Catholic Bishop Wants Liberians to Stand Up For Principles

By: Patrick K. Wrokpoh

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted December 9, 2003

Catholic Archbishop Michael K. Francis has urged Liberians to cultivate the habit of taking the destiny of the country in their own hands. He said Liberians should stand up for principles and speak out against vices that could plunge the nation into chaos or to make it retrogress.

Bishop Francis was speaking on Friday when he addressed the closing ceremony of a five-day round-table conference of Post Conflict Rebuilding of Liberia - Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies for Peace, Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Rehabilitation.

The conference which brought together representatives of various pro-democracy and local NGOs, among others, was organized to come out with a plan of action on the successful implementation of the ongoing DDRR program. It took place at the Monrovia City Hall.

Addressing the participants among others, Bishop Francis who was also Chief Convener of the conference, urged Liberians to be a strong people who should at all times stand for principles.

He said Liberians should break the culture of silence and believe in what they say and stand by what they say, stressing the need for them to take the destiny of the country in their own hands.

He expressed the hope that the recommendations that came out of the conference, would be useful to make the DDRR program successful.

For their part, the participants called for sensitization and awareness campaign to be conducted in all the counties through a versatile platform.

Speaking when he read the recommendation for and on behalf of his fellow participants, Mr. Dee Maxwell S. Kemoyah, Sr. who is also Executive Director of Action for Greater Harvest (AGRHA), said civil society organizations and local NGOs including participating groups that attended the conference should be an integral part of the DDRR program.

They called for the establishment of a trust fund by the NTGL in collaboration with UNMIL for a complementary support to the DDRR program. They said such an allocation should be in the national budget of the country.
The participants also recommended that the culture values of Liberia be considered in the process while the full scale deployment of UNMIL should be effectuated throughout the country.

They also called for state building in the planning process of the DDRR program and that a post conference bureau should be established for the effective coordination and implementation of the conference’s recommendation.
The participants called for the implementation of all the DDRR programs by local NGOs in collaboration with international organizations while at the same time, they want the donor community, warring factions, the NTGL to demonstrate practical political goodwill in the implementation of the peace agreement and the DDRR program.

The participants said weapons collected should be destroyed and recycled for the production of agriculture tools.

They called for a policy for peace framework for peace and social reconciliation to be developed, and passed into law by the NTGL.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.