THIRTY SIX YEARS AFTER the April 12, 1980 coup, the sons of two key figures, Samuel Kanyon Doe, leader of the coup which ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule and C.Cecil Dennis III are making amends for the past by reaching out to each other in a rare reconciliatory note. Cecil Dennis III, whose father was Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the coup announced that Samuel K. Doe Jr., son of the late Doe had reached out to him on Social Media, Facebook.
Dennis III wrote: “May our fathers’ departure of this earth, and our common interest of peace, bind us stronger together as brothers, regardless of our backgrounds. Today, as Samuel K. Doe Jr, and I plan to talk and subsequently meet, may our common nationalism be the substance of our patriotism.
DOE JR. in an interview with FrontPageAfrica suggests that a special day be set aside for healing: “We need a special day that should be put aside as a holiday so we can remember our horrific past and all the innocent people that have lost their lives throughout the history of our country, whether in the name of revolution or the civil war. Without such recognition of those who lost their lives, Unity may never be complete.”
SINCE THE completion of a report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which recommended among other things that a National Palava Hut Forum be established as a complementary tool for justice and national reconciliation, not much has been done in ways of forging a meaningful and lasting peace and reconciliation plan for Liberia.
THIS IS NOT the first time that families of those killed in the 1980 coup have reached out to each other.
FAMILIES FOR former officials of the Tolbert Government killed in the aftermath of the ’80 coup have been holding memorial services over the past few years.
AT LAST YEAR’S REMEMBRANCE, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf acknowledged: “We have all individually and collectively sinned against God and must work to right the wrongs. I pray that God gives each of us the strength and courage to be a part of the righting the wrongs committed throughout our existence as a nation,”
THE PRESIDENT stressed the need for Liberians to individually and collectively work for reconciliation which she indicated must come from the heart and stay with each of us; adding that each Liberian must look himself/herself in the mirror and say I have done my part to promote reconciliation.
A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Commission set up in aftermath of the election of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was tasked with promoting national peace, security, unity and reconciliation” by investigating gross human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law, sexual violations, and economic crimes that occurred between January 1979 and October 2003.
BUT VERY little have been heard about the recommendations and implementation aspects.
THE MUTUAL FIRST step by two key families, the Doe and the Dennis can mark the start of something special and one we hope will lead to a new beginning of reconciliation and a more radical approach to the implementation of the TRC findings.