Let's Pay Heed to The Archbishop's Advice


By: J. Moses Gray

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 1, 2003

CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL Francis in his usual radio interview with Radio VERITAS Sunday, expressed pessimism about the holding of free, fair and transparent elections in October this year. THE OUTSPOKEN CATHOLIC prelate pointed out that it will take a miracle to hold free, fair and transparent elections in Liberia in just more than five months’ time, with serious insecurity, no census, cease-fire, disarmament, and demobilization of belligerent forces. He thus spoke of the need for Liberians to be realistic and pragmatic about the October 14 date set for elections.

HE TRACED THE current security and political problems being experienced to the failure to fully implement the Abuja Peace Accord in 1997. The Archbishop then warned against repeating the mistakes of 1997, when Liberians hastily went to the polls in the absence of total disarmament and demobilization with what he called, a fear psychosis.

IN VIEW OF this, he said some constitutional means could be taken to extend the tenure of the current government by at least six months, by setting up a government of National Unity comprising all stakeholders.

THE RENOWNED CATHOLIC prelate made it emphatically clear that the Government of National Unity he is suggesting is not an interim government, but an extension of the present government which should be inclusive to prepare the ground for credible elections. He said to do anything other than this would be chaotic.

CONSIDERING THE PREVAILING deteriorating security situation in the country, we take much interest in the suggestion of the Archbishop. Even though every Liberian is calling for the holding of free, fair and transparent elections, the situation on the ground seemingly suggests that all is not well for such an exercise.

AT THE SAME time, every Liberian is expressing the need for a stabilization force, but this cannot be done overnight as the details and modalities have to be worked out before the deployment of such a force. This, we believe, may take weeks to be formalized before implementation.

IN VIEW OF this, it is necessary that Liberians pay heed to the suggestion of the Archbishop. It is time to be realistic and practical; it is time to call a spade, a spade; it is time to put national interest above personal interest; it is time to take the necessary measures and actions to avoid reverting to the ugly past.

HOW-BE-IT, WE HOPE the candid suggestion of the Archbishop will not be misconstrued and misunderstood by pseudo patriots or praise singers for selfish reasons to the detriment of society and the ordinary people.

LET’S ACT NOW to avoid any chaotic situation in the future. The decision we take today will determine whether we will exist as a people and nation or perish as a people and nation. Hence, let’s pay heed to "our good old" Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis’ suggestion.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.