For Free and Fair Election, We Need International Supervision - Says Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
As the 2003 Liberian presidential and general elections draw nearer, presidential hopefuls have begun declaring their intentions. But Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former deputy minister of finance in Liberia and former head of UNDP, who finished second to Charles Taylor in the 1997 elections, has been mute about her intention. So Managing Editor George H. Nubo of The Perspective called up Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to find out if she is one of those who are interested in the Liberian presidency. Full text of Mr. Nubo's discussion with Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf is published below:
Liberia: Contact Group must condemn violations by Government and LURD forces (Amnesty International)
On 28 February 2003 the International Contact Group on Liberia meets in New York to consider the international community's response to the political, security and humanitarian situation in Liberia.
Rapids Sign Liberian Roberts (Sports Illustrated)
The 23-year old forward, who previously played for Greek club Olympiakos, joins the Rapids as a transitional international and will not count towards the team's three full international roster spots.
"Liberia: America's Step Child" A Documentary By Nancy Oku Bright
Although absent from American collective memory, Liberia is very much part of the African-American experience and history. It is the closest America has ever come to possessing a colony on the African continent. Now, a new PBS documentary by Nancy Oku Bright, "Liberia: America's Stepchild," takes a look at the small republic, founded by freed American slaves on the coast of West Africa.
Exit visas alarm Liberians (BBC)
The Liberian Government has reintroduced a highly controversial scheme which poses constraints on travelling out of the country. Under the Exit Visa scheme, no one is allowed to travel out of Liberia unless that would-be traveller provides proof that he or she does not owe the government and public corporations any tax or have any unpaid utility bills.
Creating An Enabling Environment and a Level Playing Field
Liberians the world over await with anxiety the holding of "Elections 2003" - The Presidential, Legislative, and General Elections. However, various concerns have been raised not only by politicians and political aspirants, but also by the religious community, interest groups, human rights organizations, and the international community, among others. Amidst these concerns, and without resolving or addressing them, the National Elections Commission announced the schedule and plans for "Elections 2003". This pronouncement has not received a warm embrace by Liberians and the international community.
British Mercenaries Find a New Ferocity in Ivory Coast (The Guardian)
A British former SAS man is flying a helicopter gunship for the Ivory Coast government, one of six foreign mercenaries from a group of at least 50 recruited by Saudi Arabian diamond speculator in September, according to mercenary sources.
Challenging The Editor's Interpretation Of Article 52, Section C Of The Liberian Constitution
In the Editorial, titled: "Challenging Taylor's Misinterpretation: The Ten year Residency Clause"
, dated January 17, 2002, the editor makes some of the biggest editorial assumptions and contradictions I have seen in a long time. For those of you who have not read that editorial, I encourage you to read it, so that you can see what I am about to discuss.
Are You A Witness Or With Information?
Dr. Amos Sawyer
Any Liberian with information as to how Charles Taylor aided and abetted murder and mayhem in Sierra Leone has been challenged to consider assisting authorities of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in ensuring that those who bear greatest responsibilities for atrocities during that country's ten-year war are persecuted.
New Deal Will Not Participate In Any Fraudulent Electoral Process
Mr. Isaac Junius, the Chairman of the New Democratic Alternative for Liberia (New Deal Movement) USA Chapter says that the New Deal Movement will not participate in the 2003 national elections in Liberia unless there is an enabling political environment that will produce a credible outcome.
When Confronted With Reality
Once upon the time, the tiny West African Country called Liberia was a place everybody had wished to visit. Today, it is the most shunned, feared not only because of the insecurity that engulfed the country but its physical outlook.
The Missing Presidential Annual Address
According to Article 58 of the Liberian Constitution, the President of Liberia is required to give an annual address to the nation on the 4th working Monday of January in each year. At such time, the President is required to present his legislative agenda and is expected to provide a financial report for the previous year. Unfortunately, President Taylor has failed to live up to yet another constitutional provision and what bothers me is the prevailing silence over the issue.
"Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled"
Friends of Charles Brumskine would like to assure all supporters, friends and well wishers that recent court action in Bong County in which Cllr. Brumskine is a named party is frivolous, with no legal or factual merit, and can easily be disposed of in a court of competent jurisdiction. The confusing and illegible "writ" proposes to enjoin Cllr. Brumskine from saying that he is the presidential candidate of the Liberia Unification Party, a statement that has never been made by Cllr. Brumskine or anyone acting on his behalf
Liberian Fighters Enter Ivory Coast War (AP)
"The Liberians are coming!" Panic breaks in a western Ivory Coast town at the mere rumor of it. Townspeople bolt for home. Fierce rebel fighters dive for cover, AK-47s at the ready.
MDCL Calls on LURD, Liberian Government to Cease Hostility
MDCL calls on both the LURD and the Government of Liberia to, in the interest of peace and the suffering people of Liberia, immediately and unconditionally cease further hostility while we prepare for a peaceful solution to the conflict. To help facilitate this process, the MDCL pledges to fully collaborate with the ICG and the IRCL to subsequently elaborate a process of frank negotiation between the parties to this conflict and that safeguards and speaks to the interests of all Liberian nationals.
Africa's Contribution To Contemporarily Western Civilization
This article is a contribution to the continuing debate between Western and African scholars regarding the role Africans played in the development of modern civilization. According to Dr. George G. M. James, author of the book, Stolen Legacy," the authors of Greek philosophy were not the Greeks but the people of North Africa, commonly called the Egyptians; and the praise and honor falsely given to the Greeks for centuries belong to the people of North Africa, and therefore to the African continent."
Liberian Refugees Face Hunger Problem (AP)
Famished children show empty hands, old women stew forest leaves and a father frets over his newborn daughter and exhausted, breast-feeding wife. Food is scarce for thousands of Liberians sheltering here from new fighting in this war-riven West African nation.
Veteran Liberian Politician Calls for United Nations' Peace Force and Electoral System for Liberia
...This work calls for encouraging the government, putting considerable peaceful pressure on the government of Liberia to invite the United Nations to come in now, not tomorrow, now into Liberia hopefully during the month of February, 2003, to perform basically two tasks: one is to bring in a Peace Force that will then render the security environment secured for the holding of free and fair elections. Secondly, to have the United Nations' electoral system come into Liberia to then assist with the holding of credible elections - elections that will be credible to the international community so that the international community can rally around us in our efforts to improve reconciliation, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of our shattered war-torn society. So this is the opportunity for us to continue working together for peace for our country.
The Full Story Has Never Been Told
A full account of the horrible acts that were committed by the various warlords during the Liberian civil-war from 1989-96 would be wondrously long. This piece, compelled by the train of unapologetic statements, shall instead have a narrow focus and shall leave the conducting (if warranted) of a full-criminal examination for the appropriate time and place. Its narrowness, however, should not be construed as to suggest that other Liberian warlords are not responsible for their harmful acts.
Dancing with Rebels: Gbagbo and the Ivorian Revolution
Finally, after keeping everybody waiting for two weeks, the President of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo went on the air on Friday February 7 to give his interpretation of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord, brokered by the French Government to end the civil war. The accords called for a government of"national unity" that would include rebels. After the signing of the accord, witnessed by French President Jacques Chirac, Kofi Annan of the UN, Tabo Mbeki of South Africa and Omar Bongo of Gabon, Ivorian"patriotic" youth started a wave of demonstration in Cot d'Ivoire that led to looting of French properties and the departure of many French nationals. During the recent ECOWAS summit in Dakar, many West African leaders put pressure on the Ivorian president - who did not attend the meeting - to implement the accords.
Liberia And The African-Dispora Liberation Struggle
In February 1997 while on deployment in the Persian Gulf, the ship company of the USS Detroit organized a program in observance of the Black History Month. As one of the seven Africans on this US naval vessel, I was asked to participate in the program and the presentation I made is what I am sharing with you now as we go through another month of Black History.
More than 100 soldiers, thousands of civilians flee fighting in Liberia (AP)
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - More than 100 Liberian soldiers, along with thousands of civilians, have crossed into Sierra Leone in the past two days to escape escalating fighting in the neighboring West African country, authorities said Saturday.
"Our People Want Peace;" A Conversation with Dr. Tipoteh
Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, presidential candidate of the Liberian People's Party's (LPP) during the 1997 elections in Liberia, arrived in the United States on Friday, January 30, 2003, to attend the United Methodist Church Stewardship Summit, which brought together over 100 leaders from around the world who were selected by the Council of Bishops to discuss Stewardship as the basis for Strategic Planning at a summit held in Atlanta, Georgia. Managing Editor , Mr. George H. Nubo of The Perspective met Dr. Tipoteh on February 3, 2003 for a candid conversation. Find below Part I of the conversation with Dr. Tipoteh:
Congressional Hearing: "Prospects for Peace in Ivory Coast"
The U.S. House Committee on International Relations convened a special session on the crises in the Ivory Coast. Chaired by Africa Subcommittee Chairman Ed Royce, a Republican from California, the session was held on Wednesday, February 12, 2003, under the banner, "Prospects for Peace in Ivory Coast". In his opening remarks, Mr. Royce noted that the Ivory Coast had once been a "pillar of political stability in West Africa, now proven vulnerable, falling prey to the type of war that devastated Sierra Leone..." He also warned that the "Ivory Coast is a disaster in the making."
Kansteiner Says US Supports Peace in the Ivory Coast, Urges Other Nations to Pay "close attention to President Taylor's and President Compaore's behavior"
The political situation in Cote d'Ivoire escalated into an international crisis on September 19, 2002, when a coup d'etat attempted but failed to dislodge the government of President Laurent Gbagbo. The violent incidents of September left rebel forces in control of slightly more than half the country. Only the intervening presence of French military forces prevented the rebels from marching from Bouake, in central Cote d'Ivoire, on Abidjan.
Leading US Lawmaker Acuses the Taylor Regime of Abusing Liberians
"This Subcommittee has long condemned President Charles Taylor of Liberia. His regime abuses Liberians. He bears great responsibility for the death and destruction in Sierra Leone, for which I'm hoping he is indicted. For those not aware, that was the conflict in which Taylor-backed rebels cut off the hands and feet of little boys and girls...."
Alert raised over Liberian refugees (BBC)
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned that the situation of thousands of Liberian refugees in Ivory Coast is about to explode. It has urged the international community to act now in order to avoid massacres and genocide.
New Deal Movement Will Not Participate in Any Coalition
The National Executive Committee of the New Democratic Alternative for Liberia (New Deal Movement) has concluded that it is not in the best interest of the democratic national social and economic transformation that the party envisions for Liberia for the party to participate in a coalition with other Liberian political parties during the 2003 national elections in Liberia. This information was disclosed at the recent extraordinary congress of the party's USA Chapter in Atlanta, Georgia.
Gbapleh and the Liberian Women in America
For decades, Monrovian women have gingerly walked the feces-littered beaches of the Liberian capital to buy Gbapleh, a species of fish used in Liberian cities to prepare pepper soup. The tiny Atlantic fish is cheap, tasty and especially popular in the slums of Monrovia. But suburban Monrovian women make do with it in time of economic crisis. Essentially, the fish is an alternative bargain on the Monrovia fish market hence most dwellers of the city buy it for the sake of its taste, and only its taste.
Policy Alert: No Hiding Behind the Yahoo Mask and Recycled Articles
Today the New Democrat
carried an article in which the author accused The Perspective
of violation of professional ethics. He stated that his article which was sent to The Perspective, but was not published, was e-mailed to H. Boima Fahnbulleh - the intended "target." The statement by this so-called Monsio Toe is false. We did not send his article to H. Boima Fahnbulleh. One of the reasons why "Monsio Toe's" article was not considered by The Perspective
for publication is that he lied about his name and sent us a false contact information. Our policy requires that anyone who uses pseudonym to conceal his true identity must give us legitimate reason, reveal his real identity to us and provide his contact information.
Brumskine Declares Intention to Seek the Presidency
I had hoped to make these remarks in Gohzohn (Upper Buchanan), my hometown, but as you are so well aware, we have opted to avoid the violence in Grand Bassa County, which the government had planned upon our arrival in the County in an attempt to disrupt the process of renewal that has begun in our country. As I speak, armed-men are in Grand Bassa, terrorizing peaceful and law-abiding citizens only because they dare to plan to welcome me to my place of birth.
Has the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Made Humanity Better Off?
During the earlier part of the 19th Century, crimes were on the rise in London, which was then considered the richest city in the world. This threatened businesses in the city. The need to fight crimes prompted citizens of the City to organize a professional police force; and in September 1829, the Home Secretary Sir. Robert (Bobby) Peel, became the first chief of the London Police Force.
The Lofa Tragedy
Mr. Kanneh in defense of his fellow tribesmen took me to task for blaming Warlord Alhaji Kromah and Varfley Dolleh (both leaders of ULIMO-K warring faction) for being responsible for the mass killings of innocent civilians, widespread looting and the burning of towns and villages in northern Liberia. The ULIMO-K which bore an Islamic undertone, emerged as the third warring faction, out of a total of seven, equally squandered the country's rich gold and diamond region and terrorized the countryside for over seven years.
Human Rights Defenders lobby Canadian Government on the terror and human rights tragedy in Liberia
A Liberian human Rights Activist James D. Torh and Mr. Alex Neve -the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Canadian Section - will on Tuesday, the 11th of February, 2003 hold three hours discussion with the Canadian Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Mr. Denis Paradis on the terror and human rights tragedy consuming Liberia and its people.
The Dirty Politics of Africa: The Crises in the Ivory Coast - Part III
Since the Republic of Ivory Coast gained its independence from France in 1963, it was ruled by Felix Houphouet-Boigny until his death some thirty years later. Although there are those who credit him for steering the country into stability and relative prosperity while things seemed to be falling apart elsewhere in the region and continent-wide, there are those critics (including myself), who seem to think that the Ivory Coast effectively remained a French colony with Houphouet-Boigny as France's hand-picked overseer to run it as a plantation.
Renewed Fighting in Liberia: Real or Staged?
With the return of exiled opposition politicians to Monrovia in recent months, accentuated by the triumphant arrival of former Senator Charles W. Brumskine, which has captivated heightened public interest in the Oct. elections, President Taylor is reported to be reviewing a number of drastic options.At the top of his options is doing everything possible to get at leading opposition members such as Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Charles Brumskine.
Liberia Calls Up All Troops as Rebels Near Capital (Reuters)
MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia's army ordered all soldiers to report for duty on Wednesday as troops sped by night to stop rebels crossing a key bridge on the road to the West African country's capital.
Continued Fighting Will Disrupt The Democratic Process
MONROVIA, FEBRUARY 4, 2003: Intensified fighting reported to be closing up around Monrovia poses a direct threat to the pending democratic and electoral exercise in Liberia.
This sporadic outburst of war, which flares up whenever the people make serious attempts towards the enhancement of the democratic process, points to a sinister attempt by antidemocratic forces to stop the people from freely determining their choice for the future governance of Liberia.
Liberian Rebels 'Approach Capital" (BBC)
There are reports that rebels in Liberia have taken two key towns north of the capital, Monrovia.
Defence Minister Daniel Chea confirmed rebels recaptured the iron-ore rich town of Bopolu on Monday , situated approximately 100 kilometres north-west of the capital.
The Intent to Deny Many Liberians to Run for President: A Rejoinder to Misinterpreting the Intent of the Framers of the Liberian Constitution
Fellow Liberians, let us all join this very important debate on the aforementioned topic, which to my view, involves everyone of us, regardless of our status. I am one of the many Liberians who are in sympathy with annulling sub-section ( c ) of CLAUSE 52 of our current Constitution, which has the intent to deny many Liberians from part-taking in the body politics of our beloved nation. What does CLAUSE 52 say?
Human Rights Defenders Decry Attacks on Gbarpolu and Other Parts of Liberia
Monrovia, Monday 03 February 2003: The National Human Rights Center of Liberia, a consortium of nine local human rights organizations, says the renewed attacks on Gbarpolu and other parts of the country are repugnant to the nurturing of democracy in Liberia.
"I Will Become The Next Rebel Leader", Cheapoo Declares
The former Chief Justice of Liberia has announced he will become the next rebel leader in the war-ravaged Liberia if President Charles Taylor succeeds himself as president during the October 14, 2003 presidential and legislative elections in Liberia.
Tortured Journalist Hassan Bility Speaks Out
Hassan Billity, editor of the independent Analyst newspaper in Monrovia was arrested by Charles Taylor's security on June 24, 2002, under the then state of emergency declared by Mr. Taylor in a bid to harass democratic forces in that West African country. For six months, Mr. Bility languished in Taylor's dungeons where he was tortured by "security officers" and interrogated by government officials including Mr. Taylor himself. Due to pressure from the international community, Mr. Bility was released, and expelled from the country.
White House Expects Taylor to Rig the Elections
"How can she say that? It is unfortunate that people in such a position at the White House would make comments that can derail a democratic process. How can they predict what the government would do? Our government is going to organize the most free and fair elections the country has ever known," said Aaron Kollie the Chargé at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, DC. I had called him to "run by him" what I had just heard, that afternoon, last week from a close advisor to President Bush.
The Need For A Responsible Press Underscored
The need for a strong, viable and responsible press has been underscored by the newly installed chairman of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (DE-ALJA).Ms. Massa Amelia-Washington said a responsible press seeks to enhance democracy in any given nation, including Liberia. She said a responsible press is a viable asset to insure that the principles of a democratic society prevail.