Liberia Needs Good Governance


By Dweh Siehwloh Boley

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

November 19, 2004

News about the recent wave of violence in Monrovia is shameful and disappointing.
The use of violence to settle civil disputes has re-enforced the need to develop the private business sector in Liberia to address the high rate of unemployment of our brothers and sisters. As long as over 50 percent of Liberia’s current 3.6 million population is under 43 years of age and a majority of them have a little or no formal education or job skills, Liberia will continue to rotate in a circle of violence and hopelessness.

During the last few weeks, I have received several telephone calls and e-mails from potential investors, both foreign and Liberian, expressing serious concerns about crimes, physical safety and political stability in Liberia. Some of the questions are: who will compensate Liberian-owned businesses without insurance for the losses incurred? How could a dispute that started at Red Light Market over a piece of under-developed land spread over approximately a seven mile radius distance as far as Logan town right in the face of 15,000 United Nations troops?

Why those who were involved in the conflict had so much time to moved around freely with guns, gasoline and machetes - going from door to door in the neighborhoods to interrogate residents as to whether a business or home is owned by a Christian or Muslim? Why it took the government so long to intervene? What specific measures are in place now to ensure optimal coordination of security to control and prevent the reoccurrence of future civil conflict until an elected national government is seated?

I am still waiting for the Minister of Justice, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, and the Executive Mansion to return my telephone calls. What is really amazing is how some government leaders, and their spin-doctors always try to confuse the issues and our poor people by diverting attention from their inabilities to govern. Yesterday, the excused was “Nimba against Grand Gedeh”. Today, the excuse is “Muslims against Christians”. And tomorrow, it is going to be more of the same shallow responses to deep-seated problems.

Let’s admit that not much attention is paid to the basic needs of our people. The interplay of personalities has replaced consideration of national interest and needs. Unfortunately, this process is taking place at a time when many of our brothers and sisters, especially the jobless youth are trying to break out of the circles of hopelessness and find treatment for fresh and deep self-inflicted wounds of fifteen years of civil war.

Liberia needs good governance - that is meaningful participation by the majority of the people in the political process and accountable governmental systems. When the people are motivated by examples of good leadership that creates jobs for all and fair rewards for hard and honest labors, we will then begin bridging the gap. No one else is going to solve our problems. The United Nations will not make rice and cassava farms for us. We have to do it for ourselves. All we need is a hand pointing in the right direction.

About the Author: Dweh Siehwloh Boley is Executive Director of Liberia Business Network, Inc. Contact is