An Open Letter to President Charles Taylor
(A Formula for his Peaceful Exit!)
By John F. Josiah, ESQ
President Taylor: I have the honor to present you my compliments. Mr. President, this letter serves both to inform you that overwhelmingly Liberians of all ethnic backgrounds in and out of Liberia have unquestionably lost confidence in your leadership. Approximately 99% of the Liberian Population no longer wishes that you steer the affairs of this nation of ours. And it also serves as a public indictment of your conduct since you took the oath as President of Liberia. This indictment and the Liberian People lost of confidence in your leadership is based on the following counts:
Chapter one Article one of the Liberian Constitution states that all power is inherent in the people and that they have the rights to alter and reform a government when their safety and happiness so require. On December 24, 1989, in your effort to satisfy your greed for power and wealth, you violated Chapter VII, Article 76 of the Liberia constitution when you committed treason against the Republic of Liberia by levying war against Liberia and overthrowing the Government of Liberia, causing the death of over 250,000 People. Because of this horrifying condition you deliberately caused the Liberian people, ascended to the presidency in an election process that was highly questionably.
However, with great disappointment to the entire Liberian People, under your administration, and further as president of Liberia, you directly and indirectly violated your constitutional duty and oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of Liberia by willfully and grossly manipulating every viable institution of our nation for your personal gains by impeding, obstructing and preventing the transparent administration of justice. Additionally, you have caused directly and indirectly through your security apparatus uncountable human rights violations, thereby violating chapter III Articles 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and Article 20. All of which guarantee the rights to move freely in and out off Liberia. Moreover, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and academic freedom have all been curtailed.
Since assuming the presidency, you have demonstrated a total disregard for the Liberian Constitution, and there is now more than enough reason for the honorable court of public opinion to bring you to justice on the following counts of indictment:
1. On September 18, 1998, your security forces encircled and killed several hundreds of Krahn ethnic people.
2. On November 3, 1997, security forces arrested and Killed Mr. Samuel Dokie, his wife and members of his family at your instruction.
3. On the night of June 28, 1998, nine members of the special security forces (SSS) abducted Nowai Flomo from her residence near Monrovia and cold-bloodily murdered her. There has been no investigation and no arrest.
4. On September 28, 1998, eleven of twenty-seven persons arrested and detained at the Barclay Training Center, pending trial for alleged treason were removed from the center and taking to an unknown location and subsequently murdered.
5. On February 8, 1998, the anti-robbery task force, a branch of your security forces arrested John Nimely and took him to the police headquarters. On February 9, the next morning, Mr. Nimely bullet riddled body was displayed on the street.
6. Illegal lengthy pre-trial detention remained a common characteristic of your administration. In most cases pre-trial detention are longer than the punishment required for the alleged offense.
7. Prison conditions in all sub-political divisions are unbearable and in most cases life threatening.
8. The Judiciary system is "rotten" as one outstanding lawyer Counselor Varney Sherman puts it, with citizens being arrested and imprisoned without the due process of the Law being respected.
9. Check points continue to be guarded by former NPFL drugged youth who abuse and notoriously restrict the Freedom of movement of citizens.
10. Under your leadership, we have witnessed unprecedented rise of ritualistic killing without any judicial remedy.
11. You have and continue to enrich yourself and your immediate family by appropriating to you and your family the proceeds of the nation's natural resources, and
12. With no constitutional regard, you have transformed the Executive Mansion into a Money Collecting Agency, supplanting the role of the Ministry of Finance by collecting and negotiating contracts.
The critical question that your conduct and suffering have caused the vast majority of Liberians to ask how can we peacefully operate within a system that does not adhere to the rules of Law, democratic political culture, and the dispensing of equal justice, irrespective of ethnicity or one's religious affiliation.
Considering your non-democratic character, along with your heavily armed security apparatus, which is responsible for the harassment and killing of innocent Liberians, the process of any peaceful democratic change while you are in power, is an unrealistic dream that cannot be realized. What than is the alternative for your peaceful exit?
I believe, we can strike a deal with you on the following:
1. Drop all charges against you;
2. Provide immunity to you and your immediate relatives;
3. Create a safe haven for you in Liberia or country of your choice, and
4. Allow you to retain a certain percentage of the wealth you accumulated.
In exchange, you peacefully resign your post as President and never to hold any public office again. Furthermore, you would also be banned from doing business anywhere in Liberia.
Mr. President, it is clear that under your reign and leadership, Liberia has suffered tremendously. The country has become an international outcast and has lost its once respectable place in the international community. You had an opportunity as we emerge from a senseless war to put the country on a path to sustained development, but failed to seize the opportunity. What is more, there exist no public trust and confidence in your leadership. Liberia can no longer be highjacked and appropriated by you. The time has now come for the country to regain the respect of its neighbors and the international community. That is why we are offering you this peaceful exit to save our country and its people from another vicious cycle of war and loss of lives.
Finally, Mr. President, to set this process into motion, I am proposing that you immediately establish a twenty-one to twenty-five person Council, comprising of elders and eminent Liberian citizens, whom you will consult to prepare the way for your peaceful exit. If you truly believe you love your country, as you say you do, please seize this opportunity to avoid plunging the country into further crisis.
I thank you.