Liberia: Dr. Daniel E. Cassell Underscores Significance of Punitive Actions Against Former Warlords Who Continue to Accumulate Financial, Political Powers

Monrovia — Liberian humanitarian Dr. Daniel E. Cassell has called for the scrupulous implementation of the recommendations contained in the final report of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), including the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia.

Dr. Cassell, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania, USA, a Licensed Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LCADC) in New Jersey and the President/Founder of the Kwenah Professional Health Services based in the United States.

He is also the President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dr. Cassell's Foundation in Liberia.

Dr. Cassell observed that the TRC, was a reputable body funded and supported with millions of dollars from international donors, whose works were objectively exhausted with recommendations advanced to guarantee sustained peace and development in the nation.

According to him, the true essence for the establishment of the TRC will be defeated if findings and recommendations proffered in the final report of the group are swept under the carpet.

He made these assertions when he appeared as guest on the Emmanuel Savice Show on the social media on Friday, October 16.

Dr. Cassell wondered while the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government will continue to appear uncertain over taking concrete actions toward the implementation of the TRC recommendations even though, those findings and recommendations were finalized by an independent body.

"What has been the conclusion and recommendation of the TRC for those who were killed in cold blood-the TRC was a respectable body that was established and I think it will defeat the purpose if such a body was established and it has exhausted investigations and judicial process and has recommended-whatever have been the recommendations, I believe that as it was done objectively, and through the process of the law; it should be upheld; it's important that the TRC recommendations are implemented".

He observed that the scars created by those who committed heinous crimes and atrocities during the Liberian civil war, remain visible in every quarter of the Liberian society.

He noted that many Liberians are presently experiencing what he calls "complex trauma", with a good number of them being disadvantaged youths who continue to roam the streets of Monrovia either begging for handouts or engaging into unwholesome practices.

He pointed out that not much is being done to rehabilitate these vulnerable youths back into the Liberian society.

"The social weakness within our society has affected the lives of each and every Liberian. I have observed a lot of complex trauma within good number of the citizens in all parts of Liberia. An example is those folks who are on the streets. They are now being classified as zogos and they are exposed".

"What has been done to rehabilitate them? I have not seen anything substantively to rehabilitate them in the nation where you have high unemployment rate, exposure to violence and the poverty rate is on the increase. These things will lead them into lots of negative things, hopelessness and depression".

Rewarding warlords

For several decades now, former warlords and notorious rebel leaders-some of who have been captured in the final report of the TRC for prosecution-have served or continue to enjoy elected or appointed positions in government.

Some of those former warlords or notorious rebel leaders that are currently serving in government include: Senator Prince Y. Johnson and Representative George Boley of Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties respectively.

Senator Johnson was the head of the notorious Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) that ousted, captured and killed ex-Liberian President Samuel Kanyan Doe, and Representative Boley was the head of another rebel group-the Liberian Peace Council (LPC).

Dr. Cassell expressed disappointment over the rewarding of warlords or those who killed innocent people with political positions in Liberia.

He observed that the government appears to be reluctant towards the implementation of the TRC recommendations due to political support it continues to receive from some of those warlords who are presently serving in government.

"It is true that some warlords have been rewarded with political positions in government. It is true that because of the support being received from some of these folks who participated into war crimes and atrocities, the current government seems to be reluctant on implementing the recommendations from the TRC".

He indicated that victims of the civil war in Liberia will continue to be traumatized if justice does not prevail against those who perpetrated war crimes and atrocities against their relatives, loved ones or friends.

"The voices of the people are what should empower leaders to act on upholding the recommendations of the TRC. Justice should be given to the people (war victims). This is not something subjective that came about; this is something that went through a systemic process and was independent, objective and comprehensive".

Dr. Cassell further called for international support towards the protection of witnesses of war and economic crimes in Liberia.

Ill-gotten wealth

He further frowned at politicians who see their call to public service as a mean to accumulate wealth instead of implementing policies and programs that will move the country and its citizens forward.

He made specific reference to the payment of exorbitant salaries and benefits to Representatives and Senators who were elected to make laws in the interest of their constituents.

Dr. Cassell added that the negative mindset of going into public service to acquire ill-gotten wealth continues to suffer Liberia and its citizens.

The difficulties

Dr. Cassell further stressed the need for challenges confronting Liberians to be addressed by not only government, but other potential citizens and groups in and out of the country.

He named poverty, the high rate of unemployment, amongst others as some of the vices that remain visible in Liberia.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the wave of violence in our nation as well as the high poverty rate or ability for one to earn a living. There are also lots of social struggles in the country right now. There is so much that need to be done in order to take our nation or country in the right direction"

He noted that despite political affiliation, potential Liberians should rally around government to help provide the basic social services and support towards the improvement of the lives of citizens and the development of the nation.

Dr. Cassell vowed to continue to contribute towards the improvement of the livelihood of citizens, and Liberia's rebuilding process through his humanitarian foundation.

He used the occasion to call on Liberians to refrain from segregation and embrace one another in the spirit of patriotism if Liberia must move forward in terms of growth and development

Meanwhile, Dr. Cassell has urged Liberians to examine and thoroughly evaluate those vying for public positions and elect patriotic individuals.

His call comes barely few months to the conduct of the much-publicized December 8, 2020 senatorial election.

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