Open Letter To Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas Executve Secretary, ECOWAS

By Chea Cheapoo, Sr

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 12, 2002

Dear Dr. Chambas,

As a Liberian concerned about the welfare of my country, like all other Liberians should hopefully be, I am surprised to have learned that with all the effort you have made as a Ghanaian diplomat under His Excellency former President Jerry Rawlings, you are still naive to think that ECOWAS and not Liberians should decide the future of my country - whether in peace or at war. It is with this naïve pre-occupation that you selected who should attend the recent Abuja meeting or even allowed the recalcitrant party (Taylor and his henchmen) to dictate who should or should not attend.

Whereas if there arises a dispute based upon an agreement and it becomes necessary to arbitrate the differences it appears that the right thing to do is to cite the relevant parties to the agreement. The reason for this is that the parties are in the best position to help review their own contract and clearly punctuate their differences. Permit me to say that because the relevant contracting signatories to the Abuja Accord on record were not cited to show ECOWAS how and where Taylor shamefully fell short in the implementation of the accord that brought him to power. This is mainly why the recent “Liberia reconciliation conference” under your stewardship was indeed a fiasco.

Reflecting upon the current crisis in Liberia, I am inclined to believe wholeheartedly that only Liberians can really solve Liberian political problems - in peace or at war. Others like ECOWAS can truly help, but they must do so by allowing Liberians to truly determine the welfare of their nation. In retrospect, during the first round of finding resolution to the conflict initiated by Taylor but resulted to his becoming president of the nation, those who came to help us were partially dictating terms coupled with threats such “unless you hold an election now, ECOWAS will pull out”, amidst an unleveled playing field in which a genuine democratic political process could have been conducted.

Here again, those who purport to be helping Liberians are busy making decisions about the Liberian nation over the heads of its citizens. After Taylor with impunity stayed away from a conference which supposed to have brought about reconciliation between the government he heads and its citizenry as well as bringing about the strict enforcement of the Abuja Accord under which the various conflicting parties could have been reconciled, ECOWAS' Council of Ministers assembled recently in Darker, Senegal and resoundingly, so to speak, condemned the opposition parties which had been complaining about Taylor’s failure to implement the Abuja Accord. They equally condemned and imposed sanctions on an armed faction without first reviewing the basis of its grievances as a peacemaker should. Such an act by an honorable body, in effect, constitutes an endorsement of Taylor’s act of conducting a government of man and not of law while at the same time trampling under foot the Liberian peace accords fostered by the very ECOWAS.

To ECOWAS leaders, I therefore say, Liberia’s current crisis lies with Taylor. Anyone who does not see Taylor as the problem in Liberia will encounter difficulties in helping to restore peace in Liberia.


Chea Cheapoo, Sr.

About the Author: Chea Cheapoo was Justice Minister of Liberia during the Samuel Doe regime

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