Bryant rejects LURD’s Request

But Group announces “Non-Cooperation” With NTGL

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 17, 2004

The head of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant has rejected a call for the replacement of Finance Minister Lusinee Kamara; as Timothy T. Seaklon reports.

Recently, the Executive Committee of the former warring faction, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy(LURD) gave the NTGL Chairman a 24-hour ultimatum to relieve Finance Minister Lusine Kamara of his position and replace him with the incumbent Director of Cabinet in the NTGL, Mr. Soko V. Sackor.

At a late night news conference called last Thursday at the residence of NTLA Speaker George Dweh, LURD said, for the NTGL Chairman’s failure to replace Mr. Kamara, its forces will no longer disarm to the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL).

However, at another hurriedly organized news conference Friday night, LURD said Chairman Bryant had written the Movement rejecting their request to have the Finance Minister relieved and replaced.

LURD’s acting spokesman, Mr. Charles Bennie disclosed at the news conference that because of Chairman Bryant’s refusal to have the Finance Minister replaced, the group was suspending any form of cooperation with the transitional government.

Mr. Bennie himself the Commissioner of Customs and Excise at the Finance Ministry in the NTGL, said they are not “withdrawing” from the government but are “suspending” their cooperation in any form.

When quizzed on how LURD’s nominees remain in government and the Movement suspends cooperation with the identical government, Mr. Bennie said “if anyone from LURD in the government is performing a patriotic duty, the movement absolutely would not have any problem with that.”

The acting LURD spokesman accused Chairman Bryant of forming a parallel government within the Executive Mansion thereby rendering most of their(LURD) nominees in government unable to perform their tasks.

He stressed that by their decision, the NTGL Chairman will be denied entry to any of their controlled areas and their fighters will stop disarming.

Mr. Bennie said LURD was dispatching a high-power delegation to meet with authorities of the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS), the United Nations(UN), and the International Community, relative to the Chairman Bryant’s rejection to replace the Finance Minister.

Asked if LURD fighters will just stop disarming to the UNMIL or LURD authorities will stop UNMIL from disarming the fighters, Mr. Bennie could not give a definite response.

On whether LURD’s decision was to be returning to the war front, another LURD executive Mr. Edward Farley said, “we are not going to fight militarily, but we’ll fight Bryant politically from now on.”

Meanwhile, an Executive Mansion release issued yesterday said, “the Chairman of the NTGL, Mr. Gyude Bryant having considered all the factors that bear on the request from LURD to have the Finance Minister recalled, and following consultation on the matter with relevant partners on the Liberian peace process, including ECOWAS authorities, he was constrained not to accede to the request.”

The release said Chairman Bryant took the stance partly because he is convinced that replacing Finance Minister Kamara for no just cause, such as ineffectiveness, consistent blatant disregard of government policy, misappropriation, malfeasance and impinged integrity.

According to the release, Chairman Bryant said this could send the wrong signal to the international community, especially Liberia’s partner financial institutions, all of which continue to show confidence in the performance of the incumbent.

The release said the Chairman’s decision on the matter is also in line with an observation from ECOWAS to the effect that such a recall could create a dangerous precedent leading to subsequent, additional and endless request by LURD or other parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA).

The release added, “it is therefore his sincere hope that those members of LURD wanting to prolong the suffering of the Liberian people and frustrate international efforts aimed at achieving peace in the country, will understand his situation in this regard, and will support it in the best interest of the people and country.”

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.