2004: The Year
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.
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.
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
& 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Bryant’s Interim Government Spent US 8.6 Million Dollars Without
(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”.
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.
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.”
Workers, NASSCORP on Bad Footing
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.
News For Liberia!
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
(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.
suffers from dysfunctional economy, UN panel says
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.
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.
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
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.
Calls on the NTLA, Chairman Bryant to Immediately Cooperate with the
(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...
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,
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.
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.
Disturbing Voices Are Arising
(By S. Jabaru Carlon
Sometime earlier this year I wrote an article in The Perspective
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Blows The Burgle! -Dictates the Passage Of Electoral Bill
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Bid for the Liberian Presidency:Prospects and Implications (Part II)
United States threatens to cut aid if elections are delayed
(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
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.
Government Restricts GSM Mobile Companies to Four
|It seems like everybody sports a cellphone
in Monrovia - even cellphones that have been disconnected due
to subscribers' inability to buy scratchcards.
(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
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
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.
Leaders and World Bank Connived: $43 Billion Interest Paid for $5 Billion
(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.
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.