The LLC/LLF Formula For Peace in Liberia

(A Statement Issued by Liberian Leadership Conference/Liberian Leadership Forum)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 13, 2003

As information continues to filter in about the Liberian peace conference in Ghana, and the unfolding of events inside Liberia, it has become important and the LLC/LLF has determined to take on a more proactive role, relevant to the Liberian nation and people, and the unfolding realities generated by recent events. We have seen both the United Nations and the United States express concern about the current activities in Liberia. The events currently evolving in Liberia are reminiscent of the events that unfolded in Liberia in the early 90’s. To date, no one can accurately state how many Liberians, innocent Liberians, lost their lives and were displaced as a result of those events. What is known is that tens of thousand of Liberians, estimated to be as many as 250,000, lost their lives. The Liberian civil war was, by all accounts, amongst the bloodiest in Africa for an innocent people, second only to the events of Rwanda. Although given very little attention, it ranked amongst the world’s bloodiest also. Today again, as then, graphic photos depicting the death of innocent Liberians and new migration (or more appropriately displacement) of our people, tens of thousands of them, the world’s attention must be called to this new plight of the Liberian people so as to ensure that the errors of the past, made both by ourselves and the international community, and which largely contributed to the current state of events, are not repeated.

The LLC/LLF does not exist to promote any particular political aspirant; rather, it aims at promoting the creation of an environment wherein meaningful contributions to national reconstruction can be made. The LLC/LLF’s approach, therefore, does not adopt any specific political agenda designed to assist any individual achieve or promote his political goals; rather its objective is designed to be beneficial to the entire Liberian people. It is intended to call world’s attention to the present suffering of the Liberian people and to seek a more urgent intervention to bring the current events to an end and to provide for a more lasting and durable peaceful framework for Liberia.

Over the last several months, the LLC/LLF has sought to develop a platform for the promotion of democratic ideals through clearly defined, and clearly articulated goals and aspirations. Fundamentally, the LLC/LLF is committed to the possibility of a prosperous, just, and democratic future for Liberia and Liberians.

With the Akosombo Peace conference now underway, LLC/LLF is hopeful and encouraged about Liberia’s future. The LLC/LLF has carefully reflected on the direction which our nation must pursue in order to achieve lasting and sustainable democracy. If a new interim government is to be established, there must be a new premise upon which this interim authority is based. Experience has shown that the premise previously followed was an unworkable one. Arguable, previous interim authorities were established on the basis of awarding political leaders and aspirants for the “brave” stance which they took against anarchism and militarism before and after military rule. However, far reaching consideration may not have been given to the complex tasks of basic infrastructural re-development and social reconstruction. As a result, previous interim authorities never developed the premises for establishing meaningful democracy and social re-development for the people of Liberia.

As a necessary pre-cursor to establishing an interim governing authority in Liberia, the LLC/LLF strongly urges all parties to be reminded of elements of the LLC/LLF “5-point Program of Action for Peace.

1. Immediate Cessation of Hostilities

2. Introduction of a Stabilization/Peacekeeping Force

3. Sovereign National Conference on Sustainable Peace and Development

4. Support for Activities of the Special Court in Sierra Leone

5. Humanitarian aid for resettlement of Liberians in exile

The LLC/LLF would further remind the world of its previous Declaration which called for the creation of an International Contact Group, the expansion of sanctions against the government of Liberia and the LURD as a means of ensuring dialogue and ending the carnage, the effecting of War Crimes indictment against anyone found to be responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity, and the establishment of a Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, among other items.

Now that the sitting President of the Republic of Liberia has been indicted, the LLC/LLF believes it is time to actualize an interim governing authority. This new interim authority must not only be held to a strict standard of accountability, but must also be entirely devoid of politics of self-promotion at the expense of the cause of the Liberian population. To that end, the LLC/LLF is examining ways in which a new interim authority can remain accountable by public servants, individual citizens, and by the structures which are designed to ensure accountability.

The LLC/LLF first stresses the importance of implementing transitional processes that respect the essentiality of the Liberian constitution. Beyond this however, the LLC/LLF believes that an interim governing authority must begin to lay the groundwork for the development of a viable economic framework for the full participation of all the Liberian people, supported by legal and judicial reform, respect for human rights, equal access to justice, the development of institutions committed to combating corruption and ensuring a system of accountability, and the implementation of principles of equity and efficiency, including a policy of decentralization and national revenue sharing to facilitate developments throughout the country.

A further core responsibility of all Liberians and any interim governing authority that may be created, is the development of sustainable conditions for a new electoral framework that avoids the pitfalls of proportional representation and the like. This framework must advocate ways in which citizen preferences are truly represented, as defined in the constitution, by constituencies and by a population program determined by a true and accurate census. Additionally, an interim government must be comprised of one of competent technocrats and not solely politicians. The ultimate objective of an interim government staffed by competent technocrats should be the facilitating of the eventual political process. The LLC/LLF believes that a government of technocrats rather than political aspirants guarantees a higher likelihood for the establishment of institutions for good governance, greater competence, and a higher degree of accountability. In the final analysis, this will create an environment truly conducive to the democratic political process.

As it relates to leadership transition in Liberia and the creation of an interim governing body therefore, the LLC/LLF calls for a close and sober examination of the following

1. Matters surrounding the formation of a new interim government

a. Structure and format

b. Powers and duration

c. Functional achievable goals (disarmament and free and fair elections)

d. Restructuring of the security apparatus

2. Steps which must be taken to ensure that the process to elections is constitutional

a. Setting up of a constitutional commission

b. Conduct of preliminary hearings

c. Preparation of constitutional amendments

d. Holding of a referendum on proposed amendments

3. Reorganization of the electoral commission

a. Number and format of a new constitutional commission (appointment mechanism)

b. Powers, functions and duration of the commission

c. Conduct of census and demarcation of electoral constituencies

d. Preparation of a voters’ registration roll

4. Reorganization of the entire judicial framework.

5. Evolve a new economic framework (what should it be; how should it work)