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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 11:40 GMT
What can solve Liberia's problems?
Last week Liberian President Charles Taylor declared a state of emergency after LURD rebels (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) attacked Klay, some 35km (22 miles) from the capital, Monrovia.
Defence Minister Daniel Chea has said the government army is fighting an unfair war because of an international ban on selling weapons to the Liberian Government.
Forces loyal to President Taylor have been fighting rebel factions in the north of the country since 1999.
Does LURD have Charles Taylor on the run? Is LURD an acceptable alternative to the Taylor regime? What solution do you have for Liberia's current problems?
This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.
After many years of war, warlords in Liberia should realise that there are no winners in civil wars. If they really have their nation at heart as they claim, they shouldn't destroy it. Rather, they should help rebuild their war-ravaged country and deepen democracy in Liberia. After Taylor's term is over, the decision of the majority will show who governs the country. War, truly, is a monster that devours its own people.
We, Liberians have seen many fake and self-seeking liberators and the LURD is one of them. I'm simply saying that the ballot box is the solution.
What is wrong with Taylor? He has failed and should just step down!
Sam Oling, Canada
Amongst Africa's current heads of state, Charles Taylor is the one that commands my respect most! He has survived against many odds. Hostile western powers tried to impose sanctions on his country for supporting the rebels in Sierra Leone but they didn't succeed in cowering him. All former rebel leaders have at one moment or the other tried to topple him but all have failed. Taylor came from the bush and knows what it's like to live in danger. So what's going on currently, is child's play in relation to what he has been through in the past. He's not quitting just yet! Be prepared to see another decade of Taylor - the civilian general!
We Liberians need to see ourselves as one people and respect our differences. It is up to us to bring about change in our society and laws. We sit by the wayside and complain about LURD and the government...what are we doing to make Liberia better? Ask youself that before we start blaming LURD and the government. Long live Liberia as the struggle continues.
War is not the solution to Liberia's problem. If the so-called LURD think that they are better than Charles Taylor, they should transform their war campaign into a political campaign. President Taylor was elected and we have been through his regime for almost 5 years now. If LURD think that they will do better than President Taylor, they should face the ballot box.
So President Taylor is being ill advised in many respects, starting from the inception of his rule when he vehemently opposed assistance from the international community for his government. A free and fair election in the year 2003 is the way out for Liberia. Another issue will be the willingness of that government to be transparent and put the interest of Liberia and Liberians first. For now, war is a non-starter. It will only breed another war.
I do agree that Mr. Taylor has failed the people of Liberia and has brought embarrassment to his many supporters. I also believe that Liberia needs a change in the right direction with an elected president that has credibility and international recognition. However, another group of greedy and selfish people calling themselves "LURD" is not the solution. It is the same taxi with different driver.
Charles Taylor has made the Liberian presidency a throne from he rules absolutely. While the man was in fact elected, anyone who believes the 1997 election resembled a "level playing field" simply was not there to see it. Truly free and fair elections are probably the only way for Liberia to secure a peaceful and democratic future, and anyone who believes His Excellency will permit this to happen is dreaming.
The solution to our problem in Liberia is for all Liberians to stop placing personal and tribal interests above national interest. The removal of Taylor through the barrel of the gun is not a solution but a problem. Let us rememeber history. The removal of William R. Tolbert and Samuel K.Doe has brought nothing but problems in Liberia.
I don't think Liberians really know what they want. We seem to criticize everybody.
Isn't Taylor what 90% of us wanted? However, if there wasn't so much suffering of the people we wouldn't have LURD. It will be in the best interests of everybody, if Mr. Taylor would step down. Our people are dying. Resettlement to different parts of the world is not the answer, because at the end of the day everybody wants to go back home.
Aladin Yang, United States
Those who use elections to justify Taylor's stealing and killings in Liberia must know that about 472, 863 people vote out of a population of roughly three million. Taylor got about 75% of that. This does not give him the right to steal Sierra Leone diamonds and create refugees. He must go and only force will get him out. This is sad but it is the only solution.
The world gave us a bad deal. You westerners are a strange set of people when it comes to double standards. Would have have had a Charles Taylor as your President? Yet you said the elections were fair and here you are, crucifying Mugabe. Sankoh, his pal, is in jail for attempting the same thing. As long as Taylor is in Liberia, West Africa can forget about peace. The man is anathema to civilised behaviour. He has lied on everything. Lied on stability. Lied on economic progress. Lied on reconciliation. LURD may be bad, but other methods will get Taylor out. He needs force.
The only solution to the crisis right now is the United States intervention through the UN. Neither of the Charles' should have the right to continue to kill our people. So, like the British did in Sierra Leone, America as our idol should do the same thing for us. At one point in Liberia, America extracted our natural resources for little or nothing, so it's about time to help us. Bush if you're reading, help us before it's too late.
The thought of many Liberians, including myself, is the day when we will see international justice in action against Charles Taylor. The day, when will be indicted and prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Justice must be seen to be active, the alternative would be to do nothing and allow Taylor and his thugs to run free. I hope when his day comes, the Liberian justice system or the international court in the Netherlands would lock him up and throw away the key.
My Taylor failed to realize that the Bush administration is currently looking at various options to bring about "regime change". This man has created an environment in which Liberia is beset by war, poverty, and corruption on an astonishing level. In simple English, Taylor has got to go by any means possible; the mandate for military action is clearly visible, especially with the UN imposing travel and financial sanctions on his regime.
Though we all want Taylor out of the mansion, the so-called LURD is not the solution to the problem. Government forces and rebels alike are committing atrocities against the people they claim to be fighting for. The solution to Liberia's problem is genuine and sincere reconciliation, Liberians need to sit down and talk.
Doe, Taylor, LURD - they are equally bad. Having lived in Liberia, I am sorry to say that nothing short of occupation by the United States or United Nations for at least a decade is the only thing that can prevent the country's chronic slide into chaos. The infrastructure is abysmal, there is no law or order and education is virtually non-existent. There is no "up by the bootstraps" solution for Liberia.
There is no need for President Taylor to step down. He was elected and he should finish his term. We need to work with the president to bring about positive changes to our beloved Liberia.
Andrew G. Tehmeh, USA
I think the only way forward for Liberia is without Charles Taylor. If LURD succeeds in removing him, they will be seen as heroes for the country for generations to come.
We Liberians are in a bad situation. My regret is that the people who are trying to remove Taylor are no different from him.
Carolyn C. Williams, USA
The most acceptable and feasible solution to the Liberian crisis would be a resounding mandate from the people through the ballot box. I have always maintained that war is not the answer to our political crisis.
Charles Taylor is definitely not on the run, rather it is the innocent civilians who are on the run and unfortunately being killed in the conflict. A solution to the Liberian crisis is the emergence of a strong civil society group that will say enough is enough to all rebels and rebel-transformed groups as happened in 1997 in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
There's no solution to this issue except for Taylor to leave office. Then the problem will be solved.
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