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EDITORIAL: Release Lofa Violence Report

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Today, March 26 makes it exactly one month since the violence, which occasioned the deaths of four innocent Liberians and destruction of churches, mosques, schools and other forms of vandalism in Voinjama, Lofa County.

In consonance with the foregoing, our attention has been drawn to the delays by the Government of Liberia in releasing to the Liberian public, findings presented to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf by the Presidential mission headed by Justice Minister Christiana Tah, as well as the Inter-Religious Council and Legislative delegation to Lofa County.

While we may be interested in the results of other fact-finding missions, our concern focuses on those officially received by the Government of Liberia, through the President or her proxy.

Very worrisome for us, are the consequences of the prolonged delays by the President to release these findings to the public. One of such fears we are harboring is the demonstration today by a group under the banner of the Concerned Christian Community. More than two weeks since the various submissions on the violence, there’s been no reasons or whatsoever given by the Executive Mansion for such delays.

The conspicuous silence by the Executive Mansion seems to be establishing a state of confusion in the minds of many Liberians like us, who are very curious to know the genesis of what actually transpired in Lofa.

Delays are dangerous. They create situations wherein the people are allowed the opportunity to speculate, assume or conclude on issues, such as the present Lofa situation. One month following the violence which resulted to deaths, wanton destructions and looting, no one seems to understand just anything from the government.

At the moment, the general belief in certain quarters, most especially the various Lofa communities in Liberia, is that the delays may be due to President Sirleaf’s fear of losing support for her second term bid in 2011, if she publicly made the findings known as they were presented to her by the various missions.

While we are cognizant of the fact that the President may be engaged in legal consultations on the matter, we do believe that her strength this time, must be in her ability to make a very firm decision not only to pacify one group of individuals because of political support, but to foster peace and reconciliation among all Liberians, including the aggrieved parties in the Lofa violence.

In restoring this hope, we still challenge the Government of Liberia to exert itself in dealing drastically with those who instigated and perpetrated the violence from Kornia to Voinjama. Those guilty and their leaders, as well as groups to which they belong, must be made to pay for what they destroyed or looted.

We do sincerely believe that when this is done, those who always harbor the belief that they can instigate spear-head and perpetrate violence and go with impunity will always be reminded that violence is never the solution to any problem.

We do still believe that the delays are sending bad signals to Lofa, Bong, Nimba, and Montserrado and other Counties about the Liberian Presidency, considering its handling of previous investigations.

And if  this Liberian Presidency must be taken seriously, it must present to the Liberian people nothing but the facts on the Lofa violence, “calling spade, a spade,” to prevent recurrence of another February 26, not only in Lofa, but elsewhere.

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