OAU Secretary-General, Help Liberia or Keep Silence!

By Wollor Topor

The Perspective
Jan 20, 2001

Experience is one's best teacher. Liberia has had its share of experience! Throughout the years, Liberians have learned from past experiences. Some of these experiences occurred during the early days of the Liberian crisis when ECOMOG was using the "big sticks" and at the same time negotiating with Charles Taylor and his NPFL rebel group. At that time Dr. Amos C. Sawyer said ECOMOG's approach "will hurt the ordinary people". But at the end of it all, over 200,000 people died along with the wanton destruction of properties. The General at the time told Sawyer that the only "music Charles Taylor would listen and dance to is force".

Today, here we are far away from peace, only to have a gang of thieves plunging our natural wealth for their own benefits and even going beyond and destabilizing other peaceful neighbors. The Catholic Archbishop Michael Francis' prediction has come to light that these were"groups [or individuals] seeking to capture the opportunity for corruption and corralling the wealth of the country from another group". Charles Taylor's greed and quest for power has led Liberia into blaze of hatred among Liberians, the end product is Liberians have become individualistic, the sense of working not only for oneself and family but working for the entire Country is no more.

Therefore, Liberians should not listen to any "Godfather" but should work towards a common "interest". The interest hereto refer is national interest and not only the elite class who will agree to global pronouncements for their immediate benefits.

Now, let's come to Hon. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General of the OAU's comment; may I ask, What "positive contributions" Taylor has to make for West African peace initiative? Why wait until he kills us all and sell the remaining forest and diamond? I trust that indeed Liberians are not fools to listen to any rubbish that will be said by anyone, for some personal interest, when it comes to moving Taylor off our backs. Enough is enough; Liberians are wearing the shoes and therefore feeling the pains. Salim Ahmed Salim, if you cannot help us kindly leave us alone to take down our "load" with the help of friendly people and nations.

Perhaps, Salim Ahmed Salim has forgotten his role for which he was chosen as Secretary-General of the OAU. The OAU Charter, of which Salim should be guided by, can be summarized as follows: 1. Intensive cooperation to improve the welfare of the people of Africa, 2. Absolute dedication to the total emancipation of Africa, 3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of Member States, and 4. Respect for sovereign equality and integrity of all African States. Charles Taylor's present activities are not in line with any of the four counts. I personally feel that the Secretary-General should help the international community in pushing to bring Charles Taylor and his collaborators to justice, which would make his work easy and end his term of office with some significant glory.

Africa will never achieve economic improvement envisaged by the founding fathers of the OAU. Trade inside and outside of Africa and the growth of multinational development do not flourish under chaotic atmosphere; these are processes that need peaceful and stable society in order to go through the stages of its development. The present situation in the region engineered by the "Gaddafi Boys" should be brought to a complete halt if the region is to move on progressively.

I say to the Hon. Salim Ahmed Salim that the office of Liberian President carries with it great powers and responsibilities. One of the primary duties is to enforce law and order through legal means to ensure compliance thereof. Mr. Taylor does not have the clear vision, mission, goal and strong philosophy to improve the well being of Liberians.

On the other hand, due to some "unrecognized mechanism in the Liberian political system" he was elected. Taylor should not be allowed to get away with failing to keep his election promises. Up till now, Liberian "ordinary people" have suffered and continue to suffer under his dictatorship; no safe drinking water, no better shelter, people cannot get their nutritional requirements, no hospitals; education is an unquestionable resource for development, but Liberia with a population of 2.7 million people has an illiteracy rate of over 70 percent. In addition, Liberia is ranked 131 on the scale of 1-160 on the Human Development Index (HDI) UNDP (1992). Yet, President Charles Taylor does not see the need to develop that sector. What more suffering should Liberians go through with this so-called "positive contributions" of President Charles Taylor?

Liberia needs to take her rightful place in the international community and Taylor is not the person to take Liberia to those glorious heights. Taylor must be brought to justice. The International Community is fully aware that without peace in the West African region these countries will be unable to "level up" with the world economic prosperity. Despite that these conflicts are in faraway places, notwithstanding, they have a significant impact on western governments and the entire world.

President Charles Taylor must face the International community's Special Court to answer the many evil deeds he has committed against our nation and the entire West African region. Also, there is a need to set this precedence so that no other individual or group under the name of "democracy" and "elected government" will abuse our civil and human rights, mortgage our resources, and criminalize our "Glorious Land".