, Taylor focused on the crisis in Sierra Leone. He continued his public attacks on former ULIMO leader Alhaji Kromah for allegedly encouraging ULIMO fighters to take up arms with Kamajors in Sierra Leone. He ordered the border closed and a 1,000 person armed paramilitary force deployed there. Credible reports indicate that when ECOMOG refused to release arms confiscated during disarmament to government, Taylor purchased a significant quantity of sophisticated arms, allegedly to be used to support the AFRC/RUF in Freetown.

Meanwhile, Taylor has continued to beef up his own personal security forces and to insert former NPFL fighters into them. The Special Security Services (SSS), charged with protecting the president, have tripled in size from 500 to 1,400. The SSS is now comprised mainly of young, former NPFL fighters. In the National Security Agency (NSA), approximately 800 non-NPP stalwarts are being pushed aside in favor of Taylorites.

Taylor is seeking the services of GE TRAC, an Israeli company headed Sigmund Rosenblum, to provide bodyguards and vehicular security for the president. It can be recalled that Mr. Rosenblum, who owns a logging concession in the Ivory Coast, bought arms and ammunition and shipped them to Taylor during the Liberian civil war through Benoni Urey and Jenkins Dunbar.

On 7 November, 1997, the Taylor government sent 1,000 former National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) troops to the Armed Forces of Liberia's (AFL) Camp Scheiffelin facility to receive training under the auspices of the AFL from trainers who included three foreign officers possibly from Burkina Faso or Gambia who had been trained in Libya. The 1,000 troops at Camp Scheiffelin are not affiliated with the recently announced group of 1,000 AFL troops undergoing training for deployment on Liberia's northwest border with Sierra Leone. The group is destined for security duty at the Executive Mansion upon completion of training and AFL officers believe that the unit is envisioned as being comparable to the recently abolished Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SATU) formed under the late president Samuel Doe.

In the past months, Taylor has begun to move mostly Krahn fighters out of the downtown Barclay Training Center near the Executive Mansion to an inadequate facility in a Monrovia suburb.

Interestingly, while he was in Taipei, the president was expected to obtain a redevelopment package for Liberia which includes renovation of the University of Liberia located near the Executive Mansion. Reliable sources indicate that one stipulation to the university renovation project is that the university be moved from its present location to another site sixteen miles from the city center. The old university grounds would then become barracks for Taylor's security forces.

If these moves, coupled with removing Krahn families from Slip Way, are completed, Taylor will have created a virtually unassailable fortress area in downtown Monrovia. Many people believe these actions confirm that Taylor intends to govern indefinitely - and sadly consigns Liberian democracy to the cellar.

The recent murders of Sam Dokie and his relatives and the decapitation and burning of their bodies are foretastes of the terror that will permeate Liberia under former warlord Charles Taylor.