Liberians Express Their Views on the Government Reconciliation Conference
September 9, 2002
Shortly before the despotic National Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by Charles Taylor officially opened its so-called National Reconciliation Conference near the panic stricken capital city of Monrovia, this newsmagazine, The Perspective, set out to solicit through a survey the views of Liberians in the Diaspora on the conference, amongst them, several key opposition figures. Since then, we have published those views for the benefit of our readers.
In keeping with our cherished editorial policy of providing space for every Liberian and as a follow-up to that survey, published below are few examples of comments from those who would want their voices to be heard, particularly, in regards to the on-going government-sponsored conference in Liberia. Enjoy the comments and let us know what YOU think!
The conference is a show and tell piece for Mr. Taylor. It will not achieve anything good for Liberia, except for Mr. Taylor and his boys. Everything to be discussed has already been discussed. My guess is that the decisions coming out of the conference were previously approved by Mr. Taylor. For example, the chiefs from various counties and leaders of several civic organizations have been told that at the close of the conference, they must honor Mr. Taylor as a "man of peace" and that they will "elect" him again in 2003. Additionally, a few paid so-called opposition leaders will make big speeches crowing Mr. Taylor as a good man, and demonizing the true opposition as the cause for Liberia's misery. Last but not least, a few misguided regional (west African region) leaders will praise Taylor as a visionary. And in the end, Taylor will say to rest of us good people, "see, I told you people that I killed their ma and their pa but I didn’t kill them so they still love me". Then the circle of abuse will start all over again. This time around, very vicious. This is my prediction for the Taylor conference.
I have no doubt in my mind that it is a very useless exercise hosting such a conference with Taylor as president.
I attended the 1998 "All Liberian Conference (2024)" and not a single resolution was implemented. What happened next was ethnic cleansing and witch-hunting by government.
Corruption, killings and arresting are the order of the day.
I will not attend mainly because the exercise is intended to give legitimacy to the Taylor regime. To achieve a real peace in Liberia, the effort should be a united front against the Taylor regime to have it leave power. Once the regime is gone, Liberians can begin to establish democracy and rebuild Liberia.
Sitting in a peace conference with the Taylor regime is like sitting in a peace conference with Kromah or Boley, These men and others are responsible for the sad state of Liberia today. Like Mr. Taylor and his government, they must not be given any forum in the community of civilized people.
James F. Kollie
I am afraid that our dear country, Liberia, may never see peace soon. There are too many political lords in our country and no one is willing to allow the other to it.
Mr. Taylor and his men have had a number of "reconciliation" conferences and nothing has happened to date lest to say the resolution from those conferences have been implemented. This one will, for every obvious reason, be no different. Another waste of resources (financial), time and a big show off.
But let us face the fact. Even if Taylor was serious, there are a number of us who believe that it should not be Taylor who will do anything worthy for Liberia. If a whole Bethesda conference can resolve to call the Monrovia conference a "Joke" then I can convince myself that not many Liberians, especially the "progressive" (old-school), want to see peace. You guys are fighting over something that is causing us the younger generation to suffer and unjustly so.
Liberia, we all know, has lost almost two generations. We will all have to work to save a third and subsequent generations.
The fantasy of Fahnbulleh; warlord-like attitude of A. Kromah; the stubbornness of Taylor, and manipulation by other powerful hands will not save us.
Can we for one moment forget ourselves and think of the suffering people of Liberia? Can we one day think that it is not Us vs. Taylor? Do we know that only our people will lose or win?
Does Liberia really deserve peace? My answer to this question is YES. What is your answer? Have you done anything towards this end? Stop the game and the proving of your power. All of you guys are strong and might but we need peace. This is time to show your strength.
Let us constructively engage one another for the betterment of our country. Our people deserve nothing less than peace. They (our people) don't want to know who is the strongest or smartest.
I feel that the conference is a waste of scarce resources and precious time. Just another forum intended to buy more time for Mr. Taylor, and to launch his bid for a second term as president over a helpless and wretched people. History reminds us that Mr. Taylor is no respecter of conference results, so what's the use? From 1990 to the present, if only Mr. Taylor had honored the result of the first, or second, or third, or fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or each subsequent conference that ensued, hopefully the thousands of Liberians who got killed as a result of Mr. Taylor's recalcitrance would be alive today. If nobody made sense to Mr. Taylor before he tasted power, I doubt anybody stands a chance to impress him now.
The proposed conference is devoid of good faith and diligence. I agree with most of the views expressed against attending the conference. Mr. Taylor's leadership has failed miserably and it's time for democratic change.
Samuel M. Sondah
The conference is not only intended to buy time and divert the attention of Liberians from the present hardships and abuses in Liberia; it shows that Mr. Taylor has no serious job to do in the wake of international isolation of his Government. So he is looking for company to alleviate his boredom and frustrations. The conference is an utopia and as such I expect nothing out of it. Besides what became of the resolutions from the last conference? Nothing! This one also will achieve nothing.
I found this conference to be a SMALL STEP forward.... Even we who DISLIKE, DISAGREE, LIKE and/or AGREE with Mr. Taylor.... I say, Mr. Taylor is not LIBERIA.... One day, he will be gone and we will still have to meet and face the VERY ISSUES on hand... so why not start now???
It's beyond me to see and hear what some of our SO CALL HIGH EDUCATED POLITICAL PERSONELS are telling us...their reason(s) for which they not been attending the conference..."MR. TAYLOR JUST WANT TO SHOW OFF"..." I HAVE NO NEED and MEANS TO ATTEND"....MY JOB SCHEDULE GOT ME LOCK DOWN"..." I WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPEN FIRST". To them I ask, WHEN WILL YOU HAVE THE TIME....ELECTION????..
The stage is now...others are there...some of these HIGH EDUCATED POLITCAL PERSONELS go in and out of Liberia with NO FEAR...but to at least STAND UP and face Mr. Taylor squarely in the eyes....THEY CHICKEN!!!...leaving the DIRTY WORKS for others to do...but will want to GET ALL GLORIES....shame, shame, shame. I mean now is THE TIME....PUT MR. TAYLOR ON HIS HEELS....the int'l press are there...WHAT MORE???....ALL ISSUES ARE ON THE TABLE even if Mr. Taylor does not want to talk about them...others will be talking about them!!!!
Liberians want to see THOSE THAT THEY CAN COUNT ON AT ALL TIMES....They all sit here and CRY FOULS...professing to be LEADERS...see them move from one congressman office to the other....preaching against AIDS to Liberia....WHY????. AIDS or NO AIDS, Mr. Taylor eats three or more times in a day....When will we go past this TAYLOR THANG and realize that LIBERIA is and will be LIBERIA FOR ALL and not Mr. Taylor????
I hope and pray...that at the end of the day...LURD yields to the WISHES of 99% of Liberians...and stop fighting A NO WIN WAR....STOP GIVING MR. TAYLOR EXCUSES FOR NOT DOING ANYTHING and wish Mr. Taylor governs in accordance with THE CONSTITUTION....more so, I pray that the LIBERIAN CONGRESS and the JUDICIARY do what THE CONSTITUTION dictates and SHARE ALL LOADS....instead leaving the EXECUTIVE run ALL SHOWS.
Mohammad Meimeh Keita
Taylor himself needs to reconcile his criminal acts, and he is buying time to avoid the world criminal court. This man (Taylor) should not be the one to call for reconciliation when he is the main actor. The best reconciliation now, is, for Taylor to step down, apologize to the Liberian people, stop playing game and turn his self in. He has no choice, he has failed the cause of change the Liberian wanted.
As for the conference, it will never achieve any good result. The 1998 conference did not work, what made him to think that he can fool us into another so-called conference.
Joseph K. Solo
My view is that there is no legitimate government in Liberia that has the moral authority to conduct a reconciliation conference. I was just reading the comments of some of the invited guests and I agree with one who said that Charles Taylor must reconcile himself with the Liberian people. There is no president in the history of our country who has caused so much miseries and sufferings to the Liberian people just for the despicable reason of seizing and maintaining political power. Corruption is part of the Liberian political culture. But Charles Taylor's misdeeds have surpass corruption. He is a gangster in the form of Colombian drug lords. It is a curse to our country that such an individual is consider a national leader. Will Liberians ever have a breathing space? And in my humble opinion the answer will be yes when and if Charles Taylor and his cronies and thugs are chased from that country.
My only positive view about the conference is that Liberians will again and continue to put Mr. Taylor to test, whether he is sincere to manage and uphold the trust they imposed in him at the poll in 1997. The conference has numerous benefits that will re-awaken the unity of the Liberian society. The Liberian people need to confront each other on issues that tend to reduce the image of our nation. The country image abroad has been reduced to a society that existed 2 B.C. ago. Liberians have been fooled since the existence of the land, being dragged down by poverty and cowardishness they acknowledged every "jesus" who come into play.
We must co-exist whether good or bad, we are Liberians and the poor suffer most in time of crisis. We must not allow the international community to abandon us again as during the height of cannibalism. We must sit and discuss so that civilized people the world over will treat or take us serious. Governance is God's will whoever governs should be let alone to exercise. Let Liberians not destroy their own and blame the international community tomorrow.
I am sorry that am not a politician and thanks to God I am not one who will continue to drag...