Written by Bernard Gbayee Goah When minds of hate, war, evil, and dirty politics ascends to power what do you expect? Some time ago, I read an article on the Liberian forum written by one Gayflor Kpehe in which he mentioned that “The continual fight against government is getting boring and senseless now”. I agree with the writer that it is about time to end the fight… but, what about the rights of the people? What’s wrong with fighting for the same rights the present President claimed to have fought for when other Presidents were in power? What about the rights she fought for that went so far taking away the lives of over 200, 000 innocent Liberians, mostly the civilian populace comprising of dominantly women and children? I agree with the writer that it is about time to stop this nonsense! My biggest question is, how do we as a people go about doing this? And from where does the writer suggest we start? I am a Student member of the World Affairs council of Oregon. During one of WAC forum here in Portland Oregon USA, the President of my country (Liberia) was invited to speak. She was asked by someone in the audience about how she felt as a president working with people who might have had hand in her imprisonment during the late President Doe regime. This was her answer: “It is a very hard question… I just have to swallow the bitter pills to work with those I do not like. However, I am aware of their presence”. I understand that I should not be thinking for my honorable President, I however thought she would have said something like: If there were enemies in the past, I am willing to reconcile with them and work with them to move the country forward. Working with people does not mean you are willing to reconcile with them. And that is not a way forward at all. A President must be willing to reconcile with her people. What most of the audience got out of her answer was that she has enemies in Liberia and that she was watching them closely. In this case, people she does not like. The audience understood that my honorable President was not willing to put the past behind. I agree that we as a people, must put the past behind as the writer suggested in his article I mentioned above, but it also has to start from the top people. For example, the President of Liberia must play the role of a twin mother. A mother with two babies will always lie down on her back whenever she is sleeping, in this way, the two babies will have chance to suck from the mother’s breast. When the mother decides to lie down on one side all of the time, then one of the babies is deprived from sucking. I agree with another writer on this forum who mentioned that the position of the president is like a town hall. Those who have not entered it think there is huge amount of milk and honey in it.
In my view, that is why it is always good to find out before hand what are the resources available to work with in the town hall, what are the circumstances that surrounds those resources, and what are the possible drawbacks that might have caused problems for past town chiefs before you attempt to support any aggression if necessary against the town chief.
The present President of Liberia supported aggressions against the Liberian people in the past. Such aggressions were not the best solutions to solving the problems of Liberia at all. We all know it but we hate to say it.At least if the present President of Liberia understands circumstances surrounding the inside of the town hall as one writer described the position of the president, and how difficult it was for past leaders, in the interest of peace She would have be willing to take a total different route in bringing peace to the people of Liberia other than the route she is taking right now that resembles those that came before her and the once she suggested and supported in the past. The Late President Samuel K. Doe of Liberia understood just little from a lay man point of view about the position of a president before he took over. He later realized that such a position was not a bread butter position. President Ellen JohnsonSirleaf, and Former President Charles Macarthur Gankay Taylor and many others wanted Doe’s removal at all cost, in any form, and by any means, even though President Doe promised the Liberian people and the International community that he would step down once his term of office was over. Which meant over 200,000 innocent Liberian women and children would not have died. The only song Ellen and her followers could understand was the sound of the AK-47, which they continued to play up to the death of President Doe. After the death of Doe, other transitional leaders of Liberia got to also realize that it is not about becoming president of Liberia that matters. What matters is how well can a President unite the people of a country, and foremost who the President’s advisors are, what their interests are, and their mind set about government and peace building?
Once the above mentioned are handled, then the time to explore other necessary avenues to move the country forward comes in the picture. Every president must have good advisors. Presidents before President Tubman, President Tolbert, President Doe, and President Taylor, all fell victims to bad advisors and they all got in big troubles.As a President of a country especially so, a country coming out of 15 years of civil madness, you must be very careful about those you appoint to serve as your advisors. If your advisors are all cowboys, the entire country will soon become a complete cowboy camp, and pretty soon you might be oblige to run for your life. On the other hand, if your advisors are informed, peace loving, and at least God fearing people, all you have to do is listen to them and you don’t have to run at all. As I see the entire Liberian government right now, it is like old wine in new bottles. The same old people who supported that Ak-47 are the ones that are sitting around the President. Perhaps the President by now understands that it is not necessary to use the Ak-47 techniques any more. What about the followers of the President? Do they also understand what the president might have realized? Perhaps not at all!
It is about time to unite the people of Liberia. I do not think President Ellen JohnsonSirleaf’s followers understand that at all. There will have to be a paradigm shift and a complete mind set change in government.We are all aware that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf once upon a time provided huge sum of money to support the NPFL arm struggle in Liberia that took away the lives of innocent Liberians. Once she has realized that there is a need for a “U turn” in mind set, she has the obligation to clarify to her many supporter that there is a need to put the past behind and show them a new direction. Gone are the days when the Liberian people blindly supported the technique of the AK-47. My fear is that the same old story might possibly be repeated in Liberia if those who started the machines of hate, war, and dirty politics do not realize that it is about time to tell their many operators how to stop such machines, and that such machines are out dated and are no longer required in Liberia. Bernard Gbayee Goah