Civil Society In Liberia Blasts Warring Parties
Posted December 23, 2003
The Coordinating Council of the segmental groupings of Civil Society Organizations in Liberia says the "Memorandum of Understanding" between the former Government of Liberia (GOL), the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), Political Parties and Civil Society Organizations on the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on Liberia does not provide convincing clarification for peace in Liberia, and must be abandoned.
At a regular session, the Council expressed disagreement with several articles of the document, with specific reference to Article 4(m), which recommends the nomination of a minimum of 150 individuals from each of the warring parties to form a part of the Liberia National Police Force, in sharp contradiction to Article VIII of the Comprehensive Accra Agreement of August 18, 2003. The Council therefore sees this move as an attempt to derail the fragile peace process and intelligently overthrow the Liberia National Transitional Government in a political coup d’etat. The Council observed that it would be dangerous to venture to re-admit fighters who have not gone through the UN disarmament and rehabilitation program into the national security structures, when the obvious intent of these warring parties to gain power.
The Civil Society Council further observed that the actual context of the "Memorandum of Understanding" on the Accra Accord would have helped the peace process for Liberia had it addressed issues that were not covered in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, such as the Central Bank of Liberia, Assistant Ministerial positions, the University of Liberia, amongst others.
In a sober conjecture, the Council says it will mobilize a mass protest against any action(s) by the signatories to the "Memorandum of Understanding" if they attempt to impose these articles upon the war-weary people of Liberia. The Council also expressed serious regrets over the actions of some Law Makers who should be representing the interest of the Civil Society.
In conclusion, the Council says it would be in the best interest of all those representing the Civil Society to consult their constituencies before engaging in such crucial negotiations on the peace process, or risk a vote of no confidence from the Civil Society Organizations.
The Council warned that the whole idea of a "Memorandum of Understanding" done by a Monrovia based group is illegal and unacceptable as it contravenes Article XXXVI of the Comprehensive Accra Accord captioned "Settlement of Disputes", which states "Any dispute within the NTGL, arising out of the application or interpretation of the provisions of this Agreement shall be settled through a process of mediation to be organized by ECOWAS in collaboration with the UN, the AU, and ICGL.