Disunity in the Hierarchy of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD)
Joe Wylie Responds to LURD's Press Release
The brave men and women who are presently fighting in the southeast of our country to deny Taylor access to our Timber and gold resources are all members of LURD. And whether Sekou Conneh likes it or not, it's going to stay that way. We will also inform the appropriate authorities in the region of our decisions as soon as we make them. LURD's chairmanship does not translate into the presidency. We want peace in Liberia. I recently brought some the problems we face in LURD to the attention of the NEC. I wish to share the memo with the Liberian people:
The Struggle For Unity Of Purpose In (LURD): Perspective, Advice, And Recommendations From The Office Of The Senior Military Advisor Of LURD To The National Executive Council Of LURD
Washington DC. March 18, 2003
Consistent with our position as Senior Military Advisor of LURD, and committed to translating our ideal of reconciliation into reality both within LURD and the larger Liberian society, we feel obliged, at this critical moment in the evolution of our organization, to point out to both the NEC and the Military High Command of LURD the troubling deficiencies and vices which have been creeping into LURD for some time now; and the main purpose of this memo is to allow us to see the urgent need for the necessary corrective measures to be taken to ensure unity and guarantee our success in our collective endeavors. LURD's success as an institution must take precedence over our individual ambitions right now. The policy of appeasement must be abandoned.
Leadership is the personal or collective art, manner, and approach of providing purpose, direction, and motivation to those that are being led. The current intensity level of our fight against the Taylor tyranny requires that we who are part of LURD's collective leadership must fall back on our training, education, experience, and a broad view of the world in general and West African sub-regional politics in particular. Yet associated with our present leadership is the growth of the culture of impunity, arbitrariness, and gruesome ritualistic activities that have begun to reflect negatively on the image of our organization both at home and abroad, robbing the NEC of its constitutional authority and threatening the gains and victories of LURD won with the precious blood of the brave fighting men and women of our armed forces.
With LURD forces engaging enemy troops in the southeast, the fall of the Gbarnga, the complete capture of both Cape Mount and Gbapolu counties, placing our forces within striking distance of Monrovia, and the need to safeguard our rear and headquarters from RUF strikes, LURD needs not only flexibility in leadership but also a coherent and competent team of leaders that can fully understand, integrate, and interface all of our activities in the various liberated territories under LURD control.
We want to urge all NEC members to summon the courage to immediately halt these autocratic tendencies and pettiness that are now eating into the very fabric of our organization before it is too late. Such vices do represent the lack of leadership and vision, which we can no longer accept as a vanguard institution of the Liberian people's fight for liberation and democracy. In consultation with the Military, the NEC must move to re-establish its control and restore administrative sanity within LURD sooner rather than later. The NEC must once again become what it was originally meant to be: the highest decision-making organ of this great vanguard movement.
Another issue of serious concern to our office is the continued detention of one of our Special Forces Commanders, Gen. Jolloh, who has been placed behind bars by the current Sekou Conneh 'leadership' in Conakry for no apparent and justifiable reasons. He is one person on a long list of LURD commanders who suffered and continue to suffer from the constant harassments and witch-hunting that have gone unquestioned and unpunished in LURD until now. The NEC and the Elders' Committee must demand the immediate release of Gen. Jolloh because the implications of his detention and possible death in prison are difficult to contemplate or predict.
If Gen. Jolloh dies in jail (he is now sick), as a result of his un-necessary, excessive, and unreasonable punishment, charges of murder and manslaughter will be brought against Mr. Sekou Conneh for this and other acts of impunity that are yet to be revealed to both the NEC and the Liberian people by LURD Intelligence. It is not too late for the NEC to meet outside Guinea to solve these very serious issues. The sooner we act the better.
PS: This memo is for internal circulation only.
Gen. Joe Wylie
Senior Military Advisor &
Founding member of the NEC of LURD