The return of peace to Liberia is appreciated by all Liberians who felt and experienced the agonies and horrors of the civil war directly, indirectly or vicariously.
There are thousands of victims of rape and torture, and survivors of massacres still lingering in despair without justice and reparation. Millions who could not accomplish their plans for life are still struggling to go through, while the retrogressive state of the country remains an embarrassment to us all except for a few elites who appear poised to tear it apart.
The conflict exacted a high toll in lives, time and money, to bring this peace that exists in the country today. The history is clear that the West African group, ECOWAS, used their resources as well as those provided by others, to intervene here by deploying troops under the umbrella of ECOMOG.
In the course of the seven years those soldiers stayed in Liberia, many of them lost their lives in the line of duty and, today, their wives remain widows while their children are fatherless.
The United Nations, following the resumption of another war after the 1997 presidential and legislative elections that brought Charles Taylor to power, mobilized manpower and millions of dollars to facilitate the restoration of peace in this country.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) spent 13 years in this country building and protecting peace.
Before UNMIL came to Liberia, women of Christian and Muslim backgrounds had prayed earnestly, forsaking food until the good Lord answered their prayers to bring the war to an end.
These instances tell how Liberians and foreigners alike paid a price for peace in this country and why they should nurture it.
The anarchy that faced this country is rooted in factors that many Liberians, if not all, should know. Among the key factors are CORRUPTION, DENIAL, INJUSTICE and DISCRIMINATION.
Corruption, discrimination and denial were factors that the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) dwelt on to execute several people here upon taking over in the bloody coup of 1980.
The coup leader, Samuel Doe, having executed people for corruption and other vices, virtually repeated same and even went beyond by an ethnicization of the military, Balkanizing the country along ethnic lines and indulging in extrajudicial killings.
This resulted into the 14-year war that destroyed the fabric of this country in totality.
But Liberians, especially politicians, seem not to be learning from their past. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, first female President of this country and Africa at large, who it was believed would have transformed this war-ravished country, was given massive international support; but her regime, like those of the past, repeated almost all those ills and vices that led the nation down the path to war.
George Weah, the one whom the downtrodden masses love so much and refer to as the “Country Giant,” took over from Sirleaf, with promises of lifting the people out of poverty.
It did not take quite three months after assuming the presidency when news and reports surfaced on social media of his erection and building of structures that he did not build during his lofty football career or even in his ambitious foray into Liberian politics.
Some of his officials, Nathaniel McGill and Jefferson Koijee, have reportedly bought properties that critics say they could not have bought throughout their sojourn in the ranks of the opposition.
President Weah has said that his leadership will not be worse than previous leaderships in the history of Liberia, but just nine months into his leadership, billions in Liberian dollar banknotes remain unaccounted for as Liberians continue to experience the effects of a harsh economic crisis.
As Liberians, by virtue of their right under the Constitution, seek clarity and understanding from the government on this money issue, senior government officials continue to give conflicting accounts that confuse rather than enlighten the public.
The patience Liberians have exercised to maintain the peace does not negate the fact that they do not feel the humiliation perpetuated by those now in leadership who violated their rights in the past.
This paper, the Daily Observer, fears that in such a situation where the people continue to encounter psychosocial pains from such leaders, there is a likelihood that they will one day express their anger as it happened in North Africa.
People in Tunisia were paying taxes to their government without much benefit to them as corruption engulfed the entire economy. At the same time, police were troubling street vendors as we frequently witness here.
An impoverished street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, set himself ablaze when the police arbitrarily seized his apple stand. This led Tunisians to rise up in protest against the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and he had to escape the country to seek refuge elsewhere.
The rest of the stories are there and still unfolding, while our own history is here to remind us.
Liberians and their international friends cherish this peace that has been restored here; let not voracious politicians undermine it by their corrupt and evil deeds.