New Book Exposes Corruption in Liberia and Africa

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—Gabriel I.H. Williams returns to the publishing scene with the release of ‘Corruption is Destroying Africa: The Case of Liberia’

ROCKVILLE, Md. – From the author of “Liberia: The Heart of Darkness” comes a new account exposing how “Corruption is Destroying Africa: The Case of Liberia” (published by Trafford Publishing). In his latest book release, Gabriel I.H. Williams narrates the prevailing reality in his home country Liberia, and in Africa as a whole, where corruption has become a major hindrance to national and continental progress.

Williams writes that the book is intended to contribute to the ongoing discourse about Liberia or about Africa, which has often left people perplexed. According to a 2013 World Bank report, Africa has 30% of the world’s minerals and proven oil reserves equivalent to 10% of global stock. How is it that Africa, which has such enormous mineral and oil wealth, is the poorest continent in the world?

The author also notes that a similar question would suffice for Liberia, which became independent since 1847, has been a sovereign nation for over 170 years but is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. This is irrespective of the fact that the country is endowed with abundant natural resources. Accordingly, Williams herewith submits that Africa or Liberia is not poor but poorly managed and that corruption is a major source of bad governance, widespread poverty and instability on the continent.

“There can be no question that corruption is like cancer eating at the vitals of Africa, my beloved country Liberia being one of the worst affected on the continent. This is why this book is titled, ‘Corruption is Destroying Africa: The Case of Liberia’,” he asserts. “Because of corruption, critical public services such as health and education have remained in a state of dysfunction.”

According to Williams, the book is penned “To contribute to the ongoing discourse regarding measures that are needed to contain corruption and other acts of bad governance that have caused instability, poverty and underdevelopment in Africa and my home-country Liberia.” Through this, he urges  the proper management of Africa’s resources in order to improve the conditions of its people.

The book is a strong call for Africa’s natural resources to have value-added, and to empower Africans through education, skills training and equal employment opportunities. Ultimately, the book relates to the prevailing reality of life affecting Africans and people of African descent.

In the wake of the seemingly unending problem of corruption, which remains a grave threat to Liberia’s peace, stability and progress, as well as the rapid decline of Liberia’s economy, the book expresses the urgent need for strong international involvement to stabilize the country’s economy as was the case following the end of its brutal and destructive civil war.

Accordingly, the book strongly recommends that Liberia’s international partners  engage the Liberian Government for the purpose of reaching another agreement, similar to that of GEMAP, under which the international community would assist in the management of Liberia’s resources. Liberia could suffer another economic collapse, as was the case during the civil war, if the economy continues to deteriorate at the prevailing pace, without the appropriate interventions to reverse the losses. Growing public protests and unrest in Liberia due to the very painful economic hardship being endured by a mass of the largely poverty-stricken population could easily destabilize the already fragile post-war country.

As Liberians grapple with the delicate matters of reconciliation, it is recommended that President William R. Tolbert, who was assassinated and 13 officials of his government executed in the wake of the 1980 military coup, be granted official pardon posthumously. That all charges brought against the deposed president and officials of his government by the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) military regime which seized power, be dropped.

The book also recommends that a monument be erected at the mass grave where the 13 condemned officials were buried. Tolbert and his officials were charged with rampant corruption and gross abuse of power, among others. Is Liberia better off now than during the era of President Tolbert? Are corruption and abuse of power, for which Tolbert and his officials were killed, under control in Liberia since the overthrow of that government?

In order to ensure that the historical role of President William V.S. Tubman and Liberia in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), renamed the African Union (AU), is not distorted and forgotten, the book also recommends that the AU institute measures to give the late President Tubman similar recognition that has been accorded late Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah and late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. Both President Nkrumah and Emperor Selassie, who played leadership roles in the formation of the OAU, have been honoured with their statues erected on the grounds of the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The book also contains two chapters, based on extensive research and the contributions of prominent scholars, to highlight Liberia’s leadership role in the OAU formation, which has been largely relegated, while Nkrumah and other OAU founding fathers have been elevated.

Gabriel I.H. Williams is a diplomat and former deputy minister of information in the government of Liberia. A career journalist, he has worked with several news organizations in Liberia and the United States as a reporter and editor, including serving as managing editor of The Inquirer independent newspaper in Liberia, and staff writer of The Sacramento Observer Newspapers in Sacramento, California.

He was acting president of the Press Union of Liberia, the national journalist’s organization, during the early years of the Liberian Civil War before fleeing to the United States due to death threats for his role as a journalist. Williams is also the author of  “Liberia: The Heart of Darkness – Accounts of Liberia’s Civil War and its Destabilizing Effects in West Africa,” published in 2002 in the United States.

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