I read, with total disgust, in the online abstract
of the Analyst News (4/7/06) that the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
administration is considering footing the legal expenses
for Charles Taylor. This is a terrible idea and an
abuse of the power of the Presidency. Instead of the
Johnson-Sirleaf administration going after the money
looted by Mr. Taylor, they are considering the possibility
of spending tax payers' money for an individual who
destroyed the country's natural resources and ran
the country economy like a mafia clan.
Such decision-making shows an extreme level of insensitivity to Liberians who were victimized by Mr. Taylor, cannot get justice, and an insult to their intelligence and sensiitivity. While I totally admire the administrative acumen of the President, she seems to embed herself in some political missteps. Her inability to have the courage for so-called warlords and perpetrators of crimes during the war to account for their acts is tantamount to a "cop out" and a "cop-a-plea" at best. We must create disincentives for future warlords and future Taylors if peace is to be sustained in Liberia. The model of truth and reconciliation commission is much more applicable in a situation emerging from guerrilla warfare as opposed to war inflicted by criminals.
Moreover, justice should precede reconciliation, instead of having reconciliation in the absence of justice. The Johnson-Sirleaf administration's acquiescence and capitulation in bringing to justice those who committed crimes against the Liberian people, and attempt to bankroll Charles Taylor's legal fees will transplant warlordism and entrench the culture of "runaway" impunity. The Liberian people should resist in an unmistakable fashion their refusal for tax payers' money to be spent for such a tyrant.
George Fulley Siaway, ABD, MSEH
Public Health Analyst/GIS Specialist
Bureau of Epidemiology & Health Risk Assessment
District of Columbia Department of Health
825 North Capitol St., N.E., #3137