The Conduct of Warlords and Politicians In a Stalled Peace Process

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 30, 2003

The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), representing members of the Liberian media community in the
Americas, is appalled and disappointingly disgusted over reports of renewed fighting in Liberia and the apparent bickering in Ghana, among political leaders and representatives of the warring factions relative to the formation of an Interim Government. We are also disappointed and gravely concerned at the slow pace of decision-making by the International Community to send a peacekeeping mission to Liberia.

We join other democratic and civil groups in calling for an immediate halt to the hostilities in Monrovia, which continue to claim the lives of innocent Liberians victimized in the senseless blood bath now prevailing in the country. May we remind all those responsible for the wanton destruction of lives and property of the Liberian people that they bear full responsibility for their reckless actions. ALJA also condemns in the strongest possible terms, the killings, maiming and wanton destruction of Liberian's resources.

We reiterate our position as contained in a Resolution issued at the end of our 3rd Annual Convention held in Minnesota last June, which states, among other things, that the Government of Liberia and warring factions respect the value and sanctity of human rights, and thereby refrain from various acts of atrocities against the Liberian people; to seek international support with direct US involvement to ensure the fulfillment and comprehensive implementation of the ECOWAS/ICG led AKosombo, Cease fire Agreement of June 17, 2003, entered between the Government of Liberia (GOL), the Liberians United For Peace and Democracy (LURD) and Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).

We are very disappointed that over two months now representatives of political and warring factions, as well as civic groups
meeting in Ghana are yet to resolve the issue of an interim government to fill the leadership vacuum once President Charles Taylor vacates the scene in Liberia while appeals are growing louder from various quarters of the Liberian community for others to assist us in solving the crisis.

As a people, we must realize that in the wake of changing political dynamics in the international community, we must act quickly to portray the willingness and responsible attitude necessary in harmonizing our differences and present a united front to govern our country while seeking help from our friends in the international community.

While hundreds of our people are being killed in Liberia, the bickering continues in Ghana with no agreement yet in sight to lay the foundation for a long awaited peace process. It has also become evident by the day, that political leaders and warlords hold their personal political agendas above the interest of the Liberian people. This sad trend, in our view, is tantamount to the military adventurism prevailing in Monrovia, which is decimating our people on a daily basis and prolonging their suffering. All contributing actors to the prolongation of the process in Ghana must equally bear full responsibility for the continued carnage in our country.

It is about time that we show the international community that the interest of Liberia supercedes the interest of our political and
military alliances. We are ready to join forces to stop the carnage and destruction of our country, and allow the international community, especially the United States to assist in restoring the dignity of Liberia among the community of nations.

We call on the international community to provide logistical and much needed financial support to the peacekeeping mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to assist Liberia. We also await the decision of the United States to send additional troops to concretize the peacekeeping process and create the stable enabling environment necessary for relief agencies to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to armless civilians, especially women, children and the elderly engulfed in the worst of inhumane conditions.

Sam Togba Slewion
Tel: 215-455-9764

Cyrus Wleh Badio