The TRC Final Report: An Open Letter To The Political Party Leaders in Liberia
By Bernard Gbayee Goah
The TRC final report is a synthesized document, a shared history if you will, that can allow us to have a deep understanding of our past; it gives insight into the perspectives of those who supported the destruction of our country and took the lives of so many as well as those who were victims in one way or another who have been left to tell our story.
The TRC final recommendations about reconciliation, rehabilitation, justice, and reparation purposely minimized the magnitude of crimes committed during the war by some of our current leaders, in an effort to open the door of acceptance to the implementation of the TRC. Yet, some of our current leaders have refused to move forward with the TRC’s recommendations, choosing greed and pride over national interests. Of course, this attitude got Liberia in this mess in the first place.
Implementing the TRC’s recommendation is the only step our President can take to prove to the Liberian people that she puts the country first above everything else. Unfortunately, she is instead inciting the Liberian populace to come against the TRC report as well as refuse to honor it in its entirety. This is in stark contrast to what she alluded to at the inception of the TRC, which was that she whole heartedly supported its establishment, its continuity, and even suggested that she would respect the recommendations and implementation. Since the TRC’s recommendations would exclude her from Liberian politics, it is now considered by her and her administration unacceptable, and against the peace and stability of Liberia.
The TRC report would not destabilize Liberia, the act of not implementing it will. The TRC offers very specific guidance on how to stabilize our nation through truth, justice, and reconciliation instead of retaliation. The TRC report outlines ways in which we can cultivate a culture of human rights and build structures to ensure that the atrocities of the past do not reoccur. It also stresses the importance of healing as a nation through continued dialogue in an attempt to create one history and deter people from expressing their pain through violence.
Great men of Liberia, now that the TRC has done its part, we must ensure it is implemented. It is up to all of us, but mostly you, the elders and politicians who are in the spot light of national politics. Your role is critical to the future of Liberia. It would be on your shoulders, should Liberia slip into the abyss of total destruction because of your refusal to work together for the common good. One thing you are able to do as a group is to move people to action, but unless you first unite and move them with emotion, they won’t move at all. Once you have captured their hearts, you will have captured their minds. But you as leaders must have a stronger relationship and connection with one another. Which of you will be the first to step forward and take responsibility for the future of Liberia? I challenge each and every one of you to start a dialogue with your fellow politicians as well your fellow countrymen. Liberia’s capacity to achieve its greatness will be determined by your abilities to unite, connect, and empower your people to act for their own good.
Robert Goisueta writes, “One thing you must all know is that leadership is one of the things you cannot delegate. You either exercise it, or you abdicate it.” All of you are great leaders; therefore, I challenge you all to exercise your leadership by working together. Just as in sports, a coach needs a team of good players to win, a country needs a team of good leaders to succeed.
There are some who are very upset by the TRC report. Some sought to discredit it even before it was released to the public. They should not be allowed to succeed. They are aware that their points are meaningless, but until we stand up and remain steadfast in making sure that the TRC report is honored and implemented, they will continue to fight for the contrary. They will continue to test our courage to fight in favor of the TRC final report.
Fellow Liberians, let us accept the final report of the TRC as the way, an indispensable way, to healing our land, our people, and to bring unity and reconciliation, thereby casting off the shackles of history.
However, there are obstacles that must be overcome in order for progress to be made. Politicians must not seek to aggrandize themselves by claiming that only they know the solution to Liberia’s immense problems. The problem in Liberia is compound complex and needs more than one head to come up with durable solutions. You all continue to say the same thing over and over without any action thought or mention of collective action.
It holds no weight if you individually support the TRC report. Your power comes from your collective support of the TRC report. Why have you all not come together to draft a document in support of the TRC report? Who do we look to if not you? The war scattered us as a people and we look to you to reunite us as a nation and as a political force, for the people are the government, are they not?
The world will respect such a document because it represents the voice of the people. But if hundreds of you run to congress everyday saying the same thing over and over, it becomes very difficult for even the US to work with any of you because you have not streamlined into one entity. The US Congress is not a branch of the Liberian government, and we must make it as easy as possible to understand the true plight of Liberia and to assist us.
Do not allow your individual political ideologies or affiliations overshadow the pressing issues at hand. Power cupidity will not solve the problems in Liberia. You all cry corruption, hardship, embezzlement, and the lack of rule of law in Liberia. But all of you continue to refuse to work together to solve these problems that are affecting the Liberian people. Will you not step up to rescue this drowning nation?
I hope this letter will serve as a conduit through which you all will be moved and decide to work together for the sake of the restoration of peace, reconciliation, justice and stability in Liberia. If there was ever a time in history that begged for you all to work together, it is now for Liberia is in grave danger!
I hope to hear from you all as soon as possible.
Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia