Open Letter to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Liberia

Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.
Liberian Playwright & Artist/Schola

Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.

Exiled Liberian Playwright & Poet-Laureate

September 17, 2010

Ms. Ellen Margaret Loj
UN Secretary General Special Representative to Liberia

Dear Ms. Ellen Margaret Loj:

I read your recent report to the UN Security Council on the current state of affairs in Liberia. While I thank you and your staff for the efforts you are exerting to maintain relative calm in Liberia, I am also greatly troubled by your diplomatic tactics to further delay a national conflict that has lasted more than two decades. For an example, I am disappointed by the deaf ears UN, AU, and ECOWAS peace negotiators like you are paying to the refusal of Liberian warlords to implement the various provisions of peace accords signed by them. Equally so, I am perturbed by the delay the UN has caused in the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report due to your biased approach to conflict resolution and the attainment of reconciliation in Liberia. As a consequence of the UN’s, AU’s and ECOWAS’ dubious roles in the Liberian peace process, perpetrators of violent crimes against Liberians and humanity were rewarded with big government jobs and the security of the victims of the Liberian civil war was once again thrust in the hands of their killers. Consequently, this decision sent a wrong signal across the globe that the security of the victims of war must be entrusted to those who massacre their people while law abiding Liberian citizens are held hostage by Liberian warlords. Thus mayhem and violence are being institutionalized in post-war Liberia through the belligerent actions of Liberian warlords and the complacence of UN, AU and ECOWAS negotiators. As a result, this is definitely delaying the conclusion of the final phases of the Liberian peace process.

In addition, I am greatly disappointed by your recent statement that the Liberian people should debate the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to show “Liberian ownership.” In my opinion, your statement regarding the issue of “ownership” is a diplomatic ploy to delay the Liberian peace process. The same applies to the recommendation that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her cohorts be barred from holing public office for 30 years. That is a mandate from the Liberian people through their representatives that were appointed on the Commission. Notwithstanding, Liberian warlords and the UN, AU, and ECOWAS continue to ignore the mandate of the Liberian people in support of perpetrators of war crimes in Liberia.

However, if you believe that the TRC Report is not “Liberian” enough, then there is a need for the Sirleaf Government to resign forthwith and to be replaced by an interim government of national unity so that Liberians may hold a national referendum to “debate the issue” and to decide the fate of Liberian terrorist warlords before free and fair elections are held in November of 2011. Other than this, allowing elections to go on next year when there is a hung verdict regarding war criminals in Liberia, and when Liberian war criminals are at the helm of national leadership and national security, then it is obvious that you are in support of Liberian warlords and the prolonged suffering of Liberians.

In fact, Liberians were not given the opportunity to “debate” whether or not Charles Taylor should be tried in The Hague. Instead, the UN, Great Britain, and the United States came and grabbed Charles Taylor by his balls and took him to The Netherlands to be tried not for crimes he committed in Liberia but for crimes he allegedly perpetrated in Sierra Leone. Of course you are aware of this but what have you done to propel the peace process forward in terms of the TRC recommendations? Nothing; and, after twenty long years, you are asking us to “debate” and you are approving an election schedule when there is a hung verdict regarding Liberian war criminals. Therefore, why is the UN asking for a “debate” on the recommendations of the TRC when it can act swiftly to end our twenty-one year nightmare as it did in capturing Charles Taylor to face trial at the War Crime Tribunal in The Hague?

Further, in your own statement you asked: “How do you balance the urgent need for maintaining the peace in Liberia and on the other hand, ensuring that impunity is not accepted? You balance that by ensuring that the recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have Liberian ownership…” My rebuttal to your statement is that the recommendations of the TRC already have “Liberian ownership” but the UN lacks the will power to execute the provisions of the peace accords signed by Liberian warlords themselves and to bring Liberian war criminals to justice because they are in cohort with Liberian warlords. Keeping them in power makes good business for the UN. No wonder why you are requesting an additional 500 million dollars to keep the UN in Liberia forever because your interest is not in ending the political impasse in Liberia; but rather, your abiding interest lies in making more money and extending the suffering of the Liberian people.

Ms. Loj, so far as most Liberians are concerned, the TRC Report represents the mandate of the Liberian people. Therefore, there is nothing else to debate but to implement it with help from the United Nations, African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States. In addition, the recommendations of the TRC have Liberian “ownership” in that the Commission was comprised of Liberians from all walks of life that represented various interest groups in the country and they were commissioned by the Government of Liberia prior to deliberating ways in which reconciliation and sustainable peace can be achieved in post-war Liberia.

Apart from that, did Europeans reward war criminals in Bosnia with positions of public trust or were war criminals indicted and tried at war crimes tribunal? Both Serbs and Croats were indicted and convicted of systematic war crimes, while Bosniaks were indicted and convicted of individual ones. Some high ranking political leaders of Serbs (Momcilo Krajisnik and Biljana Plavsic) as well as Croats (Dario Kordic) were convicted of war crimes, while some others are presently on trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (Radovan Karadzic and Jadranko Prlic). Therefore, why does it always have to be the reverse in Africa? Is it because the lives of Liberians or Africans are worthless as manifested by your lack of action to try Liberian war criminals? You must act swiftly and bring the situation under control in Liberia, or we will ask for your immediate replacement!

Thank you for reading my letter.

Sincerely yours,

Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.

Exiled Liberian Playwright & Poet-Laureate

Cc: Ban Ki Moon

UN Secretary General


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