Marcus Speare Wants Remains of Former Presidents Doe, Tolbert Exhumed
Monrovia – A clarion call has been made by Dr. Marcus Speare for the exhumation of the remains of former Presidents William Richard Tolbert, Jr. and Samuel Kanyon Doe.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Both of these former statesmen were brutally murdered in two different uprisings against their individual governments.
The call for the exhumation and for the remains to be given proper burial, according to Dr. Speare, will lead to genuine reconciliation in the nation that is still reeling from years of civil war and un-reconciled.
Speaking at a press conference in Margibi over the weekend, Dr. Speare, a stalwart of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), also stated that in addition to Mr. Tolbert, who was buried in a mass grave along with 13 other of his former officials, the remains of the other men should also be exhumed and given the requisite burial rites as befitting of a senior government official.
They were buried at the Palm Grove Cemetery on Center Street, Monrovia.
The Tolbert-led administration was toppled in a bloody coup d’état on the night of April 12, 1980, by 17 enlisted soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), who were allegedly led on their gruesome mission by Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe.
Doe would eventually ascend to the highest office of the land as the Head of State and Commander-In-Chief.
However, he, too, would meet similar fate in September of 1990.
After months of war and starvation around the country, including Monrovia, former President Doe made a fatal mistake, which led to his death under the watchful eyes and command of rebel leader Prince Y. Johnson, now a Senator of Nimba County.
It’s not very clear how the remains of Mr. Doe can be gathered for exhumation as he was “burnt and his ashes scattered over the Stockton Creek,” a former fighter in Senator Johnson’s Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), which broke away from former President Charles Taylor’s rebel movement, National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), who asked for anonymity, told this newspaper.
Following the end of the civil war in 2003 and with the ushering of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government in 2006, many Liberians felt that she had all it takes to reconcile the nation from all of its brutal and dark pasts.
Unfortunately, the ruling Unity Party’s leader emeritus failed miserably. She admitted in her last State of the Nation Address to this: “Our country’s long struggle for national reconciliation has its genesis in history. A coup d’état and years of civil conflict exacerbated longstanding divides that have left deep wounds.
The methods and motivations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have not helped us to find a way forward to achieve the desired results for reconciliation.
Nevertheless, we must continue implementation of the 207 recommendations in the report, the majority of which have already been implemented. We are a small country, with relationships that cross the divide, and this has enabled us to remain united as a nation.
Never must we forget that in union we are strong, and our success is assured.
Therefore, we must all do more – I must do more – to heal these wounds, and do so this year, by implementing the Strategic Roadmap which has been formulated for this purpose. I believe that it will serve our nation well to take lessons from the experience of other countries by emphasizing restorative rather than retributive justice.”
This means the weight of genuinely reconciling Liberians now lies on the shoulders of the new administration, which will take its first baby steps on January 22, 2018 and will be led by Ambassador George Manneh Weah.
This was a part of the President-elect’s TOR when he served in the Ellen regime as Peace Ambassador. Even with the support from government, he did little or nothing towards this national emergency. He resigned his post few months down the road in order to concentrate on his political future.
He will, in a few days, ascend to the highest post in the land and Dr. Speare is suggesting that if Liberia is to enter a new civilization the culture should be one which is built on results and not expectation, and also on the gravity of reality and not perception.
He wants the incoming administration prioritizes what he described as “just, cogent and reasonable things” in pursuit of the most challenging issues of the outgoing government for genuine reconciliation and corruption; to foster the peace, manage and maintain it throughout its six-year lifespan.
Dr. Speare used the press conference to also call on the Ministry of Education to adapt a Palaver Management Policy that will be imperative by institutionalizing in every school.
He wants the ministry to establish Conflict Resolution Clubs in various high schools in order for students to learn how to manage and resolve conflict or palavers from its initial stage for the greater good.
He also proposed that a Requiem Mass or a memorial service be held in each of the 15 political sub-divisions for the peaceful repose of those who died during the military reign, the years of civil war and the deadly Ebola crisis, which claimed the lives of over 4000 citizens and foreigners.
“This will set the way for national reconciliation and traumatic healing.
The adage, ‘Let the sleeping dog lie’, this figurative expression is more applicable in literary works but within the content and context of present-day realities that have to do with peace, reconciliation and healing, the sleeping dog must wake up from the shackle of the cool or we’ll be at the gross disadvantage of a biting dog,” he stated.
He added that a government of political and geographical inclusion will reflect national forgiveness, healing and love. He added: “The creation of a vibrant private sector or the strengthening of the private sector will provide job opportunities for the youths and the many unemployed since the government cannot provide all of the means for its people; skill training and primary base are good ways to start youth initiatives.”