Ivory Coast Shows
Open Arms to Liberian Refugees
With the escalating war in Lofa County (in which the Liberian
government is claiming victory) and an insecure political and
economic environment, many Liberians have begun to seek refuge
in neighboring and faraway places. Recently, hundreds of newly
arrived Liberian refugees to the Ivory Coast have complained
seriously of security harassment by Charles Taylor ATU security
officers stationed in Grand Gedeh county.
With an estimated 22 million people already killed world-wide
from the deadly HIV/AIDS virus, many of them from Africa, the
continent seem to be racing against time to bring this "pandemic"
under reasonable control.
and the Realities of Undemocratic Governance
As the rest of the world races to achieve progress in economic
and social development through advancement in education, science,
technology and medicine, Africa is not only lagging behind, it
is shamefully and seriously digressing. And at the rate it is
doing so, the continent may soon race backwards beyond the starting
line. At one time in Africa's history, the evil vestiges of colonialism
and foreign domination seriously paralyzed it.
Plays With Taylor's "Pepperbush"
The confusing official admissions and denials about the arrest
of Milton Teahjay, one of Taylor's ardent apologists, few months
ago opened a window into the wacky reign of terror that characterizes
the decision-making process of the Taylor regime. After admitting
that Teahjay was being held for preliminary investigation by
security forces, a horde of government officials scrambled to
deceive the public by reversing previous statements.
Proposes "Clean Diamonds Act"
Just a few weeks ago, President George W. Bush issued
an Executive Order prohibiting the importation of all rough diamonds
from the Republic of Liberia into the United States. In the Executive
Order issued on May 22, 2001, President Bush noted, "The
Government of Liberia's complicity in the RUF's illicit trade
in diamonds and its other forms of support for the RUF are direct
challenges to United States foreign policy objectives in the
region as well as to the rule-based international order that
is crucial to the peace and prosperity of the United States."
Entry by Their West African Neighbors
About 180 Liberians, including 79 children and 63 women, are
stranded on a Swedish ship, MV Alnar, which departed Monrovia
on June 1st destined for Ghana. The ship had encountered mechanical
problems off the coast of Togo, and was running short of fuel
and food supplies with the condition of the passengers deteriorating.
It is reported also that the Togolese government has come to
the ship's rescue by re-supplying it with food and fuel, but
refused to let it dock or permit its passengers to disembark.
and the future of Liberia
However symbolic it may appear, the current regime of sanctions
imposed on the government of Mr. Charles Ghankay Taylor is an
important step in bringing some sanity in Liberia and the sub-region.
Far from a simple diplomatic nuisance, it signals an end to the
impunity that Mr. Taylor, through his many schemes and personality
changes, has enjoyed while committing the most heinous crimes
in modern Liberia. The actions taken by the UN, at the urging
of Britain and the United States must be applauded and strengthened.
Why UN Should Deny
Taylor Arms Waiver
That Liberian President Charles Taylor would now be asking the
UN Security Council to "temporarily lift an arms embargo"
so that his government can defend itself against armed groups
fighting in Lofa County is somewhat laughable but serious.
Voices of Dissent Getting
The Liberian Marketing Association (LMA) has had a long tradition
of civic participation, and has played an enviable role on the
Liberian political landscape. Comprising mostly of marketwomen
and men, but predominantly women, the organization has steadily
evolved into a potent voice for small or petty traders, advocating
for better marketing facilities and favorable lending practices
to improve their services. They have not only provided the food
and other needs, but have also helped sustain the Liberian economy
by their high savings capacity. Often exploited by Liberian leaders,
the LMA has occasionally been at loggerheads with the government.
Embassy in the Ivory Coast Reacts
On April 24, 2001, the Perspective published an article written
by J. Amos Wheagar, a correspondent to the magazine based in
Abidjan. Wheagar's article revealed, among other things, that
the official diplomatic residence of the Liberian Ambassador
in the Ivory Coast has been converted into the personal property
and private use by President Charles Taylor and his family.
Kromah's Meeting in Brussels
A few weeks ago, an article about a meeting between Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
and Alhaji Kromah appeared on the Liberia Orbit web site. It
was reported at the site that "Two leading Liberian opposition
leaders have been holding what has been described as 'critical'
talks about current and future events in their country. Alhaji
Kromah of the All Liberia Coalition Party [ALCOP] and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
of the Unity Party [UP] are reported to have met in an unnamed
European country to directly review the trend of events in Liberia
and what could be done to achieve genuine peace, cooperation
and justice in the war-torn country. An aide to one of the leaders
said they particularly discussed insecurity and economic hardship
in Liberia, as well as the now delicate peace process in neighboring
ATU Turns Taylor's Big
Guns on US Diplomat
Reports from Monrovia indicate that Liberian forces, the dreaded
Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU), shot a US diplomat on Sunday at a
check point near the residence of President Charles Taylor in
Monrovia. The wounded diplomat, identified as Sergeant James
Michael Newton, has been flown out of Liberia for treatment.
Ban on Liberia Fraught with Inaccuracies, Says GOL
The Government of Liberia (GOL) has expressed dismay and has
requested the UN to suspend the list of 130 Liberian government
officials and others involved in fueling the Sierra crisis, now
banned from travelling abroad under UN Security Council Resolution
1343 which took effect on May 7, 2001. The sanctions also include
an arms embargo and ban on diamond exports. The list which covers
an array of senior government ministers and their relatives,
Taylor and members of his "inner circle", was published
by the UN on June 4, 2001.
A Gimmick Or Reality?
President Taylor has multiplied his calls for peace in the last
few days. He wants to meet with Presidents Lansana Conteh of
Guinea and Kabbah of Sierra Leone to iron things out. He invites
the dissidents to send their delegates to Monrovia to discuss
"their problems." Knowing his track record, one would
be inclined to think that Taylor has been boxed in and he wants
a way out. In the seven years of war, this has happened on several
As much as Liberians would like to see Charles Taylor's regime
of "death and destruction" replaced with a sober and
credible government, they have yet to face up to the reality
of an apparent leadership vacuum facing the country.
MICAT Becoming a Bastion of Propaganda
Once the institution that provided information to the general
public and articulated government's policies to the international
community, the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and
Tourism (MICAT) has now been transformed into a bastion of propaganda
and misinformation. The functionaries of the ministry - the Ministers,
Deputy Ministers and Assistants - clearly acting under the orders
of President Charles Taylor, now seem compelled to distort ,
fabricate stories about what's happening in Liberia today. The
Ministry's other responsibilities - promoting Liberia's culture
and the tourist sector, have virtually been abandoned.
Happy" About UN Sanctions Against Liberia
Mr. Ralph Uweche, President Olusagon Obasanjo's Special Envoy
on Conflict Resolution, says Nigeria and ECOWAS are unhappy about
recently imposed UN sanctions against Liberia. Mr. Uweche was
responding to questions fielded in an interview by BBC a few
days ago - one month after sanctions have been imposed. The interview
sought to clarify Nigeria's position on the UN sanctions against
Liberia for its role in fueling the war in Sierra Leone.
to Taylor: From the Frying Pan into the Fire....
Liberia is now undergoing international sanctions, something
unprecedented in our modern history, at least not since the slavery
scandal in the 1923. Also unprecedented is the reality of the
state of affairs in our country. Not even at its worst, the Doe
regime submitted Liberians to so much violence, lies and humiliation.
Our country has turned into a fiefdom, by a man who seems to
live outside of the realms of reality. He wants power, all the
powers, but he also wants the money, the land, as if the country
was his personal slavefarm.
Fresh hell for Liberia as
small war looms larger (Sidney Morning Herald)
When Charles Taylor was elected Liberia's president in 1997 the
central plank of his campaign was crystal clear. The most powerful
warlord to emerge from the civil conflict, he bluntly informed
the public that if they did not vote for him he would again unleash
the fighters who had terrorised them for eight bloody years.
Spar Over Bong & Cape Mount
One of the frustrations in making any sense of the long-running
war in Lofa County between the dissident forces of the Liberians
United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the government
of Liberia is the lack of independent press verification of claims
and counterclaims that have been made by both sides.
UN Slams Door
on 130 Liberian Officials
Adding flesh to the sanctions regime imposed on Liberia about
a month ago, the UN Security Council (on Monday) issued a list
comprising of 130 persons who will be directly affected by the
travel ban imposed on Liberia. The list which could almost pass
for a "Who's Who" in the Liberia saga that has aided
and abetted in the instability of West African sub-region, comprises
of an array of civilian ministers & their spouses, military
personnel & their spouses, President Taylor & members
of his family, the president's "inner circle" &
dubious businessmen, core advisors, among others.
Government Officials Afftected By UN Sanctions
The UN Security Council has published the List of Liberian Government
officials "affected by the measures contained in paragraph
7 of Security Council resolution 1343 (2001)"
The US must
not disengage and leave Liberia in the hands of Taylor
When I read that Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Kenya
and told Kenyan Arap Moi point blank to that he should leave
the arena to a new generation of leaders, I felt some kind of
pride. Finally, an American was able to go to Africa and look
an African president-king in the eyes and tell him: "you
have passed your time. Fold up your mats and go." Without
worrying about being called "neo-colonialist or American
imperialist." Up to now, such words utterances were intolerable.
Away from the political acrobatics of the past, we now have some
direct talk. Some may call it "arrogance".
African Union: "By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them"
The recent announcement by Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General
of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) should bring joy to
Africans. Salim Ahmed Salim informed the world that African heads
of state abolished the OAU. According to the Secretary General,
the 38-year-old organization will be replaced by the newly-established
African Union. He explained that the goal of the union was to
unite the 53 African states "politically, socially and economically."
Salim optimistically predicted that the union "would have
a real impact on the ordinary African." This is why the
announcement sounds like good news.
and Taylor's "Presidential Pepperbush"
Many wonder why the French and Chinese opposed the imposition
of sanctions on Liberian timber. The obvious reason is that because
Chinese and French businessmen exploit the Liberian timber. We
tried to piece together people and names to follow the trail
of the timber, the circle of influence and decision makers in
Paris. There is no doubt that many peace loving French people
are appalled like everybody else by the criminal acts of the
Sierra Leone rebels and the unconditional support they receive
from their patron, President Charles Taylor.
of Powell's Africa Visit
Now that he has visited Africa in his official capacity as the
first black US secretary of state, there seems to be serious
doubt amongst many Africans as to whether Colin Powell really
came away from this trip understanding their dismal plight.
on the US Government to Freeze Liberia's Assets
The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA)
welcomes the Executive Order issued May 23, 2001 by U.S. President
George W. Bush, prohibiting the importation of all rough diamonds
into the United States from Liberia. The measure is in line with
United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on Liberia
for President Charles Taylor's reported involvement in diamond
and arms smuggling with rebels of the Revolutionary United Front
(RUF) in Sierra Leone.
The Next War...
President Taylor's warning to the Special Envoy of the United
Nations Secretary General, Oluyemi Adeniji, that the sub-region
could be inflamed if nothing is done about the conflict with
Guinea should not be taken lightly. Taylor is not just crying
wolf, he is a man with his back to the wall - or the sea in his
case - and desperate enough to do anything, using his army of
killers and child soldiers to start a new conflagration.