Police 6 Jan fired tear gas and water cannon in capital Monrovia to disperse supporters of prominent critic of President Weah and opposition figure Henry Costa protesting against govt and deepening economic crisis. Immigration authorities 11 Jan questioned Costa, accusing him of having forged his travel documents to return to country in Dec ahead of planned protest. Costa reportedly left country 12 Jan. Sierra Leone’s authorities 15 Jan detained him at Freetown airport after Monrovia requested his extradition, but Costa reportedly left Sierra Leone to U.S. next day. Govt 17 Jan declared Costa fugitive. Costa next day pledged to return to country in May.
Unemployment, corruption, nepotism and impunity threaten to entrench social and political divisions and jeopardise Liberia’s democracy unless the government addresses persisting historical enmities.
Liberia’s October 2011 presidential elections are an opportunity to consolidate its fragile peace and nascent democracy.
Since independence and for fourteen years of war, Liberia’s army, police and other security agencies have mostly been sources of insecurity and misery for a destitute people. The internationally driven attempt to radically reform the security sector since the war’s end in 2003 is a major chance to put this right and prevent new destabilisation.
Reform of the justice system needs to be a top priority for Liberia’s new government and donors alike. After fourteen years of civil war, the system is in shambles.
2006 is a decisive year for Liberia and with it West Africa. Just as Liberia once dragged its neighbours into a horrific war, it could now – with good policy and strong donor support – become an anchor for stability in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.
Everything indicates that Liberia’s October 2005 presidential and legislative elections are likely to be transparent and fair. Many hope this will permit an exit strategy to be implemented that could see international actors leaving the country as soon as the end of 2006.
Originally published in allAfrica
Titi Ajayi, West Africa Fellow, talks to Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos, Senior Communications Officer, about lessons learned from the last electoral process in Liberia and what the country should do to consolidate peace and democracy.
The landmark guilty verdict today against former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor is a warning to those most responsible for atrocity crimes that they can be held accountable.
Originally published in openDemocracy