The People's Interest Versus Political Agenda: An Avenue for Continued War

By Dehpue Y. Zuo

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 7, 2003

Recent news from Liberia confirmed that LURD rebels are on offensive move on Taylor government's position at all fronts. This in itself jeopardizes innocent lives in our motherland, Liberia. For the past four years Taylor and the LURD rebels have been on seesaw battles in Lofa, Bomi, Cape Mount and Bong Counties, and now hitting Nimba County, which is said to be the stronghold of Mr. Taylor. Specifically, the fighting is now reported in Ganta, the fastest growing and commercial city in Nimba County. I don't know the objective of their attack in Ganta but one thing remains clear is Taylor's attachment to Nimbaians in launching the rebel war and his conceited political agenda render the County vulnerable. Most of his despotic operatives are from Nimba, which has made innocent citizens of the County to appear pugnacious. Armed groups and most opposition politicians see Nimba as a serious block, which needs force to move before the fall of Mr. Taylor. This situation endangers not only the present residents of the County but those abroad and the future generations.

Many questions come to mind when this issue arises: In whose interest this eminent danger behooves Nimba? Are Nimbaians defending Taylor or their own interests? If so, who needs power that this great land dooms to be destroyed? These and many critical questions linger the minds of young people who sees the Liberian crisis as national and not regional. In the 1980s, Nimbaians got into trouble with President Doe because of Thomas Quiwonkpa's attempts to gain power by overthrowing Doe, which resulted into the 'Nimba Raid' and the 1985's failed coup on President Doe. These two major crises endangered the lives of Nimba citizens but that was not eminent until the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) attacked through the County in 1989. Many key Nimba citizens like Moses Duopu, Emmet Glee-Johnson and Yeigbeh Degboon were part of this plan and directly and indirectly participated in the execution of the war. They said their interest was to see the end of Doe's repression against the people of Nimba and for Liberians to decide their destiny thereafter - which was totally embraced by Liberians. This gave Mr. Taylor 90 days to have reached Monrovia.

Paradoxically, this message, which pervaded and won Nimbaians and the Liberians into the war headed by Charles Taylor, then, the savior, saw the executions of its forerunners listed supra. That did not stop with the war planners but spread onto prominent citizens and politicians like Jackson Doe, Steven Daniels, David Toweh, etc. and the execution continue. Taylor's partners Samuel Dokie, Enoch Dogolea and other young loyalists like Cacious Jacob, Ojuku Larry became historical page in a chapter. This political freedom sought by Nimbaians has emasculated the County and the crisis continues while Mr. Taylor entrenches himself in power and enriches himself at the detriment of these poor people. Little did the people know that this messiah was the Judas and now that it is clear, they are still waiting for Messiah. Any little rooster that crows in the County now becomes another feast the next day. Young talented Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe saved by the mercy of God is yet to live and tell the story to coming generations. What then becomes the interest in this struggle? Is it Taylor's power or Nimba freedom, from repression to depression?

Prince Johnson saw the danger ahead and gave caveat but misconstrued by his fellow fighters. That move was to protect Nimba from quagmire and the present human suffering. Since this struggle in the 80s, led by Nimba stakeholders, has smoked up to their roof, it is time that citizens of that land redirect their thinking and actions into meaningful ventures.

The fight now should be in defense of their land and thereafter, pursue political agenda that will restore hope for the children to come. Again, Ganta being one of the major and strategic cities in Nimba and in post-war Liberia needs protection for its citizens. It should not be destroyed by another war, which targets President Taylor and the Seat at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia. That does not mean Ganta is more important than those counties that war are being fought but the understanding that Mr. Taylor's interest is not Nimba interest to let the fighters know the intricacy of the war without a goal is important.

For me, the current fighting encroaching on every part of Liberia is merely personal political interest of President Taylor and those individuals that are fighting. The vision of the Thomas Quiwonkpa was not to see bloodbath and continuous death of innocent people. If he were of such vision, Doe won't have survived his attempts. The war can be prevented if the people enforce the traditional non-aggression treaty between Manos in Guinea and Liberia on one hand and the Cesstos River Park between Nimba and Grand Gedeh on the other. The insecurity of the Mandingos resulting to war can also be resolved on reconciliation table and not at the battlefronts. The people of Nimba and the Mandingos can live in peace excluding individual like Kromah's political agenda. Though this approach may dislodge political agendas of Mr. Taylor, the LURD and other individuals, it will save the land from chaos and reconcile the people. Rebel life in any form does not signify good behaviors that people will continually resort to rebellion.

My admonishment to fellow Nimbaians is to pursue education as the way out to protect personal and national interests. Thomas Jefferson once said, "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day." It is about time that our people must know what went wrong, what is going wrong and where will it go wrong.