AN INTERVENTION PLAN FOR POST CONFLICT LIBERIA

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This essay is a brief discussion and suggestions of peace building post-war plan for Liberia.

Submitted: August 03, 2012

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Submitted: August 03, 2012

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CONTENTS

 

  1. Introduction
  2. The Liberian Conflict – An Analysis
  1. Root Causes
  2. Post-war goals for change

 

  1. Paradigm Used for Analysis
  1. A Nested Paradigm implied
  2. Conflict issues, violent issues and responses illustrated

 

  1. Intervention Plan for Post-Conflict Liberia
  1. Activities
  2. Outputs
  3. Time Frame

 

  1. Conclusion

 

  1. Bibliography

 

INTRODUCTION

The civil conflict which occurred in Liberia inflicted a colossal and unprecedented devastation on the nation and people. There are many speculations and differing opinions as regards the source of the conflict; and equally as many suggestions on how to prevent a reoccurrence of the situation. We have thus thrown in our towel to provide a brief analysis in this essay of the conflict and prescribe antidotes for the sustainability of peace.

The very founding of Liberia has been clouded with conflicts and the history remains incomplete without them being placed in the right perspective. Historians have mentioned incidents of various kinds which were seeds of conflicts sown for later years. For example, Boley mentioned that the signing of the agreement for the purchase of Cape Mesurado was done under gunpoint meted out to King Peter by Eli Ayers (Liberia, the Rise and Fall of the First Republic p. 15). This incident prompted the tribesmen to attempt to recapture their land, for the fact that the sale of land was against tribal norms of their culture. This rebellion and many others which grew out of profound dissatisfaction were crushed. Discrimination also existed where people of dark skin were barred from entering the Liberia College, now University of Liberia by the then President of the College, Joseph Jenkins Roberts (West Africa Since 1800- The Revolutionary Years: Boahen 1980 p.126-127).

Other seeds sown which germinated into the conflict included the one party system, closely linked with the Free Mason, the domination of the political scene for decades, while members of the party kept amassing wealth for themselves in foreign banks. The crushing of the opposition leaders including D. Tweh, Samuel D. Coleman, S. Raymond Horace etc by the powerful elite regime are but a few seeds of conflict sown that germinated and produced the unprecedented violence that engulfed Liberia during the 1990’s. The war years were marked by threats, torture, killings, destruction of infrastructure etc. One would then need a clear understanding of this conflict, which we have attempted to do, in order to develop a vital intervention plan or strategy to prevent a reoccurrence. Thus, we have purposed in this essay the achievement of this objective.

 

THE LIBERIAN CONFLICT – AN ANALYSIS:

In developing a strategy in post conflict Liberia to ensure sustainable peace. We shall firstly provide an analysis of the conflict and suggest a suitable paradigm from which a post-war plan for peace building in Liberia can be achieved.

THE ROOT CAUSES:

If one should use a Time-Line analysis of the Liberian conflict one would note that the root causes which precipitated the Liberian Conflict occurred in different periods of the Liberian history. The root causes may include, but not limited to:

  1. Mismanagement and official abuse of power;
  2. Discrimination among the population with regards to indigenous people, so called “natives”, and settlers, so called “Americo-Liberians;
  3. Unequal distribution of job opportunities and natural resources and land;
  4. A complete domination of the political and economic scenes by one party and the restraining of others from voicing out the opinions of the voiceless;
  5. A high degree of corruption and systemic injustice, with justice due only to members of an elite class, who were part of the fraternities including the ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the United Brothers of Friendship (UBF).

These root causes existed from the onset and were continually suppressed by the ruling elite. Finally, these root causes compounded and exploded in the violent conflict experienced during the 90’s.

The emergence of the conflict itself is indicative of unmet needs of one party up and against the abundance and luxury of the other party. The need of justice and equality and a better standard of life fueled the conflict, producing actions and words which inflicted physical, psychological, social and environmental damage which are clearly manifested in the poor infrastructure around us, the increase in the number of imbeciles, and poor educational and health facilities, and road network.

Additionally, the above conditions created stress and introduced trauma (intentional) victimizing many. In light of this, a post –war plan could include the following goals:

  1. Wiping out discrimination and intolerance among incompatible groups and tribes making up the population by initiating programs which would assist in building a human infrastructure of people who are committed to engendering a new culture of peace;
  2. Influencing  the development of a new structure, or system which will provide or ensure equal justice, a fair distribution of resources and allocation of jobs, and a better standard of life;
  3. Indicate the results of violence inflicted on different categories of people, and the trauma produced through it, and providing education through workshops, and awareness campaigns to ensure the prevention and or reoccurrence of this violence.
  4. Proposing possibilities for reconstructing peace such that the system becomes protected from future disruptions and violence.

PARADIGM USED FOR ANALYSIS:

The Nested Paradigm is herein utilized in providing an analysis of the Liberian conflict, identifying the root causes, the relationships involved and the structure of the system. Below is a table illustrating conflict issues, violent issues and responses:

 

 

 

CONFLICT ISSUES

VIOLENT ISSUES

RESPONSES

Mismanagement and the abuse of power

Rice riots of the late 70’s

Problem solving workshops

Ethnic discrimination among population

Coups and counter coups/ tribal insinuation

Human rights, rule of law, equity and justice

Unequal distribution of job opportunities and natural resources; corruption. Systemic injustice

Armed rebellion, Witch hunting, deliberate murders/killings

Negotiations, good governance

 

INTERVENTION PLAN FOR POST CONFLICT LIBERIA

ACTIVITIES

OUTPUTS

TIME FRAME

Create a forum in the church and mosque settings and invite parties representatives to discuss differences, root causes of conflicts, and identify commonalities.

Forum created and various parties representatives work on identifying common ideas and goals, and pinpoint root causes of differences

2012-2016

Engage in a public awareness program with emphasis on spreading means by which peace is achieved and maintained through leaflets and posters depicting peace situations.

Hundreds of peace slogans developed and pictures painted on posters and posted for public consumption.

Create radio and television programs by which the public will be educated on the danger of unequal distribution of job opportunities, natural resources and land.

Radio and T.V. programs initiated and public is being educated on the dangers of inequality in society and how peace is built and maintained.

Create a religious based human rights organization or agency to identify human rights violations and bring them to public attention.

Agency or organization created, collecting information on human rights abuses and constructively engaging government to change or address structures which are the sources of these human rights abuses.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

The post-conflict intervention plan for Liberia is a huge one which requires more complex analysis of the issues. In this essay we tried to identify firstly the root causes of the conflict from a historical perspective, and pointed out the stress and trauma the crisis presented. A post-war plan has been suggested, using the Nested Paradigm, for maintaining peace and ensuring positive development. It is important for me to note that the plan may not be adequate enough for the fact that the problems that led to an outburst of violence are many. However, we firmly believe when carefully analysed and shaped in a proper perspective, using or implementing adequate peace building activities, it will go a long way in the achievement and maintenance of peace and positive development in the Liberian Society.

 

 


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