The October Election a new beginning or a continuation of our hellish journey to the Abyss?

By Stephen O. Adams

Finally, another dawn is falling on Liberia and all Liberians have been granted a third chance in little more than three decades to do the right thing and put in position of power an individual with the foresight to lead us from the backwaters of the abyss.

I can remember very vividly when the so-call free and fair elections were held after the useless criminal coup-maker decided to convert from general to Civilian. He and his cronies, after the rigged elections, simply carried on with the mismanagement of the government. The careless disregard for the rule of law and utter contempt for the Liberian people, couple with the senseless massacre of people from Nimba created an atmosphere of fear, terror and dread that enable the criminal-killer, Charles "the Cannibal" Taylor to gain prominence. Mr. Taylor's rise to power subsequently led to perhaps one of the darkest period of our history. The ensuing 14 years of anarchy saw Liberians from all walks of life reduced to sadism, brutality and violent activities that were simply inhuman. The age of Liberia's lack of humanity relegated all of our young population to unthinkable trauma. As a result, today we have kids as young as 10 years old that are ex-combatant and seasoned killers with no other life experience but brutalization of their fellow Liberians.

In an attempt to end the cycle of violence ushered in by the Doe coup, the false, fraudulent elections and the massacre of fellow Liberians by the then Doe SATU guards, and the opportunistic entrance by the Sadist Taylor, a deal was broker by the International Community for the cessation of hostilities and a follow-up with free and fair democratic elections. Many Liberians, including me, rejoice that the carnage was finally over and peace at last would be bestowed to our traumatized country. The ensuing elections rewarded one of Liberia's greatest blight, Mr. Charles Taylor with the presidency. The election, despite its many flaws, was sanctioned by the so-called international observer team from the Carter Center.

Soon after the elections, however, there were ramblings of discontent by the various rebel stakeholders including key members of the Doe criminal cartel who were very efficient in expropriating huge amounts of looted public funds from banks in the US, Europe and elsewhere. The decision of Mr. Taylor to interfere in the affairs of our neighbors Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast by providing assistance to belligerents in those countries fighting to overthrow their governments, led to those governments ultimately granting implicit support to this trouble-maker from Liberia. Like Taylor several years before, the action of a sitting president created an opportunity for bloody-thirsty individuals as sinister as Taylor himself to embark on a journey of death, destruction and terror of the worst kind throughout our broken country.

Another round of killing and destruction quickly reverberated throughout the region. Like wildflowers, many group of unpatriotic opportunists formed movements which focused on terrorizing and looting the already deprived and dejected population. These groups were armed by the American, British and Russian merchants of death, financed by the blood-diamonds that were looted from the region.

This third round of killings came to an end just a little under 24 months ago, with yet another international intervention. As a stop-gap, all of the killers were rewarded with top political positions for the interim period. As could be expected, this band of sadistic killers and otherwise unscrupulous characters focused on just one thing, an even more vicious attempt to ravage what little was left of the wealth of the country. With impunity, the so -all freedom-fighters looted revenue generating public entities such as the Maritime Affairs, Refinery, National Port Authority and many other bureaus. While these agencies heads embarked on their looting spree, the Chairman of the Interim Government turned a blind eye as he too engaged in financial corruption and malfeasance that is in fact unparallel in the nation's history.

With less than 180 days until elections which will hopefully usher in a more responsible group of leaders, we have seen a sudden change of heart by the Thief in Chief, Mr. Judie Bryant. Lately, his roguish government has embarked on a journey of exposing under-bosses from their criminal enterprise. This abrupt change of heart has left me perplexed and pondering the following questions. Is this Mr. Bryant's attempt to vindicate his own embezzlement and sacrifice less sophiscated operatives? Is this an attempt by Mr. Bryant to influence the position of his chosen successor by distancing himself from the evils of the last 24 months which he help create and perpetuate? Is he positioning himself to avoid prosecution if the right leader is elected in the coming election? While I can only speculate on the answers to these questions, clearly, the Liberian people will not allow themselves to be deceived for a third time.

Elections must me taken seriously and Liberians must understand that electing the wrong person THIS time will be a genuine blow to any short-term opportunity to halt and begin reversing the damage to our county. It will, predictably, simply lead to the continued suffering and deprivation of the masses of our people and eventually launch another round of brutal killing and looting of innocent Liberians as new gangs of LURD, NPFL, MODEL and other opportunistic groups take advantage of the inevitable chaos.

Finally, who then should we be electing to avoid another fall into this dreadful Abyss? While there has been a lot of talk about the qualifications or lack thereof of some of the leading candidates, we should be reminded that Liberia's current dilemma requires a proven leader. A leader with the ability to interact and effectively communicate our plight on the global stage. Liberia, in its current state, does not need a semi-literate nincompoop in the form of another Samuel Doe at its helm during this most fragile and critical time. Liberia does not need an inconsiderate collaborator of the failed and corrupt interim regime. Liberia certainly does not need a collaborator from the disgraced tyrant Taylor regime. Liberia needs an innovative leader who will work toward stopping the hemorrhaging and stabilizing the ghastly disorganization we have experience over the last three decades.