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2004: The Year in Review
As we finished the year 2003 and entered the year 2004, we did a customary inventory of the year past, and we looked forward to a new year with some apprehension and some trepidation. Being the naturally optimistic people we are, there was a great deal of optimism as well.

Liberia's Weakest Link To Recovery
(By George-Daweh Yuoh)
Today, when you speak with ordinary Liberians wherever they are, there is one common wish they all share, and that is "for the country to return to normal." For them, normalcy is anything but the seemingly perpetual fate of doldrums they find themselves confined to every day; anything but the extreme insensitivity of their current government and leaders; they will prefer and will cling to anything but the shameless thievery that has become the hallmark of governance in Liberia today. Liberians are not necessarily suggesting a pre Samuel Doe regime, nor the conditions that existed before and during the reign of the exiled tyrant.

Open letter To Dr. Al Hassan Conteh, President of the University of Liberia
(By Dorsla D. Farcarthy)
I would like to begin this letter by firstly congratulating Dr. Al Hassan Conteh on his preferment to serve as President of the University of Liberia amidst the difficult and strenuous conditions under which the University finds herself. Dr. Conteh is indeed no stranger to that institution and as a matter of fact he is aware of the appalling and degrading situation that continues to drag the University in the abyss.

Liberia & Ivory Coast: Two Different Paths to Peace
By Abdoulaye W. Dukule)
Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia are both emerging from civil war. Both countries are preparing to hold elections in less than a year. If everything goes according to plan, a democratic and transparent exercise in each country will usher in new government with a mandate from the majority of people. How long that new peace will last will depend largely on how the countries would have resolved the issues that either directly or indirectly led them into deadly conflict in the first place.

Helping Chairman Gyude Bryant With His New Year’s Resolution: Disclose Monthly Salaries and Allowances of Government Officials
(By William E. Allen)
Customarily during the first days of the New Year, people tend to make resolutions about turning over a new leaf, doing away with improper behavior. It is in light of this thinking, that a story I read while conducting my dissertation research a few years ago seems suddenly relevant. The article, entitled What People Earn and Eat in Liberia, was published in 1878 and included the annual salaries of a number of government officials. For instance, the annual salary of President Anthony W. Gardner was $2,500; the Secretary of State’s annual salary was $1,000, the Secretary of the Treasury’s $1,000, the Attorney-General’s $750, and the Postmaster-General’s $750 (The African Repository, Vol. LIV, January 1878, No.1, page 14). What rekindled this more-than-century-old story in my mind was the upsurge in the news about Liberian officials stealing public funds.

Liberia is at a Brink of Irreversible Environmental/Ecological Impotency
(By Syrulwa Somah)
Since the dawn of creation, there has always been interaction between human beings and the environment. This was in certain circumstances a one-way action (man effecting the environment) while in other cases it was an interaction (such as our parentage whose interaction with the earth’s “fullness” resulted in their working together to gather food for both man and domesticated animals to eat). Those cultures that respect nature (such as the pre-Liberian culture), treating her with understanding, have exacted only a small environmental impact.

Forum Dairy 2004 -Thinkers and Their Deeds (Forum)
The first year of the transitional period has passed along leaving behind the footprints of men and women whose line of thinking and philosophies formed parts of the capillaries of blessings that Liberia and its people have and continue to seek- the blessing of good governance, light and water, economic vibrancy and the overall social, political and cultural redemption for all and sundry.

Disappointing Redeemers 2004 -Bryant Leads,Wlue Follows (Forum)
The social, political and economic year 2004 has returned into the repository of history leaving behind men and women who performed in the cause of the state and people either positively or negatively.

NTGL Fails The People - Says Madam Sirleaf (Forum)
The Chairman of Governance Reform Commission (GRC), Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has been cataloguing factors that made the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) to have failed the people of Liberia in2004; writes Josiah S. Hallie.

LUSH Renovates School in Belefania (Forum)
In a bid to adequately improve the educational system in rural Liberia, the Liberians United to Serve Humanity (LUSH), in collaboration with its implementing partners, the UNHCR, has completed the renovation works at the Gorpue Dolo-Boi Elementary and Junior High School in Belefania, Bong County.

Will Monrovia Get Electricity For X-MAS?
(By Josephus Moses Gray)
As formal celebrations to mark Christmas 2004 get closer, the biggest question on the lips of the residents of Monrovia and its environs is, will Chairman C. Gyude Bryant, head of the two-year power-sharing government fulfill his promise to restore electricity to the streets of the capital before the Christmas?

Let's Prepare for Rain While The Sun Shines
(By George-Daweh Yuoh)
Every peace-loving Liberian has his fingers crossed, and is praying that the relative peace and tranquility we are enjoying today be the beginning of perpetual stability for Liberia in particular, and the West African sub-region as a whole. The unselfish and brave efforts of the leaders and citizens of West Africa, the immense support of the other members of the international community, and the unequaled fortitude of ordinary Liberians must continuously be lauded.

When And How Census Results Can Be Used In Elections
(Sonkarley Tiatun Beaie)
I am deeply concerned about the present political situation in Liberia, which has made census a necessary requirement before the 2005 elections. Perhaps, two things are happening concurrently; that is, while some might not just understand the application of census results to elections, others are bargaining time to remain in power or both. I am writing this letter to clarify when and how census results can be used in elections.

A Passion Of Paranoia
(By Francis K Zazay)
It is often said that experience is the best lesson to learn. This axiom is demonstrated in the pedagogical instructions in the classrooms, communities and nation building. Liberia should be no exception to this essence. The irony about the Liberian situation, however, is the appearance that it continues to exist, not on the basis of lessons learnt or on coordinated fundamental approach to effective management, but at the mercy of some form of mystical power.

It’s ‘Hell’ to Cash Gov’t Checks at CBL (Forum)
“Go! Go! Pa-pay go” was the popular song sang by Liberians at the time the civil war reached at the doorstep of the capital, Monrovia, in addition to the international community’s pressure on former President Charles Taylor to leave the country by then.

Kenneth Best Sends SOS for Liberian Media (Forum)
The suffering and dragging Liberian media may be hopeful of possible redemption from the shackle of media deficiency including printing monopoly and related elements, if call by one of Liberia’s renowned media practitioners, Kenneth Y. Best to the international community sympathetic to the plight of media is given positive action.

NASSCORP Gets Tough on Delinquent Entities Soon (Forum)
The National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), is to soon take stringent measures to deal with delinquent companies and businesses that fail to make remittance to the corporation as required by law.

Bong Citizens Want Mayor Walker Audited (Forum)
Citizens of Gbarnga, Bong County, are calling on the authorities of the county to immediately audit Gbarnga City Mayor, Esther Y. Walker.

The Hurdles Of State Power: Advice to George Oppong Weah
(By James Thomas-Queh)
Whenever I walk through the luxurious hallways of the Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport, I see this huge portrait of George Opong Weah by Asoune Bâ hanging there majestically to mark FIFA’s 100 Anniversary. And this has been my principal source of reference, hope, and national pride. Many a time I just want to shout and let everyone know that the portrait of that great star watching over them like Jesus Christ was my compatriot - a Liberian - and he made me proud to be a Liberian.

I Had a Dream
(By Theodore T. Hodge)
I recently had a dream and I was in the Republic of Fictionland, a country undergoing a strange and unusual transformation: The purge of the intellectual class. Although many members of the wealthy upper class were clearly not intellectual, the two classes had merged to form one: The ruling class. The two terms, “intellectual” and “wealthy” were used interchangeably. And the members of the underclass blamed them for all their problems.

Scary Voices In The Air: The Chorus Echoes Again In Liberia
(By James Torh )
As we mount preparations for another political season and the eyes of the world faced on our dear country, Liberia, for the 2005 presidential and legislative elections, and the decision of sports-brained George Weah to step in the political arena to contest the nation’s highest office, our brothers and sisters are drumming and dancing in the streets with a message “he know book or not, I will vote for him”. Sure, some couple of hundred of well-wishers showed up the other day when the soccer player arrived in Monrovia from Europe and indeed were darn honest to raise their song.

October Elections: A Pragmatic Approach
By Dionysius Sebwe)
I'm cautiously optimistic about the modified Electoral Reform Bill being passed by the National Transitional Legislative Assembly. The pressure from Liberians and the international community must remain unabated to ensure utter adherence to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement document.
Lawmakers Bowing to Diplomatic Pressure? Electoral Reform Bill Goes Thru’
(By Josephus Moses Gray)
Members of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) have finally passed the Electoral Reform Bill that meets international standard. The bill is aimed at the holding of free, fair and transparent elections come October 15, 2005. The passage of the Electoral Reform Bill comes in the wake of intense diplomatic pressure from representatives of foreign missions and regional bodies, as well as heads of United Nations Mission in Liberia and international organizations

Gyude Bryant’s Interim Government Spent US 8.6 Million Dollars Without Budgetary Approval
By Winsley S. Nanka)
The Gyude Bryant-led Transitional Interim Government of Liberia spent US 8.6 million dollars between February and June 2004 without budgetary approval by the Transitional National Assembly of Liberia. In addition, the amount spent was not allocated in the government of Liberia’s budget for the fiscal period. According to the report released by the United Nations Panel of Experts on Liberia dated December 6, 2004, the Ministry of Finance allowed excess expenditures of [US] 8.6 million dollars without supplementary budget prepared nor any approval by the Transitional National Assembly obtained”.

Finance Ministry
Liberia To Get New Finance Minister
Bowing to criticisms regarding accountability, transparency and management of government financial resources, Chairman Bryant is said to have started looking for a new minister of finance to replace embattled Losenee Kamara. According to credible sources in both Monrovia and the United States, the Chairman of the transitional government could make the announcement in a matter of days, as soon as the short list he is poring over is reduced to one name.

Charles Bennie Dropped on The Wayside (Forum)
This paper has received credible information that the Commissioner of Customs and Excise at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Charles Bennie has been suspended indefinitely. A source at the Ministry told The FORUM last evening that Commissioner Bennie was suspended yesterday for what was referred to as “unruly behavior.”

Firestone Workers, NASSCORP on Bad Footing (Forum)
Some concerned workers of the Firestone Rubber Plantations Company in Harbel, Margibi County, say, they intend to pressurize the management of the company to review, if not, withdraw its commitment to honor the insurance policy of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), as instituted by the government of Liberia.

Bad News For Liberia! (Forum)
It appears that the US520m dollars pledged at the New York Donor Conference early last year intended to lift Liberia and its people from the dungeon of poverty, hunger and other was related vices might not come as expected.

A Radio For Every Hut
(By Gbe Sneh)
This morning, December 11, 2004, it's like making the same early morning trip to the fish trap , but this time finding that you've caught the biggest fish yet! Christmas could not come so early to the Liberian people. What's all that excitement about? A radio for every hut! Maybe not quite that far, but talk about a step in the "righteous direction:", that's what this tiding is on this day! Fishing for news about Liberia, I finally caught a big one! Don't hold me down in my jubilation, I'll tell you why a little later. But first, there's some thanking to do.

Liberia suffers from dysfunctional economy, UN panel says (UN)
13 December 2004 – With more than half of the people of Liberia estimated to be living on less than 50 cents a day, a United Nations-appointed expert panel says the West African country is suffering from "widespread financial improprieties by government officials, extremely low economic growth, a high foreign and domestic debt burden" and about 80 per cent unemployment.

Is Liberia Tilted in the Right Direction?
(By Winsley S. Nanka)
Recently, many Liberian social and political commentators have expressed concerns about the multiplicity of candidates vying for the presidency of Liberia in 2005. Some of these commentators see the many presidential candidates as a recipe for a dysfunctional political system and an impediment to the creation of a stable democratic environment in Liberia.

Bush versus Kerry: Lessons Learnt for Liberia?
(By Theophilus Totee Bettie)
You would probably agree that anyone who closely followed the recent U.S. presidential election, especially those famous presidential debates, would confess that the intellectually superior candidate lost. Some of us are still pondering: how could fifty nine million Americans be so wrong?
LIBERIA: US says willing to cancel debt but warns more progress needed (IRIN)
The United States has said it wants to help war-ravaged Liberia wipe out billion of dollars of international debt and is prepared to cancel all monies owed to Washington, but more work needs to be done to improve how the West African country manages its finances.

MDCL Calls on the NTLA, Chairman Bryant to Immediately Cooperate with the Ambassador’s Pronouncements
(A Press Statement by the Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia)
[Houston, Texas, December 7, 2004] The National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTLG), it seems, has come to a moment of truth - complete and impartial compliance with the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), or a chase after its ambitions. Following a highly international and exhausting standoff in Ghana over the formation of a transitional government and a growing perception that the United States was playing a hands-off policy, or at best...

UN Security Council threatens to amend sanctions on Liberian timber and diamonds, undermining peace in the region
(A Press Statement Issued by Global Witness)
A briefing document released today by Global Witness (1) highlights the many links still remaining between Liberia's timber and diamond industries and regional instability, and concludes that lifting or otherwise weakening sanctions on Liberia will undermine peace and security in Liberia and neighbouring countries (2). 'Dangerous Liaisons: The ongoing relationship between Liberia's natural resource industries, arms trafficking and regional insecurity' details Liberia's lack of interior and border security and examines how lifting sanctions prematurely will result in an increase of armed ex-combatants,

As The Beatings Continue for Answers: Let's Hear From George Weah
(By Lawrence Hoff)
Over the months that have followed the discussion surrounding the George Weah presidential ambition, I have watched with enthusiastic interest as most of our contemporary writers draw their daggers to destroy while others sprint to save a son of the soil. In most of their deliberations, I have come to realize that we Liberians are separated on the basis of objectivity and selfishness.

Running A Successful Government - What Lies Beneath
(By George-Daweh Yuoh)
In his informative article, "African Leaders and World Bank Connived: $43 Billion Interest Paid for $5 Billion Loan", published by The Perspective on December 1, 2004, Mr. J. Yanqui Zaza suggested in his conclusion that the next president of Liberia should be someone who has worked with the World Bank or such organizations before; someone who has the knowledge and understanding of how very impoverished African countries are robbed of billions of US dollars.

More Disturbing Voices Are Arising
(By S. Jabaru Carlon)
Sometime earlier this year I wrote an article in The Perspective titled: "Some Disturbing Voices Are Arising", in which I attempted to warn our compatriots of the danger of publishing rather inflammatory write-ups that do not help heal the wounds that have been caused the Liberian people by warlords and their cronies and supporters. Since then, many more such voices have arisen; a few of which have caught my eye.

Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh Inaugurated as the Twelfth President
of the University of Liberia

(By Josephus Moses Gray)
The months of bickering and confusion over the appointment of Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, to become the twelfth President of the University of Liberia, finally came to an end on December 1st when he was inducted into office at an occasion, marked by peaceful and cordial atmosphere. The ceremonies took place at the University Capitol Hill main campus Convocation Pavilion.

Kofi Annan and the U.N.---What’s going on?
(By Alex Redd)
The United Nations has recently come under fire, especially from Americans, many of whom think it is irrelevant and corrupt. Efforts to reform the United Nations have been brought to the forefront by its backers. To rejuvenate this world body, critics as well as supporters of the United Nations have, at times, been divided.

Message of Condolences from Former Interim Chairman David Kpomakpor
The news of the sudden and tragic home-going of our friend and brother, Vice President Harry Fumba Moniba and other friends of his comes as a great sorrow to us all Liberians.

So Are The Eyes of Bryant? (Forum)
TIME AND AGAIN Transitional Head of State Charles Gyude Bryant and his administration have proven to be short-sighted and perhaps less concerned in dealing with the core of Liberia’s vices, corruption.

America Blows The Burgle! -Dictates the Passage Of Electoral Bill (Forum)
It appears that those who are daily-dallying or pussyfooting over the elections timetable for the holding of general and presidential elections come October 2005 may soon find themselves in the sanctions web.

In Bong County: Several Die in Accident (Forum)
An open-back Toyota pick-up, bearing license plate number 91-GP, which was traveling from Gbarnga to Gbatala in Bong County recently crashed into the bank of the road in Malekie Town, 10 kilometers from Gbarnga, killing the driver instantly along with three others on board the vehicle.

Police Begins Redeployment in Counties (Forum)
More than 230 police officers of the Liberian National Police have taken up assignment in various counties and regions of Liberia.

To Speaker George Dweh: "He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune"
(By Theodore T. Hodge)
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it suddenly does. Whoever coined that thought, must have had Liberia in mind. That state of being is so commonplace in Liberia, it might as well become our national motto. These last few weeks, we have been watching events unfold in Liberia. To the keen observer, it may not be an exaggeration to conclude that we are headed down a slippery slope. As I write, a bitter controversy is brewing in Liberia. If we are not careful, this potential controversy could explode and engulf the Liberian nation into another catastrophe.

It’s Time To Wake Up And Act On The Electoral Reform Bill
(By Gbe Sneh)
Is this what our fate will always be? Are Liberians always going to sit pat, do nothing, while a handful of the conscienceless engage in unconscionable ploys to keep us perpetually in the abyss? The United States, through its Ambassador, Mr. Blaney can issue all the threats it wants. The ECOWAS, through its Envoy, Mr. Chambas, can blast away, from here to Jericho, sounding a time-wasted warning regarding the upcoming elections.

US Ambassador John Blaney And Speaker George Dweh: The Hand that Feeds…

(By Abdoulaye W. Dukulé)
Liberian websites and news organs both in Liberia and the US all had one headline since Friday past: "US Ambassador Threatens…." I was copied at least 20 variations of articles of the pronouncements made by the US Ambassador to Liberia John Blaney during a press conference. He said that unless elections were held in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA, signed in Accra last year), the United States of America would withhold its support for the ongoing peace process.

We Demand The Right To Live In Peace
(By B. J. Samukai )
I come from a generation of the 1950s: Born in Monrovia, and played at the YMCA, went to school in Yekepa and admired the fortune of Mount Nimba, played Volley ball in Palala Bong County, was groomed on Bolahun Mission in Lofa County, where I shoke hands with the late President Tolbert, practiced advanced Taekwondo in Buchanan, and went camping in Todee.
Press Statement by US Ambassador John Blaney III
Forgive my being direct, but there are many places in the world that need US assistance. The US is here to help, but if a few small-minded, selfish Liberians are allowed to play endless games designed to keep Liberia from keeping its end of the bargain in the peace process, there is a very real possibility that our assistance will have to be redirected. The United States does not normally give generously to states that deny their citizens their timely right to vote and be properly represented.

George Weah
The Importance of Education and Experience - Does George Weah have what it takes?
(By Amin Modad )
In the past, we were inclined to choose our political leaders on the factors of fear that the war may continue or merely on the prospect that these individuals would use their acquired wealth to develop the country. Well my friends, that is not reality. It is not only ignorant to believe that an individual's financial capacity is the most important factor in determining his or her ability to lead a nation, it is a degenerative mentality we have to get rid of.

The Populist Appeal of Non-political Actors in Liberia
(By Emmanuel T. Dolo)
A variety of articles have been published dealing with George Oppong Weah's decision to become a candidate for the Liberian presidency in the pending October 2005 elections. The views expressed can be characterized broadly as for and against Weah's candidacy. Supporters have based their position on the view that Weah has demonstrated commitment to the livelihoods of the common Liberian citizens, especially during times of dire need. Supporters go on to say that Weah has personal wealth and thus he would not be susceptible to some of the poverty-induced factors that drive career politicians to become corrupt.

Weah's Bid for the Liberian Presidency:Prospects and Implications (Part II)
(By Dickson M. Togba, Jr.)
After speaking with a few friends I came up with the following as some of the key factors that could determine a candidate's success: the amount of money the candidate can raise, the candidate's level of education, the candidate's professional experience as a leader or manager, the candidate's popularity and reputation, the history and reputation of his political party/organization, the caliber and size of his organization's membership, the size and reputation of the candidate's natural or affiliated constituency (ethnic groups and associations), the quality of the candidate's message/programs, the intensity of the competition from other candidate

LIBERIA: United States threatens to cut aid if elections are delayed
MONROVIA, 3 Dec 2004 (IRIN) - The United States on Friday threatened to cut its aid for Liberia's post-war reconstruction if the country's transitional parliament delayed elections scheduled for October 2005 by insisting on a new census.
It seems like everybody sports a cellphone in Monrovia - even cellphones that have been disconnected due to subscribers' inability to buy scratchcards.
The Liberian Government Restricts GSM Mobile Companies to Four
(By Josephus Moses Gray)
The National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) headed, by businessman Charles Gyude Bryant has restricted GSM Mobile phone companies in Liberia to only four, indicating that the GSM licenses have allegedly been over used.

Open Letter to Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas
The following civil society organizations would like to welcome you to Monrovia and express our gratitude for taking up the time to intervene and assist the Liberian Government reach an agreement on the Electoral Reform Act.

Responding to "The Ways of Our Leaders"
(By: Theodore T. Hodge)
I come to respond to Mr. Writhers Nyenie-Wea, who recently wrote under the title, "The Ways of Our Leaders". It is my opinion that Mr. Nyenie-Wea's piece offers a confused and insensitive opinion regarding the life and times of Dr. Harry Moniba, who recently passed away in a tragic car accident on Thanksgiving Day.

African Leaders and World Bank Connived: $43 Billion Interest Paid for $5 Billion Loan
(By J. Yanqui Zaza)
The news report that the World Bank is siphoning billion of dollars from poor countries is alarming. It is disquieting politically and economically, especially for Liberia, because come 2005, voters might end up selecting a president who wishes to be or has been a business partner to the agents of the World Bank. Worst of all, it could be a person who does not have the required elementary knowledge and understanding of the complex thread of networking of multinational institutions that guarantees the continued economic exploitation of African countries.

Weah's Bid for the Liberian Presidency: Prospects and Implications
(By Dickson M. Togba, Jr. )
Anecdotal evidence suggests that, contrary to the initial impression that some may have developed from recent events, Mr. George Weah will find that the Liberian presidency is not available to be delivered to him on a silver platter. Yet he has some key strengths and opportunities in his favor that should not be discounted. Regarding the potential implications of his presidency (were he to ever get elected) for a sustainable future, the evidence supports the concerns of many that he is not adequately endowed with the qualities that are needed to meet the enormous challenges that Liberia faces after many years of war and destruction.