It's Time Liberians Look Past President Taylor
By Winsley S. Nanka
January 14, 2002
The Liberian people including the international media and human rights organizations have written extensively about the ills of the Taylor administration since its inception in 1997. It is a known fact that His Excellency Charles McArthur Taylor is a major impediment to the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Liberia. It is also a known fact that given the set of circumstances in Liberia today-President Taylor and his cronies control the mass media, the resources, a security apparatus that owes loyalty to President Taylor rather than the state and an insurgency in Lofa County (led by people who themselves may be candidates for war crimes), Mr. Taylor will not allow a free and fair election in 2003. Therefore, the time has come for Liberians to take preemptive measures to remove President Taylor from office rather than wait for Mr. Taylor to conduct a 'show' election in 2003 which he will emerge a winner.
As it has been stated previously, Liberians have the 'moral obligation' to remove President Taylor from power to enable them to establish democracy in Liberia. There will be no democracy in Liberia until President Taylor is removed from office. In view of this, 'democratic minded' Liberians and Liberian politicians should not participate in the planned national reconciliation conference in Monrovia which is scheduled to be held in July 2002.
Liberian politicians should not make the same mistakes they made in 1985 and 1997 that handed the presidency on a silver platter to the dictatorships of Samuel Kanyon Doe and Charles G. Taylor. Their 'coexistence policy' with dictators has proven costly to Liberians over the years (see related article entitled: Liberian Politicians Have A Long History of Making Costly Mistakes (http://www.theperspective.org/costlymistakes.html). Liberian politicians are again dancing to the tone of Mr. Taylor by planning a reconciliation conference with him. Mr. Taylor is already setting the rules for this so-called reconciliation conference. According to the Allaboutliberia.com web site, Mr. Taylor said that Liberians that hold dual citizenship will not be invited to participate in the July reconciliation conference. Why should Mr. Taylor allow Liberians that hold dual citizenship to participate in his government but cannot decide the political future of Liberia?
Mr. Taylor is a con man. His goals for the so-called national reconciliation conference are two-folds: ( a) to create a false climate of reconciliation in Liberia as the result of this, his government would receive financial assistance from the international community, (b) to buy time until 2003 and then he will conduct a sham election that the winner will of course be His Excellency Charles G. Taylor. Are Liberian politicians thinking that Mr. Taylor will negotiate himself out of power? Do Liberians remember the Abuja Accord, the Yamasoko I & II and the Geneva Accord? In all the above cases, warlord Charles McArthur Taylor signed these agreements and later reneged on them.
Liberian politicians are in effect giving legitimacy to the illegitimate leadership of Charles G. Taylor by planning a reconciliation conference with him. The Taylor leadership has become illegitimate by virtue of its failure to protect the constitutional rights of the Liberian people, its failure to operate the three branches of government independently, its involvement in domestic and international terrorism and its kleptocratic tendencies.
Liberians in the Diaspora should act in conjunction with Liberians in Liberia and the international community to remove Taylor from power in 2002. Anyone who plans to meet with Taylor for a so-called reconciliation conference is in effect undermining the efforts by the 'Liberian democratic community' to establish democracy in Liberia.
Instead of a conference with President Taylor, I propose a conference of all Liberian organizations including political parties in the Diaspora and in Liberia on July 26, 2002. The proposed conference should be under the auspices of the Liberian Democratic Future, Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia and the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas amongst others, at a place to be determined. The objectives of the proposed conference will include the derecognition of President Charles McArthur Taylor as President of the Republic of Liberia and the formation of an Interim Executive Council that will serve as the legitimate representative of the Liberian people until elections are held in 2003. The other responsibilities of the Interim Executive Council will be, but not limited to the followings:
A. The Interim Executive Council will represent the interest of the Liberian people at all international forums and this council will work with world governments and international organizations to cut off all recognition and economic assistance to the Taylor regime. The Interim Executive Council will work to protect the interest of the Liberian people by advising all corporations engage in commercial activities in Liberia to cease operations. Those companies that fail to cease operations will not be permitted to do business in Liberia once democracy is established.
B. The Interim Executive Council will work with the civil society (student movement, religious community, labor unions, market men and women) in and out of Liberia to effect political change in Liberia.
C. The Interim Executive Council will work to establish a mass communication medium (radio station) outside of Liberia that will transmit into Liberia. The objective of a radio station is to inform the Liberian people about the countless violations of human rights by the Taylor Government. The radio station will also inform the Liberian masses about the high level of corruption by President Charles McArthur Taylor and his cronies, and the lack of the rule of law in Liberia among reasons why Taylor should be removed from office.
D. The Interim Executive Council will work to disarm all arm groups operating in Liberia including Liberian United for Democracy and Reconstruction once President Taylor is removed. These groups will be asked to participate in the democratic process by transforming themselves in political entities.
E. The Interim Executive body will work toward the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Liberia once Taylor is removed from office. The Interim Executive body will select an independent election commission that will conduct elections in Liberia in 2003. Members of the Interim Executive Council will not be allowed to compete in the 2003 elections to avoid conflict of interest.
It is now time for Liberians to act and remove the dictatorship of President Charles McArthur Taylor from office and establish democracy in Liberia. Liberians have failed themselves on numerous occasions, It is now time for Liberians to redeem themselves. If this generation of Liberians fails to act, history will not judge us kindly.