Liberia: What Lessons Have We Learned?

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Today’s date is October 15, 2020. Exactly twenty-eight (28) years ago on this day, NPFL rebel leader Charles Taylor launched what he dubbed Operation Octopus, a massive and deadly military attack on Monrovia, as a last but desperate attempt to militarily overrun Monrovia.

“Octopus” was the codename of rebel NPFL General and military strategist, John T. Richardson.

Taylor’s intent was to inflict a crushing defeat on the West African Peacekeeping Force (ECOMOG), drive them out of Monrovia and install himself as lord and ruler of Liberia. The attack against Monrovia was on several fronts and, at one point, rebel NPFL forces succeeded in breaching ECOMOG defenses at its Bushrod Island Free Zone headquarters.

Eventually, the attack was repulsed, leaving thousands of people dead, millions of dollars worth of public and private property destroyed and hundreds of thousands of others internally displaced or exiled abroad. 

The Octopus attack against Monrovia on October 15, 1992, had been preceded by a series of Peace Conferences intended to restore calm and normalcy and create enabling conditions for a return to democratic governance.

A return to democratic rule would, however, prove elusive not until 1997, a year after the complete ransacking and looting of Monrovia by rebel forces in six days in April 1996. It was followed by a Peace conference (Abuja I), disarmament and controversial elections in 1997, in which Charles Taylor was declared winner by an overwhelming margin.

But Taylor’s reign was characterized by gross abuse of human rights and very little respect for the rule of law. Corruption in his government was a given as his “White Flower” residence virtually became synonymous to the Central Bank of Liberia.

Only three years into his 6-year tenure, a low-intensity conflict confined mainly to parts of Lofa County near the Guinean border broke out in 1999 but soon petered out to resurrect later. By 2003, rebel forces were already knocking at the gates of the capital, forcing Taylor to flee into exile.

Elections which would follow in 2005 saw the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and then reelection extending to twelve (12) the total number of years she served as President. At the end, she handed power over to a handpicked successor representing what she called a power shift to a new and young generation.

Three years into the six-year tenure of President George Weah, the icon of this new generation, disturbing signs are emerging suggestive of retrogression to the country’s dark past. Firstly, official corruption under this government appears to have grown far worse than what it was under President Sirleaf.

Under President Sirleaf, according to a former official, there was corruption, yes, but certainly not on this scale. The nation recalls that this was the theme echoed and reechoed during the 2018 “Bring Back Our Money” demonstration in Monrovia. And the people chanted “dis kind of stealing we never see it Ellen time” in the streets, obviously to the consternation of watching government officials. 

Secondly, under President Sirleaf, the nation bore witness to the unexplained and suspicious deaths of Harry Greaves and Michael Allison, which were widely suspected to be the handiwork of government sponsored agents.

However, the suspected serial killings or deaths of four (4) top-notched professionals, all from national integrity institutions, have shocked the conscience of the nation. It is a chilling reminder of the horrors visited on this nation and its people in the past by avaricious, self-seeking blood-thirsty individuals.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up, in keeping with provisions of the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Accords to probe the abuses of the past, completed its work and made a host of recommendations including recommendations for Prosecution, Lustration, Reparations and Reconciliation.

The TRC recommendations were intended to enhance prospects for sustainable Peace, Justice and Reconciliation by holding perpetrators accountable, but they were virtually ignored by President Sirleaf. The US government had provided substantial support to the TRC.

But rather disappointingly, it has balked, demonstrating great reluctance, feigned or real, to pursue the killers of five (5) Catholic nuns, all US citizens within an overarching context of prosecution of all perpetrators identified in the TRC report. Today there are rising and genuine public fears that the nation appears headed back to its dismal past.

Impunity seems to be the order of the day. Public officials, save a few, are crossing deals here and there while silencing those suspected or harboring whistle-blower inclinations. Leaked text messages making the rounds on social media linking Senator Peter Coleman to a scam intended to defraud the government of US$200,000, which he has denied, is illustrative of the deep levels of theft taking place under this government;

Other examples include the NPA-imposed Cargo Tracking Note, (CTN) and the LTA’s imposition of floor charges on data and voice calls on GSM companies that they have conveniently passed on to the public. But the public is not taking the matter lying down and already there are calls for its scrapping.

Realizing that angry public reaction to this development may cause the CDC to lose votes, CDC Chairman, Mulbah Morlu has reacted, accusing GSM providers of economic sabotage. But it appears the public remains unfazed because they know the truth.

And so, reflecting 28 years after the launch of Operation Octopus we ask just what lessons have been learned? Charles Taylor is slowly rotting away in a British Jail. His cronies are however members of President Weah’s CDC governing council. The serial deaths of government auditors recently appear like a page taken out of Taylor’s playbook.

Further, sources have confided to the Daily Observer that current developments concerning the killings of unarmed, innocent individuals, hors de combat, is attracting increased attention from international human rights bodies and related institutions including the International Criminal Court.

President Weah is thus urged to treat this matter as one of very high priority and bring those responsible to justice without delay.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Editor, that..

    (1) YOU ARE HERE BLATANTLY LYING that the 1997,elections in which Charles Taylor won with a first ever on the continent of Africa of more than 75 percent of the total votes was ”controversial” and your criminal insinuation that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s fraudulent election and reelection ”were not controversial”.are as pathologically silly as your attempt to..

    (2) impute the deaths under investigation to the government, when such deaths, from all logical implications appears to be the perpetrations of certain elements from within the opposition, and or probably others with a hidden agenda hellbent on tarnishing the good public and international image of this government voted to power overwhelmingly by the masses the majority of the Liberian people!

    • The True or False Nationalist has written another set of garbage again. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Showing off his limited understanding on serious discussions. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Oh boy, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  2. Like most CDCians, the False Nationalist will refuse to admit the stagnation and the inefficiencies they have brought to the country by their bottleneck killings of those 4-innocent people.

    You emptied public coffers to build your mansions, the people cried foul without any regard for them.
    You began meting oppressive treatments on opposition, denying the right to peaceful assembly and even creating the first political fugitive since the war, your devilish horns could not easily be bent but had begun to simmer and thirst for blood.
    Still desperate to disfigure Liberia, you appointed dubious a character with doubtful citizenship to oversee our transparency body, what an Ali Baba fairy tale to prove to Liberians they are crazed.
    Then you embarked on selling our passports to dodgy individuals to soil the good reputation of Liberians, who may foolishly be subjected to suspicion when traveling with their own documents.

    What do we expect to see next? Beware Liberians, Weah has become a city boy. He is no longer a country boy to even build a single kitchen in his village in Grand Kru or even in the administrative headquarters.
    Do not be surprised to learn that Grand Kru or Sinoe County has been sold to the Indians or Lebanese or the French!

    This last one, will surely come to an end. Liberia will shine as brightly as never before; this is the promise of God to His people!

  3. Before you display your usual idiocy, ignorance, or worship of that notorious faggot Alex Cummings who has done nothing good for any Liberian, but chose to establish and finance gay foundations, read below and mirror your idiocy and ignorance.

    141 Presidential Pro Poor Housing Units To Be Formally Distributed This Month

    Sasstown’s senior citizens (elderly) — known to be vulnerable — who have lived in dilapidated mud-and-thatch houses up to now, are expected to formally get free and modern ‘family houses’ under the Presidential Pro Poor Housing Units project.

    The Housing Units (27ft x 25ft) comprise two bed rooms, a living room, bathroom and two porches.

    The ramshackle thatched houses were marked for replacement by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) to allow only “senior citizens” of Sasstown, Grand Kru County, to benefit from the Presidential Pro Poor Housing Units.

    The Building Construction Company (BCC) was contracted to build 170 housing units in six of the nine towns in Sasstown while Mobel is due to construct 33, also in the six towns.

    The legatee towns include Jekwikpo, Felorkri, Daryokpo, Kitea, Klaydia and Kunie. Norkwia, Sloyee and Wessah towns are the only towns in Sasstown, which are not included.

    The BCC is expected to complete 108 units, while Mobel would erect 33 units to be publicly turned over by the end of August.

    The turning over program will be attended by the Grand Kru County Legislative Caucus, the County Leadership, Ministry of Internal Affairs, LACE, BCC management and the beneficiaries.

    Mr. Joe Jojo, the Supervisor of BCC, said as of Wednesday, 86 of the units have been fully completed in Jekwikpo and Felokri of Sasstown. He said the remaining 22 in Daryokpa, Kitea, Kunie and Klaydia will be ready.

    A staff of Mobel, who asked not to be named, said 20 of its 33 targeted housing units are fully completed while the remaining 13 will also be ready for the end-of-August turning over.

    “We have been here since 2019 February and we are happy to say we have 86 houses completed. Other houses are nearing completion. Some need painting, others need plastering and others need roofing,” Joe said.

    “We are sure that by the end of the month, we will complete 108 houses for the first phase of the official turning over,” Joe noted.

    According to Joe, the outstanding 62 housing units are expected to be completed hopefully in September.

  4. Kou Gontee,

    You have our beautiful name (Kou = given to the first girl child, and Gontee = literally means black man), but you are not one of us. Stop impersonating, our ladies are usually respectful and shy!

    Let’s talk about the killings of 4 young people by your “mighty” CDC. You like the word “Mighty” to always talk about the Liberian plague called CDC.
    Is it mighty because it is the melting pot of all warring factions that bereaved Liberia? What should we retain as definition for the word “mighty”? Is it because you are notoriously known for killing, destroying, stealing, disfiguring, etc.?

    Let’s talk about your nominee to the NEC who presides over our transparency agency, is that your might?
    Let’s talk about our diplomatic passports being sold to dodgy individuals, is that the exemplification of your might?
    Let’s talk about the raping and killing of our enfants and children in Liberia, is it the demonstration of your might?
    Let’s talk about you borrowing $30 million to buy food for your lazy partisans, is this how mighty you are for taking such unproductive loan that can add no value to the Liberian economy?

    Now, let me submit myself to your diversion game to talk about your “proud project” of building housing units for our people in Grand Kru.
    Are you building those units to be given to those people free of charge and without any strains?
    Aren’t you going to later ask them to give up some of the land or natural resources free of charge, in return for the “goodness”, to your dodgy partners as concealed compensation? Remembered the Arabs and white guys came to black Africa to trade our people for salt and mirror? I hope the CDC is not position itself as those notorious chiefs who sold their own stocks for mirrors and salt.

    If there is no hidden agenda in building the units for our people of Grand Kru, we call such as socialism and it is a biased practice.
    If you can take our people from Grand Kru from thatch huts to concrete buildings, do the same in Sinoe, Maryland, Grand Gedeh and in all the counties of Liberia. Why will you do it in Grand Kru and not in Cape Mount, another “poor” county? You are digging a rift that may open on people voting on tribal line in Liberia.
    Building those units is a possible germ of conflict. The next administration may seize and sell those units to the owners or other occupants to right the wrong. It is not wise at all, CDC.

    Open the county by building roads that will link it to Monrovia and other parts of Liberia. Create economic activities in those counties and enable the people to work and feed themselves and build their lives.
    The government needs to provide the catalysts through subsidies, low-interest loans and training. In so doing, you enact sustainable development that can undoubtedly create more added values to the entire economy.

    Do not be proud of this project, it is a shame and lack of innovation. The $30 million you just fattened the “don papay” with could have been used to set up a fishing company with minimum state participation to bring joy to our people of Grand Kru. The Kru people are traditional fishermen, make them to get back to work. They could feed the entire Liberia and even export in landlocked countries in the sub region to generate revenue. Why should you accept the Chinese and French to exploit our marine resources and keep our people in abject poverty?
    Now that you have given them the units, are you going to feed them in those units? Are you going to maintain those units for them? Is the CDC going to rule Liberia forever? Use your brains and stop the vain and indecent verbosities.

    You at the UN there, is that how you think? You at the UN there, is this how you perceive human capital development?
    By the way, are you a policy maker at the UN or an executioner? Then I should recognize decency in what you say and do. How can you claim Mr. Cummings is a gay without concrete proof? Has he ever gone to bed or proposed to go to bed with your husband, son or brother? Are you willing to confront me upfront on the phone or on any social media or in the court of law to make your claim emphatically?

    After an in-depth examination of your own conscience, let me know who is more ignorant and idiotic of us two.

  5. Look you little inferior idiot deceiving yourself, your INFERIORITY COMPLEX AND IDIOCY that we (Nimba women) are not assertive is as silly and smelly as is your shameful and disgraceful character of worshiping an Alex Cummings who is detested for his being a faggot.

    As for your rudeness mentioning my relations, it is YOU, YOUR MOTHER, your wife (if you have any), your son and your brother, and in fact YOUR FATHER with whom that dirty and smelly faggot Alex Cummings has gone to bed with.

    You are really a born and cursed fool to display this insanity of denying that one is a faggot even after the very person (the faggot Alex Cummings) has admitted and confirmed publicly been a faggot.

    And worse, even after notable personalities including, active commenters, intellectuals, politicians, and lawyers leaving or affixing their telephone numbers, addresses, etc. have publicly asserted that this faggot Alex Cummings is notorious, you are still requesting for proof despite the fact the faggot has admitted being a faggot.

    .

  6. Signature of a typical CDCian!

    They can never stand intellectual exchanges. They always resort to vituperations. In fact, they lack intellectualism; CDC, a gathering of hoodlums and hooligans!

    If you call yourself a woman and you are abusing my wife, mother and others, what do you expect from me? Get on the crazy train with you? I like insulting people’s intellectualism, not vain vituperations.

    Let’s address the problems and plagues you represent for Liberia. I made major points that should attract you intention, you international UN woman. Let’s address issues raised and exchange on them, but if you continue to be abusive to yourself, I will back off from you forever. And beware never to pop your nose into my comments.

    The fake guy you are referring to is NOT a lawyer. All the information he provided is fake, down to his email. Beware, we don’t just talk but search and find as well. We were able to trace him through his IP address, and ever since I mentioned that here, he’s been careful and keeping cool nowadays.

    Revisit the definition of “Inferiority Complex” and “commitment” to a cause. Thabo Mbeki or Zuma and others were not suffering from inferiority complex for their commitment to Mandela and the cause for which they fought.
    Some of you “questionable” Liberians yearn to see our country lagging, some of us will fight with the right people to make it look like other West African countries.

    The CDC plague will be healed. The antidote has been found; it will be injected soon. Liberia will be snatched from the hands of immorality and hooliganism!

    “We at the UN”, “we at the UN”, mon oeil!

  7. Mr. Defender,
    Let’s go directly, but not with impunity to the core of the argument. The core of the argument starts precisely from the lips of the author. The author asks, “What have we learned”?

    In direct response to the author’s question, I would like to say that we’ve learned how to embrace democracy! Examples…

    (1). Liberians have learned that elections are good. Because of what they have learned, Madam EJS was elected and re-elected by the Liberian electorate.

    (2). Liberians have learned that presidential terms are term-limited. This is consistent with the constitution. Also, it’s been learned by the Liberian people that a peaceful transfer of power is an act of democracy. So immediately after EJS stepped down, the Liberian people went to their precincts and voted democratically to elect Mr. George Weah. The election of Weah and the transfer of power was done peacefully. However, let’s not delude ourselves or even forget that the last time power was peacefully transferred in Liberia occurred in 1944 when William Tubman became elected.

    (3). The Liberian people have learned that in a democracy, people have the right to express themselves. Unfortunately, the opposition political parties don’t seem to understand. Example, in 2019, the opposition dis-organizers, demanded a protest march. Their request to protest was granted. But while every civilized Liberian expected the opposition to conduct themselves politely during the march, the protesters showed disregard for the rule of law. Example, some protesters took stoves on the grounds of the capitol to cook!

    (4). The recent deaths of the auditors (but the Minister of Information said recently that the dead persons weren’t auditors) has ridiculously become a blame game. Without any proof at all, members of the political opposition are blaming George Weah for the fallen Liberians. Contrary to what the dis-organizers would like us to believe, Weah came out and condemned the deaths. As a way of expressing his disgust, Weah urged an investigation with the help of the United States of America. Most Liberians have learned to be calm when an investigation is in progress.

    Finally, the people of Liberia are learning a whole lot from the ugly days of the uncivil war. But the opposition doesn’t seem to get it.

  8. What the Liberian people and the world have learned is that THE ELITES have always from 1847 to 2011 been THE SELECTORATE, MEANING LIBERIA HAD NO ELECTORATE.

    BUT GEORGE WEAH AND THE PEOPLE CHANGED THAT AFTER BEEN CHEATED IN 2005 AND 2011, AND FINALLY PUT THE ELECTORATE IN CHARGE AND THE MASSES USHERED ONE OF THEMSELVES (GEORGE WAEH) INTO POWER IN 2018! AND THIS SEEMS TO BE WHAT THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE AND THE WORLD SHALL SEE VIZ ELECTIONS IN LIBERIA HENCEFORTH!

    Mr. Hney, by not INITIALLY ascertaining the WORTHYNESS, TRUISM, OR AT LEAST, THE MEANINGFULNESS of what comes out of these editors who are now on record for being “the puppets and hired guns of the highest bidders “ (if we may quote Leymah Gbowee), one unintentionally does the biddings of these editors or reporters two fundamental diabolical characteristics of fomenting confirmation bias and spreading disinformation.

    For example, does the assertions infra from this editor merit any worth, truism, or meaningfulness, taking into account the blatant DISINFORMATIONS?

    “Elections which would follow in 2005 saw the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and then reelection extending to twelve (12) the total number of years she served as President. At the end, she handed power over to a handpicked successor representing what she called a power shift to a new and young generation.“

    Now, besides the fact that he conceals the truth that the two elections attributes to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were both fraudulent and controversial, he chooses to prove himself a BALDHEADED LIAR by lying that “At the end, Ellen handed power over to a handpicked successor representing what she called a power shift to a new and young generation.“Mr. Hney is that the truth, and does such smelly rubbish qualify for a debate? NO! NO! NO!

    As if such lies are not enough, he goes on to rant that Under President Sirleaf, according to a former official, there was corruption, yes, but certainly not on this scale WHEN “Transparency International Barometer capturing the corruption index of 2019 shows that corruption in Liberia was minimized in 2019 under the government of President George Manneh Weah compared to its soaring heights in 2015 when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was President.“

    He goes on to lie that the presidential elections under the supervision of the UN AU, AND ECOWAS held on July 19, 1997 in which “President CHARLES GHANKAY MCARTHUR TAYLOR won 75 percent of the total vote was controversial“!

    DO YOU NOT SEE SUCH DISSEMINATION SODDEN IN UNWORTHYNESS AND SMELLY FALSEHOOD??? “

    BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES! BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS! THE DECEIVER SPEAKS IN GENERALITIES!

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