Reconciling Liberia
The Challenge of Our Next Leader

By Ramses K. Nah
Dallas, Texas

The elections are nearly over; as we move to the second round, challenges abound for the next president. Liberia does deserve a change for the better and a unifier this president must be. We as a people must correct the past before moving forward in this endeavor to establish a New Liberia. In order to put the past behind us, several issues must be adequately addressed and made front and center of the National Reconciliation Process. Among them, the first and foremost that Our New Leader(s) must deal with, is the issue of Mr. Charles Ghankay Taylor and all other WARLORDS that have put Liberia in this predicament she is now experiencing. Anything less than correcting the past in this our history, leaves us Liberians, very vulnerable to repeating the same mistakes that have embroiled Liberia in the last twenty-five (25) years. No matter what Obassanjo says, is in the interest of peace is a complete and downright fallacy.

Mr. Taylor must face the day of justice to answer for the many atrocities he is alleged to have committed. For one man to have caused so much suffering and destruction and to be left alone to enjoy life in the name of Peace is disheartening and troublesome. It is an encouragement to many to destabilize any country and in return that person will be handsomely rewarded by his fellow African Rulers and the World community. THIS IS WRONG! If as it is written in the local and international press, that the influence of Charles Taylor is so felt in Guinea, Cote D'Ivoire and Sierra Leone and that if his wishes are not adhered to, the region is in peril of another catastrophe, then WHY ARE WE ALLOWING Mr. Taylor to live luxuriously and not face justice for what he has caused? Liberian must vehemently petition our newly elected Leadership to make it their first priority in petitioning the United Nation to establish a War Crimes Tribunal for Liberia and request Mr. Obasanjo to avail Mr. Taylor to answer to his own people. If Charles Ghankay Taylor is not made to answer for Sierra Leone and Liberia, I am very much afraid of what is to become of the region, despite any new leadership. Charles Taylor is a Serious Infectious Cancer that must be dealt with. Not persecuting Charles Taylor and other WARLORDS is more dangerous and sets a more damaging precedent for Liberia and the sub-region. Liberia and Africa must demands accountability from hoodlums and rogues parading as freedom fighters and liberators of tyranny as they themselves are dictatorial and tyrannical. Lest I say more about Liberia, with Charles Taylor, the NPP Leadership, MODEL and LURD.

Warring Factions:
Nevertheless, Mr. Taylor is not the only cancer to the Liberian society and the sub-region, so are all the Warlords and Murderers, including Alhaji Kromah, George Boley, Sekou Damante Conneh, George Dweh, Charles Julu of all armed groups including, AFL, NPFL, INPFL, NPFL-CRC, ULIMO K, ULIMO J, MODEL, LURD amongst others. These groups and individuals must be made to account, answer and face the wrath of justice for all the calamities they have rained upon the Liberian people. Allowing these groups and individuals to go unpunished is a bad recipe for a New Liberia. Demanding them to face JUSTICE would be a NEW BIRTH of this our BELOVED COUNTRY. Liberian cannot sit idly and let the Rulers of Africa and tell us what to do in our own house. As have been evident, these Rulers are only protecting their own Friends under the disguise of Peace. Look around Africa, why do you think there is so much Chaos and WARS, because African Rulers do not make one another accountable for their actions to their people. In fact, they condone these atrocities. This should end. Africa and importantly, Liberia, must be the advant garde, the champion of JUSTICE, STABILITY and PEACE as it once was. As Africa's oldest independent country, Liberia must show the World that we are serious in establishing an accountable, democratic and peace loving society and want to be a part of the civilized world. Therefore it is every Liberian's DUTY to petition their Legislators to demand that Warlords and Mr. Charles Taylor Face Justice, if nowhere else, in Liberia. Liberians in the Diaspora must petition their Congressmen, Members of Parliament or other legislative bodies around the globe to make sure that the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal for Liberia happens and that all responsible for the destruction Our Nation

If for no other reasons that Charles Taylor and all these warring factions and their leadership must have their day in court to answer to the Liberian People, lest we forget the following:

i. Over 250,000 Liberian killed by Charles Taylor, Alhaji Kromah, Prince Johnson, and these Warlords from LURD and MODEL

ii. Several Hundred Thousand driven out of their country into refugee camps or internally displaced into shelters

iii. Countless petrified women and children were raped

iv. Innocent babies cut from pregnant women's wombs

v. Scores of Liberians left maimed and disfigured

vi. Drugged child soldiers eating human hearts and other body parts

vii. Depriving the Liberian youth of a chance in getting some form of education, instead of recruitment into rebel camps

viii. Pillaging of our natural resources, iron ore, timber, diamond for personal used, by selling these to Al Qaeda and others

ix. Deliberate destruction of the socio-economic infrastructure and moral fabric of the society

x. Regional instability caused by these warring factions spreading to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Cote D'Ivoire

xi. Destruction of our electric grid and pipe borne water supply

It should be incumbent upon all Liberians to petition Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU, and the UN, the Presidents of the United States as well as Great Britain and our New Leader to bring Charles Taylor and these bandits of rogues to justice. If this is not done in short order, there should be peacefully organized sit-ins, by local Liberian leadership organizations, at the Nigerian Embassy in Monrovia and in other parts of the world to protest and register our displeasure to the Nigerian Government.

These bandits should not be left to freely and lavishly enjoy life without recourse. They must face JUSTICE so that others, knowing that they will be left off the hook for their indiscretions, cannot repeat their actions. A whole people and region cannot and should not suffer in vain, while these guys walk with impunity.

Ill-Gotten Wealth:
Another very important task in the Reconciliation Process is for this new Leader to constitute and empower an august body, whose only function would be to investigate all individuals who have served in government over the last twenty-five (25) years, from the level of, President of the Republic, Speaker of the House, Leaders in the Senate, Members of the Legislature, Directors up to the Ministers and other high level public servants. They must account for all the wealth they have acquired, especially relative to the salaries paid, level of economic development and overall socio-economic state of the country. This august body should commence their investigation from the period of 1980 to the Gyude Bryant Administration. Moreover, government officials prior to 1980, as far back as the Tubman administration, must be made to account also, and be made to make restitution by redistributing some of their wealth, to the Liberian people, if they cannot legally support the acquisition of their assets. This is fundamental to the economic recovery of the Republic and making equitable the past deprivation of assets to the indigenous people and less fortunate of the society. Assets seized, confiscated or surrendered in this process should then be placed in the public for Auction. There have been too many former and current government officials who have blatantly robbed the Nation and raped the National Treasury with no repercussion whatsoever. It is high time these individual be made to answer how they accumulated all this wealth.

The new government must live up to the era in which the world finds itself, Technology. This government must be transparent in opening up its books for public consumption, by establishing internet sites and making available its record when requested by the public. This New Government must be of the principle that it is of the people that it exists and must be accountable to the people. Salaries and perks for all in government must be Public Records and in the Public Domain, no if and or buts about that! Government expenditures and budget should made known and in details. Official cars and equipments should be used for official business, only. All who serve must open their financial records before and after so as to determine any ill-gotten wealth.

Government service is a sacrifice, honestly undertaken, with it just reward. No stealing or dedebah! Individuals who enter government service are not forced to undertake this responsibility and they do it at their own free will. If an individual wants to be a millionaire or be super-rich, join the private sector and work hard for your wealth. Government service is not a get rich scheme. It is time us, Liberians, behave as a part of the civilized society and be honest and sincere and make our Country progress, rather than decline.

Moreover, it is time for government to pay those who serve handsomely so as to avoid the environment for corruption and misuse of national resources. And it is time for our leader(s) to stand up and not condone any form of corruption, by first practicing that himself or herself. Liberians are a bunch of followers and if there is a competent, morally principled and honest individuals in power, we tend to follow suit.

My fellow Liberians, Liberia and Africa in generally, are abundantly endowed in natural and intellectual resources, but we are at the bottom of every statistic you can imagine. Why? The answer is simple, Lack of Accountability. Look around you daily, there is abundant of civil wars, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and leaders who refuse to transfer power democratically and peacefully. Liberia has taken the first step in the right direction. We are on track to becoming the leader in Africa we once were.

Thanks to all my fellow Liberians who so gallantly, peacefully and enthusiastically exercised their rights to vote on October 11th. Let us repeat what we did, even so more, on November 8th.

'Tank you yahh!'

Let us all Liberians work together to build our country, no matter who emerges as the New Leader of our Beloved Land.

Mr. Weah and Mrs. Sirleaf-Johnson, the Challenge is yours. Full Persecution of Charles Taylor, his co-horts of the NPP, Alhaji Kromah, ULIMO J, ULIMO K, LURD and MODEL and all executives of these murderous gangsters. As in the words of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, "if you are not with us, you are against us". In the case of Liberia, if a WAR CRIME tribunal is not empanelled to bring these murderers and rouges to justice, then either one of you who is President and Leader is a sycophant and is against the Liberian People.