Disagreeing With Archbishop Michael Francis

(A press Release Issued by a Group Known as Liberian Contemporees United Patriotic and Strong)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 5, 2003

The Liberian Contemporees United Patriotic and Strong would like to take this opportunity to register its opposition to the recent proposal by Bishop Michael Francis and others which calls for an extension of the Administration of Charles Taylor with a government of national unity.

Why must Liberians be forced to accept a leadership that has failed morally, diplomatically, economically, politically and militarily?

Charles Taylor’s story is well documented, particularly as it relates to his crimes during Samuel Doe’s regime. How can we forget his brutal war of ambition, the dozen broken peace agreements, or the senseless killings of 250,000 Liberians? Make no mistake, Charles Taylor’s support of terrorism in West Africa will long be remembered. Liberians cannot afford to accommodate this maniacal individual any longer.

Perhaps we ought to be reminded that in the all out effort to end the protracted multi-factional conflict that engulfed Liberia, Charles Taylor, as leader of the notorious NPFL faction, was invited to participate in the National Transitional Government of Liberia. However in less than six months, he launched a deadly, unnecessary attack against a rival faction that practically destroyed the Capital and nearly plunged the nation into another round of senseless violence.

As the country lay in ruins, Liberians believed they were voting for peace and handed the presidency to Charles Taylor in 1997. His idea of peace, unfortunately, differed vastly from that of the voters. It wasn't long before Charles Taylor and his cronies began engaging in secret killings, illegal detention, torture, human rights abuse, regional conquest, and the training and harboring of terrorists. Clearly, the elections of 1997 produced a regime that misappropriates the nation’s resources, finances rebel activities, and collaborates with terrorist organizations, such as al Qaeda.

Liberians cannot afford a repeat of the 1997 fiasco. Having failed to prepare the nation for presidential and legislative elections after six years of dictatorial rule, how likely is Charles Taylor to create an enabling environment for free and fair elections in six months?

Now that the international community is again engaged, let us not send conflicting signals or proffer solutions that will only prolong the crisis. The current volatile situation in Liberia and the West African region at large allows no room for miscalculation or wishful thinking. Liberians must not scuttle yet another golden opportunity for lasting peace and stability in West Africa because of shortsightedness.

It is widely believed credible elections cannot be held in October in light of the prevailing circumstances. Therefore all efforts must now be directed toward organizing a Government of National Unity to be headed by someone other than Charles Taylor. After dominating the political landscape for more than a decade, Charles Taylor and his cronies have failed miserably as national leaders.

It has been the position of the Liberian Contemporees UPS that Charles Taylor must step aside and allow Liberians to freely select leaders who will serve in a transitional government of national unity. We are elated Bishop Michael Francis and other key personalities have come around to supporting this position.