A Position Statement by the Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia (MDCL)
Posted July 13, 2002
The Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia (MDCL) views with abhorrence the continued misuse of the state of emergency in Liberia as a means of cracking down on those whom the government views as its enemies, whether real or perceived. The abuses perpetrated under this condition include arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and summary executions. These abuses are inimical to peace and reconciliation, and further erode the confidence of the people in the government as a stabilizing force, as well as the government's ability to ensure the protection of life and property.
The roles of various agencies created by Acts of the Legislature to provide protection for the citizens of the republic are being subverted and instead used in suppression of the people. For example, the Liberian National Police Force, an agency whose responsibility it is to protect and serve the citizens of Liberia, as well as all who reside within its borders, have been turned into an instrument of repression against the very people it was created to serve. Law abiding citizens are being arrested, without probable cause, and incarcerated with criminals because they dared to question the functions and performance of the government. Special cases that demonstrate the uncontrollable nature of the police include, the arrest and torture of Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, a human rights lawyer; the arrest and dehumanizing of former Chief Justice Francis Johnson, current Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission; the continued detention of Mabutu Kromah; the illegal arrest and detention of Journalist Hassan Bility, and subsequently branding him a terrorist.
The intransigence of the government of President Charles Taylor, as well as its indifference to the suffering of the Liberian masses, continues to be a bane to true reconciliation, while at the same time serving as a major contributing factor to the erosion of civil society in our beloved Liberia. Mounds of evidence exist, corroborating the claims against this government’s indifference to the welfare of its people. The government insists on pursuing a pariah status amongst the nations of the world with sanctions imposed on it for its role in fomenting strife in neighboring states. The pride and dignity that once graced our land has all but disappeared, sacrificed on the altar of self-aggrandizement, and becoming victim of pursuit of a path less noble in nature, a path that is leading to the eventual demise of the state.
The Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia herewith again joins its voice to countless Liberians, NGOs, the United Nations, the United States Government, Amnesty International, Global Witness, as well as all civil and peace-loving people around the world calling on the government of Charles Taylor to reverse its course and pursue a path to peace and true reconciliation. No amount of pretenses at peace and reconciliation will remove Liberia from this path of destruction. No amount of “reconciliation” conferences, however elaborate, will reverse the decay, unless the head demonstrates his ability to match his words with his deeds. The president cannot preach peace and reconciliation, while pursuing war and other divisive tactics.
The problems facing Liberia come down to a matter of choice for the government. We are aware that there is no magic formula for rebuilding our country, and that peace is not a panacea for all of our problems, but we are of the strongest convictions that the path to true reconciliation and lasting peace is not achievable through the barrels of guns. The government needs to halt its war efforts, rein in the out-of-control police, “Anti-Terrorist Unit”, and other paramilitary units terrorizing the Liberian populace, and further demonstrate its true commitment to peace by prosecuting violators of human rights.
Until the world can see a clear and true commitment to these basic ideals, there will continue to be an unwillingness to take the government of Liberia seriously. The government must realize that in this global village, no country can go it alone, no matter how endowed. The government should heed the lessons of its mentor, Libya. Following ten years of sanctions for its alleged role in the bombing of PAN AM, it has decided that it can no longer exist alone, that Libya needs other countries if its economy must grow, hence its decision to acquiesce to the demands of the world.
Liberia needs a fresh start if we must recover from the years of decay. Since we all seem to agree that recovery and reconstruction is the only way forward, let us embark on a true path to achieve these objectives. The MDCL herewith confirms and affirms its commitment to pursue relentlessly, a path to true democracy in Liberia and in this same vein calls upon the government to do the same. Remember, the Bible said, “ Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
The Bible also said that, “ Where there is no vision the people perish, but he that keep the law is made happy”. It is time for the government of Charles Taylor to demonstrate its vision and commitment to Liberia and its people by doing what is right for Liberia. May Almighty God grant us His peace and save our country, Liberia.
Nohn R. Kidau
Nohn R. Kidau, Chair
One West Lake Street, Suite 402
Minneapolis, MN 55408.
Tel. (612) 822-2214, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org