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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.

Your reaction:

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.
Prince Anokye, Ghana

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.
Bernice B. Bernard, Liberia

What is wrong with Taylor? He has failed and should just step down!
Victor Mulenga, Zambia/Belgium

Taylor is just small part of that problem

Sam Oling, Canada
All the so-called Liberian intellectuals who have become armchair quarterbacks should really understand the totality of the problems of Liberia. Taylor is just small part of that problem. The country is in dire need of literally everything after many years of civil war. Unless Liberians stop personalising their problem, they will never reach a solution to the current anarchy.
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!
Sonivo Ebong, Cameroon/USA

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.
Richard Butler Jr, Liberia

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.
Jimmy Jones, Liberia

A free and fair election in the year 2003 is the way out for Liberia

Samuel M. Sondah, Liberia/USA
Liberians are experiencing a vicious circle that dates back to the military rise to power in the 1980s and their subsequent hijacking of the elections of 1985. Interestingly, most of the people that misled the late Doe survived the NPFl incursion and are now presiding over the leadership of the country with President Taylor. This is the brunt of the Liberian problem, because these recycled politicians are again protecting their selfish egos at the expanse of the common people.

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.
Samuel M. Sondah, Liberia/USA

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.
Nyah Sackor, Rhode Island, USA

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.
Ralph, USA

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.
Deckey boy, The Netherlands

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.
Ggueye, USA

Liberians abroad as well as in the country must start thinking of Liberia first

Aladin Yang, United States
It is time we stop all the finger pointing and begin looking at ourselves as the cause and solution to the problems in Liberia. We as Liberians must find that one person who will not be selfish and greedy, but have the well-being of the country at heart. Liberians abroad as well as in the country must start thinking of Liberia first, tribalism second and no personal gain.
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.
Anderson Thomas, Denmark

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.
Kumba Tabia, Holland

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.
Samuel Dean, USA

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.
Rufus Berry II, USA (Liberian)

Liberians need to sit down and talk

Chester Winn, Liberian (US)

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.
Chester Winn, Liberian (US)

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.
Sam, Texas, USA

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.
Love Liberia, Liberian

The rebels are mere bandits who do not deserve any peace talks

Andrew G. Tehmeh, USA
I think the UN should lift the arm embargo on Liberia so that the Liberian government can defeat the rebels. The rebels are mere bandits who do not deserve any peace talks.
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.
Sue, Washington DC

We Liberians are in a bad situation. My regret is that the people who are trying to remove Taylor are no different from him.
Jackson K. George Jr, Liberia

it is not acceptable that LURD replace him

Carolyn C. Williams, USA
Charles Taylor should certainly step down as president of Liberia. However it is not acceptable that LURD replace him. An interim government and free elections in 2003 to allow the people to choose their new leadership is the only logical, democratic recourse.
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.
Hilary Kweh, USA

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.
Rashid Sesay, Ireland/ Sierra Leone

There's no solution to this issue except for Taylor to leave office. Then the problem will be solved.
Mohammed Konneh, USA

See also:

24 Jan 02 | Africa
05 Feb 02 | Africa
05 Feb 02 | Country profiles
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