Violent Tragedy May Befall Liberia If..….
Aloysius Toe Accuses Int’l Press, Western Diplomats Of Blowing Fake Trumpet
Questions Ellen’s Sincerity In Leadership
While most Liberians regard the 2011 general and presidential elections as crucial to the nation’s continuous stability and progress, a Liberian human rights activist is warning of an impending danger for Liberia, if national reconciliation and unification are not prioritized by the current administration. As Samuka V. Konneh of Our Staff Reports, the rights activist, Aloysius Toe, raised several issues in his speech at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, USA.Respected human rights activist, J. Aloysius Toe, of the Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy, has warned against confusing the silence of the guns with the true consolidation of peace. He described such confusion as distorted notion of peace that does not represent true realities.
Cllr. Toe, over the weekend, told a forum organized by the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, USA, that current realities in Liberia suggest that the country is sitting on a time bomb of social unrest, and may soon explode with volcanic fury, “if the current regime of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf continues on its current path of divisive and vindictive politics, impunity, exclusion and marginalization, massive corruption, systematic distribution of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.”
Though the human rights man admitted that peace had improved since the last 7 years, he said it is everyone’s guess that a violent tragedy might certainly befall Liberia tomorrow were UNMIL to depart Liberia today.
With massive international support, Toe believes President Sirleaf is in a better position to reform and transform Liberia for the better; build and leave behind a legacy of strong, transparent and democratically reformed institutions that will promote democratic culture in the country. He said such reform and transformation will make it practically difficult for any future leader of Liberia to break or ignore those systems so as to regress to bad governance.
Unfortunately, Toe said the “president is busy and pre-occupied with building financial empire for cliques and inner-circle members while her leadership style is a borrowed collection of Tubman’s imperial presidency, Tolbert’s personal and family enrichment games and cronyism, Doe’s exclusionary and vindictive politics and Taylor’s legitimized corruption and pillage.”
Speaking on the theme: “Liberia: Elections, Justice, Corruption and the Role of the International Community,” Mr. Toe said there is enough evidence to prove that the fragile peace being enjoyed in the country today is because of the presence of UNMIL and not because of the “goodness” of the domestic policies and reform agenda of the Sirleaf’s administration, as is being promoted in the international press and by western diplomats.
“No, the reality is different in Liberia! Go to Liberia and see the reality for yourself. Don’t ask former rights activists in the government and former student activists at the finance ministry – for they will all tell you it is all well – “we are making progress”. But go and ask the petty traders in the streets of Monrovia; go and ask the women, youths and elders in urban poor communities in West Point, Logan Town, Duala, New Kru Town, Oldroad, Paynesville, Gardnersville…..” he told the gathering.
Meanwhile, FOHRD boss has lambasted that though the Liberian economy is experiencing exponential growth, living standards experience exponential decay each day and social service delivery is limited or in many places, non-existent. Mr. Toe said such economy can only be described as dead growth.
On the pending elections, Aloysius Toe reminded the National Endowment for Democracy forum in Washington DC that civil society actors, as well as independent and party candidates have criticized the NEC for conducting voters’ registration without first demarcating electoral constituencies.
“The ‘irregularity’ has the potential to disenfranchise voters and candidates in cases where subsequent constituency demarcation may put them in areas where they did not register. The Constitution and Elections law mandate the NEC to demarcate constituencies after population census, but this was stalled by marathon bickering over a threshold bill.”
In his speech to the forum, Toe commended the international community for being a committed partner of Liberia but says its silence on corruption, justice and impunity in Liberia is harmful than helpful.
Unlike America, the human rights man hinted that the European partners of Liberia are clear and unequivocal on corruption in Liberia, whereas the US is in a flux of diplomatic ambivalence on corruption in Liberia. He implored the United States to play a leadership role in calling on the Liberian administration to address justice and impunity within the framework of the TRC report. “A sincerely demonstrated effort at fighting corruption should be the basis of cooperation with the Sirleaf’s government. These are not issues you can leave with Liberians alone to decide.”
Though he didn’t accuse the US bluntly of “protecting and tacitly shielding President Sirleaf from being held accountable for her participation in the destruction of Liberia,” he said doing so is unacceptable. He alluded that if Ellen, whom he continuously referred to in his speech as a ‘product of the international system’ were not named in the TRC report, the United States would have pressured the Liberian government to act on the Commission’s recommendation.
“I am sure if Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were not named in the TRC report by now, the United States, with pressure from international human rights advocacy organizations, would have strongly urged the Liberian government to implement the TRC report. But ‘too bad’ that Ellen is named in the report. But again, many Liberians would not have taken the TRC report seriously if Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were not mentioned. The world must act to demand justice in Liberia, an end to impunity and minimize corruption.”