Roadmap for Genuine National Reconciliation


Dr. John S. M. Russell

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
October 8, 2005


Send Money From Around The World 24/7_1
The genuine national reconciliation needed for lasting peace and stability in Liberia will come after certain programs are put in place. Among them are the following:

1. Confession and repentance – In order for genuine national reconciliation for lasting peace and stability to be realized, individuals as well as groups of individuals who have come to the point of conviction that they truly participated in acts that have caused fellow citizens to suffer great loss, such persons must honestly and sincerely confess that they have wrongly acted against their fellow citizens. Then they must purpose in their hearts and minds never to get involved in any such acts in their lifetime.

2. Ex-combatants – The international community has helped Liberia greatly by providing some financial assistance to ex-combatants to assist them in their rehabilitation and re-integration process. The money was not a trophy being awarded them for victories they have won. No warring faction in the Liberian civil war has won any victory. They are all losers. Therefore, those who carried and used arms must stop masquerading as heroes just because they are being assisted by the international community to help facilitate their integration and resettlement in society.

3. Decentralization of political administration – On October 11, 2005, we will be going to the poll to elect new political leadership. Those that will be elected and inaugurated in January 2006 must make sure that the three branches of government function according to their constitutional mandate. Local governments must be given the freedom and opportunity to function according to the constitution and laws of this nation. Every arm of government must be properly structured and equipped to carry on effectively the functions for which it was instituted. There should be no unnecessary interference into the affairs of local government administrations and agencies by central government authorities.

4. Institutions – The government must give serious attention to the establishment and support of the following institutions:

a) Police detachments – It is very important and extremely necessary that a credible and trustworthy police detachment with well-trained and disciplined police officers be put in every county for peace and safety. The police detachments must be well equipped with everything needed for efficient policing throughout the country.

b) The Judicial system – The court system throughout the nation must be completely overhauled. Qualified and disciplined judges and justices of peace must be identified and assigned to all courts of competent jurisdiction within the Republic of Liberia to manage the affairs of the courts.

c) Trustworthy banking institutions to strengthen the economic system and improve financial transactions throughout the country should be established in every county. We should discourage the use of Monrovia as the only center for financial transaction in the country.

d) Education – The government should give attention to the establishment of educational institutions designed for the total development of the human person. There should be established in each county colleges, universities, and skill training institutions similar to the multilateral high schools that were established in Grand Geddeh County, Lofa County, BWI in Margibi County, LTI in Sanoyea, and Tubman Technical College in Harper, Maryland County.

e) Health Care Delivery System – There is the glaring need for hospitals and clinics in all the major towns and cities in the country. There are many Christian denominations in the country that can assist government in putting in place some of these important institutions. All that the government needs to do is to give those Christian denominations and other outstanding organizations operating in the country is to provide the opportunity and legal support for the expansion and operation of those institutions.

5. Infrastructure – If there will be any genuine national reconciliation in Liberia for sustainable peace and stability, the incoming government must give serious attention to the infrastructure development in the entire nation. Priority must be given to the following programs:

a) Road network – The construction of new roads and the maintenance of existing ones should be given top priority by the incoming government for genuine peace and stability in the country. The government must institute a Road Development Tax that, when properly managed, will generate sufficient funds to open new roads and maintain existing ones throughout the country.

b) Electricity – Electricity is indispensable for the sustenance of genuine reconciliation and national development in this age of technology. No economic can grow in this 21st century without electricity. If the new government were determined to undertake the task of making every effort to provide electricity for the entire nation, it would be amazing to see resilient Liberians emerging very rapidly from poverty to prosperity and from the dependency syndrome to economic independence and financial sufficiency. National development will be so rapid and spontaneous that the world would wonder how Liberians manage to overcome the rigor of their plight and disgrace.

c) Telecommunication – Already we are experiencing the joy and gladness cell phones are bringing to our people in the counties where they are in operation. It is amazing that after fifteen years of silence and isolation, friends and relatives can talk to each other on cell phones as far as Harper City, Maryland County. Imagine what it will be like when land phones, Internet, and computer services are made available to all citizens of this country!
How will all this that has been said encourage genuine national reconciliation and lasting peace and stability in Liberia? Some of the obvious benefits will include the following:

1. A sense of belonging – when citizens begin to enjoy the same facilities and opportunities other citizens are enjoying in other counties and cities, they will begin to feel the sense of belonging to the same nation under the same government. They will accept the fact that Liberia belongs to all Liberians. The expression “Liberia belongs to all Liberians” will no longer be a mere slogan to them. They will regard it as a genuine patriotic statement. It will also indicate to them that their individual and ethnic worthiness is recognized and respected by the government in power.

2. Employment opportunity – There will be job opportunity for every qualified Liberian. Liberians will become bosses of their own lives and strong supporters of national endeavors. The whole attitude of liability and dependency will be greatly minimized nationwide.

3. Self Development – Liberians will be equipped and prepared to develop and improve their lives, communities, and counties. Their buried skills and talents will surely be resurrected, and the wastelands will become productive land as neglected towns and villages are being rebuilt and re-populated.

4. Ethnic Conflict – Tribal hatred and ethnic conflict will be greatly reduced to as low as zero level. I agree with the author who wrote that “Where is there poverty, there will ever be law and order”. It is very easy for law and order to be maintained where citizens can live above poverty level in their own country.

So, for Liberians to be genuinely reconciled to one another in the spirit of national unity, peace and stability, we must fight together against poverty, ignorance and diseases in this country. Poverty, ignorance and disease are the three most common enemy of human family.

To conclude, I want to stress the fact that genuine national reconciliation can be realized and maintained in Liberia once all Liberians agree to confess that they have wronged one another, and purposed in their hearts and minds never to participate in any act that would cause destruction and division among the Liberian people.

Secondly, civil authority must be decentralized and local administrators be given the necessary support by the central government. Vital life saving institutions and basic infrastructure must be extended to all the citizens in all the counties. Providing the means to develop middle class citizens in our country must bridge the gap between the low and high classes of citizens. Having one group of people enriching themselves off the benefits of our national resources has been the root cause of our national conflict that has plunged us into the shame and disgrace we find ourselves in today. Let us therefore work with the new government to correct the mistakes of the past and move forward with a new nationalistic spirit for the growth and development of our beloved country, Liberia.

About the author: Reverend Doctor John S.M. Russell is District Superintendent, Monrovia District, The United Methodist Church in Liberia. E-mail address: