Tuesday December 13, 2005
By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu
No true lover of the nation of Liberia will like to hear about the developments in Monrovia last weekend when disturbances broke out in the capital after losing Presidential candidate , George Oppong Weah, declared himself President and made his supporters run amok in the city. Though the situation has been contained by the UN PeaceKeeping Force and the Liberian Police, the incident is a dangerous beginning to another chaotic era in the life of the war-destroyed nation.
When one considers that past Liberian instability and chaos had occured after losing candidates in Presidential Elections had cried “Foul , “one sees where this latest problem could lead Liberia if it was not nipped in the bud. Complaints over the 1985 General Elections by the losers gave birth to the General Thomas Quiwonkpa ‘invasion on November 12, 1985 and the ultimate formation of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebel group headed by Charles Taylor. This NPFL launched the first round of the civil war in Liberia from 1989-1995.
The 1998 Elections which was won by Charles Taylor but disputed by his rivals led to the rise of Sekou Diamante Konneh and the Liberians Unied for Democracy ( LURD) rebel group which launched the second round of the civil war that only ended when West African nations and the UN intervened in 2003.
Now , the jinx is stalking Liberia again. When you consider that George Oppong Weah came back and stirred up chaos after just holding discussions with some important African leaders , you see the seriousness of the present situation, courtesy of Weah’s humonguous intransigence and determination to go down to the wire with his rivals in this present stalemate. It is unbelievable how soon choleric situations go out of hand if not checked. But should Weah become Liberia’s next rebel leader ?
The answer is a BIG “NO ! ! !”. No patriotic Liberian or progressive and God-fearing outsider will support anyone who tries to bring instability back to Liberia. The country has gone through devastating tragedy since the April 12, 1980 military coup staged by the late Master-Sergeant Samuel K.Doe. A country with a wonderful ability to be one of the prides of Africa has never had the opportunity to realize its potentials, all because of these insidious power struggles.
An economically strong and viable Liberia is a blessing to her West African neighbours and the world at large. During her peaceful era, Liberia played a leading role in the socio-economic and political renaissance of West Africa .She had one of the strongest and most stable economies and she contributed immensely in strengthening other economies around her. This is the kind of country that every patriotic Liberian should love to see. But this cannot happen when all that happens in the country is chaos, with its attendant calamitious loss of lives and destruction of infrastructure. Should not Oppong Weah crave for a better Liberia ?
Liberia, like Sierra Leone, is a country blessed with remarkable natural and human resources, which if well harnessed , will make the nation a model of economic power in Africa . Liberia has abundant diamonds, gold and Iron ore, rich forests and marine resources which could put her heads and shoulders above other nations in socio-economic and political development. With the kind of natural and human resources God has blessed Liberia with, there is no reason for any of her citizens to live in abject poverty. The people of Liberia deserve a right to start enjoying peace and the abundant riches that God has provided their country. But Liberians can never enjoy what God has showered them with in an atmosphere of chaos.
George Oppong Weah and supporters should consider the lot of the ordinary Liberian on the street. The poor, uninvolved citizens have borne the brunt of the pain and suffering of all the power struggles that have riven the country .They suffered untold economic and social deprivations under the Doe and Taylor oligarchies. The war destroyed them. Nearly half-a-million of them were butchered by rebel forces . Those who survived lost their loved ones-children, fathers, mothers, aunts, friends, workmates, neighbours and the like. But for the resilient nature of the people, they should have been still reeling from the devastating trauma of these losses. Thousands were uprooted and are still suffering in refugee camps in other countries. The plight of the internally-displaced citizens is no better. They are living hell on earth due to parlous living conditions and poverty. Isn’t it time to give them respite ?
I believe that the elections were not entirely free and fair. No elections in Africa are ever free and fair. But in the interest of the Liberian people and the state, George Oppong Weah should accept the results and Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s offer of a ministerial position to help her rebuild Liberia . It is not a difficult pill to swallow . But patriotism requires sacrifices .
War and power struggles have never benefited Liberians . Another outbreak of war will therefore benefit no Liberian.
I therefore pray that God will enter the hearts of George Oppong Weah, supporters and all those planning to stir up confusion once more in Liberia to get them to accept the results and join Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf to build a new Liberia. We do not want any more wars in Liberia. Now is the time to rebuild and rehabilitate this great nation.