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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s TRC letter is a cover to protect her from prosecution for financing the Liberian civil war

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh          ellen j sirleaf

 

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf finally released her ecumenical letter (or what seems to be one) to the Liberian Legislature recently, in response to the longtime ruling of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which ‘indicted’ her for her participation in the 14-year Liberian civil war.

As a person who once set her imaginary eyes on the Liberian presidency that it beclouded her judgment, Madame Sirleaf thrived inflexibly as a fundraiser/financier of the deadly civil war, even as her people perished from her decision.

For her involvement, a key TRC ruling barred Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from engaging in Liberian politics for a 30-year period, which Madame Sirleaf, who was already in her first presidential term refused to accept.

In Ellen’s narrow world, she answers not to the Liberian people; but to herself, and continues to stubbornly do things her way, as long she is President of Liberia.

For a president who touts her government as a ‘model of democracy’ on the African continent, one would think an overwhelming decision by the TRC that enhances democracy and the rule of law would be embraced.

Not so!

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf threw the blunt ruling of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) under the rug, and created an atmosphere of unspeakable boldness and mind-boggling lawlessness that exempted her and every warlord from trial and prosecution.

At the end of the day, many of the former warlords whose blood-dripping hands terrorized the Liberian people and destroyed the country (with President Sirleaf’s blessings), found the courage to run for elected office as if it is normal for these unrepentant monsters to be lawmakers and presidential candidates.

As elected lawmakers, the killers wields incredible power and have access to the legislative pulpit that covers up their past and legitimizes them as legislators, even as they painfully gave their president an unlimited pass to govern the nation in her own image, and as she so desired.

This protects them from prosecution, protects her politically, and also protects her from prosecution.

No wonder the Liberian legislature has been neglectful in their oversight duties as Liberia continues to fall apart before our eyes.

Who ever said there was a magical solution that wipes away the painful and unforgettable memories of that heinous civil war?

There could have been one if genuine efforts were made from the onset for genuine reconciliation and closure to take hold, but the imperially arrogant president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, continually ignored the pains and suffering of the Liberian people.

Instead, she pursued her selfish, grandiose and naked political ambitions at their expense, and moved with full speed in her absolute quest to run for the Liberian presidency.

Now Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s too little, too late epiphanic gesture focuses on restorative justice; a calculative move that advocates no punishment for the violators; but an apology and dialogue between the victims and their offenders.

The restorative justice setup also advocates community service, offenders returning whatever money they stole from their victims and the state, and taking responsibility for their actions.

Who decides such punishment, anyway?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the sitting president who is accused of allegedly funneling money to the warlords to support a war that killed her fellow countrymen and women?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is not a credible voice on anything, let alone a lecture to put on trial, to punish or not punish those criminals (including Ellen), who violently disrupted the lives of the Liberian people and the Liberian nation.

That is because she is a party to the chaos and violence that killed hundreds of thousands of Liberians, displaced hundreds of thousands more, and destroyed a country.

Don’t take my words for it.

Read Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu’s 2005 “An open letter to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,” which sums it up in the excerpt below.

“Let me not forget the $50,000.00 contribution that you passed through Mr. Allen Brown Sr. who was then running an insurance business in the Ivory Coast. You had earmarked the money to specifically buy rice for the fighting men and it was done. Another $150.000 was contributed by some of your friends and delivered to Dew Mayson, Ethelbert Cooper and Emmanuel Shaw to be forwarded to the NPFL. If you recall, those bad boys ate the money and we were only able to recover $75,000.00 of it six months later. Needless to mention your other undocumented financial and personal contributions made before and during the wars. The trip to Paris by you and me to meet with Charles Taylor must have cost you a pretty penny. Several trips you made to the Liberian boarder to meet with Taylor and the fighting men should add up to a substantial sum.”

“Monies you gave Taylor in Paris and on each of the trips you made to the frontline should also be far substantial. A conservative estimate of your contribution to the NPFL should be about half of million United States dollar. How you managed to reduced that to $10,000.00 is perhaps one of you “stupid comments,” but I hope that this letter clears it up for the public,” Woewiyu added this in what he dubs “Your Financial Contributions to the War Efforts.”

Most people will agree that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s TRC letter is a political gimmick. It is a stunt to protect her image, to protect her from going to trial and jail, to protect her legacy, and to protect her post-presidency.

Since the Liberian legislators are so weak and boneless and are in the president’s pocketbook, and since some are former warlords who will not be neutral and independent to take any action, it is useless to look up to them to ask Madame Sirleaf to appear before them.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is not a credible partner.

The Liberian people need an independent and neutral War Crimes Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: Editorial, News Headlines

About the Author: Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh is author, editor and publisher, www.theliberiandialogue.org - The Liberian Dialogue 770-896-5873

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