By Emmanuel Abalo (September 12th 2005)
"...The current challenges of the local disregard for rule of law, graft and corruption, coupled with international terrorism loom threateningly before the struggling nation and must be tackled head-on. This will presuppose that the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government undergo a true “catharsis and sanitization“ and empowerment for purposes relevance and functionality.…..”
The Liberian Presidential and Legislative elections slated for October,
represent a major achievement and progress towards national and
stability for a country brought to its knees by fourteen years of
factional and ethnic violence.
However, this attempt at a national transformation from a culture of
impunity, hopelessness and corruption may disintegrate quite easily if
certain mechanisms are not implemented by Liberians themselves with the
of the international community. Thematically, the following reforms
form the bedrock for progress:
Preventing and ending conflicts nationally and regionally,
Ensuring economic development and reducing poverty and ensuring the
Transparency and integrity at all levels of the Government of Liberia.
And so with cautious optimism, we recommend a drastic and intrusive
and implementation of the academic, judicial, economic and social
with a view to maximizing available human and material resources for
common and general benefit of the people and reasonable integrity of
Another recommendation is for a persuasive and credible national
to garner the commitment and support of all sectors of the Liberian
for the rebuilding of institutions and infrastructures necessary for
sustenance and functionality of government. In this regard, we
that the University of Liberia and other national higher institutions
learning be partnered with, academically strengthened and spared no
to ensure a sustained production of trained manpower to sustain these
institutions and programs. If this means, “importing” foreign
and scholars, at a price, to supplement the University and community
colleges’ faculties then perhaps it’s a good investment.
As a matter of
statistical fact, the greatest number of Liberians that ever had access
some form of formal education benefited during the late 1970’s - 1990.
trend must be regenerated Of Course there were several factors
including the desire of the ordinary Liberian to “know book” amidst
challenges and ensure a better future.
The current challenges of the local disregard for rule of law, graft
corruption, coupled with international terrorism loom threateningly
the struggling nation and must be tackled head-on. This will presuppose
the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government undergo a
true “catharsis and sanitization“ and empowerment for purposes relevance and
functionality. Without doubt, the conflict between the image of
since independence and Liberian values remains complicated and must be
This can be accomplished partly when government
institutionalizes the rule of law which protects individual rights and
freedoms guaranteed in the Liberian constitution.
The new government must review international treaties and protocols to
it is a signatory with a view to positioning itself to compete and
from programs and partnerships that lend to the transition from a
state to that of a trusted and progressive nation. For example, I urge
new government to invite the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and
Interpol to open and maintain field offices in the country as a way of
demonstrating its commitment to the fight against modern day
terrorism and drug trafficking in the region.
Additional long term issues such as decentralization of government
functions, fiscal reforms and accountability must command immediate
attention. What about a consideration of a reputable , international
accounting outfit recommended by the European Union (EU) being
detailed to the Finance Ministry, General Auditing Office and the
As for security, the AU and ECOWAS could be requested to second long
military advisors and liaisons as the country is still vulnerable on
There are also issues of citizenship, constitutional reforms and the
re-integration of ex-combatants which must be addressed sooner than
order to spur the economy.
Finally, there has to be a national and international engagement of “rejectionists” of the results of the elections who may want to
the gains made so far. Remember, some of these “rejectionists” lost the
power to threaten and harm others, influence and access to government
resources and money to supplement their lifestyles. Ignoring such
rejectionists could potentially precipitate the genesis of future
This expose is not to suggest that national elections is a panacea but
small, vital and necessary step to rethinking, reforming and rebirthing
About the author:
The author, Emmanuel Abalo, is an exiled Liberian journalist , media and human rights activist. He served as a former News Director of the erstwhile Catholic owned ELCM Community Radio and later with the Liberian Broadcasting System (ELBC). He is the former Acting President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL). Mr. Abalo presently resides in Pennsylvania, USA and works as an analyst with CITIGROUP, North America.