President-elect Weah is between the rock and the hard place where his constitutional and legal experience will be put to the test for the first time regarding his tactical and strategic approach to the inner ramifications and dynamics of the TRC’s report that was willfully shelved by the outgoing President Sirleaf 8-years ago, in 2010.
The Liberia Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) is like an unsuccessful grenade that was left in a war zone to explode prematurely. The actors of the 16-years brutal Liberian civil wars are always uneasy when the TRC issue is addressed in Liberian political circles. The TRC’s report initially reveals that the outgoing President Sirleaf should have been barred from holding public office for 30-years. But the Liberian Supreme Court later uttered that section of the TRC’s report, thus paving the way for the outgoing president Sirleaf to have served her presidential tenure unhindered for 12-years.
The action on the part of the Liberian Supreme Court sends a wrong signal that the entire TRC report was dissolved which was on the contrary. Political pundits believe that the Supreme Court action was politically motivated with the sole intent to put President Sirleaf’s through the safety net above other war crime actors. But the Lawmakers could easily vote to overrule the Supreme Court’s decision to get the outgoing President Sirleaf back into the TRC ‘s fray. If that happens, the outgoing president Sirleaf’s 12-years’ tenure as president of the Republic of Liberia could easily be jeopardized, which is politically not attainable.
But the question that arises: Can the President-elect Weah enforce the TRC’s report after his inauguration comes Monday, Jan 22nd, 2018 by presenting the report to the Liberian Lawmakers for immediate enactment into law? This question puts President-elect Weah between the rock and the hard place. First, President-elect Weah had earlier mortgaged his birthright to the outgoing President Sirleaf by pledging to follow her footsteps and builds on her foundation which would eventually lead to the effective downsizing of the CDC’s platform, which could possibly make President-elect Weah very vulnerable to manipulation by the outgoing President Sirleaf. Second, the House of Representatives and the Senate are infested with dangerous war perpetrators, war fanciers, war spokespersons, and actors. Senator Prince Yormie Johnson is one suitable candidate within the reach of the TRC report.
The Senator could easily vandalize President-elect Weah’s political career if he (President-elect Weah) dares revisit the TRC report because it could possibly entrap the Senator who have invested a considerable political generosity in President-elect Weah’s momentous political victory. Third, the TRC is within a striking distance to implicate the CDC’s vice President-elect Jowel Taylor and the 16000 ex-rebel fighters who are roaming Monrovia and part adjacent in such of a chaotic political eruption in Liberia. Though the ex-rebel fighters may be under the influence and political leadership of VP elects Jowel Taylor, they have the potential to undermine the CDC’s base and eventually crush the President-elect Weah if he gives the TRC’s report the needed oxygen to bite.
The flipside of this long-running political debate focuses on the roles of the International community, Human right institutions, and the War Crime Tribunal as well. There are legitimate concerns that these International bodies will continue to perceive Liberia as a potential security risk with some highly corrupt government officials visibly seen in successive governments with the Weah’s government being no exception.
The International community could easily classify Liberia as one of the most dangerous places in West Africa because Liberia is literally infested with active Warlords and the 16000 ex-rebel fighters who are roaming Liberia actively with immense and unquestionable impunity. The dangerous precedence of not punishing warlords, ex-rebel fighters including their financiers can undermine the national and international security of Liberia, especially when the external and internal security sectors of Liberia are potentially fragile by all standards.
If the president-elect Weah’s fails to enforce the TRC’s reports, it could possibly trekker a severe donor fatigue and the withholding of funds for the development of Liberia by the International community. To maintain the ongoing peace in Liberia, the president-elect Weah will need to adopt the outgoing president Sirleaf’s peace strategy that is to keep rewarding Warlords with taxpayers’ money, as well as pacified the 16000 ex-rebel fighters by allowing them to walk freely with ordinary civilians after they have murdered over 150000 innocent lives in cold blood. All eyes are set on the President-elect Weah after Monday, January 22nd, 2018’s official inauguration as to whether he will have the guts to implement the TRC’s report to its fullest.
The TRC’s mandate is to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation” by investigating more than 20 years of civil conflict in the country and to report on gross human rights violations that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and 14 October 2003. Violations” are defined as violations of international human rights standards, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and any breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a Parliament-enacted institution birthed in May 2005 under Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia who served from 14 October 2003 to 16 January 2006. Interestingly, the Commission worked throughout the first mandate of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after her election as President of Liberia in November 2005. The Liberian TRC came to a conclusion in 2010, filing a final report and recommending relevant actions by national authorities to ensure responsibility and reparations.