Liberia Must Be thoroughly Disarmed
Counsellor Frederick A.B. Jayweh, LL.M
...Liberians everywhere need to be concerned and must carefully reflect more on the clear and unequivocal history of disarming warring factions in Liberia.
When a Liberian residing outside of the Republic of Liberia reads the political, economic and social news on Liberia, especially so the news pertaining to and respecting the disarming of the principal warring parties to the unprincipled and reckless civil conflict in Liberia, it is tempting for him/her not to indicate and conclude that at last, lasting peace, national security, the respect for human rights and the rule of law have arrived and are being sustained in Liberia, and therefore, the time has come for me, as well as all other Liberians living in foreign parts to pack their bags and return to Liberia and proceed to make the necessary and appropriate contributions that we, as Liberians are all obligated and responsible to make to restore Liberia to national and international respect and status. But, has the Republic of Liberia been thoroughly and comprehensively disarmed, and can Liberians entrust their lives, peace and security into the hands of the Rebel-led transitional government currently operating in Liberia?
Nonetheless, a critical review and examination of the Liberian civil conflicts and specifically so knowing the reality on the ground in Liberia relative to the disarmament and its actual enforcement, would no doubt compel every Liberian living out of Liberia to highlight and raise the foregoing questions:
(1) Has true and realistic security and stability return to the Republic of Liberia?
(2) Can it be considered by international standard and interpretation that sustainable peace and security has returned to the Republic of Liberia, and as such, it has become necessary and compelling for Liberians living abroad to pack themselves and their immediatel relatives and be ready to fly out of where they are currently residing and immediately return to Liberia?
And lastly, have and are the so-called warring factions and their child soldiers been fully and thoroughly disarmed in order to guarantee the actual and realistic return of Liberians to the Republic of Liberia, and thereat and forthwith begin to restart the engines of their individual and collective lives? Or to sum up and simply restate the foregoing questions in another faction, are ONLY the illiterate and less administrative-minded, and less capacitated to demand jobs before-peace-can-come armies of the warring factions being compelled to disarm and surrender their guns over to the United Nations and certainly not their masters who have recently been transformed and converted from trained killers to statesmen, ministers and congressmen?
Wait a minute, do not get me wrong, and left alone, please do not conclude and adjudge me guilty of not being appreciative and welcoming of the hard and impressive work that perhaps the Economic Community of West Africa States, (ECOWAS) and the United Nations, (UN) have done and are sacrifcally and respectively doing for Liberians and the Republic of Liberia. No, nothing like that or such illusion can be found in my thinking and reasoning. By the way, being a Liberian and currently residing outside of the Republic of Liberia and having keenly reviewed and assessed the credibility and functionality of the present officials and authority of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, I cannot help, but to reflect that I as well as all Liberians are duty-bound and compelled to salute and praise the UN and our international partners for selflessly and devotedly committing their time and energy to ensure the peace process in Liberia. But howbeit and no matter how contented Liberians might seem and be, the writings regarding how disarmament has been conducted and concluded in Liberia are still vividly and clearly reflecting on the walls of the Republic of Liberia. Therefore, it remains my view and contention that if Liberia is expected to become secure, stable and peaceful after the United Nations Mission in Liberia shall have conclusively ended its duties and functions in Liberia and departed, then and in that in case, disarmament in Liberia must be thorough, comprehensive and complete. That means that the local communities must have a saying in whether disarmament was thorough, comprehensive and complete in Liberia or not.
Notwithstanding and irrespective of the foregoing, Liberians everywhere need to be concerned and must carefully reflect more on the clear and unequivocal history of disarming warring factions in Liberia. Just to mention, Liberia, according to the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, before the specially conducted congressional and presidential elections in Liberia in 1997, Liberians and the international community, exclusively led by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS were informed and impressed to believe and conclude that before those elections, the Republic of Liberia had completely and thoroughly been disarmed. That Liberians and Liberia were ready to live in total and absolute peace and stability. But the war of September 18, 1998 and other wars thereafter constitute and remain representative of a clear case of misrepresentation and disinformation by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
To begin with, if the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS before 1997 were to tell the world the truth relative to whether disarmament in Liberia had been thorough, comprehensive and complete, or that it was impossible to hold elections in Liberia because factional authorities and criminals turned statesmen were still holding to their arms in homes and private palaces, then and by such representation, Liberia would not have needed to have the United Nations today in Liberia and performing disarmament. Left alone, had disarmament truly been thorough, comprehensive and complete in Liberia prior to the 1997 presidential and general elections, the Charles Taylor-led government and rebel-minded men like, Rebel Sekou Conneh and his associates, Rebel Thomas Yaya Nimely and his criminal disciples would not have been anywhere in Liberia. Then and in that case, the present and past war criminals and their praise singers would not have been known and referred to today in Liberia as leaders, and they would not have attained the high and false honors that they have today assumed. So because the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS failed to thoroughly and completely disarmed the warring parties in Liberia, but instead consciously and knowingly misrepresented to the world that Liberia was thoroughly and fully disarmed, this is why criminals are today operating in Liberia, and left alone, human rights violators and seasoned killers like George Dweh are today unconstitutionally and blindly assuming executive role by giving orders to his killers as to who can leave Liberia and who cannot.
So then, if Liberia must be thoroughly and comprehensively disarmed to guarantee international peace and security, what then must the United Nation Mission in Liberia do to ensure and secure this international peace and security? To guarantee international peace and stability in Liberia, and perhaps in West Africa, the United Nations Mission Liberia must do and make sure that the following happen:
- Concomitantly and comprehensively, the United Nations Mission in Liberia, must disarmed the soldiers of the warring factions and all their leaders in and out of government.
- Concomitantly and comprehensively, the United Nations Mission in Liberia must without any prior notice thoroughly and completely search for and disarm the private homes and farms of leaders of the warring factions.
- Absolutely and without any precondition, the United Nations Mission in Liberia must work with non-political and independent community leaders of the Liberia to assist in locating hidden arms kept undergrounds and in private places.
- Specifically and without any exemption, the United Nations
Mission in Liberia must go into and search the private homes of the former and present Taylor government-led officials and party head offices and search and collect therefrom hidden arms that might be reserved thereat to be use later after the UN shall have left Liberia.
- Completely and comprehensively, foot soldiers and county authorities in Liberia must be fully disarmed.
- Thoroughly and comprehensively, the major forests of the Republic of Liberia must be disarmed.
- Fully and completely, the business associates and supporters of the Taylor-led government and the present warring criminals must be disarmed.
- Absolutely and Completely the National Port Authority of Liberia must be searched and disarmed.
And lastly, to secure and ensure international peace and security in Liberia and West Africa, business warehouses and private governmental buildings and basements, as well as so-called private farms of present and past government officials must be searched and made absolutely arm free.
HE WHO HAS EARS LET HIM HEAR! May God continue to bless Liberia and forever eject from our country criminal and evil-minded men.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Counselor-At-Law, Frederick A.B. Jayweh worked as a Human Rights Lawyer in Liberia, he is a member of the Liberian National Bar Association, former Executive Director of Civil Rights Association of Liberian Lawyers, Inc., and an LL.M graduate of University of Denver College of Law, and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. Counselor Jayweh can be reached at: 303-884-2653 and firstname.lastname@example.org
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