October 27, 2003
The current standoff in Liberia between the chair of the transitional regime and the rebels threatens to derail the peace process in which the UN has placed so much faith. Its Special Representative, Maj. Gen/ Jacques Klein, has given Liberians so much hope in a short period, and the nightmare is to imagine his failure. But he is one man in the wilderness. If Klein were in charge of Iraq, his problems would be far different, and one of them would not be funding, neither international focus.
This is why, Liberians, representatives of friendly governments, bi-lateral institutions and the international community must launch a massive campaign to assist Jacques Klein in transforming the character of the interim regime in terms of ensuring that competence, moral standing and transparency, as the UN demands, are acceptable norms. There is an urgent need to change the nominating process of officers and to establish an effective and acceptable interim administration. Jacques Klein should encourage the interim leadership in employing advisors who have at least minimal moral values. Principal advisors, including Edington Varmah, Blamo Nelson, Daniel Chea, who lacked moral values and assisted Liberia’s worst dictator, Charles Taylor in destroying our Country should be denied positions of influence within the Interim Government.
The ethnic factor, still looming with ugly implications and individuals’ role in Liberia’s continuing carnage, remains high in achieving the desired result of stability. This is why Liberians, especially so honorable citizens of Grand Gedeh County must find courage in appealing to Jackson Doe, Chea Doe, George Dweh, et al to resign any positions of influence. Chairman Sekou Damate Conneh of LURD, albeit unwillingly, accepted the advice and stopped campaigning for the chairmanship of the Interim Government. In addition, former warlords, Dr. George Boley, Al Alhaji V. G. Kromah, Roosevelt Johnson, and Prince Johnson, because of reasons of ethnicity and issues of characters, kept themselves far away from the activities of LURD and MODEL.
At least, George Dweh, Jackson Doe, Chea Doe, et al should follow the decisions of the former warlords and, or honor LURD’s and MODEL’s Mission Statements. The two statements explicitly stated that Liberians shall determine the officers of an interim government. Instead honoring such cardinal principles, they have threatened to abandon the peace process and begun to lament those who advocate for them to resign. They claimed that their only proven crime is being members of the late President Samuel K. Doe clan.
Ironically, George Dweh, et al used reasons of ethnicity, i.e., in the case of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and activities of the past, i.e., in the case of Dr. Tipoteh, and denied either the chairmanship of the Interim government. Therefore, it is disingenuous for George Dweh and others to become principal actors within an interim government, while they are under the cloud of being accused of committing heinous crime during the 1980’s.
Similarly, Islamic scholars, Muslims, or Mandingoes from Lofa County must encourage chairman of LURD, Sekou to desist from reading from the play book of the True Whip Party of Liberia and former warlord leader of ULIMO-K. Al Alhaji G. V. Kromah. The True Whip Party appointed individuals based more on ethnicity/class and less on quality and proportional representation. If part of Chairman Conneh’s rationale for appointing more of his kinsmen is along the view of Sam Mohamed Kromah, current President of the Union of Liberian Associations in the America, he should review the efforts of Al Alhaji V.G. Kromah. President Sam Mohamed Kromah, another Conneh’s appointee has and continues to insinuate that Mandingoes should compete for political offices as part of the ways of legitimizing their Liberian citizenships.
Historically, and wrongly so, Liberians have perceived, and sometimes mistreated, Mandingoes like people who are second class citizens of Liberia. Those actions are abominable, and all Liberians should have denounced those behaviors. However, one person, or an act by itself alone, including any good efforts can’t erase such perception overnight. President Samuel K. Doe’s unilateral declaration that Mandingoes were bona fide citizens of Liberia did not change the perception. Nor did Al Alhaji G..V. Kromah’s memorable march with President Samuel K. Doe to Nimba County during the earlier days of the 1989 NPFL’s armed insurrection change the perception. Conneh’s ascendancy to prominence and subsequent coattail benefits to his kinsmen wouldn’t change the perception either. All of us can help in changing such perception once we begin to work together honestly and diligently.
I hope that Liberians will not only help in changing the nominating process, but will begin to work within vehicle that could create an environment in which people of different religion, color, creed, and economic, political and social orientation can feel free in expressing themselves.