Setting the Record Straight

By Cletus Wotorson

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 26, 2002

I just read with surprise and dismay, comments that I have supposedly made to Confab Technical Director of the Liberian Reconciliation Conference, Mr Blamo Nelson, regarding my participation in that Conference. Reportedly, I was quoted to have said that I was consulting with others while I was pondering to attend. My surprise stems from the fact that I have not responded to my inclusion among some 250 plus names of invitees to the Reconciliation Conference being hosted by the Liberian Government, nor have I exposed any inclination to attend.

Some time ago, immediately after the Bethesda Conference that I chaired, Mr. Blamo Nelson asked me in a telephone conversation as to whether I had planned to attend the Reconciliation Conference. I told him that I was Chairman of the Liberian Leadership Conference in Bethesda that regarded the Reconciliation Conference as a joke and a marginalization of people's intelligence and therefore could not by the widest of my imagination contemplate on attending.

The resolutions of that Conference were quite unequivocal in referring to a number of governance issues, including those of continuing human rights abuse, the highest level of insecurity that now pervaded the country, the untimely and illegal searches of the homes of political leaders who had remained home against the background of economic and, security and political realities on the ground whose crimes were now "only that they stayed in the country", continued targeting of certain groups of people under the guise of national security concerns that needed immediate mitigation to warrant our attendance. I was not concerned about my physical security as an individual but of importance is the continuing deteriorating status of life of those whom I owe my national, political and moral responsibility to, and for whom I do not see any relief on the immediate horizon.

It is my sense and conviction that the Government had missed an opportunity, when political leaders attempted to engage the Government in face-to-face and frank discussions at the meeting in Abuja of March 11, 2002. This perhaps would have been the best opportunity to have identified issues that would lend credibility and relevance to the concerns of Liberians and which could have formed the basis and conduct of a national undertaken as this Conference. This missed opportunity has not convinced me that these recent efforts by the Government are not replicas of the three national conferences hosted previously by Government, whose resolutions have yet to be implemented.

Nothing has changed since those meetings. My brother Mr. Blamo Nelson is aware of my concerns for the results of those conferences and my frustration for no follow-ups or follow-throughs. We all commit to our individual and collective responsibilities to arrest the unspeakable slide of our country but under enabling environment of purposeful and sincere engagements without the baggages of harassment, intimidation and bewilderment. There has not been any demonstrative commitments to these issues. In the interim, we wish to re-iterate that Liberians' problems need solutions with a framework of non-violent interactions between the governed and the governors. Against this background we wish to re-enforce our commitment again, and readiness to meet with the relevant authorities in secured environments to find solutions to our many problems.

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