Zaza Reponds to LURD's Conneh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 3, 2003

Dear Mr. Konneh:

I read with total amazement a publication on the Website of the Perspective Magazine (April 30, 2003) captioned "LURD Makes Appointments". That publication purporting to emanate from you carried a statement from the "LURD Secretariat" appointing me as "Coordinator II (USA)". Whatever that title meant, I do not know.

I was at a lost and unable to reach a conclusion as to whether this decree actually originated from you or someone acting on your behalf. More than forty-eight hours have elapsed and I am yet to see anything to the contrary from you disclaiming ownership of the publication. I am, therefore, driven to conclude that you are the author of this supreme edict, and so I feel free to respond.

I am obliged to respond to your promulgation and decision in this public manner because the medium chosen to inform me was solely public and without prior consultation or inquiry as to my interest, willingness or preparedness. Please consider this as my official response to a not so official communication.

I respectfully decline your offer appointing me as the Coordinator (II)/USA of LURD.

Sir, I don't think anyone who is committed in helping with the efforts to end the dictatorial and criminal regime of President Charles Taylor and his gangsters and institute constitutional democracy in Liberia will associate with another or similar leader whose method of operation seems to mirror those of the Taylor regime.

Let's have some frank talk here. Your leadership of LURD, through utterances and actions, has left much to be desired. It seems to me that you have long abandoned the Mission Statement LURD published in February of 2000. In that publication, LURD did promise Liberians as well as all peace-loving people that the organization had no intention of imposing its leadership and programs upon Liberia and residents of Liberia. LURD also did promise that as soon as Taylor and his criminals departed from Liberia, it would participate in an inclusive Liberian conference where Liberian stakeholders would determine programs for the future. In addition, LURD stated that the international community would be responsible for training and re-structuring all military and paramilitary security forces of Liberia in ensuring the

protection and safety of war-weary Liberians, opposition leaders, and a newly installed care-taker government. If you are or were the chief of LURD when these Mission Statements were espoused, then you are bound hands and feet by their contents. Many other LURD leaders, to my certain knowledge, still advocate and hold strongly to these principles.

However, it is becoming evident that you and a few friends have apparently flushed LURD Mission Statement down the sewage pipe, and have consigned other principles to the dust bin. You now seem to have set your eyes on the presidency of Liberia. In many of your interviews with BBC correspondents, you did claim that you would become the next President of Liberia. According to general Joe wylie’s public statements, you have either incarcerated those colleagues that have questioned your decisions or driven away all perceived enemies from your area of operations. This is not only scary but reflects the kind of paranoia that smells of Taylorism.

I have heard also from reliable sources that your method of decision-making is at most times unilateral. In addition, while it is not my place to lecture LURD as to how or how not to run a leadership, the content of the letter of appointment did not indicate that your decision was based on consultation. I guess if you did, those who know me would have advised you to drop my name from your list, and might have encouraged you to be inclusive in your appointment to reflect a national character that is so critically needed in our national pursuit.

Sir, please be aware that the politics in Liberia, West Africa, and the international community is complex and beyond a ballot box and, or military victory. I am not sure stakeholders in the West African Sub-region would allow any military leader whose only credential is his ego to impose himself/herself upon Liberia. The unfortunate circumstances that enable Charles Taylor to ascend to the presidency of Liberia are different today. Wisdom lies in knowing the difference.

Thanks for your understanding and consideration.

Respectfully yours

J. Yanqui Zaza