Charles Taylor Abruptly Ends Conference
By Our Monrovia Correspondent
September 17, 2002
President Charles Taylor on Monday, September 16, 2002, halted all deliberations of the so-called Ethnic Reconciliation Conference, which convened July 26, 2002.
Mr. Taylor took the unexpected action after it was clear that the delegates were preparing a resolution, calling for an international Stabilization Force to take over the security of the state (prior to the holding of elections in 2003), so as to facilitate a peaceful environment for political activities in country. Moreover, conference participants had called for a meaningful dialogue with Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) dissident group as a way of bringing peace to the country. Evidently the resolution had garnered enough support among the conference delegates to the disappointment of Mr. Taylor. So he decided to preempt their efforts by storming the Unity Conference Center yesterday and tongue lashing conference participants. He stated that the conference delegates did not have any authority to produce a resolution and that the conference was now going to the villages, towns, districts, etc. for the "input" of rural dwellers.
The Liberian ruler blamed opposition politicians in the United States for infiltrating the conference with pro-democracy advocates. He blasted Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, former President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, as the mastermind behind the resolution.
Taylor's stance yesterday vindicates lots of those who had the conviction that what was duped as a national conference was nothing more than a charade. That has come to pass! But what is even of a disgrace and total disregard for those who wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt by attending his conference is the indiscriminate slap that he gave all of them. "You just can't go to bed with Taylor. It's now left with those who put in all of the time that they had to explain what happened on Monday, September 16, 2002," a Liberian opposition politician stated.
All along many Liberians had indicated that the former guerrilla leader was not interested in genuine peace and reconciliation, that he was predisposed to totalitarianism and antipathy to democratic practices.
While he has repeatedly claimed he was overwhelmingly elected by a large majority of the electorate in a free and fair process, the Liberian pariah really is terrified by the prospect of allowing the people to choose their own leader, in a truly democratic process.
This little dog and pony show that he had for the past several weeks was merely a distraction without any serious intention of achieving any meaningful result that could make a difference in our people's lives. It was nothing more than a shenanigan.