The New Dawn newspaper reports (The New Dawn, October 11, 2013) that the Chairman of the opposition political party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), “has declared that Ambassador George Weah, who now heads the Peace & Reconciliation Commission in this (Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf) government, must resign” his position as leader and head of the CDC.
According to the New Dawn, Mr. George Solo, Chairman of the CDC, emphasized the need and argued for the resignation of Mr. George Weah as the most Senior Party Leader, on the following grounds that:
1. “The Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-led administration (government) has failed to prioritize peace & reconciliation . . .”.
2. “The government was fully practicing elitism, nepotism and rampant corruption”.
3. And that in the event that the Political Leader of the opposition, CDC, “continues to serve in such a capacity (as Peace & Reconciliation Commission in such government), it would create the impression that the party (CDC) was (or is) in support of the bad form of governance . . . displayed by Madam Sirleaf and her officials”. Therefore, the CDC Chairman holds that Ambassador George Weah must resign his position as leader of a loyal opposition, dedicated to checkmate undesirable activities of the ruling political party, while cooperating in those found to be beneficial, generally, to the nation and people.
In his remarks at a major gathering of government officials on GOL achievements thus far, highlighted by a press conference by the GOL spokesperson, the minister of information (New Democrat, June 27, 2013), Mr. George Weah, Peace Ambassador and Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee held that “my part as Liberian is to promote peace through foot ball; without peace civilization will not exist, with peace, there is stability, there is growth. So, I went around the world, because peace cannot be achieved alone; I cannot do it alone. To maintain peace in Liberia, we, as Liberians, must promote it; so I went away to bring the world’s stars together to come to Liberia”.
On the year-after-year failures of our effort at national reconciliation, I held (Perennial Failures of National Reconciliation: Some Thoughts, New Democrat, February 11, 2013) that:
“Reconciliation . . . is a process designed to “settle a quarrel, a difference” with someone(s), arising from wrongful acts, after estrangement due to such acts; a re-establishment of friendly relations by and between two or more individuals after a period of intense, unfriendly and, sometimes, deadly, antagonistic encounters . . . Like the famous, South American dance, tango, (“takes two to tango”) takes two to be successful; that is, that it takes the coming together of the victim(s) of the wrongful acts, on the one hand, and the confessed, remorseful, guilty ones of the wrongful acts, on the other”.
“In the context (and case) of the Liberian, political community that experienced an illegal, armed conflict in which hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens were brutally tortured, maimed, raped and summarily executed, the families of the dead, loved ones, the living victims of this cruel adventure and the confessed, remorseful, guilty perpetrators come together, under the auspices of the national government to “settle the quarrel and re-establish friendly relations” – peaceful co-existence, mutual understanding, respect and cooperation – or national reconciliation. This is done AFTER, NOT BEFORE, reasonable, dedicated and diligent institutional reforms, the socio-economic well-being of the citizens, including application of the modern, Transitional Justice approach – the process from systematic abuse of civil/political rights and post-conflict transition to democracy – designed for even-handed investigations, arrests, free, fair and open trials, conviction and punishment of human rights violators, with amnesties granted to deserving violators, as well as remedy to and satisfaction of the living victims and families of loved ones victimized during the war. As such, reconciliation is a final or end-process”.
“However, this approach to reconciliation has not been, and is not being, applied. This is the reason, among many others, for the repetitive failures of National Reconciliation. Beginning . . . with Taylor’s “jungle justice”, Bryant’s Transitional Administration, dominated by factional rebels and the doctrine of “spoils of war” entitlements; and now, the Johnson-Sirleaf’s two-term watch in its final endeavor, but still with “no show”, while the “beat still goes on”. As a matter of fact, there is, already, an ethnic/tribal tug-of-war between some Liberia-based and some Diaspora-based Liberians about an ethnic/tribal group being left out or excluded from membership of the recently-appointed, Mr. George Weah’s Reconciliation Committee that has been awarded, reportedly, a US $5 million sleaze for operations. Another bottomless pit?”
Now, the foot ball (Soccer) legend/super-star says that he has recruited, world soccer stars for games of national peace & reconciliation. We are not impressed, but deeply troubled.
For, a game of soccer or any such sports/athletic event is a momentary feel-good, quick-fix; a trance or dream from which one is usually awakened to face the demands of the real world which, in our case, are – economic deprivation, loss of loved ones occasioned by wrongful acts committed by fellow citizens in a brutal, uncivil war which resulted into poverty, decease, hopelessness, etc., but now seeks reconciliation, healing of the wounds inflicted, economic remedy, peace, justice, security, mutual respect, dignity, co-existence.
Moreover, Mr. Simeon Freeman of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), regards (“Peace Plan a Sham, New Democrat, June 24, 2013) Ambassador Weah’s peace & the reconciliation initiative as a sham and “waste of resources”, and that “. . . sources say that Weah’s peace initiative is a US $5 million project, but Weah has reportedly been given US $250,000 as the initial amount to run the project from his house. Peace is not an event; neither can it be instituted through soccer in this country”.