Political Parties, Others Want Taylor Resign
-Say Indictment Compromises His Ability To Govern
By Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
Charles Taylor (R)
The Free Democratic Party of Liberia (FDPL), Liberia Action Party (LAP), the Liberian People's Party (LPP), Liberia Unification Party (LUP), National Reformation Party (NRP), the New DEAL Movement, United People's Party (UPP) and the Unity Party (UP) in a joint statement issued in Akosombo Monday, called on the Liberian leader to step aside owing to the rapid deterioration in the security situation of the country.
Moreover the eight opposition political parties said the indictment of President Charles Taylor as war criminal does not only damage the image and undermine the credibility of the Liberian state but also compromises the President's capacity to govern the state, relative to Liberia's interaction with the international community.
President Taylor has been indicted by the UN-backed War Crimes Tribunal in Sierra Leone for his alleged crimes against humanity. He had consistently been accused of supporting the rebels Revolutionary United Front (RUF), group that is on record for committing unspeakable atrocities during the Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war.
The eight opposition political parties welcome with "cautions optimism," pronouncement by the Liberian leader to remove himself from the political process at the end of his tenure, but maintained that he must step aside to give way for the formation and ushering in of a credible and broad-based transitional government of national unity at a time to be decided by the ongoing Akosombo peace talks on Liberia.
Furthermore, the opposition parties have renewed calls for the establishment and immediate deployment of an international stabilization force in the country. The deployment of an international force, the group said is the most urgent and appropriate means required to ensure the cessation of hostilities and avert the crises from degenerating into a genocidal catastrophe.
In their statement, the group noted with grave consternation that the decision by the War Crimes Court to indict and issue an arrest warrant for a sitting president without putting in place an effective mechanism for the enforcement of such process is "counter-productive," because it is now being opportunistically exploited by the belligerents to unleash terror and mayhem on the already war-wearied people of Liberia.
This, the political parties said have culminated into a humanitarian catastrophe in the capital, Monrovia. They said the precarious circumstances engendered by this situation should compel the United Nations Security Council to move swiftly restore peace and security to Liberia.
The call for President Taylor to resign and give way to an interim arrangement is one of unanimity amongst the participants at the peace talks.
A group calling itself Exiled Liberian Student Leaders also holds the view that the Taylor Administration has outlived its usefulness and become an instrument of violation against the very Constitution it vowed to defend. Therefore, the students said he must unconditionally resign or be forced to do so by the international community in order to create what they called a "breathing space" for a perfect transitional period.
At the same time, the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) supports calls for the resignation of President Charles Taylor and the deployment of an international security force coupled with the formation of a transitional government.
ULAA said as far it is concerned, there is no government in Liberia now, because the insensitivity of the government to its people has rendered it ineffective. They named the lack of basic social services such as safe drinking water, electricity, good health facilities, etc in country as ways in which the Taylor is ineffective. ULAA's delegation at the Liberian peace conference is headed by Messrs Mohammed S. Kromah and Ranney Jackson, National President and Chairman of the Board respectively.