Bong County Urged Not to Vote For Leaders With War Past
Monrovia – A representative aspirant for District #5 in Bong County, Silas Siakor, has urged Liberians to elect a president and members of the Legislature who did not play an active role in the country’s 14-year civil war or have been accused of doing so.
“It is important that those individuals that have been implicated or carried out various human rights abuses are not elected to the highest office in the country,” Silas Siakor told an exclusive FrontPage Africa interview.
“Those who have very strong allegations of human rights abuses hanging over them, those who aided and abetted the civil war, those who committed heinous human rights abuses like torture, murder, etc. must not be elected to office.
About 300,000 people are estimated to have died during the war and thousands more displaced.
However, Liberians remain divided over the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Commission, among other, called for a special tribune to be established to prosecute perpetrators, as well as those who committed economic sabotage.
The administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—barred by the Commission from political participation for 30 years—has remained firm on its decision to implement some of the Commission’s recommendations and leave out some, including the prosecution.”
“Some of the “most notorious” perpetrators such as Senator Prince Johnson have also registered their opposition to the report.
But the former civil society actor said electing such leaders will impede accountability efforts in seeing to it that those who bear the greatest responsibilities for atrocities committed here during the civil war account for their actions.
“If Liberians do that they will make it almost impossible for accountability for those crimes committed against the people,” he said.
Siakor, an internationally acclaimed campaigner and winner of the 2006 Goldman Environmental Prize for Outstanding Environmental Achievement in Africa said he would help change the trend of natural resources and concession debate when elected.
He said he was looking forward to using his contacts and experiences to advocate for laws that positively impact the lives the ordinary Liberian.
“One of the things that I am going to do is to take a step back and use my position as a platform for support of civil society,” he said.
“This is going to be the first time that you are going to have a sitting lawmaker that will commission independent analyses from concession agreements before engaging the debate of the pros and cons of that concession agreement.
“By doing that I will be able to shade the debate around concession agreements towards the issues that should be considered when debating those concession agreements. At the moment most of those concession agreements are sentimental.”
“What I will be aiming to do is to solicit expert opinions to be able to do comprehensive analyses.
”He said now was the time to see Liberia move away from just exporting natural resources to manufacturing industry that adds value to natural resources.
Siakor launches his campaign on Saturday.