Nigeria : Do you approve of Nigeria handing over Charles Taylor to U.N

Khonsu

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Mar 17, 2006
153
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Do you approve of Nigeria handing over Liberia's exiled former President Charles Taylor to U.N. Backed Court in Sierra Leone?

The Bush administration has played a major role in pressing for Taylor to face trial at the Sierra Leone U.N. Backed Court.

MUST READ

UN Backed Special Court violated the Constitution of Sierra Leone:


HOW THE CONSTITUTION WAS VIOLATED
The establishment of the so-called Special Court for Sierra Leone violated the Constitution of Sierra Leone in three (3) principal areas:

* Concurrent Jurisdiction & Primacy
* Appointment of the Registrar, and
* Composition of the Chambers

Concurrent Jurisdiction & Primacy
There is no provision in the Constitution of Sierra Leone for Article 8 (1) & (2) of the Statute giving the Special Court for Sierra Leone concurrent jurisdiction with or primacy over the national courts of Sierra Leone.

Article 8 (2) giving the so-called Special Court primacy over the national courts automatically places the Special Court above the Supreme Court and the other courts of Sierra Leone, thereby altering the Constitution of Sierra Leone without applying the entrenched provisions laid down in Section 108 of the Constitution - especially the approval by a REFERENDUM thus depriving the people of their consent. This act by the Executive is CRIMINAL and should be prosecuted because:

a). A Foreigner, (the President of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court), by virtue of Art. 8 (2) of the Statute, has automatically been placed as the Super-Chief Justice above our Chief Justice (the Constitutional Head of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone.)

b) Another Foreigner, (a Ghanaian who, as Secretary-General of the United Nations), seems to have incidentally acquired the constitutional authority to appoint Judges to our courts in Sierra Leone, in accordance with Art. 12(1) (a) & (b) of the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is quite against Section 135 (1) & (2) of the Constitution.

Appointment of the Registrar
The appointment of the Registrar for the Special Court by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with Article 16 (3) of the Statute of the Special Court or a Registrar of any other court stated to be superior to or superseding the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone without the relevant changes to the Constitution as indicated elsewhere in this article is a violation of Section 141 (2) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone. The Registrar of the so-called Special Court appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations clearly appears to be a Super-Registrar whose powers exceed the power or powers conferred upon the Registrar-General of the Supreme Court, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal or the Master and Registrar of the High Court. Clearly, no sovereign nation can allow its judiciary to become so subordinate to a foreign court and court officials without becoming in effect a non-sense State.

Composition of the Chambers
The appointment of judges in Sierra Leone and by whom, is clearly stated in the Constitution; so also is the assignment of judges to preside over the courts.

Sierra Leone is not a United Nations Mandated Territory; therefore, the Secretary-General (with the greatest respect) does not have the constitutional authority to appoint judges to any courts in Sierra Leone. Let alone to assign judges to courts that are purported to have authority over the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice and the Judiciary of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Who ever may have advised the Secretary-General on this matter, may have done him a great disservice.

Furthermore, there is no evidence anywhere that any of the judges appointed pursuant to Article 12(1) (a) & (b) above, were so appointed by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, acting upon the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and that such appointment received the approval of Parliament as is laid down in the Constitution of Sierra Leone.

There is, however, evidence that judges appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to Article 12 (1) (a) & (b) above, are presently sitting and presiding over courts in Sierra Leone. It is also a fact that the judges are NOT being assigned by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, as laid in the Constitution but, by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone under Article 12 (1) (a) & (b) of the Statue for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
 

militant

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Jun 21, 2005
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Bush? Major role? To remove your delusions, assuming you are not also deluded to believe that America played a role in the fall of apartheid, here is an article for you:
At a Security Council meeting which lasted about two hours on Monday, Presi-dent Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have told the gathering that he had two options before him on how to handle the issue of the former Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor.
Taylor, it is recalled, was brought to Nigeria in August 2003, after he was compelled to step down as Liberian president as part of a deal brokered by the trio of Obasanjo, and Presidents Thabo Mbeki and John Kuffuor of South Africa and Ghana respectively.
The negotiation, which also included United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan at a time Obasanjo was African Union chairman, was to end Liberia's 14-year civil war that spilt over into nearby countries.
Following international pressure, Nigeria had, at the weekend, acceded to the demand by Liberia's new President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson, for Taylor's extradition back to his country so he could be taken for trial in the United Nations-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone.
But in a volte-face on Monday, Shirleaf-Johnson said Taylor should be sent directly from Nigeria to Sierra Leone to face trial and that Liberia had nothing to do with the former warlord.
This, according to sources, was what informed Monday's security council meeting which fell on the eve of Obasanjo’s departure for a state visit to the United States where he is expected to meet President George Bush today.
The first option, according to Obasanjo at the Abuja meeting, was to hand Taylor back to Liberia in line with his initial promise that such would only occur whenever there was an elected president in the country.
The second option, which the President gave, was to allow Taylor walk away a free man leaving him at the mercy of interpol men who may then arrest him "and not Nigeria trading the former Liberian leader in because it is not in our strategic interest to do so."
While THISDAY was not privy to the decision eventually reached, it was gathered that some people felt Shirleaf Johnson, who came to power through the intervention of Nigeria, had become a "Washington woman".
According to a top government official, "from the utterances and actions of the woman since she came to power, you would imagine it was United States that restored peace in that country yet we all know the role Nigeria played, and the sacrifices of our people at a time the US gave up on the country."
Nigeria, according to competent sources, decided that it was not in her interest to surrender Taylor in the circumstances in which the nation would be seen as untrustworthy while the new Liberia government would take the credit.
It was gathered that while Nigeria was instrumental into the successful conduct of the Liberian election with heavy investment by the Federal Government, Shirleaf-Johnson, in her inaugural speech, was said to have left Nigeria out, "while giving credit where it does not belong and now she is adding insult on injury by making us carry the guilt of Taylor as if Nigeria just harboured the guy for fun and not out of sacrifice to save her country."
By asking Nigeria to hand over Taylor to the UN court, according to a top government official, "Shirleaf-Johnson was trying to shift the responsibility. She wants to eat her cake and still have it. She wants Taylor out of the way but she wants Nigeria to carry the can for that."
There was, however, another school of thought that Obasanjo was actually sympathetic towards Shirleaf-Johnson, and had accepted to play the big brother by telling her to shift the burden of the pressure on him. "The President recognises what she is going through with the Americans concerning Taylor and is not angry that she is approbating and reprobating on the issue."
According to the official, when Obasanjo was taking Taylor out of Liberia, it was with the agreement of other African leaders and United Nations Security Council that the man would be shielded from prosecution; but "now you see the Americans harrassing everybody to send Taylor to a court they do not believe in since they would not allow any American to be tried there."
Government sources told THISDAY that Taylor, "notwithstanding the fact that we all know he is a criminal, would not just be handed over to please America, they should go and look for him."
THISDAY confirmed yesterday that Taylor was still within the reach of Nigeria and "there could still be negotiations on the issue but not that any country would just order us to surrender him to them, that is unacceptable and would not happen."
The position of the Federal Government on the issue was best summed up by Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, in his reaction yesterday. He noted that Taylor was neither a prisoner nor was he arrested in Nigeria, adding that “this is a regrettable situation and we need to find out what really happened and which is precisely why Mr. President has established a panel of enquiry to look into it. But we asked Liberia to come for Taylor and take him back, our President having accepted the formal request for his return to Liberia.
“But what we were not prepared to do was to take Charles Taylor to Liberia ourselves or take him to Sierra Leone, because that was never part of the agreement. He came to our country as a consequence of the fact that he was part and parcel of the peace process in Liberia and African Union; the ECOWAS heads of government came together, together with the Americans and the European Union and prevailed on Mr. President to allow him to come here so that peace could return to his country and he came here as our guest”, he added.
Speaking further on the circumstances that brought Taylor to Calabar, Fani-Kayode said that “he (Taylor) didn’t come here as a prisoner. We didn’t arrest him here and we didn’t treat him as a prisoner. And when the time came there was a democratically elected presi-dent in his country, peace returned to his country and his own government asked him to come back, Mr. President honoured his words and said yes he is allowed to go back but it’s for them to come and get him from here because as far as we are concerned it was not our obligation to take him any where and to put him into custody in another country”.
He also stated that “the people that are charged with that responsibility are those people that are making those allegations and not Nigeria. And those allegations are being made by Liberia and by the Sierra Leonian government. It is for them to place him before that tribunal and not for us. What we were required to do was to simply allow the situation to ripe whereby the Liberian Government, a free Liberian Government, under a democratically elected president could come over to Nigeria and take him to wherever they wanted to take him. And we agreed to do that to honour our obligation.
The question rational people are asking is: Why would the Federal Government be probing the disappearance of Taylor and arresting his security details if he was a free man in Nigeria?
By admitting that Taylor was not under any restriction of movement, the Federal Government was invariably saying it was not responsible for his whereabouts in the country.
But diplomatic analysts were agreed yesterday that President Obasanjo may be playing a highwire diplomatic game at the end of which he would hold the ace on the Taylor controversy.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=44134
 

Khonsu

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Mar 17, 2006
153
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What Africans Are Saying About The Capture Of Charles Taylor

THIS IS JUST A GAME OF BETRAYAL.HOW? OBASANJO HAD AN UNDERSTANDING WITH TAYLOR TO PROTECT HIM.BUT BECAUSE OF THE US GOVT INVOLVMENT IN THIS MATTER,HE(OBASANJO)PLAYED FOR TAYLOR TO EXCAPE SO THAT HE CAN ARREST AND HAND HIM OVER.AND FOOLISHLY,TAYLOR GUFFED IT THIS TIME AND OBASANJO BECOMES THE HERO. ANYWAY, THE GAME AHEAD WILL BE VERY INTERESTING.REMEMBER OBASANJO WILL BE MEETING BUSH TO LAUNCH HIS THIRD TERM BID.COULD THIS BE A WAY OF WARMING HIMSELF TO THE WHITE HOUSE?

DR JOHN, JOS--NIGERIA

Africans should imbibe spirit of forgiveness and allow history to be over. Charles Tailor made sacrifice for peace to be established in Liberia. Let this historic man be allowed to live the remaining of his life as he lived in Nigerian exile. Let us avoid the type of regret in IRAQ.

Thank you.

Alhaji remi, Abuja


If justice is the prime objective of taking Charles Taylor to court, then all of those who collaborated with Taylor, including the Americans who freed him from their maximum security jail to launch an armed insurrection, should be brought to book with him. Similarly, all other leaders who have carried war and committed attrocities in other countries, should be charged and brought to trial.

Mike
Monrovia

Mike, Monrovia


Bush had defied the UN orders not to go to Iraq. Why then must Africa and indeed developing countries be a board to Simulate Western Political Designs? America should leave Liberia alone. If Taylor must stand trial, Bush must do so as well.

It is my advice to President Sirleaf, that she concentrates on building her war torn country and resist being beguiled into least important issues like the Taylor trial issue. Ma'am, let the sleeping dog lie.

Buky Ekaiko, Calabar, Nigeria


Africa is fed-up with wars. Mrs Sirleaf do want more death in liberia? are you been forced by the american government? pls africans can manage our own affairs. no more war in liberia, no more wars in africa.

Daniel Bassah, Legon- Accra


I hope Liberians and their leaders know where they are just coming from.I also hope they have not forgotten that when they were butchering themselves, the so-called international community who are now applying undue and irresponsible pressure sat back and watch till it was convenient for them to come in.
Those who go into perdition are those who refuse to learn relevant lessons from the past. Stop this Taylor nonsense and concentrate on lifting your country from its present reck!

Atsu Agbemabiase, Accra


Taylor's arrest is indeed a very sad new for the people of Liberia;no matter how the west, headed by america's bush feels, charles taylor is a hero. Liberia can expect to live another nigthmare, if justice is incomplete:the list is long, and it is the liberian people who have to draw this list and not america's adventurous bush. Begining with Taylor up to ....perhaps...Mrs. Sirleaf.

bill kamara, ouagadougou, burkinafasso
 

Khonsu

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MEMBER
Mar 17, 2006
153
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Displaced New Orleans Residents Want Voting Rights Ensured For Mayoral Election

( Displaced New Orleans Residents Want Voting Rights Ensured For Mayoral Election )



Hundreds of protesters led by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton rallied Saturday, demanding the right of all displaced New Orleans residents to vote after Hurricane Katrina.

The system set up for the April 22 election for mayor and other city positions makes it difficult for displaced voters to cast a ballot, Jackson and other activists said.

“We want the Voting Rights Act,” Jackson said at a news conference before the rally. Black leaders have argued city elections could violate the landmark 1965 law.

The city election could have a broad effect nationwide, Sharpton said: “What happens in New Orleans will affect voting rights all over the United States.”

Jackson and other activists are demanding satellite polling places for displaced voters in cities outside New Orleans, and even outside Louisiana. Fewer than half of the city's 460,000 residents have returned since the Aug. 29 storm flooded the city.

Activists also urged the release of updated lists of displaced voter addresses, a request the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied, saying it would breach privacy.

About 2,000 people attended the rally and march, said New Orleans police Capt. Juan Quinton.

The rally was held at the convention center, site of some of the most vivid scenes of desperation out of Hurricane Katrina. It included state and federal lawmakers and comedian Bill Cosby, who urged residents to rebuild without the murders and drug dealing that plagued New Orleans before the storm.

“It's painful that we can't heal ourselves unless we cleanse the wounds,” Cosby said.

After the rally, protesters marched across a Mississippi River bridge where residents trying to leave the city after Katrina were turned back.

A lawsuit filed by two state legislators claims police in the city of Gretna used excessive force when refusing to let fleeing evacuees cross. State prosecutors are also investigating allegations of civil rights violations.

Gretna officials continue to defend the decision, saying they lacked the resources to feed or shelter evacuees and could not ensure their safety because of hurricane damage.

“The symbolism of crossing the bridge is dead wrong, mainly because of the conditions after the storm,” Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris said. “They're marching to an area to that had nothing to offer.”

Lurking beneath the surface of Saturday’s rally was a discussion of poverty.

When Katrina struck Aug. 29, thousands of people who had not known loss suddenly knew what it was like to be homeless and jobless. To taste hunger and feel thirst. To go without medical care or even toilets.

And those who didn't experience the misery and chaos firsthand saw it in graphic detail every day and night on television. The desperate, angry masses at the Superdome and convention center. The rampant looting. The floating bodies.
 

Khonsu

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MEMBER
Mar 17, 2006
153
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BIG BROTHER

BIG BROTHER



Radio frequency identification tags aren't just for pallets of goods in supermarkets anymore.

Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, Fla., is hoping that Americans can be persuaded to implant RFID chips under their skin to identify themselves when going to a cash machine or in place of using a credit card. The surgical procedure, which is performed with local anesthetic, embeds a 12-by-2.1mm RFID tag in the flesh of a human arm.

ADS Chief Executive Scott Silverman, in a speech at the ID World 2003 conference in Paris last Friday, said his company had developed a "VeriPay" RFID technology and was hoping to find partners in financial services firms.

Matthew Cossolotto, a spokesman for ADS who says he's been "chipped," argues that competing proposals to embed RFID tags in key fobs or cards were flawed. "If you lose the RFID key fob or if it's stolen, someone else could use it and have access to your important accounts," Cossolotto said. "VeriPay solves that problem. It's subdermal and very difficult to lose. You don't leave it sitting in the backseat of the taxi."

RFID tags are miniscule microchips, which some manufacturers have managed to shrink to half the size of a grain of sand. They listen for a radio query and respond by transmitting a unique ID code, typically a 64-bit identifier yielding about 18 thousand trillion possible values. Most RFID tags have no batteries. They use the power from the initial radio signal to transmit their response.

When embedded in human bodies, RFID tags raise unique security concerns. First, because they broadcast their ID number, a thief could rig up his or her own device to intercept and then rebroadcast the signal to an automatic teller machine. Second, sufficiently dedicated thieves may try to slice the tags out of their victims.

"We do hear concerns about this from a privacy point of view," Cossolotto said. "Obviously, the company wants to do all it can to protect privacy. If you don't want it anymore...you can go to a doctor and have it removed. It's not something I would recommend people do at home. I call it an opt-out feature."

Chris Hoofnagle, a lawyer at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said implanted RFID tags cause an additional worry. "When your bank card is compromised, all you have to do is make a call to the issuer," Hoofnagle said. "In this case, you have to make a call to a surgeon.

"It doesn't make sense to go from a card, which is controlled by an individual, to a chip, which you cannot control."

ADS shares have slid from a high of about $12 in 2000 to 40 cents, and the company is now fighting to stay listed on the Nasdaq. "Our common stock did not regain the minimum bid price requirement and on Oct. 28, 2003, the Nasdaq Stock Market informed us by letter that our securities would be delisted from the SmallCap," ADS said in a Nov. 14 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also warned that its implantable microchips are manufactured solely by Raytheon without a "formal written agreement," and any price increases or supply disruptions would have serious negative consequences.

MasterCard has been testing an RFID technology called PayPass. It looks like any other credit card but is outfitted with an RFID tag that lets it be read by a receiver instead of scanned through a magnetic stripe. "We're certainly looking at designs like key fobs," MasterCard Vice President Art Kranzley told USA Today last week. "It could be in a pen or a pair of earrings. Ultimately, it could be embedded in anything--someday, maybe even under the skin."

ADS is running a special promotion, urging Americans to "get chipped." The first 100,000 people to sign up will receive a $50 discount.
 

Khonsu

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MEMBER
Mar 17, 2006
153
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The U.S. was behind the Rwandan Genocide

From the outset of the Rwandan civil war in 1990, Washington's hidden agenda consisted in establishing an American sphere of influence in a region historically dominated by France and Belgium. America's design was to displace France by supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front and by arming and equipping its military arm, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA)

From the mid-1980s, the Kampala government under President Yoweri Musaveni had become Washington's African showpiece of "democracy". Uganda had also become a launchpad for US sponsored guerilla movements into the Sudan, Rwanda and the Congo. Major General Paul Kagame had been head of military intelligence in the Ugandan Armed Forces; he had been trained at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) in Leavenworth, Kansas which focuses on warfighting and military strategy. Kagame returned from Leavenworth to lead the RPA, shortly after the 1990 invasion.

Prior to the outbreak of the Rwandan civil war, the RPA was part of the Ugandan Armed Forces. Shortly prior to the October 1990 invasion of Rwanda, military labels were switched. From one day to the next, large numbers of Ugandan soldiers joined the ranks of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). Throughout the civil war, the RPA was supplied from United People's Defense Forces (UPDF) military bases inside Uganda. The Tutsi commissioned officers in the Ugandan army took over positions in the RPA. The October 1990 invasion by Ugandan forces was presented to public opinion as a war of liberation by a Tutsi led guerilla army.

Check out Rwanda: Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa
 

Khonsu

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Mar 17, 2006
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Rwanda Genocide Timeline

Some 800,000 Rwandans, mainly Tutsis, were murdered in a 100-day period following the killing of the Hutu president of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana.

The presidential guard quickly murdered the political opposition and enacted a pre-planned campaign of slaughter that spread across the country. Soldiers, government officials and business leaders organised the killings and were joined by a Hutu militia, the Interahamwe.

The international community did little to stop the killings and the slaughter was brought to end by the military defeat of the government by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Tutsi-led rebel group.

6 April 1994: President Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira are killed when the Rwandan leader's plane is shot down as it is about to land at Kigali Airport.

C.I.A. believed to be involved

7 April: The Rwandan armed forces and Interahamwe militia begin the systematic killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. UN forces, unwilling to breach their mandate, fail to intervene. Ten Belgian UN peacekeepers are killed.

8 April: The Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launches a major offensive to end the killings and rescue 600 of its troops based in Kigali under the Arusha Accords.

9-10 April: French, Belgian and American civilians are rescued by their governments.

11 April: The International Red Cross (IRC) estimates that tens of thousands have been slaughtered. UN soldiers protecting 2,000 Tutsis at a school are ordered to withdraw to Kigali airport. Most are killed after their departure.

14 April: Belgium withdraws its troops from the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda.

15 April: Slaughter of thousands of Tutsis gathered at Nyarubuye Church seeking protection.

21 April: The UN cuts the level of its forces in Rwanda by 90% to just 270 troops. The IRC estimates the dead could now number over 100,000.

30 April: The UN agrees a resolution condemning the killing but omits the word 'genocide'. Tens of thousands of refugees flee into neighbouring Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire.

Mid-May: The IRC estimates that 500,000 Rwandans have been killed.

17 May: The UN Security Council issues a fresh resolution saying that 'acts of genocide may have been committed'. It also agrees to send 5,500 troops with new powers to defend civilians, however deployment is delayed by disagreements between the US and UN over the financing of the operation.

22 May: RPF forces gain control of Kigali airport and Kanombe barracks, and extend their control over the northern and eastern parts of Rwanda.

22 June: With arguments over the deployment still continuing, the UN authorises an emergency force of 2,500 French troops under Operation Turquoise to create a 'safe' area in the government-controlled part of Rwanda. The killing of Tutsis continues in the 'safe' area despite the presence of the French.

4 July: The RPF takes control of Kigali and the southern town of Butare. Its leadership claims it will form a government on the basis of the Arusha Accords.

13-14 July: Refugees fleeing the RPF advance in north-western Rwanda flood into Zaire. Approximately 10,000-12,000 refugees per hour cross the border into the town of Goma. The massive influx creates a severe humanitarian crisis, as there is an acute lack of shelter, food and water.

18 July: The RPF announces that the war is over, declares a cease-fire and names Pastor Bizimungu as president with Faustin Twagiramungu as prime minister
 

Khonsu

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Mar 17, 2006
153
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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Inaugural Address

Let us first praise Almighty God, the Arbiter of all affairs of humankind whose omnipotent Hand guides and steers our nation.

Before I begin this address, which signifies the high-noon of this historic occasion, I ask that we bow our heads for a moment of silent prayer in memory of the thousands of our compatriots who have died as a result the many conflicts.
Thank you!

I also ask your indulgence as I reflect on the memory of my two rural illiterate grandmothers and my mother and father who taught me to be what I am today, and the families who took them in and gave them the opportunity of a better life.

Let us also remember in prayers during his affliction, His Grace Archbishop Michael K. Francis, the conscience of our nation.
Vice President Boakai and I have just participated in the time-honored constitutional ritual of oath-taking as we embark upon our responsibilities to lead this Republic.

This ritual is symbolically and politically significant and substantive. It reflects the enduring character of the democratic tradition of the peaceful and orderly transfer of political power and authority.

It also confirms the culmination of a commitment to our nation's collective search for a purposeful and responsive national leadership.

We applaud the resilience of our people who, weighed down and dehumanized by poverty and rendered immobile by the shackles of fourteen years of civil war, went courageously to the polls, to vote - not once but twice, to elect Vice President Joseph Boakai and me to serve them.

We express to you, our people, our deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to serve you and our common Republic. We pledge to live up to your expectations of creating a government that is attentive and responsive to your needs, concerns, and the development and progress of our country.
We know that your vote was a vote for change; a vote for peace, security and stability; a vote for individual and national prosperity; a vote for healing and leadership.

We have heard you loudly, and we humbly accept your vote of confidence and your mandate.

This occasion, held under the cloudy skies, marks a celebration of change and a dedication to an agenda for a socio-economic and political reordering; indeed, a national renewal.

Today, we wholeheartedly embrace this change. We recognize that this change is not change for change sake, but a fundamental break with the past, thereby requiring that we take bold and decisive steps to address the problems that for decades have stunted our progress, undermined national unity, and kept old and new cleavages in ferment.

As we embrace this new commitment to change, it is befitting that, for the first time, the inauguration is being held on the Capitol Grounds, one of the three seats of Government. We pledge anew our commitment to transparency, open government, and participatory democracy for all of our citizens.
Fellow Liberians: As I speak to you today, I am most gratified by the caliber of the delegations of our own African Governments, Foreign Governments, partners and local partners as well, who have come to join us to celebrate this triumph of democracy in our country.

I am particularly touched by those you see - our dear brothers, the delegation from the United States, headed by the wife of President Bush and my friend, our mediator, who has been with us so long and brought us to this day.

We pay homage to all of you. We respect you. We welcome you. Bien vene a tous.

My dear Brothers and Sisters of West Africa: You have died for us; you have given refuge to thousands of our citizens; you have denied yourselves by utilizing your scarce resources to assist us; you have agonized for us, and you have prayed for us. We thank you, and may God bless you for your support to Liberia as well as for your continuing commitment to promote peace, security, stability, and bilateral cooperation within our sub-region - and beyond.

I wish to acknowledge the stewardship of the National Transitional Government under the leadership of its former Chairman, Mr. Gyude Bryant, for their contribution to peace and to the successful electoral process. I also recognize and thank the former National Transitional Legislative Assembly for their service to the nation. And I welcome the members of the 52nd Legislature who were sworn in a few moments ago.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I congratulate you as you assume your individual responsibilities of representing our people. I look forward to working with each of you as we strive to build a better nation.
 

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