The tribalization of corruption and other crimes in Liberia

By Joseph K. Solo

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
December 21, 2006


The news coming from Liberia recently, even though sad in a lot of quarters, is good for the future stability and prosperity of our country. Yes, the Gydue Bryant interim administration is on trial and people are being arrested to face economic crimes they committed against the Liberian people. You know corruption, taking to the level of lack of accountability and criminal disregard for fellow citizens, has been at the core of Liberia’s problems. And for the Bryant administration, a bunch of people who were walking over the dead bodies of their fellow citizens to collect international monies to divert the monies to their personal use, there is a need for retributive justice. Obviously therefore, we all should be happy that the Sirlef administration is following the ECOWAS audit’s mandate and having people arrested to face charges.

But what is bothering me is the apparent tribalization of the initial aspect of the process. I am referring to the news report that a Mandingoe interest group is demanding the release of former finance minister Lusseni Kamara from custody. So, does this mean that the Krahns, Greboes, Congoes and other ethnic groups should organize themselves to provide support and demand the release from custody of people from their groups who are been prosecuted for economic crimes? Where does it stop?

But I am very optimistic because we elected a president who made the fight against corruption the cornerstone of her crusade as it should be. One can only hope that this crusade should be across the board and no one should be spared if the government is really serious about setting an example for future deterrence. If any Liberian cares about their country, they would understand and decipher that the civil war was the cause of insensitive citizens who take public service as not opportunity to serve but a chance to steal. We are talking about a country in which over 90% of its people live in soul crushing poverty, yet with some millionaires for whom there are no legitimate explanations as to how they accumulate their wealth other than the fact that they were once government officials.

Public corruption as a problem has destroyed the Liberian state. The President, who is held in such high esteem by Liberians and the international community, can not and should not ignore a public report about corruption in Liberia prepared by a body like ECOWAS. Therefore, she should be commended and supported to keep on and don’t listen to those who will use the issues of reconciliation and stability to keep the country in its perpetual decadent state. Madam president, continue on and let the axe falls wherever it may. Your action will not further destabilize Liberia. What you are doing will stabilize Liberia with a message that once you get a government job, it is not meant to steal to live luxuriously in the midst of extreme poverty but to be a patriot and sacrifice to provide needed services to an impoverished population.

Joseph K. Solo,
856 Chester Pike #A
Sharon Hill, PA. 19079
© 2006 by The Perspective

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