By: Gardea V. Woodson
Source: The Liberian Journal
|Dr. Joe Gbaba|
A Liberian playwright and exiled scholar is calling for the installation of an interim government in Liberia–after president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s tenure expires in 2011– in order to resolve the political impasse in implementing recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
President Sirleaf is among about 50 individuals recommended to be barred from politics in Liberia for 30 years–for being a financier of the war– and is largely blamed in some quarters for her failure to implement the TRC recommendations.
On the duties and responsibilities of the interim government, Dr. Gbaba said, will address the issues of establishing war crimes court to try Liberian warlords, form a “National Palava Hut Commission” to address lesser crimes such as rape, arson, torture and economic crimes.
Dr. Gbaba, speaking on Saturday, Oct. 30, at a symposium on the TRC process held at the New School University, in New York, also proposed that the “interim government” be mandated to repatriate stranded and neglected Liberians seeking safety around the world from the onslaught of Liberian warlords and their fighters.
He also said a comprehensive voter education be organized before the presidential and general elections are held, arguing that most Liberian refugees, including himself, have refused to voluntarily repatriate because they fear reprisals, and called on the international community to lend its support in ensuring that there is a safe political and secured environment in Liberia before the general elections.
Dr. Gbaba advised the international community against rushing Liberians to elections, because ”carnage number one” that resulted in the death of 300,000 Liberian citizens, including the five American nuns, has not been adequately addressed and resolved.
He is of the view that it is highly likely that ”carnage number two” may occur if those who committed “carnage number one” are not brought to justice, especially if Liberians are forced by the international community to hold elections in 2011 when national security matters are not first attended to.
Dr. Gbaba informed his audience that there is a hostile state of affairs in Liberia, which contradicts the cultural and historical heritage of all Liberians, due mainly to the fact that Liberians have been held hostage for more than 21 years by warlords, who have deliberately failed to express remorse for atrocities they have committed.
He said Liberian warlords have been awarded state power by complacent United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, European Union, and among others.
Because of this compliancy, Dr. Gbaba pointed out that Liberian warlords are “arrogant and are roaming the corridors of power with impunity and with complete disregard for the sanctity of human life and the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Gbaba is rejecting what he calls “quasi researches” by some foreign consultants at the symposium that say Liberians were in favor of amnesty.
Dr. Joe Gbaba said there were double standards in their research findings which are solely based on their desire to seek more funding from western institutions.
He said it is important that international consultants work along with local African experts to benefit the local population.
“I came to the United States of America to enjoy the fruits of democracy and the rule of law. It is this same seed of transparent justice and rule of law that the people of Liberia desire at this time because of the true meaning of Liberia is ‘land of the free’ and that its citizens are called Liberians–which means ‘free people’”, Dr. Gbaba noted