October 23, 2003
Well, one week into Mr. Bryant's two-year administration, he has made some questionable news that was not shocking to some of us who could see this coming. I am amazed at how the reasoning of some Liberians defies logic. I don't know how many Liberians read my September 26, 2003 article, titled "The Liberian Politicians and Civil Society Have Done It Again" in 'The Perspective'. In that article, I raised the question, which many others are raising now – the process by which Mr. Bryant was selected chairman of the Interim government over Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Rudolph Sherman. Is there anybody out there who believes for a minute that had the selection of chairman for the NTGL been free and fair, that Bryant would beat Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Rudolph Sherman? I don't know how anybody in his right mind expects Liberia to become democratic when we cannot even elect an interim chairman without cutting deals.
Mr. Bryant may think that he is home free, because a few criminals selected him to be chairman of the Interim Government of Liberia for two years; in return, to shield them from war crimes investigation. If the "Peace Agreement" Signed in Ghana 18th August 2003, means anything, I would like to refer you to PART EIGHT – POLITICAL ISSUES, ARTICLE XXV - THE EXECUTIVE, paragraph 2 of the agreement. That paragraph reads as follows: "Selection of the Transitional Chairman and Vice-Chairman shall be by consensus arising from a process of consultations undertaken by the accredited delegates and observers to the Peace Talks. The selection procedure is defined in Annex 2 to this Agreement.
Finally, look at PART FIVE – RELEASE OF PRISONERS AND ABDUCTEES, ARTICLE X111 - TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION, of the peace agreement. The four paragraphs of Article X111 read as follows:
1. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission shall be established to provide a forum that will address issues of impunity, as well as an opportunity for both the victims and perpetrators of human rights violations to share their experiences, in order to get a clear picture of the past to facilitate genuine healing and reconciliation.
2. In the spirit of national reconciliation, the Commission shall deal with the root causes of the crises in Liberia, including human rights violations.
3. This Commission shall, among other things, recommend measures to be taken for the rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations.
4. Membership of the Commission shall be drawn from a cross-section of Liberian society. The parties request that the International Community provide the necessary financial and technical support for the operations of the commission.
Friends, my reason for the above references is to show how quickly dictators are developed in Liberia. Before Mr. Bryant even took his seat as chairman of NTGL, he declared that he was not going to convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate war crimes. Immediately after he takes office, he says, "war crimes cases won't help Liberians". Can anybody imagine what this fellow will do if he can get away with ignoring the mandate of the peace agreement?