The Voice of Liberia

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                           Press Releases 

The Coalition for Justice in Liberia raises public awareness about victims of the Liberian civil war

The Coalition for Justice in Liberia (CJL), a U.S.-Liberia based human rights advocacy organization, in collaboration with international human rights organizations will hold a series of conferences and training during the months of March and April, to highlight the state of human rights in Liberia. Under the theme “The State of Human Rights and Justice for War Victims in Liberia”, the conference aims to raise public awareness about the overall state of human rights in Liberia and bring international attention to the neglected issue of justice for victims of the Liberian civil war.

Indian Police Officers commended for their contribution to UNMIL and peace in Liberia
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Karin Landgren commended 125 Indian Police Officers, including 103 women and 22 men, for their contribution to peace in Liberia at an award ceremony held in the capital, Monrovia today.

 

“Democracy Turns Bloody…will it hold?” – a new book on Liberia unveiled

The 200 page book features more than 500 colorful and striking news photos and examines present-day life in the post-war country in words and photographs. The author, a former Associated Press photographer and a war correspondent, uses Photojournalism as an effective tool to communicate his message to a larger number of people in the country where more than half of the country’s population remains illiterate due to poverty.

 

 

A Human Rights Coalition Presses for Justice in Liberia
Five human rights organizations have today announced the formation of a coalition to advocate for justice, create awareness, and campaign for the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes in Liberia, thereby implementing a significant component of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC).

 

A U.S. based human rights advocacy group registers protests with Abyssinian Baptist Church

Given your longstanding track record as an iconic American institution known for its enviable civil rights' record, CJL finds itself compelled to draw your attention to what may well be an unintentional misstep by your decision to provide a platform of your Sunday services to the president of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to speak to your congregation

Press Release (2009-2011 Archives)

FORUM  FOR  THE ESTABLISHMENT  OF  A  WAR  CRIMES  COURT  IN  LIBERIA
THE ANTI-WAR ADVOCACY WING OF THE PROGRESSIVE ACTION FOR CHANGE
Capitol bye pass, Monrovia; +2316-626-209

4th February 2009

 

Press Statement

(For immediate release)

 

 

The Forum for the Establishment of a war Crimes Court in Liberia, the leading campaign group for the creation of a Special Court in Liberia, has submitted a petition to the National Legislature, seeking the immediate impeachment of a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sheikh Kafumba Konneh.

 

In a four-page charge-sheet cataloging the alleged factional links of the commissioner, the advocacy group drew the attention of the National Legislature to the “willful and criminal action of Sheikh Kafumba Konneh when he intentionally proceeded to mobilize, seek financial support for, and campaign for a “Jihad” (Holy war) against non-Muslims in Liberia.”

 

The war crimes court campaigners further reminded the National Assembly of a 14th November 2006 official communication submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calling for the expulsion of the commissioner. In that letter, the campaigners highlighted an article written by  Sheikh Kafumba Konneh under the captioned “Liberian Civil War: Declared Intentions & Hidden Agenda –II by Kafumba F. Konneh” and   published under “Features” in “The Muslim World League Journal vol.23 no.12, Dhul Hijjah,1416-April to May edition, 1996, pages 44-48”.

 

In its 2006 letter to members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Forum alleged that the Sheikh chose to strategically publish his article in the Muslim World League Journal because the journal, which is  based in the Middle East, is widely known to be a larger disseminator of the tenets, doctrines and activities of the Islamic Faith and its people; and is a bastion for the promotion of jihads and usually publishes articles of proponents of jihad like the Islamic Figh Council’s position on “Terrorism, Islam’s view point, reprinted from the Muslim World League Journal, Jumad Al-Ula 1423.”

 

In its petition, which is already before the House of Parliament, the group further provided detailed testimonies of former generals, Mohammed Sheriff, Ofori Diah, and Phillip Wlue, all of whom took their turn in providing statements that Mr. Konneh was a key member of ULIMO. Statement from Mr. Tarty Teh, a Liberian writer and columnist who accused the commissioner of a ULIMO membership, was also attached as an exhibit for the impeachment of the commissioner.

The group is hopeful that some level of credibility will be restored the TRC when commissioner Konneh is convicted, consisted with Article V Section 14 of the Act. That provision provides that members of the TRC shall be removed for cause, such as misbehavior, incapacity and incompetence, only by impeachment in the same manner provided for removal in the Constitution of Liberia of Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

 

Inclosing, the petition statement concluded that “like Mr. Charles Taylor, Sen. Prince Johnson, Professor Alhaji Kromah, et al, Sheikh Kafumba Konneh deserves a place amongst those to be recommended for prosecution as greatest responsibility bearers.”  The campaign organization cautioned that evidence of the executions, enslavement, and murders of tens of thousands of defenseless Liberians by ULIMO, in which Sheikh Konneh allegedly played an important leadership role, makes it unlikely for him to be exonerated. The group says it will produce documentary evidence of compact disc recordings, digital video device (DVD) testimonies, and other statements when the impeachment proceeding commences at the National Legislature.

 

On behalf of the campaign group, the statement was signed by Mulbah K. Morlu, jr., National Chairman.


Click here to read empeachment petition

Press Release

For Immediate Release
The Hunger Project Media Contact:
Anastasia Andrzejewski
+1-212-251-9129
[email protected]

Non-Profit Advocates for Women Farmers at Major International Food Security Conference

New York, New York (January 28, 2009)-Since 2006, the number of undernourished people in the world has risen from 852 million to 963 million, due primarily to 2008's world food price crisis. In an effort to "design a road map" to reverse this alarming trend and achieve global food security, the Government of Spain and the United Nations hosted the "High Level Meeting on Food Security for All" on January 26-27 in Madrid. The Hunger Project, a non-profit organization which works with grassroots people in the developing world to create their own, sustainable strategies for ending their own hunger, participated in this meeting along with governments, the private sector and civil society from more than 125 countries.

At the conference, The Hunger Project and several other 
civil society organizations
 underscored the need for the world community to dramatically increase support for small-scale farmers, with a majority of that support going to women. Women grow the majority of the food used for household consumption in the developing world, yet only a small fraction of foreign aid reaches them.

In the conference's final statement, it was recognized that "the special problems faced by...female small farmers need to be addressed effectively" and that it was important to include "marginalized and excluded men, women, and children and indigenous groups in this process, giving them voice so that their views are prioritized when analyzing the problems, searching for viable solutions and implementing them."  

Mrs. Åsa Skogström Feldt, Madrid conference participant and Country Director of
The Hunger Project-Sweden, remarks that "It is mainly women who run family farms
and their needs and priorities must be recognized. It is encouraging that the special needs of women in the developing world were recognized at the Madrid meeting."

Skogström Feldt says that at the
Madrid meeting, "The Hunger Project was the voice of people living in chronic hunger and poverty who rely on the food they grow for sustenance. People do not want to get handouts. They want to be empowered to get in charge of their own future. Food and nutrition are not only major issues in their own right, but are also closely interlinked with all the other Millennium Development Goals
.""

Jill Lester, President and CEO of The Hunger Project, comments "that to ensure food security, rural communities must be empowered to become resilient and self-reliant. Women hold the key to
sustainable rural development
and action is needed now if further crises are to be averted."

The Hunger Project works in countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America to end hunger and extreme poverty
. Hunger Project programs focus on three essential elements for integrated, sustainable development: mobilizing people at the grassroots level to build self-reliance; empowering women as key change agents; and forging effective partnerships with local government. For more information about The Hunger Project please visit www.thp.org.

For more information about the Madrid meeting please
www.ransa2009.org.

To interview Jill Lester or Åsa Skogström Feldt regarding
The Hunger Project's participation in Madrid conference or views on issues pertaining to food security, please contact Anastasia Andrzejewski at 212-251-9129 or [email protected]

Press Release

FORUM FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A WAR CRIMES COURT IN LIBERIA

- THE ANTI-WAR ADVOCACY WING OF THE PROGRESSIVE ACTION FOR CHANGE

Airfield, Sinkor

Monrovia, Liberia

Phone: +2316-626209

Email: [email protected]

22nd May 2008.

 

 

A Call on the Government of Ghana to Release Liberian Refugees in 48 Hours

 

Fellow Liberians, ladies and gentlemen of the Press;

 

Substantiated information emanating from the Gomoa District of Accra, the Republic of Ghana, establishes the brutal arrest and detention of hundreds of Liberian Refugees from the Buduburam Refugee Camp. This sad event, which has been authenticated by a member of this institution currently in Accra, further reveals unprovoked brutality meted out by Ghanaian security forces against innocent women, children, and the elderly.

 

Other similar unimpeachable sources lament that on the early morning of 22nd March 2008, a joint operation of the Ghanaian Armed Forces, a special unit of the Police anti-terrorist Regiment, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, and a secret service detachment arrested and  took to an unknown destination innocent Refugees. The safety of these Refugees, most of who were physically abused and brutalized, remains uncertain.

 

Whilst this cruelty and unprovoked brutality was being perpetrated against a helpless people, it has also been confirmed that scores of refugees are currently nursing fatal wounds deriving form the bites of poisonous snakes and scorpions apparently unleashed by Ghanaian native witches and wizards in an attempt to discourage residence on the Buduburam Camp; people who are familiar with Ghanaian traditional sects understand the realities of these satanic threats these Refugees are currently faced with.

 

Additionally, it has even been established that an early-morning shooting incident on the camp left at least one Refugee dead as thousands of others are now on the run for their lives in unwelcoming Ghanaian villages. This panic has led to a humanitarian disaster amongst Liberians, with no water, shelter, or food, especially for the weakening women and children.

 

This latest action is a sad climax of the recent arrest and detention of more than three-hundred refugees who were forced in trucks and taken to Kordiabe, Ghana’s Eastern Region for an involuntary repatriation. Hence, we call on the Liberian and Ghanaian Governments to refrain from any such forceful repatriation exercise as it will undermine the essence of the 1951 Geneva Convention, a document ratified by the Ghanaian Government. Besides, the characterization of brutality in these unwarranted military and police operations can not be tolerated in civilize democracies.

 

We strongly condemn this unprovoked brutality against a vulnerable Refugee community who were simply exercising a right that is tolerated under international humanitarian law under the Geneva protocol; and accusing Liberians of ‘Breaking Ghanaian laws’, as given by the Interior Minister of Ghana as the basis for the attack against innocent Refugees, is illogical and legally flawed.

 

We are equally disappointed over the failure of the Liberian Government to seek the interests of our refugees in Ghana. Since this major humanitarian catastrophe, the Liberian Government’s position has not done enough to alleviate the suffering of our brothers in exile; even though, those now in power bear the supreme responsibility for creating a war that has caused so much suffering for our people, especially those still in exile.  

 

We therefore call on the Ghanaian Embassy near Monrovia to prevail on its Government to unconditionally release all detained Liberian Refugees and launch an independent investigation into the excessive force employed during the unprovoked operation. In the same token, there could be unspecified consequences against Ghanaian interests in Liberia that may lead to our lobby to severe diplomatic ties should the 48 hours ultimatum lapse.  

 

 

Signed: _________________

               Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr.

               National Chairman

Press Release - International Women

INVESTING IN WOMEN AND GIRLS: NYC CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

New York (February 29, 2008): On Thursday, March 6, a coalition of organizations—including The Hunger Project, St. Bartholomew’s Church, the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and the Women’s Media Center—will celebrate International Women’s Day at one of the only public events in New York City outside the United Nations system.

The theme of this year’s celebration is investing in women and girls, with a strong focus on financing for gender equality.

Women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility. Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, yet they earn one-tenth of the world's income and own less than 1% of the world's property. Currently, only 0.1% of bilateral international aid is targeted specifically for the empowerment of women and girls.

Yet, when women are empowered and supported, all of society benefits. Research has shown that investing in women yields faster economic growth, increased agricultural production, improved health for children, less malnutrition, and more boys and girls in school.

The March 6th event will bring together the diverse community in New York City that shares a commitment to gender equality. Participants will express solidarity with women around the world and raise awareness about the importance of investing in women’s programs. Speakers include:

·                                                        Helen LaKelly Hunt, Founder and President of The Sister Fund, a private women's foundation dedicated to the social, political, economic, and spiritual empowerment of women and girls;  

·                                                        Amy Goodman, the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 650 TV and radio stations in North America; and

·                                                        Khaliah Ali, an Emmy Award-nominated talk show host, author, fashion designer of her own clothing line, and supporter of many charitable causes, and the daughter of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

There will also be performances by La!Quartet, the Def Dance Jam Workshop and Joanna Rush and Ex-Rockettes.

In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Since then, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration. In 1975, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day.

The event is on Thursday, March 6 from 7:00-8:30pm, followed by a reception, at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in New York City . It is open to the public, free of charge. For more information, visit www.womensdaynyc.org.

For media inquiries, contact Anastasia Andrzejewski at 212-251-9129 or [email protected]

 

Press Release - Municipal Watch

THE  MONROVIA MUNICIPAL  WATCH

vigorously campaigning for the enhancing of Liberia’s municipalities…

Free Port, Bushrod Island

Monrovia, Liberia

Contact: 04-912-108

 

22 February 2008            

 

Appreciating the MCC’s ‘Monrovia Day’ clean-up campaign, a welcome gesture

 

We wish to congratulate the leadership of the Monrovia City Corporation under the inspiration of its Mayor, Mrs. Ophelia Hoff Saytumah for its continuous face-lift exercise of the municipality of Monrovia.

 

We are especially gratified by the positive actions of the corporation during the observance of the legislatively enacted “Monrovia Day” program. Unlike its predecessors, the incumbent government of the city of Monrovia acted in the interests of the municipality when it chose to launch a massive cleanup-campaign of Monrovia instead of the lavish festivities that usually characterized the occasion.

 

Much more interesting, the overwhelming involvement of the entire leadership in this necessary cleanup exercise is a graphic indication that Liberia has begun to produce leaders who posses the ardent desire to improve the living standards and community welfare of its people. The fact that Mayor Saytumah and her staff practically participated in this city-wide venture that gave shine to the borough of Congo Town, Central Monrovia, Clara Town, the Free Port area, Logan Town, and Duala, is a monumental achievement waiting to be appraised by all Liberians.

 

Our camera captured Mrs. Ophelia Hoff Saytumah, the Mayor who challenged the scorching sun to give Monrovia a face-lift…

 

Besides, a few months ago, we took the World Bank to task for the slow-pace of the cleanup process which was, in fact, due to local-contractor agencies’ unsuitable methods and mode of execution. Even though the then executing partners hired by the World Bank were not able to successfully complete the project,  the intervention and vigorous input generated by the combined force of the Environmental and Sanitation department, and the General Services section of the Monrovia City Corporation headed by Mrs. .Karine Flowers Morris, deserves the deepest appreciation.

 

In this vein, we especially appreciate the World Bank’s expenditure of nine million United Sates dollars on its solid waste management program in Liberia.  Though challenges remain high, we are glad that the City Corporation of Mrs. Ophelia Hoff Saytumah has created an environmentally friendly mechanism that allows contractors to relief Monrovia of its filths through the daily haulage of solid waste to the over 120 disposal sites. With such vibrant collaboration existing between the World Bank and the City Corporation, we are certain that, at long last, residents of Monrovia will appreciate an environment free of hazards and pollution.

 

In observance of “Monrovia Day”, all workers of the Corporation were actively engaged in a city-wide clean-up campaign… we encourage community-based groups to also get involved

 

Along this municipally progressive route, the UNDP will be remembered as a good friend. Amongst previous logistical contributions, its (the UNDP) US$111,000.00 funded bulldozer granted through the World Bank for use by local implementing agencies has proven very helpful. Again, though UNDP-selected contractors have had their own difficulties which affected their implementation time sketch, the MCC’s last-minute-to-time involvement in maximizing the use of this highly sophisticated machine that transports wastes to sanitary land fill sites, adds to our national hygienic boost.  

 

Finally, we cannot leave out the joint-venture approach of the Monrovia City Corporation, and the International labor Organization (ILO) in their micro solid waste projects. The launching of this project, which mobilized 10 communities as implementing partners, is a positive step in the right direction; and we are further impressed by the fact that  each of these ten communities stands to benefit from a US$2,500.00 cash support.

 

The cleanup campaign gave a shine to Central Monrovia, Bushrod Island and adjacent districts just before the arrival of the U.S President…other city governments must draw lessons from this initiative

 

Notwithstanding, in the midst of the efforts by the Monrovia City Corporation and its international partners, we believe there are still vital areas of concern that remain unaffected by any worthy initiative. Hence, we encourage the City Corporation and its international partners to begin a serious inspection campaign of latrine and other septic facilities so as to prevent the outbreak of a major epidemic that may disrupt the health and hygiene of our communities. In this way, as you are already doing, you would have contributed in no small terms the developmental agenda of the hard-working government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

 

 

Signed: __________________

              William R. Fassamah

              Executive Director    

 

 

TRC Diaspora

TRC Diaspora outreach and statement-taking event on Staten Island, New York 
 see the complete activities schedule here 
 
Greetings!
 
SILCA (the Staten Island Liberian Community Association, Inc.) has declared February "TRC Community Outreach Month," and we are planning several events to educate local Liberians about the TRC process and encourage them to give their own statements. In order to make it a success, though, we need your help!
 
Next Saturday, February 23rd, we will be going door-to-door in teams of three (two volunteers and one community representative) in the Park Hill neighborhood of Staten Island to offer information about the TRC and assistance in setting up statement-taking interviews. Capping off a day of outreach, that evening we will be screening a film called "Truth in Translation" about the South African TRC public hearings and showing a brief video about statement-taking here in the U.S. We will also be showing slides from recent public hearing events in Liberia and exhibiting posters of pictures and testimonies of recent witnesses.
 
We are looking for (1) volunteers to team up with community representatives to go door-to-door to offer information about the TRC, and (2) statement-takers to be on hand during the day to take statements. All of the activities will take place right in Park Hill, a compact neighborhood that won't require much traveling (once you're there), or even time outdoors (most people live in apartment buildings). Anyone interested in volunteering to go door-to-door will be given review materials (including a "crib sheet" of commonly-asked questions with suggested answers) and be invited to Q&A session next Friday, February 22nd at Fried Frank in Manhattan, where Ahmed Sirleaf from The Advocates for Human Rights will be on hand to give information and suggestions about how to answer people's questions about the TRC. Mr. Sirleaf will also be on hand during the outreach event to answer questions and give support.


Even if you are only available for part of the day, your help would be greatly appreciated! This is the biggest event we have organized so far, and the most important. Our hope is that this outreach will result in many more people agreeing to come forward and give their statements. We have only another couple of months in which to collect statements, so reaching people now is critical.
 
Are you available and interested in participating? We would love to hear from you.
 
Below is a more detailed list of the events -- please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
 
Thank you!
Sara
 
P.S. Please forward this email to people who you think may be interested in participating and who are committed to the success of the Liberia TRC.
 
Events details:
 
Friday, February 22nd, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Location: Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Introductions, discussion, and Q&A for outreach volunteers with Ahmed Sirleaf, Program Coordinator of the Liberia TRC Diaspora Project at the Advocates for Human Rights. We will discuss the next day's outreach efforts and answer any questions that the volunteers have. Food and refreshments to be served.
 
Friday, February 22nd, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Location: Wagner College, Staten Island
Jeremy Levitt lecture, "Liberia: America's Orphan, Africa's Hope." Representatives from the Liberian community on Staten Island will be there, and brief remarks will be made by one of their community leaders. Ahmed Sirleaf will also describe the work of the TRC and give an update on the recent public hearings.
 
Saturday, February 23rd, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Location: Park Hill neighborhood of Staten Island
Canvassing of residences and businesses in the Park Hill neighborhood of Staten Island. Canvassing will be done by teams of three (two volunteers and one community representative), and statement-takers will be on hand at community centers in the area to take statements. Statements that are not able to be taken immediately can be scheduled for a later time.
 
Saturday, February 23rd, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Location: Park Hill neighborhood of Staten Island
Screening of short video about statement-taking for the Liberian TRC in the U.S., and screening of film, "Truth in Translation" about the South African TRC public hearings. Discussion afterwards to be led by Ahmed Sirleaf and community leaders. Food will be served.
 
.....................
 
Sara Tollefson
Associate, Litigation Department
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
One New York Plaza
New York, NY 10004-1980
 
tel (212) 859-8954
fax (212) 859-8584

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Press Release - CDC calls Morlu desperate

SPECIAL STATEMENT RELEASED ON THE ACCUSATION MADE

AGAINST THE STANDARD BEARER OF THE CONGRESS FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (CDC).

Monday, November 12, 2007

 

Today brings to attention the true nature of a handful of thugs, lots and gangs who lack the moral rectitude and face in the Liberian society. These handfuls of men acting under the sunshade of opinion leaders in the Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) have embarked upon a smear campaign, not only against our Standard Bearer Amb. George M. Weah but also the National Leadership of the CDC.

 

Mr. McDonald Wento who was thrown out of the CDC for fraud, incitement and rebellion has again embarked upon his inherent criminal trait by using miscreants, mendicants and mediocres like Forum for the Establishment of War Crimes Court Chairman Mulbah K. Morlu to defame the hard earned character of Amb. Weah and the CDC leadership.

 

The life draft of War Crimes Court Mulbah is beset with disappointment and contradictions. At one point in time Mulbah became an evangelist for a church in the Gardnersville community and was said to have been involved in a sex scandal that led to a pregnancy that he heatedly denied. This embarrassment, pair with his religious defense for former Liberian dictator, Mr. Charles Taylor landed him into trouble with his congregation. He had to seek exile in Ghana. While in Ghana, the Mulbah teamed up with one Pastor Bah on the Buduburum refugee camp and earned the religious title ‘General’. General Morlu who resided in the home of his fiancée Memunah chose to beg her consideration for him to go into matrimony with a lady he met on the internet. The consideration was granted and General Morlu went ahead to marry Queen Sheba, an American and a victim of the September Eleven bombing in the United States of America.

 

Waterlogged into desperation and utter poverty, General Morlu in his religious garment envisaged this marriage as a redemptive path for his state of grunginess. The marriage was enchanting, as Buduburum became a center of desirability for General as those who know him from Ghana call him. He used this marriage for the establishment of Queen Sheba Foundation that was intended to help impoverished and war affected Liberians seek greener pasture in the USA. Under this gambit, millions of cedes were extorted from both Liberian refuges and Ghanaians.

 

This long-winded journey to the USA became an optical illusion and disgruntlement was soon to set in as deluge of calorific outburst engulfed the General and Pastor Bah. For safety of his life, General Morlu kept from the camp and took refuge in Accra. While in Accra, Ghana, General Morlu got in contact with Representative Dusty Wolokollie who encouraged and helped him to be in Liberia today. General Morlu made a commitment to work with Representative Wolokollie and his party, the Liberian People’s Party (LPP). After collecting few cash from the representative, Mulbah became an out of the ordinary in the hands that fed him.

 

At this juncture, General Morlu began lobbying with stalwarts of the Liberian Action Party (LAP) to serve in the public relations area. To further buttress this point, Mulbah was live on a talked show hosted on Power FM when a female caller from the offices of Cllr. Varney Sherman acrimoniously referred to him as one who went to LAP in search of becoming part of their public relations bureau and succeeded in getting some funds. General Morlu this time headed an advocacy group named and styled ‘’Progressive Action for Change’’ (PAC) that charged Cllr. Sherman and LAP for pre-campaign activities. Again, Mulbah became a deviant to the hands that fed him. Today PAC is a dead concept due to Mulbah’s incessant piggish attitude and faux pas.

 

No sooner, General Morlu emerged on the mesmeric grounds of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). As we drove towards convention in the city of Buchanan, internal political tension for the chairmanship of the party got heated up.  The interim chairman L. Horatio Gould faced serious opposition from Mr. Jacob Kabakolle. Morlu was again seen at the cynosure of this political debate.  On one occasion, he blended Gould as ‘’the devil from hell’’ and in few days he was seen with Gould and this time chanting the slogan ‘’Jake the snake,’’ an epithet given to Mr. Jacob Kabakolle by Mulbah. Both the hands of Gould and Kabakollie fed him but Mulbah care less to retrospect.

 

At the primaries that qualified applicants to run on the ticket of the CDC in the general and presidential elections, Mulbah received a devastating whip by Montserrado District #8 Representative Dave Koomey. Being frustrated by this genuine whip, Mulbah went on to the party’s convention vowing for the Assistant Secretary General position in the National leadership. Again, the delegates punished him with their votes.

 

As the 2005 general and presidential elections got on its way, Mulbah with the expression of pity beg to operate with Madam Cooper who was elected to head the Press Bureau of the CDC. It was at this point General Morlu was instructed to go on series of operations but to the dismay of his co-workers he began a solo operation. The campaign was ended and we went on to protest the result. We took the cadres, women, elders, lawmakers and revolutionaries with us in the match and the strategy was for C. Mike Doryen (Montserrado Chairman), Sidiki Fofana (National Youth League Chairman), some lawmakers, few elders, the women league and others to keep the peaceful protest in the thematic order of non-jungle justice. Amb. Weah kept reminding us of the legal path which was to take our case to the National Election Commission, the commission whose head, Cllr. Francis Johnson Morris was accused of stealing “the cookies from the cookies jar”. There was serious political tension throughout the 38,000 sq miles of the nation-state Liberia, disarmament has just ended, emotions were high, and the pronounced victors of the presidency and her partisans were not celebrating, as celebration is an integral part of election victory.

 

Many of our partisans kept the pressure on us to reject a Sirleaf Presidency since she also did same to the late Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. Some of our collaborators kept quiet, while others demanded a final statement from Amb. Weah. By this time, we were on our way to the Supreme Court and the Liberians state was experiencing bitter exchanges amongst it inhabitants. Amb. Weah is not only a politician and a former soccer legend but we have all extol him as a peacemaker, the reconciler and the true unifier. With these attributes compatriots James Kollie, Samuel D. Tweah, Mulbah K. Morlu and the rest of the CDCEANS kept the most so-called educated elites in our society running for their money.

 

Understanding the history of the after effects of presidential elections in our country, coupled with the path of blood bath and extreme devastation, we met as leaders of our party with many of our allies and debated. The forum included Dr. Tipoteh, the late Baccus Matthew, Professor Alhaji G.V. Kromah, and Amb. Weah, the CDC leadership and General Morlu who was privileged to have been taken in by Amb. Weah. The forum was climaxed with a consensus to abandon any further legal or political action. The next day Amb. Weah spoke to the press on our decision to save the Liberian state and move on with our lives. We all applauded him as a true patriot and nationalist but today as hunger and hardship have engulfed militant Mulbah, he has decided to become a bag boy to the misfits and detractors of our noble institution.

 

It is unfortunate that a piteous boy like general Morlu would become so susceptible and go astray to begin alleging that the Government of Nigeria gave three million United States dollars to the Standard Bearer of the CDC to abandon the court action.

 

If there is one Liberian who has a history of defending Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe and referencing President Sirleaf as a ‘rebel president’, the name Mulbah K. Morlu will take superlative over all others. There are available recordings, newspaper articles and internet reports to show how Mulbah went on the extreme to defend Hon. Snowe. When did General Morlu get to know that Weah traded this position? Is it after he took thugs to the Unity Conference Center to attack the representatives or after he sold Hon. Snowe’s computer and can no more see the honorable man in person.

 

 For the speaker’s election, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe had an absolute numerical advantage as lawmakers from every political institution saw him as the messiah. Even the initial fifteen representatives of CDC could never hold as a bloc. We were found in a catch 22 situation and had to live with this bizarre by taking the two immediate deputies to former House Speaker Snowe.

 

Two months ago General Morlu insulted Hon. Snowe, the hands that fed him and today he has turned on the one he described as ‘’God Sent’’ and ‘’manna” for Manneh, the middle name of Amb. Weah.

 

Today, the Forum for the Establishment of War Crimes Court exists in theory but it remains a pragmatic dead end. Many Liberians embraced this idea as a stand-in to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee but ironically General Morlu is on record to have signed a joint statement with ex-fighters and seeing in open parade with some ex-AFL soldiers which landed him behind bars twice. To have him released, I had to personally get Amb. Weah involve in demanding his right to trial and asking the up led Government to respect his human rights.

 

As Mulbah K. Morlu remains in a desperate search for political asylum and being the stooge and creature of his creators like the mediocre Wentor and few invisible hands, we will intellectually resist unprincipled men using the CDC as a vehicle for pre-eminence.

 

Let our friends in the media be cautious that Mulbah K. Morlu and his cohorts are not executives of the CDC and they lack the moral rectitude and political authority they claim to have. The Congress for Democratic Change will be jealously sheltered by its partisans and the few detractors in our midst who think that they will halt the forward march of this party will be sent into deep hole.

 

 

Signed: _________________________

               Acarous M. Gray

               National Assistant Secretary General, CDC

 

 

Press Release - Morlu challenges CDC

8 November 2007

 

Fellow partisans of the Vanguard Congress for Democratic Change;

Members of the Independent media;

The general public;

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

 

Barely three years since the derivation of the Congress for Democratic Change, it is saddening to note the wanton controversies and discrepancies the party has been subjected to as a result of the dictatorial and ‘remote-control’ leadership style of a few highly-place executives.

 

Unfortunately, on the national level, the suffering masses of our cherished republic had to endure such unwanted and draconian leadership style that translated into the political bloodletting that spelled the many years of anarchy and lawlessness witnessed by all. Badly enough, the dictatorship and tyranny of a few power-diehards reflected the brutal deaths and destruction of over two hundred thousand innocent souls, leaving behind a history written in blood.

 

 Consequently, after the cessation of hostilities, with relative peace and security good enough for the holding of General and Presidential elections, pluralistic Liberians thought

It was about time to change the spiral of Liberia’s bewitched oligarchic political order by embracing a multicultural democratic strategy.

 

This strategic political agenda was to be named and styled the Congress for Democratic Change, a party metamorphosed to serve as a bastion of hope for the hopeless, a corridor of recovery for the downtrodden and, an institution of redemption to unshackle and break loose the chains of enslavement fastened around the proverbial ankles of the masses bloc. Beyond, as per its meaning, ideology and philosophy, the Congress for Democratic Change was birthed to play an alternative political party, a role that would inspire the movement to reflect the qualities befitting a good democratic institution.

 

This was the mindset of thinkers of this noble party for which Ambassador George Weah was privileged to serve as its first Standard Bearer.

 

However, contrary to the overwhelming expectations of the macrocosm of partisans of the CDC, the George Weah leadership style and undemocratic posturing is fast creating enormous set backs to the party’s victory march.

 

As such, his lack of respect for the bylaws and constitution of the party, like his single-handed decision to prevent the party from pursuing legal redress at the Supreme Court in the CDC/NEC election fraud case, where it is still widely alleged that he (George Weah) took a three million dollars bribe; his personal committing of the entire institution to the support of Edwin Snowe during the 2006 Speaker’s election; his selfish decision to trade support for the Liberian Action Party during the erstwhile Nimba County bye-election, a bargain that allegedly netted Mr. Weah more than fifteen thousand dollars and; quite recently, his decision to perpetuate his antidemocratic tendencies when, during a welcome program at the party’s headquarters, he announced plans to remain Standard Bearer of the CDC “always”, constitute an evil pattern that threatens the viability of the party.

 

Besides, that Ambassador Weah, in a telephone interview yesterday conducted on King’s F.M Radio, will declare open support for the unconstitutional expulsion of a prominent member of the CDC, to the extent that he degenerated into castigating fellow party members, deserves the strongest condemnation.

 

In furtherance, whilst we appraise Mr. Weah as a distinct member of the CDC, it is in his interest and in the interest of the party that he desist from making counterproductive statements that have the proclivity to bring the party to total disrepute.

 

Lastly, we hereby call on the National Executive Committee of the CDC to set a timetable for the holding of the Party’s National Congress and primary, a necessary forum required to curtail the mammoth constitutional violations being perpetuated by some misguided party executives. To these things, we are completely flabbergasted at the party’s refusal to call this all important National Congress, which cannot be compromised owing to the total overhaul the party stands in need of.

 

 

Signed:

 

Mulbah K. Morlu, jr.,

 

Stalwart, CDC

 

Comments & Ratings

Press Release - The Hunger Project 2007 results

THE HUNGER  PROJECT-XL RESULTS FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCED AT
2007 CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE*


*New York** (26 September 2007): At the 3rd annual Clinton Global Initiative meetings, a $5 million (USD) commitment by XL Foundation to The Hunger Project will be announced today. *This commitment will enable The Hunger Project to expand its strategy for ending hunger in rural India. The strategy empowers the rural women elected to serve on local village councils/ /with a support structure that includes ongoing trainings (skill-building, leadership, legal rights, local government law), mobilizing the support of media and civil society, and building federations for policy reforms at the state and national level. **

The $5 million contribution over five years from the XL Results Foundation will build the capacity and enhance the decision-making power of 50,000 elected women leaders whose actions in turn will affect the lives of 15 million villagers. It will help mobilize local action campaigns to improve health, education, nutrition and family income in partnership with elected village councils. This major financial contribution will also support alliance building to advocate for policy reform. It will track, document and widely publicize the progress being achieved in a large sample of these villages

Development experts agree that when women have voice in their villages, they alter the development agenda to address the critical issues of meeting basic needs and to confront harmful cultural practices. Joan Holmes, President of The Hunger Project has said: "Women in local government shift the development agenda towards meeting basic human needs. They also take on harmful cultural practices like dowry, domestic violence, child marriage and child labor. They empower other women to know their rights. Empowered women begin to transform gender relations and call into question the deeply entrenched patriarchal system. I've seen it work. I've seen what these women can do."

Roger Hamilton, Chairman of the XL Group commented "The Clinton Global Initiative exists to tackle the toughest issues of our time and clearly hunger and poverty are top of that list. The Pioneer Club is about bringing practical results for real problems and we are proud to partner with The Hunger Project in working toward the sustainable end of world hunger."

The Hunger Project is an international NGO that works in partnership with grassroots women and men in more than 22,000 villages across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America to sustainably end their own hunger. It is on the roster of the UN Economic and Social Council, and has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

The XL Results Foundation, led by Roger Hamilton, is Asia's largest entrepreneur network, with 60,000 entrepreneurs across Asia, and operations in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and USA.

The Clinton Global Initiative is a non-partisan project which brings together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.

For more information about The Hunger Project visit
www.thp.org and for more information about XL Results Foundation visit www.resultsfoundation.com

 

Press Release - CDC call mayor appointments unconstitutional

Presidential appointment of mayors and chiefs, a constitutional violation

August 31, 2007

 

Press Release

The political history of the nation state Liberia has been plagued with gross disrespect for the constitution by leaders who should be the ultimate defender of the law. Today the Sirleaf led administration has shown no difference as the Executive Mansion is seeking appointment for elected position.

 

The constitution of Liberia is clear on the issue of holding municipal and chieftain elections. Instead of President Sirleaf and her administration fulfilling and upholding the Supreme Law of the state, they have chosen to request the formation of an ephemeral alliance with the Legislature.

 

The President's request to the Legislature to have her appoint mayors and chiefs is a smart way of justifying her abuse of the law. The National Legislature should be cognizant of this clandestine and hidden agenda of the Executive which seeks to contradict the principles of good governance.

 

Liberia can not afford to have an imperial president with few oligarchs sitting at the pinnacle of authority, while the rest of the populations remain isolated. This theory of political isolation which fomented a serious participatory crisis in our land must be vehemently condemned by all lovers of democracy.

 

I therefore call on the National Legislature to reject President Sirleaf request as her action is tantamount to perjury, by ignoring the oath administered to her in upholding and defending the constitution of Liberia.

 

A presidential appointment of mayors and chiefs will not only be a constitutional violation but will signal a bad omen of dictatorial rule and justification for evading future election.

 

            Signed: Acarous M. Gray
            [email protected]

        ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL

        CONGRESS FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

      

 

 

Press Release - Rights Group Alliance is against Mayors appointments

ALLIANCE OF RIGHTS GROUPS FOR THE PROMOTION OF PEACE AND DEMOCRACY IN LIBERIA

24TH STREET, SINKOR

MONROVIA, LIBERIA

CELL: 077268265

 

PRESS STATEMENT

(For immediate release) August 13, 2007

 

 

On Plans to appoint Madam Mary Broh as Mayor of the City of Monrovia

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen;

 

We congratulate the Liberian people, the International Community and the various United Nations’ systems for the appreciable successes made in the direction of the total democratization of Liberia, a necessary component required to move us away from the painful past in pursuit of a lasting culture of peace.

 

In this regard, we believe the 2005 ‘General and presidential elections’, was a critical factor which successful holding bears testimony to the prevalence of relative peace and stability in our country today.

 

In furtherance, we are of the conviction that the Liberian people and the international community, understand that that ‘General and Presidential Elections’ cannot be a completed success story except a defined democratic mechanism is put in place for the holding of a free, fair and transparent municipal and chieftaincy elections as called for by law.

 

We also believe the constitutionality of these elections as stated supra, was a major energy source leading to the holding of the October, 2006 Buchanan Forum themed the “Consultative Roundtable Conference on the Holding of Chieftaincy and Municipal Elections…”

 

It is our view that these (2 days) Buchanan Forums on “Municipal and Chieftaincy Elections” and their subsequent resolutions reached, offer the best practical road map for the holding of elections. Most interestingly, that a Special Joint Stakeholder Collaborative Committee (SJSCC)) was set up to delimitate and demarcate intra controversial chiefdoms and municipalities, deserves profound commendations.

 

And that said committee is now holding consultative meetings with local chiefs and opinion leaders with intent to correcting any technical or legal deficiency in the legal statues of chiefdoms/municipalities is a well injected dose which is sure to revive the arteries of our nurturing democracy.

 

Interestingly, having carefully investigated political details emanating from the office of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, we have solid grounds to believe that there are plans to have Madam Mary Broh, Director of Passports at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appointed as Mayor of Monrovia.

 

This alleged strategy, if instituted, will not only violate “count one” of the Buchanan Resolution which concludes that “…those currently holding chieftaincy and municipal positions must remain in office until their successors are duly elected and inducted into office…”, but equally runs diametrical to the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, which makes it clear that the appointing power of the President does not extend to positions which, by law, are subject to elections. 

 

Besides, though Madam Broh, a very close friend of President Sirleaf, enjoys Presidential favors, it is unfathomable that her appointment as Mayor will be contemplated in view of the fact that, amongst other things, her chaired Broad Street Road Beautification project operated in sharp contrast to the policies of the then Contract and Monopoly Commission.

 

Finally, we wish to sound an early warning that any plan to appoint Madam Mary Broh, or any other person as Mayor of the Municipality of Monrovia will be unconstitutional, thereby undermining the timely holding of planned elections. Consequently, we will vehemently oppose such political tactics and call on the designers to disengage and lend their support to the timely holding of municipal and chieftaincy elections as called for by the constitution of the Republic.

 

Signed: __________________

              Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr.

                     Chairman

 

Press Release - Morlu Forum Anit-Corruption Demonstration

FORUM FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A WAR CRIMES COURT IN LIBERIA

- THE ANTI-WAR ADVOCACY WING OF THE PROGRESSIVE ACTION FOR CHANGE

1ST STREET, SINKOR

MONROVIA, LIBERIA

06626209

Email: [email protected]

4 June 2007

 

THE JULY 13TH ANTI-CORRUPTION (NON-VIOLENT) DEMONSTRATION, TO CALL FOR THE RESIGNATION OF PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

  

Consistent with our campaign to curtail impunity by bringing to justice saboteurs and perpetrators of socioeconomic crimes undermining our moral and legal standards, signal a zero tolerance against “systemic” corruption in the current regime, ensure prosecution for public officials alleged to have carried out documented cases of serious human rights abuses, and ascertain the existence of the rule of law, we hereby declare a non-violent public demonstration on July 13th, 2007, intended to call for the resignation of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her bench of cabinet officials. The march begins in front of the BW Harris Episcopal High School at 8AM.

 

In that direction, we continuously hold to the belief that our fight for the establishment of a hybrid criminal tribunal for Liberia to investigate war criminals must be conducted alongside our fight against injustice and corruption that is so rampant under the current regime.

 

 And based on an objective appraisal of the Liberian situation, we see no evidence that Liberians will continue to enjoy peace if the abuse of incumbency and other gross discrepancies being carried out by government officials are not dealt with.

 

Further, you will remember that on 15 April 2007, we, as a member of an alliance of ‘Rights groups’ declared a policy of non-cooperation against the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her reluctance to bring to Justice Messrs Harry Greaves and others for corruption, Col. Chris Massaquoi and Ashford Peal, for the murder of Emmanuel Williams, et cetera. During that time, we were calling for the dismissal and prosecution of these and other individuals, some of whom have been promoted by the president’s office after committing such alleged heinous crimes.

 

For example, during our independent investigation into the death of Emmanuel Williams, we talked to family members of the deceased as well as a member of the Special Security Services present during the shooting incidence at the home of Col Chris Massaquoi. Interestingly, what we have gathered so far alleges that SSS personnel Emmanuel Williams may have been murdered for information he had that someone in the Service did not want leaked. Unfortunately, no court action has been taken to establish accountability and responsibility for the brutal murder; instead, the two were just recently promoted.

 

On the other hand, while the judicial branch of government reveals major inadequacies, unimpeachable sources unveiled a complete network of chain corruption routines that continue to mercilessly swallow up poor taxpayers’ money without consideration to the excruciating plight of the suffering masses. Already, the United Nations panel on Liberia has declared the president’s anti-corruption drive a mere “lip service”, a statement that corroborates the Auditor General’s conclusion that “this government is three times more corrupt…”

 

With these unfortunate revelations of the callous abandon of accountability and transparency in government, the same elements said to be responsible for the outbreak of hostilities culminating into a 14-year civil war, we fear a return to the past. This is why such a peaceful demonstration calling for the resignation of president Sirleaf is necessary, seeing that she lacks the ability to break us free from the ugly past as far as leadership is concerned.

 

Lastly, the continuous disregard by the President to take concrete actions in the reported scandals at the LPRC, the Finance Ministry, the NPA, etc only lends credence to our initiative which is essential for the survival of a pluralistic democratic culture.

 

We therefore call on all Liberians to turn out en masse for this national event which seeks to bring together more than 25 thousand peaceful citizens across the country.

 

 

Signed: ___________________

              Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr.

                    CHAIRMAN

Press Release - Morlu Forum on 3-Day hunger strike

FORUM FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A WAR CRIMES COURT IN LIBERIA

- THE ANTI-WAR ADVOCACY WING OF THE PROGRESSIVE ACTION FOR CHANGE

1ST STREET, SINKOR

MONROVIA, LIBERIA

06626209

Email: [email protected]

4 June 2007

 

Press Release (For immediate release)

 

Declaration of a three day hunger strike against the unconstitutional and corrupt practices in the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

  

We once again bring profound greetings of peace to all Liberians as we look forward to the successful building of a wholesome functioning democracy in Liberia, a necessary exponent required for the birthing of a pluralistic and multicultural habitat for all of our people.

 

In that direction, we do not believe any conversation about an emerging democratic order in Liberia at this time, would have been material if not for the unwavering commitment of the International Community operating under the banners of the United Nations. Also prominent along this line are; the European Union, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Government of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Government of Ghana, et cetera. For the strong commitment shown by these international partners in the humanitarian and reconstructive drives of our country, we extend our highest gratitude.

 

Similarly, we realize the overwhelming efforts of the locale of the downtrodden, the underprivileged and the generality of the masses who continue to yearn and yell for the existence of a peaceful political environment that will allow them a chance to better their fragile and shattered lives.

 

 To them, and to us all, peace is not just the absence of a fratricidal crisis as was unraveled recently. Peace on the contrary is the availability of basic social services for all, the construction of a restorative and retributive justice mechanism to address impunity and bring relief to victims of the long-term effects of a nihilistic civil fray thereby encouraging national healing along the contours of forgiveness. In fact, Peace, in its truest sense is not a physical commodity but an inner treasure derived through consciously crafted national programs fashioned to curtail the usual Socio-economic embarrassment in the affairs of the average citizen. This is why we concord with previous U.S States Department’s opinion that our country is not yet secure from the heartrending reoccurrences of civil fracas in the midst of the avalanche of socioeconomic miscarriages.

 

Hence, to equate the ‘recessed’ Liberian hostility to a peaceful environment, as our current government would make us believe, is the biggest lie in view of the pattern of systematic abuse and the virtual flouting of the norms and rules governing a democratic society.

 

For as long as the average Liberian lacks the opportunity to develop himself into a productive citizen whilst a few in high places siphon State resources, leaving the majority to stagger under the huge burden of poverty, disease and lack;

 

As long as the current government marches on in its unpopular political parade of reverting to the old ways of regime security tendencies and the abuse of civilians, rather than protecting them;

 

As long as the well-established culture of national impunity deeply rooted in our history of bad governance and reckless disregard for fundamental human rights continues unabated even under this government;

 

As long as the enslaving cancer of endemic corruption, which richly flourishes under this government, an entrenched paradigm rooted in the past, booms unchallenged, peace eludes us all.

 

Subsequently, with an overall objective of contributing to the breaking of the backbone of the line, hook and sinker of corruption, the culture of national impunity, the abuse of incumbency, the flagrant disregard for the rule of law and fundamental rights, we have documented, amongst other things, various flaws and excesses under the current regime.

 

Apart from the pre-war advocacy archives of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which is replete with robust verbosity against political excesses and abuses, the post-war Ellen Presidency unveils some of Liberia’s once appraised socio-political activists and human rights crusaders. Unfortunately, a mere one year in power has already showcased most of them as riding the same chariot of impunity driven by the leaders they stood to condemn a few years back. This scarring culture leaves us befuddled. That the advocates for change, now at the highest echelon of the Liberian political structure, have now become elements of resistance against the change they once summoned, is more troubling.

 

By far more troubling is the continuous disregard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights under this government, a virus that has spiraled from the second to the first branch of government, the National Legislature. Interestingly, to these violations and abuse of incumbency, government shows no evidence of a desire to correct the ills, instead, it is expected that “we move on” building a new Liberia on the same politically-rotten foundation as it was laid almost eight scores years ago. Nonetheless, since a detour from this crisis-nurturing form of governance is an inevitable alternative, we hence choose to champion a direct action of non-cooperation against this government that makes such pluralistic detour a possibility. Our direct action as detailed inter-alia scaffolds on constitutional lapses and heinous excesses in government as revealed below:

 

(1) First and foremost, the reluctance of the Liberian government to define a clear policy on the establishment of a hybrid criminal court for Liberia does not only create a suspicion of a clandestine cover-up for some government officials who may stand accused for  violation of international law, but equally deviates from principles of existing international protocols. Unfortunately, the Liberian government under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf pretends not to know that “International law imposes duties and liabilities upon individuals as well as upon states…to investigate war crimes and crimes   against humanity; and crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced…” Quite astonishingly, however, the proven fact that the TRC lacks the political will and ability to recommend prosecution for those bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes (it could not even summon the minimal political intuition to carry out its public statement taking) makes it a copy paper cat without claws. Imagining the negative aftermath of such lapse, we hereby demand that the Liberian government define a clear approach for prosecuting alleged war criminals and violators of international humanitarian law. In so doing, government will do well to draw out a transparent strategy through which retributive and restorative justice for war victims and perpetrators can be achieved, a schedule of implementation must also accompany said approach.

 

In furtherance, it is important to note that the decision for the formation of a criminal court for Liberia is not a policy left to options, since the 2003 Accra Accord is clearly self-evident. After that historical Liberian assemblage in Accra-Ghana, a built-consensus for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for the way forward in Liberia was developed. 

 

Subsequently, on 10 June 2005, the Act to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia achieved approval by the National Transitional Legislative Assembly.

 

Moreover, leafing through said Act creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we come to understand that its obligation evolves around three significant elements:

  • Truth: establish the facts about violations of human rights that occurred in the past;
  • Justice: investigate past violations and prosecute the suspected perpetrators;
  • Reparation: provide full reparation to the victims and their families, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

As outlined in the second count above, if recommendations emanating from the TRC to prosecute individuals bearing the greatest responsibility will be executed, it must only be carried out within the context of a special court. In our view, this argument presents at least three optional mechanisms to the disposal of the Liberian government namely:

 (a) Prosecute alleged war criminals in a mix-domestic court seeing that the Geneva Conventions and other additional protocols apply in the country under conventional international law;

 (b) Seek to extend the mandate of the Special Court in Sierra Leone to prosecute those bearing the greatest responsibility for heinous crimes committed in Liberia. For those harboring cost considerations, those concerns would dissipate to a large degree by using this already established tribunal;

(C) prosecuting alleged war criminals at the International Criminal Court as provided for by the Rome Statue which insists upon the summon of international political will to establish accountability for serious human rights violations where local authorities appear reluctant or unwilling to define a mechanism of prosecution, et cetera.

Therefore, we are of the position that the government of the Republic of Liberia cannot shy away from the responsibility of defining a specific medium though which those bearing the greatest responsibility for the heinous crimes committed in Liberia will be given due process.

(2) On December 3rd 2004, the United Nations Security Council during its 4925th Meeting, acting under chapter VII of the Charter, unanimously adopted resolution 1532 which called for the freezing of the assets of former president Charles Taylor, some of his family members and, associates.  According to the Security Council, resolution 1532 aims to prevent Mr. Taylor and his close allies from “using misappropriated funds and property to interfere in the restoration of peace in Liberia and the sub region”.  The measure also notes the Council’s concern that the actions of Mr. Taylor and his associates, particularly the depletion of Liberia’s resources and their removal from the country, were undermining the orderly development of its political, administrative and economic institutions and resources.  We hereby concord with resolution 1532 and believe the government of the Republic of Liberia has inherited the responsibility to implement same thereby freezing the assets of all individuals listed on the UN asset freeze list. We hereby call on the Government of Liberia to proceed with the freezing of the assets of those listed.

 

 

 

(3) Contrary to the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 2003,Part Four, Security Sector Reform,1b which called for the restructuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the government of Liberia, apparently ignoring the fundamental legislative act creating the AFL, hurriedly and Unconstitutionally  dissolved that legislatively created institution without a re-visitation of the act creating it. From the plethora of experiences with the military in other countries, this ill-advised act, if not corrected, swells with the proclivity of projecting an unfavorable political weather in the near future. Consequently, we request a re-visitation of the process leading to the dissolution of the AFL consistent with law. Or else, the contrary clearly suggests a confusion in training a new army when, by law, the legislatively created Army still exists. On the other hand, should It be  a government policy to dissolute the AFL consistent with law, we call on government to put in place the necessary mechanisms that will ensure that severance and other benefits merited by ex-service men and women of the AFL and other similar organizations  be ensured in a timely manner..

 

(4) In flagrant disregard for the constitution of the Republic of Liberia( , President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on February 11, 2006, appointed a Nigerian General (Gen. Luka Yusuf) as Commanding officer-in-charge of  the Armed Forces of Liberia. Such act on the part of the President does not only constitute a constitutional malfeasance but may undermine the territorial and political security of our nation-state owing to the foreign nationality of the Nigerian General. More so, even though the President has certain constitutional powers to nominate members of the military to positions of trust (Chapter VI-Executive, article 54), preferring a foreign national to such a national security post is not one of those constitutional rights of the President. Besides, General Luka Yusuf, a Nigerian in every sense, fails to meet the citizenship requirements laid down in Chapter IV-Citizenship, Article27a, b & c of the constitution of the Republic of Liberia. Of course, we accept that the President has the pleasure to appoint a foreign military expert as long as the individual’s term of reference is limited to an advisory role, and no further. To further this conversation, our rejection of General Yusuf’s appointment anchors on several serious national security concerns:

(a) If General Yusuf were to commit an act worthy of punishment or discipline, would he be                     prosecutorial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)?

(a) What command structure, military wise, does General Yusuf subscribes to, UNMIL/GOL?

            (c) Was General Yusuf ever commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces of Liberia?

            (d) Were the territorial confines of Liberia to be transgressed by a regional country backed                    by the Nigerian Government, where would General Yusuf’s allegiance lie?

 

These critical national security issues, amongst other things, therefore obligate us to call for the immediate replacement of General Luka Yusuf with any competent Liberian national meeting the criteria for the job.

 

(5) On 4 August, personnel of the Special Security Services (SSS), Emmanuel Williams, was allegedly shot and killed by a colleague officer named Darlington Bleh in the premises of the Director of the service, Col. Chris Massaquoi. The Director and his deputy were also accused by many as being accomplices.  Although the Minister of Justice had promised to investigate the incidence to establish the facts, no court action has been taken while suspects roam free with impunity. Considering the sanctity of human life and the respect for the rule of law, we call on the Liberian government to immediately prosecute (consistent with chapter 11 a, b and c of the Liberian constitution) in a court of competent jurisdiction, all those linked to the murder of Emmanuel Williams.

 

(6) Evidence in our possession affirms that on various occasions during the celebration period of the Christmas of December 2006, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf parceled and secretly distributed gifts to notable media institutions. These gifts of ‘Christmas cards’ wrapped-up in envelopes, were enticingly loaded with checks of  US$500.00( approximately LD$28,000.00 ) per parcel, contrary to the financial policies governing public and private servants.

 

Such a surreptitious action carried out by the President under the camouflage of “Christmas gifts” runs diametrical to the national fight against corruption thereby encouraging “check-book journalism”, and clearly constituting an act of corruption.

 

Not too long ago, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation, Mr. Harry Greaves, who likewise parceled gifts meant to influence credible members of the civil society, carried out similar action. Even though President Sirleaf   chided Mr. Greaves and categorized his actions as “wrong”, the repetition of the act by her office signals a dangerous trend that brings to question the sincerity of the anti-corruption campaign.

 

Besides, the presence of entrenched corruption in government creates the basis for inevitable sociopolitical crisis that threatens the health and survival of any state. Hence, the repetition of the ethical and legal transgression enumerated above establishes an evil pattern indulged by the Unity Party-led government to influence the media and civil society leaders to look the other way when bad practices are being incorporated into government.

 

Though President Sirleaf has admitted guilt and offered apologies at a press conference held at her office on 28 December 2006, we cannot continue to ignore the constitutional violations in these matters. Unlike the Harry Greaves scandal, which passed without a legal redress, we are determined to use the weight of the law to discourage acts of legal transgressions and abuse of incumbency in the public and private sectors. This is why the ongoing steps have become highly necessary. 

 

(7) Similarly, in recent times, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe, claimed he had evidence of a bribery machination by certain elements in the first and second branches of government with plans to unseat him. During a press conference, Hon. Snowe claimed he had a recorded tape and other documentary evidence to substantiate the claim. According to the former Speaker, several members of the first branch of government were given US$5,000.00 each to unseat him, a claimed accompanied by an aired tape allegedly bearing the confessions of Hon. Kettehkuemuehn Murray. Much more, Hon. Saar Gborie, another member of the House of Representatives, and his colleague, had earlier on issued a press statement unraveling their involvement in the taking of bribes to unseat Hon. Snowe.  We strongly believe, these bribery allegations, (the President Sirleaf media bribery and that of the House of Representatives) if not investigated, could undermine the essence of the anti-corruption campaign and constitute a callous disregard for the rule of law. Although the Forum for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia had submitted an earlier petition to Parliament for the impeachment of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for corruption (a petition that got embroiled in a legislative fray), no action was taken. In addition, from all indications, it is highly unlikely that a parliament muddied in alleged financial malfeasance will lend credence to investigating a presidential bribery scandal. We hence call for the setting up of an independent panel, compromising domestic and international experts, to investigate the bribery scandal at the House of Representatives and the office of President Sirleaf.

 

(8) According to a United Nation’s Panel finding, in the first nine months of 2006, the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation under Mr. Harry Greaves earned a profit of $3.4 million on revenue of $9.4 million, owing primarily to a reduction in work force and a robust increase of 17 per cent in the import of petroleum products.  The Corporation’s board of Directors did not also fail to release their own report in Last November. It claimed in its third quarter financial report that the company had budgeted a net profit of US$3.0 million for the 12 months ending December 31, 2006. according to the Board, this includes a one-time extraordinary provision of US$1.5 million to pay for the cost of a major corporate restructuring to reduce the workforce by more than 400 (two-thirds of the full-time staff) and streamline the management structure. However, the U.N. report said in June 2006, LPRC entered into a one-year contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to buy 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The report stated, despite its name, LPRC is not in position to refine the crude oil. “Thus, in August 2006, LPRC sold the contract to Addax Ltd, the largest independent oil producer in Nigeria, at the rate of 14 cents a barrel.” Unfortunately, besides the fact that such a US$0.5 million dollars worth-contract and price fixations were carried out by Mr. Greaves single-handedly without the acquiescence of the Board of the Corporation, it was concluded without any competitive bidding. In an apparent attempt to explain away the embarrassment, Mr. Greaves lied twice: at one point Mr. Greaves says “it was not possible to call for bids in such situations because of the lack of time…” at another time he contradicted himself when he said he did not seek a competitive bidding because “it was a sales contract, not concession…” Hence, with the ascending wave of corruption under the Sirleaf regime, not forgetting the US$7 million dollars shortfall in taxes and duties under Mr. Greaves, we call for:

(a) A comprehensive audit of the LPRC under Mr. Greaves

(b)The immediate dismissal and prosecution of Mr. Greaves for corruption. Such                  action is necessary owing to suspicion that Mr. Greaves may have entered into                  the coffers of the LPRC to support the Unity party’s by-election victory in Nimba County                  as he joined the party to “raise money and recruit the next generation.” Furthermore, the                  fact that Mr. Greaves previously donated monies and several pickup trucks, including a                  donation to the Executive Mansion’s Ministry of State beautification project, headed by                  Madam Mary Broh, should call for a more investigative scrutiny of his tenure.

 

(9)  Consistent with the constitution of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter V-Legislature, article 49, the resignation of Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe provided  the lower House an alternative to move forward with the business of the Legislature as it was anticipated that his deputy would act as Speaker in his stead.  As it is provided for in that part of our basic political document, the constitution, “the House of Representatives shall elect once every six years a Speaker…”thereby rendering  any further attempt to seek the holding of a new speaker’s election  diametrically opposed to the rule of law, an act  constituting constitutional heinousness. In fact, in reference to the Supreme Court ruling in the case Snowe versus some Lawmakers meeting in Virginia, there is currently a prohibition and unconstitutionality associated with all activities and proceedings taking place at the Unity Conference Center. Subsequently, we hereby condemn the recent Legislative election held at the Unity Conference Center and disapprove the method that derived the Hon. Tyler leadership as Speaker of the House of Representatives. We hence call on the lower House to return to the constitution of the Republic of Liberia in resolving the vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Snowe. 

 

(10) In recent times, the then Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Willis Knuckles was unveiled in a pornographic photograph depicting an immoral sexual jamboree with two apparent lesbians.  Hon. Knuckles, after the revelation, confessed as being the individual nakedly displayed in the portrait and offered apologies. Though he would resign later on, the Justice Minister termed hi actions as criminal, contrary to President Sirleaf’s utterance that Knuckles violated no law in the matter. Apparently enjoying executive shield from prosecution, no court action was taken despite the clear fact that the Knuckles threesome sexual nuisance violates Chapter 18.5 of the penal code. We hence believe government’s failure to prosecute Mr. Knuckles undermines the essence of the rule of law and further weakens our already ill-appreciated judicial system. Furthermore, amidst the avalanche of holy flags being hoisted against rape and the abuse of the Girl-child, the Knuckles prosecutorial defiance nullifies the fight. We therefore call for Mr. Knuckle’s immediate prosecution consistent with due process.

 

 

(11) We commend the Unity Party led-government for steps being taken to prosecute all those the ECOWAS audit alleged committed theft or corruption under the NTGL and would hope that such an exercise extend to other institutions functioning during this time. Hence, as we appreciate this anti-corruption campaign, we are however disappointed by the unfolding pattern, which signals are becoming suggestive that the President Sirleaf anti-corruption drive appears focused only on selected elements of a previous transitional regime.  Evidence abound in this scheme of things when, as former officials of the NTGL  are being prosecuted for corruption, some senior officials of the Liberia National Police, the National Port Authority, the Ministry of lands, Mines and Energy were dismissed without prosecution. As government struggles in the deep mud of this national embarrassment, the office of President Sirleaf argues it has no evidence to prosecute some of the dismissed officials it paradoxically claimed were dismissed for evidence of corruption. In light of our understanding of the anti-corruption drive, such a caricature is a mockery to the fight against corruption and must be revisited. We consequently call on the Unity party-led government to prosecute all those former officials of government dismissed from service for alleged corruption. Such a step is not only a buttress to the anti-corruption campaign but will similarly provide an opportunity for accused officials to be given due process so that, should there be acquittals, they would have been given another opportunity to serve their country once again as per their discretion. 

 

Therefore, let it be known that we hereby declare a policy of non-cooperation with the Regime of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to include the 52nd House of Representatives for flagrant disregard for the rule of law and the constitution of the Republic of Liberia. We also wish to declare a non-violent movement during this time of our non-cooperation and non-compliance with the first and second branches of government. Further, in the direction of pursuing our desire for the rule of law at all times, we hereby announce the holding of incessant peaceful demonstrations, strike actions, protest marches and all other desirable actions consistent with law. The foregoing agenda is a national posture we shall continue to exert until the backbone of dictatorship and lawlessness is broken. Additionally, these actions will continue unabated until we are convinced that the above conditions as laid down in the 10 counts are reasonably addressed.

 

IIn furtherance of our fight for social justice as well revealed above, we consequently announce a three day hunger strike as of Tuesday, 5th June, 2007. For three days and three nights, we shall gather before the office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, refusing food, water and movement until:

(a)    The current Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation, Mr.    Harry Greaves is dismissed and prosecuted for corruption as explained in item 8 of this document.

(b)     The accused murderers of Emmanuel Williams (Col. Chris Massaquoi, Ashford Peal et al) are brought to justice and given free and fair trial in their role in the commission of such a heinous crime as unveiled in item 5 of this document.

(c)    The government commits itself to the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia to adjudicate justice in the brutal and senseless murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Liberians during the various stages of the civil crisis as revealed in item 1 of this document.

(d)    The former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Willis Knuckles, is prosecuted for the exercise of deviant sexual behavior in his tripartite sex scandal as revealed in item 10 of this document.

 

Signed:

 

________________________

Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr.

Chairman

Press Release - Lib Coalition declares non-cooperation with Lib Govt

Coalition of interests groups working together for a better Liberia.

24TH STREET, SINKOR

MONROVIA, LIBERIA

06626209, 077268265

 

Declaration of ‘Non-Cooperation’ with the Unity Party-led Government for frightful sociopolitical excesses undermining the health and survival of the new Liberia

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press;

 

We once again bring profound greetings of peace to all Liberians as we look forward to the successful building of a wholesome functioning democracy in Liberia, a necessary exponent required for the birthing of a pluralistic and multicultural habitat for all of our people.

 

In that direction, we do not believe any conversation about an emerging democratic order in Liberia at this time, would have been material if not for the unwavering commitment of the International Community operating under the banners of the United Nations. Also prominent along this line are; the European Union, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Government of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Government of Ghana, et cetera. For the strong commitment shown by these international partners in the humanitarian and reconstructive drives of our country, we extend our highest gratitude.

 

Similarly, we realize the overwhelming efforts of the locale of the downtrodden, the underprivileged and the generality of the masses who continue to yearn and yell for the existence of a peaceful political environment that will allow them a chance to better their fragile and shattered lives.

 

To them, and to us all, peace is not just the absence of a fratricidal crisis as was unraveled recently. Peace on the contrary is the availability of basic social services for all, the construction of a restorative and retributive justice mechanism to address impunity and bring relief to victims of the long-term effects of a nihilistic civil fray thereby encouraging national healing along the contours of forgiveness. In fact, Peace, in its truest sense is not a physical commodity but an inner treasure derived through consciously crafted national programs fashioned to curtail the usual Socio-economic embarrassment in the affairs of the average citizen. This is why we concord with previous U.S States Department’s opinion that our country is not yet secure from the heartrending reoccurrences of civil fracas in the midst of the avalanche of socioeconomic miscarriages.

 

Hence, to equate the ‘recessed’ Liberian hostility to a peaceful environment, as our current government would make us believe, is the biggest lie in view of the pattern of systematic abuse and the virtual flouting of the norms and rules governing a democratic society.

 

For as long as the average Liberian lacks the opportunity to develop himself into a productive citizen whilst a few in high places siphon State resources, leaving the majority to stagger under the huge burden of poverty, disease and lack;

 

As long as the current government marches on in its unpopular political parade of reverting to the old ways of regime security tendencies and the abuse of civilians, rather than protecting them;

 

As long as the well-established culture of national impunity deeply rooted in our history of bad governance and reckless disregard for fundamental human rights continues unabated even under this government;

 

As long as the enslaving cancer of endemic corruption, which richly flourishes under this government, an entrenched paradigm rooted in the past, booms unchallenged, peace eludes us all.

Subsequently, with an overall objective of contributing to the breaking of the backbone of the line, hook and sinker of corruption, the culture of national impunity, the abuse of incumbency, the flagrant disregard for the rule of law and fundamental rights, we have documented, amongst other things, various flaws and excesses under the current regime.

 

Apart from the pre-war advocacy archives of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which is replete with robust verbosity against political excesses and abuses, the post-war Ellen Presidency unveils some of Liberia’s once appraised socio-political activists and human rights crusaders. Unfortunately, a mere one year in power has already showcased most of them as riding the same chariot of impunity driven by the leaders they stood to condemn a few years back. This scarring culture leaves us befuddled. That the advocates for change, now at the highest echelon of the Liberian political structure, have now become elements of resistance against the change they once summoned, is more troubling.

 

By far more troubling is the continuous disregard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights under this government, a virus that has spiraled from the second to the first branch of government, the National Legislature. Interestingly, to these violations and abuse of incumbency, government shows no evidence of a desire to correct the ills, instead, it is expected that "we move on" building a new Liberia on the same politically-rotten foundation as it was laid almost eight scores years ago. Nonetheless, since a detour from this crisis-nurturing form of governance is an inevitable alternative, we hence choose to champion a direct action of non-cooperation against this government that makes such pluralistic detour a possibility. Our direct action as detailed inter-alia scaffolds on constitutional lapses and heinous excesses in government as revealed below:

 

(1) First and foremost, the reluctance of the Liberian government to define a clear policy on the establishment of a hybrid criminal court for Liberia does not only create a suspicion of a clandestine cover-up for some government officials who may stand accused for  violation of international law, but equally deviates from principles of existing international protocols. Unfortunately, the Liberian government under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf pretends not to know that "International law imposes duties and liabilities upon individuals as well as upon states…to investigate war crimes and crimes   against humanity; and crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced…" Quite astonishingly, however, the proven fact that the TRC lacks the political will and ability to recommend prosecution for those bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes (it could not even summon the minimal political intuition to carry out its public statement taking) makes it a copy paper cat without claws.

 

Imagining the negative aftermath of such lapse, we hereby demand that the Liberian government define a clear approach for prosecuting alleged war criminals and violators of international humanitarian law. In so doing, government will do well to draw out a transparent strategy through which retributive and restorative justice for war victims and perpetrators can be achieved, a schedule of implementation must also accompany said approach.

 

In furtherance, it is important to note that the decision for the formation of a criminal court for Liberia is not a policy left to options, since the 2003 Accra Accord is clearly self-evident. After that historical Liberian assemblage in Accra-Ghana, a built-consensus for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for the way forward in Liberia was developed.

 

After that historical Liberian assemblage in Accra-Ghana, a built-consensus for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for the way forward in Liberia was developed.

 

Subsequently, on 10 June 2005, the Act to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia achieved approval by the National Transitional Legislative Assembly.

 

Moreover, leafing through said Act creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we come to understand that its obligation evolves around three significant elements:

Truth: establish the facts about violations of human rights that occurred in the past;

: establish the facts about violations of human rights that occurred in the past;

Justice: investigate past violations and prosecute the suspected perpetrators;

: investigate past violations and prosecute the suspected perpetrators; Reparation: provide full reparation to the victims and their families, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

 

As outlined in the second count above, if recommendations emanating from the TRC to prosecute individuals bearing the greatest responsibility will be executed, it must only be carried out within the context of a special court. In our view, this argument presents at least three optional mechanisms to the disposal of the Liberian government namely:

(a) Prosecute alleged war criminals in a mix-domestic court seeing that the Geneva Conventions and other additional protocols apply in the country under conventional international law;

(b) Seek to extend the mandate of the Special Court in Sierra Leone to prosecute those bearing the greatest responsibility for heinous crimes committed in Liberia. For those harboring cost considerations, those concerns would dissipate to a large degree by using this already established tribunal;

(C) prosecuting alleged war criminals at the International Criminal Court as provided for by the Rome Statue which insists upon the summon of international political will to establish accountability for serious human rights violations where local authorities appear reluctant or unwilling to define a mechanism of prosecution, et cetera.

 

Therefore, we are of the position that the government of the Republic of Liberia cannot shy away from the responsibility of defining a specific medium though which those bearing the greatest responsibility for the heinous crimes committed in Liberia will be given due process.

Truth: establish the facts about violations of human rights that occurred in the past;

: establish the facts about violations of human rights that occurred in the past;

Justice: investigate past violations and prosecute the suspected perpetrators;

: investigate past violations and prosecute the suspected perpetrators; Reparation: provide full reparation to the victims and their families, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

 

As outlined in the second count above, if recommendations emanating from the TRC to prosecute individuals bearing the greatest responsibility will be executed, it must only be carried out within the context of a special court. In our view, this argument presents at least three optional mechanisms to the disposal of the Liberian government namely:

(a) Prosecute alleged war criminals in a mix-domestic court seeing that the Geneva Conventions and other additional protocols apply in the country under conventional international law;

(b) Seek to extend the mandate of the Special Court in Sierra Leone to prosecute those bearing the greatest responsibility for heinous crimes committed in Liberia. For those harboring cost considerations, those concerns would dissipate to a large degree by using this already established tribunal;

(C) prosecuting alleged war criminals at the International Criminal Court as provided for by the Rome Statue which insists upon the summon of international political will to establish accountability for serious human rights violations where local authorities appear reluctant or unwilling to define a mechanism of prosecution, et cetera.

 

Therefore, we are of the position that the government of the Republic of Liberia cannot shy away from the responsibility of defining a specific medium though which those bearing the greatest responsibility for the heinous crimes committed in Liberia will be given due process.

 

(2) On December 3rd 2004, the United Nations Security Council during its 4925th Meeting, acting under chapter VII of the Charter, unanimously adopted resolution 1532 which called for the freezing of the assets of former president Charles Taylor, some of his family members and, associates.  According to the Security Council, resolution 1532 aims to prevent Mr. Taylor and his close allies from "using misappropriated funds and property to interfere in the restoration of peace in Liberia and the sub region". The measure also notes the Council’s concern that the actions of Mr. Taylor and his associates, particularly the depletion of Liberia’s resources and their removal from the country, were undermining the orderly development of its political, administrative and economic institutions and resources.  We hereby concord with resolution 1532 and believe the government of the Republic of Liberia has inherited the responsibility to implement same thereby freezing the assets of all individuals listed on the UN asset freeze list. We hereby call on the Government of Liberia to proceed with the freezing of the assets of those listed.

 

(3) Contrary to the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 2003,Part Four, Security Sector Reform,1b which called for the restructuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the government of Liberia, apparently ignoring the fundamental legislative act creating the AFL, hurriedly and Unconstitutionally dissolved that legislatively created institution without a re-visitation of the act creating it. From the plethora of experiences with the military in other countries, this ill-advised act, if not corrected, swells with the proclivity of projecting an unfavorable political weather in the near future. Consequently, we request a re-visitation of the process leading to the dissolution of the AFL consistent with law. Or else, the contrary clearly suggests a confusion in training a new army when, by law, the legislatively created Army still exists. On the other hand, should It be a government policy to dissolute the AFL consistent with law, we call on government to put in place the necessary mechanisms that will ensure that severance and other benefits merited by ex-service men and women of the AFL and other similar organizations be ensured in a timely manner..

 

(4) In flagrant disregard for the constitution of the Republic of Liberia( , President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on February 11, 2006, appointed a Nigerian General (Gen. Luka Yusuf) as Commanding officer-in-charge of the Armed Forces of Liberia. Such act on the part of the President does not only constitute a constitutional malfeasance but may undermine the territorial and political security of our nation-state owing to the foreign nationality of the Nigerian General. More so, even though the President has certain constitutional powers to nominate members of the military to positions of trust (Chapter VI-Executive, article 54), preferring a foreign national to such a national security post is not one of those constitutional rights of the President. Besides, General Luka Yusuf, a Nigerian in every sense, fails to meet the citizenship requirements laid down in Chapter IV-Citizenship, Article27a, b & c of the constitution of the Republic of Liberia. Of course, we accept that the President has the pleasure to appoint a foreign military expert as long as the individual’s term of reference is limited to an advisory role, and no further. To further this conversation, our rejection of General

 

Yusuf’s appointment anchors on several serious national security concerns:

(a) If General Yusuf were to commit an act worthy of punishment or discipline, would he be prosecutorial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)?

(a) What command structure, military wise, does General Yusuf subscribes to, UNMIL/GOL?

(c) Was General Yusuf ever commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces of Liberia?

(d) Were the territorial confines of Liberia to be transgressed by a regional country backed by the Nigerian Government, where would General Yusuf’s allegiance lie?

 

These critical national security issues, amongst other things, therefore obligate us to call for the immediate replacement of General Luka Yusuf with any competent Liberian national meeting the criteria for the job.

 

(5) On 4 August, personnel of the Special Security Services (SSS), Emmanuel Williams, was allegedly shot and killed by a colleague officer named Darlington Bleh in the premises of the Director of the service, Col. Chris Massaquoi. The Director and his deputy were also accused by many as being accomplices. Although the Minister of Justice had promised to investigate the incidence to establish the facts, no court action has been taken while suspects roam free with impunity. Considering the sanctity of human life and the respect for the rule of law, we call on the Liberian government to immediately prosecute (consistent with chapter 11 a, b and c of the Liberian constitution) in a court of competent jurisdiction, all those linked to the murder of Emmanuel Williams.

 

(6) Evidence in our possession affirms that on various occasions during the celebration period of the Christmas of December 2006, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf parceled and secretly distributed gifts to notable media institutions. These gifts of ‘Christmas cards’ wrapped-up in envelopes, were enticingly loaded with checks of US$500.00( approximately LD$28,000.00 ) per parcel, contrary to the financial policies governing public and private servants.

 

Such a surreptitious action carried out by the President under the camouflage of "Christmas gifts" runs diametrical to the national fight against corruption thereby encouraging "check-book journalism", and clearly constituting an act of corruption.

 

Not too long ago, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation, Mr. Harry Greaves, who likewise parceled gifts meant to influence credible members of the civil society, carried out similar action. Even though President Sirleaf chided Mr. Greaves and categorized his actions as "wrong", the repetition of the act by her office signals a dangerous trend that brings to question the sincerity of the anti-corruption campaign.

 

Besides, the presence of entrenched corruption in government creates the basis for inevitable sociopolitical crisis that threatens the health and survival of any state. Hence, the repetition of the ethical and legal transgression enumerated above establishes an evil pattern indulged by the Unity Party-led government to influence the media and civil society leaders to look the other way when bad practices are being incorporated into government.

 

Though President Sirleaf has admitted guilt and offered apologies at a press conference held at her office on 28 December 2006, we cannot continue to ignore the constitutional violations in these matters. Unlike the Harry Greaves scandal, which passed without a legal redress, we are determined to use the weight of the law to discourage acts of legal transgressions and abuse of incumbency in the public and private sectors. This is why the ongoing steps have become highly necessary.

 

(7) Similarly, in recent times, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe, claimed he had evidence of a bribery machination by certain elements in the first and second branches of government with plans to unseat him. During a press conference, Hon. Snowe claimed he had a recorded tape and other documentary evidence to substantiate the claim. According to the former Speaker, several members of the first branch of government were given US$5,000.00 each to unseat him, a claimed accompanied by an aired tape allegedly bearing the confessions of Hon. Kettehkuemuehn Murray. Much more, Hon. Saar Gborie, another member of the House of Representatives, and his colleague, had earlier on issued a press statement unraveling their involvement in the taking of bribes to unseat Hon. Snowe. We strongly believe, these bribery allegations, (the President Sirleaf media bribery and that of the House of Representatives) if not investigated, could undermine the essence of the anti-corruption campaign and constitute a callous disregard for the rule of law. Although the Forum for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia had submitted an earlier petition to Parliament for the impeachment of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for corruption (a petition that got embroiled in a legislative fray), no action was taken. In addition, from all indications, it is highly unlikely that a parliament muddied in alleged financial malfeasance will lend credence to investigating a presidential bribery scandal. We hence call for the setting up of an independent panel, compromising domestic and international experts, to investigate the bribery scandal at the House of Representatives and the office of President Sirleaf.

 

(8) According to a United Nation’s Panel finding, in the first nine months of 2006, the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation under Mr. Harry Greaves earned a profit of $3.4 million on revenue of $9.4 million, owing primarily to a reduction in work force and a robust increase of 17 per cent in the import of petroleum products. The Corporation’s board of Directors did not also fail to release their own report in Last November. It claimed in its third quarter financial report that the company had budgeted a net profit of US$3.0 million for the 12 months ending December 31, 2006. according to the Board, this includes a one-time extraordinary provision of US$1.5 million to pay for the cost of a major corporate restructuring to reduce the workforce by more than 400 (two-thirds of the full-time staff) and streamline the management structure. However, the U.N. report said in June 2006, LPRC entered into a one-year contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to buy 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The report stated, despite its name, LPRC is not in position to refine the crude oil. "Thus, in August 2006, LPRC sold the contract to Addax Ltd, the largest independent oil producer in Nigeria, at the rate of 14 cents a barrel." Unfortunately, besides the fact that such a US$0.5 million dollars worth-contract and price fixations were carried out by Mr. Greaves single-handedly without the acquiescence of the Board of the Corporation, it was concluded without any competitive bidding. In an apparent attempt to explain away the embarrassment, Mr. Greaves lied twice: at one point Mr. Greaves says "it was not possible to call for bids in such situations because of the lack of time…" at another time he contradicted himself when he said he did not seek a competitive bidding because "it was a sales contract, not concession…" Hence, with the ascending wave of corruption under the Sirleaf regime, not forgetting the US$7 million dollars shortfall in taxes and duties under Mr. Greaves, we call for:

(a) A comprehensive audit of the LPRC under Mr. Greaves

 

(b)The immediate dismissal and prosecution of Mr. Greaves for corruption. Such action is necessary owing to suspicion that Mr. Greaves may have entered into the coffers of the LPRC to support the Unity party’s by-election victory in Nimba County as he joined the party to "raise money and recruit the next generation." Furthermore, the fact that Mr. Greaves previously donated monies and several pickup trucks, including a donation to the Executive Mansion’s Ministry of State beautification project, headed by Madam Mary Broh, should call for a more investigative scrutiny of his tenure.

 

(9) Consistent with the constitution of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter V-Legislature, article 49, the resignation of Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe provided the lower House an alternative to move forward with the business of the Legislature as it was anticipated that his deputy would act as Speaker in his stead. As it is provided for in that part of our basic political document, the constitution, "the House of Representatives shall elect once every six years a Speaker…"thereby rendering any further attempt to seek the holding of a new speaker’s election diametrically opposed to the rule of law, an act constituting constitutional heinousness. In fact, in reference to the Supreme Court ruling in the case Snowe versus some Lawmakers meeting in Virginia, there is currently a prohibition and unconstitutionality associated with all activities and proceedings taking place at the Unity Conference Center. Subsequently, we hereby condemn the recent Legislative election held at the Unity Conference Center and disapprove the method that derived the Hon. Tyler leadership as Speaker of the House of Representatives. We hence call on the lower House to return to the constitution of the Republic of Liberia in resolving the vacancy created by the resignation of Hon. Snowe.

 

(10) In recent times, the then Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Willis Knuckles was unveiled in a pornographic photograph depicting an immoral sexual jamboree with two apparent lesbians. Hon. Knuckles, after the revelation, confessed as being the individual nakedly displayed in the portrait and offered apologies. Though he would resign later on, the Justice Minister termed hi actions as criminal, contrary to President Sirleaf’s utterance that Knuckles violated no law in the matter. Apparently enjoying executive shield from prosecution, no court action was taken despite the clear fact that the Knuckles threesome sexual nuisance violates Chapter 18.5 of the penal code. We hence believe government’s failure to prosecute Mr. Knuckles undermines the essence of the rule of law and further weakens our already ill-appreciated judicial system. Furthermore, amidst the avalanche of holy flags being hoisted against rape and the abuse of the Girl-child, the Knuckles prosecutorial defiance nullifies the fight. We therefore call for Mr. Knuckle’s immediate prosecution consistent with due process.

 

(11) We strongly commend the Unity Party led-government for steps being taken to prosecute all those the ECOWAS audit alleged committed theft or corruption under the NTGL and would hope that such an exercise extend to other institutions functioning during this time. Hence, as we appreciate this anti-corruption campaign, we are however disappointed by the unfolding pattern, which signals are becoming suggestive that the President Sirleaf anti-corruption drive appears focused only on selected elements of a previous transitional regime. Evidence abound in this scheme of things when, as former officials of the NTGL are being prosecuted for corruption, some senior officials of the Liberia National Police, the National Port Authority, the Ministry of lands, Mines and Energy were dismissed without prosecution. As government struggles in the deep mud of this national embarrassment, the office of President Sirleaf argues it has no evidence to prosecute some of the dismissed officials it paradoxically claimed were dismissed for evidence of corruption. In light of our understanding of the anti-corruption drive, such a caricature is a mockery to the fight against corruption and must be revisited. We consequently call on the Unity party-led government to prosecute all those former officials of government dismissed from service for alleged corruption. Such a step is not only a buttress to the anti-corruption campaign but will similarly provide an opportunity for accused officials to be given due process so that, should there be acquittals, they would have been given another opportunity to serve their country once again as per their discretion.

 

Therefore, let it be known this 15th day of April AD 2007 that the consortium of civil society organizations under the foregoing nomenclature, Alliance of Rights Groups for the promotion of Peace and Democracy in Liberia hereby declares a policy of non-cooperation with the Regime of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to include the 52nd House of Representatives for flagrant disregard for the rule of law and the constitution of the Republic of Liberia. We also wish to declare a non-violent movement during this time of our non-cooperation and non-compliance with the first and second branches of government. Further, in the direction of pursuing our desire for the rule of law at all times, we hereby announce the holding of incessant peaceful demonstrations, strike actions, protest marches and all other desirable actions consistent with law. The foregoing agenda is a national posture we shall continue to exert until the backbone of dictatorship and lawlessness is broken. Additionally, these actions will continue unabated until we are convinced that the above conditions as laid down in the 10 counts are reasonably addressed.

 

 

Signed:

Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr.

Chairman

Alliance of Rights groups for the promotion of Peace and democracy in Liberia/Forum for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia

_________________________

Noah Doyah

Chairman, Coalition for the Sustainability and Accountability of Democracy, Coalition for the Sustainability and Accountability of Democracy

_________________________

Alfred Togbah

Chairman, Movement for the Defense of the Downtrodden

Movement for the Defense of the Downtrodden

________________________

Cyrus Sambola

Chairman, National Youth Movement for Transparent Democracy

National Youth Movement for Transparent Democracy

 

________________________

Josephine Gibson

Chairlady, Women of Paynesville in Peace building Advocacy

Women of Paynesville in Peace building Advocacy

________________________

Sylvester S. Gamete

Chairman, Liberian anti-bribe civil brigade

Liberian anti-bribe civil brigade

 

_______________________

Mrs. Dorothy S. Yamento

Chairlady, Association of Liberians against corruption

, Association of Liberians against corruption

 

_______________________

Alexander S. Flomoyan

Secretary General, Vision Crusade against Corruption

Vision Crusade against Corruption

 

_______________________

James K. Forkpakollie

Chairman, Association of Evangelical Christians (AEC), Association of Evangelical Christians (AEC)

 

_______________________

Reekie Doe

Chairman, Liberia New Vision International.

Liberia New Vision International.

 

_______________________

Bamidele Shomlin

Chairman, Union of Grassroots Organizations of Liberia

Union of Grassroots Organizations of Liberia

 

_______________________

James Kolleh

Chairman, National veterans Movement of Liberia

National veterans Movement of Liberia

________________________

Gormah Kolleh

Chairlady, Liberia Indigenous United for Development

Liberia Indigenous United for Development

Press Release - United Nations World Aids Day

A WORLD AIDS DAY EVENT WITH SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN,
PETER PIOT OF UNAIDS AND JOAN HOLMES OF THE HUNGER PROJECT

On Thursday, November 30, 2006, in New York City, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Joan Holmes, President of The Hunger Project and Lynn Murchison representing people living with AIDS will commemorate World AIDS Day.

Twenty five years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the world is still not on track to halt the spread of a disease that is easily preventable, and a disease which has ravaged millions of lives. Since 1981, when the first clinical evidence of what would later be known as AIDS was identified, over 25 million men, women and children have died of AIDS.  The virus has ravaged families, communities, nations and continents.

Today, over 40 million people are infected with the virus. And, a growing number of those infected are women.  As the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said “AIDS has a woman’s face.”   

This event will serve as a rallying point to educate and mobilize individuals from all walks of life to take action to halt the spread of this epidemic. 

The World AIDS Day event will be held at St. Bartholomew's, Park Avenue at 51st Street in New York City on Thursday evening, November 30, 2006.  The event will start promptly at 6:30pm and will be followed by a reception from 8-8:30pm.  For security reasons, attendees are requested to arrive by 6:20pm.

In addition to the confirmed speakers—Kofi Annan, Peter Piot, and Joan Holmes, a representative of the movement of people living with HIV/AIDS will also speak.  The Swaziland Redemption Choir will perform as part of their AIDS benefit tour.

The event is open to the public at no charge and is co-sponsored by St. Bartholomew's Church, UNAIDS, The Hunger Project, the Population Council, Engender Health, the World Council of Churches, the World Council of Conservative Synagogues, the Islamic Cultural Center of NYC, and the Interfaith Center of New York.

More details about the event are available at www.aidsdaynyc.org.

All media are requested to RSVP.  Please RSVP via email to [email protected] or [email protected].

Press Release - Ellen receives Leadership Prize

Media Contact: Anastasia Andrzejewski
Telephone: +1 212-251-9129
[email protected]

 

AFRICA’S FIRST ELECTED WOMAN PRESIDENT RECEIVED
2006 AFRICA PRIZE FOR LEADERSHIP

 On October 21, 2006, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and the first woman elected president of an African nation, received the 2006 Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger. 

The Hunger Project is an international NGO that works in partnership with people in more than 10,000 villages across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin to sustainably end their own hunger.  The Hunger Project awards the Africa Prize—which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for Africa”—to recognize and acknowledge African leaders—from heads of state to the grassroots—who exhibit remarkable courage, vision and commitment to the well-being of Africa ’s people. Previous laureates include Nelson Mandela, Wangari Maathai, and Graça Machel.  The Prize was first awarded in 1987.

Upon accepting the 2006 Prize, President Sirleaf said she did so “on behalf of the women of Liberia , Africa and world who, in their just and determined struggle, are striving to play more prominent roles in making decisions that affect their lives.”  She expressed a specific commitment to “the thousands of market women of Liberia who made great sacrifices to feed and nurture our nation during its fourteen-year war, and continue to do so as we transition from conflict to peace.” Sirleaf will direct the Africa Prize’s cash award to improving the lives of Liberia ’s market women.

She went on to say that “In many parts of the world, women remain virtually excluded from leadership and decision making as their tireless efforts to gain access to resources and opportunities continue to be undermined by the reluctance of their societies to pursue and commit to gender equality.”

In her keynote address, Joan Holmes, President of The Hunger Project read from a letter written in the future, on a date yet to be determined, by a great-grandmother on the occasion of the birth of her great-granddaughter.  The great-grandmother’s letter read: “I write a history to let you know that the lives of girls and women are worthy of being recorded.”  The letter goes on to say that “In the latter half of the 20th century, every country in Africa had attained independence…but while the African countries were liberated, we girls and women were not. And for years and years we lived oppressed and constricted lives.”

More than 1,200 women and men from 25 countries spanning six continents attended the award ceremony at the New York Hilton Hotel. Dignitaries who attended include Wangari Maathai, 1991 Africa Prize and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Ann Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF; Speciosa Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Alexander Cummings, CEO, Coca-Cola Africa; UNIFEM’s founder, Margaret Snyder and Grammy-nominated musician Angelique Kidjo. Ambassadors and leadership from the United Nations, media, the international development sector and the international business community also attended.

For more information about the Africa Prize and to read President Sirleaf's acceptance speech and Joan Holmes' keynote address visit www.africaprize.org. For more information about The Hunger Project visit www.thp.org.

High-resolution photos and video feed from the event are available for media use. Please contact Anastasia Andrzejewski at [email protected] with any inquiries

 

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