Moniba For Interim Government?

By Massa-Amelia Washington

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 7, 2003

While members of the international community are discussing peace keeping mission for Liberia via an intervention force, Liberia's warring factions, political parties, and representatives of civic society, are holding their own behind closed door discussions on a political arrangement for Liberia, once Mr. Taylor exists the scene.

According to reliable inside sources, LURD and MODEL rebels have agreed in part to work with a civilian led interim government administration - however, they're proposing that Dr. Harry F. Moniba, former Vice President of Liberia under the late President Samuel K. Doe, heads the Interim government..

Proponents of the "Moniba for Interim President" suggestion argue that there is a need to close the Doe presidency by making his vice president the interim president of Liberia. But others who oppose to the idea counter by saying that if that is the case, we must first close the Tolbert presidency by making his vice president, Bishop Bennie D. Warner, the interim president. Others conclude that no other person could have closed the Doe dictatorship better than Charles Taylor.

It is believed that the rebels, especially of the MODEL faction, feel comfortable with Dr. Moniba. This is understandable since the overwhelming majority of it's fighting force, sympathizers, and benefactors, have ethnic or political ties to the NDPFL Party of President Doe to which Dr. Moniba belonged. According to sources in Accra MODEL is also saying that its intellectuals will arrive in Accra anytime now to join the ongoing peace talks.

The "Moniba for interim president" proposal, which politicians and others find worrisome, may create a stalemate in the ongoing negotiation process. As one source asserted, "Dr. Moniba's own position on the Liberian situation has remained unclear to now. He has not yet presented an agenda on where he stands in this entire crises the source averred".

There is anxiety that a Moniba led interim government may drag in the undisposed of garbage from the Samuel Doe/ NDPL era. There is also a general air of mistrust that his loyalty to the Doe regime and the ruling NDPL up to the dying minute may create suspicion in his ability to perform free of vested interested.

Mediators from the international community have suggested an interim government free of current, and past warring factions, and their advocates, and others having a direct involvement in the Liberian crises, as a way forward to achieving sustainable peace.

Generally, Liberians are less prepared to accept the rebels formula since their preferred choice (Dr. Moniba) was second in command of a regime noted for it's oppression of the Liberian people and gross human rights abuses for many years, a situation which ignited the arms rebellion led by Taylor.