We Liberians are at a unique moment in our nation’s history. After more then a decade of war and suffering, and a new
government in place under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf,
our nation is still facing a number of unprecedented challenges: huge unemployment, extreme high petroleum and rice
prices, no health care and a zero economy.
So for DAMATE the 2005 program is till valid to challenge the same issues.
OUR NEW ECONOMY: HOW & WHAT
The keys to Liberia’s economic development and freedom of poverty include an appropriate policy environment,
sound institutions, good governance, adequate investments, the availability of appropriate productive technologies,
and access by the population to adequate food, health care, education, and individual rights. After a protracted
civil conflict in which many paid with their lives in creating a level playing field for Freedom and Democracy,
Liberia now yearns for men and women of character, resolve and integrity to lead Liberia into peace and prosperity.
Guaranteeing economic growth with political stability without repression, and flexibility in government, Prosperity
and Peace will come to Liberia wherein hands are joined in a spirit of complete solidarity, allegiance and
responsibility to both, to the peoples of Liberia and to the international community. These goals are essential
to eliminate social unrest, which could contribute to a further destabilization of the already fragile situation
DAMATE seeks to place his trust in the hands of the International Community by
offering practices and programs of Government by Excellence and Example to support him to accomplish his
“Roadmap to Peace & Prosperity”. The Liberian people seek that their governance structures will facilitate
tasks which not only include appeasing and conciliating different groups, but also to committing the people
to a larger frame of reference and common purposes to which they must contribute. One of the challenges is
to build partnerships between the Government, the private sector, and the non-governmental organization (NGO)
community in support of sustainable programs that facilitate the transition from humanitarian assistance to
lasting development activities.
The next government must stand committed to manage changed attitudes, to renew social concepts, to institutionalise
economic innovations, as well as to offer flexible, dynamic and creative policies. Economic strategy providing
open capital transfers, technology sharing, intellectual protection of intellectual property rights, fair trade,
free movement of persons and goods and free trade between Liberia and all nations in West Africa.
The fundamental economic goals are to improve the quality of our lives and to allow every Liberian citizen to
benefit of economic prosperity.
PRIVATE SECTOR OPPORTUNITIES
Liberalization of the rice market.
Liberalization of coffee prices, cocoa prices.
Liberalization of the petroleum market.
Tropical wood is highly prized on the global market and Liberia has huge resources. When managed in a responsible
way by replanting and nurturing, also local mills can process timber for export, bringing jobs and money. The
urgent need for human shelter requires the manufacturing of trusses, beams, studs and columns as well as window,
doorframes, sidings and other housing components.
To produce paper from pulpwood does not require cutting the rainforest. New techniques make it possible to use scrap
wood and pulpwood for processing. Liberia has the proper climate and soil for the production of pulpwood and it
doesn’t take big investments and maintenance.
Printing and publishing
With the availability of locally produced paper, it would be feasible and productive for developing a printing
industry for regional use. Liberia could produce learning materials for schools and libraries, domestic and for
Minerals and mining
The government to secure environmentally responsible mining rules and techniques, coupled with long-term economic
viability, should control exploration and mining by private enterprise. Minerals of interest include, but are not
limited to all active, surveyed, determined. Prospective and reserve deposits of diamond, gold, silver, petroleum,
timber, clay, silica, barite, kyanite, iron ore, and other natural resources. There is increasing interest in the
possibility of commercially exploitable offshore crude oil deposits along Liberia's Atlantic Coast.
DAMATE would like to urge the International Community and The West African Rice Development Association (Warda)
to assist Liberia with access to the Nerica Rice Project. Nerica - short for New Rice for Africa - combines
the hardiness of traditional African strains with the productivity of Asian varieties. WARDA’s mission is to contribute
to poverty alleviation and food security in Africa, through research, development and partnership activities
aimed at increasing the productivity and profitability of the rice sector in ways that ensure the sustainability
of the farming environment.
Liberia needs a strong agricultural economy based on small producers and sustainable practices. Big parts of Liberia
are essentially agrarian with potential capacities to ensure food security for their respective populations.
Populations outside the cities are rural-based and derive their livelihood from agriculture and its related
activities. Liberians in rural communities face special challenges finding good jobs at good wages, providing
their children with a good education, finding quality affordable health care, and meeting transportation challenges.
Sekou Damate Conneh will do his utmost best for farmers in rural communities to have the tools and facilities they need
to be safe and prosperous.
Generally, Liberia is endowed with minerals, water resources and abundant land but the agricultural sector is practically
undeveloped. The use of rudimentary tools and inputs, low-yielding varieties and the absence of improved processing
and preservation units characterize the sector. Cassava is widely grown and consumed. Per capita consumption is estimated
to be over 40 kg per person per year. It is consumed in various forms (gari, boiled roots, fufu etc.) with fish and
meat as well as variety of vegetables. Research report indicates that the leaves contain about 17% protein and
constitute a valuable dietary component. The creation of a sustainable rural economy will provide a self-reliant
base for development in the region. Among other things, small-scale non-farming activities such as food processing
and preservation hold a great potential for generating productive employment and income in rural areas. This would
invariably stimulate increases in agricultural production and ensure national food security. The rationale for
this project is to simultaneously meet the basic needs of Liberia’s ex-combatants, refugees and internal displaced
people, as well as the host communities and to provide opportunities to reduce their dependence on humanitarian
assistance. For further information see DAMATE PEACE FOUNDATION.
Liberia can become a food exporting country because of its fertile soil and available products: -papaya, mango,
avocado, rubber, cola nut, cocoa, tobacco, sugar cane & palm oil. Investments especially in proper agriculture
storage space (and processing facilities) enables local farmers to preserve already produced food much longer
and keep it longer fresh for domestic use and transportation for export consumption to the global market.
Sugar cane grows abundantly in Liberia, with or without farmers to cultivate it. With refineries throughout the
counties farmers can provide sugar cane for processing. Besides sugar and syrup, medical alcohol and beverages
can be produced for domestic and export consumption.
Soap and detergents
Oil palm grows abundantly in Liberia. Properly cultivated oil palm provides a constant supply of oil for food
consumption and also for soap and detergent industries.
Rubber production remains one of the major foreign exchange earners for the Government and Firestone runs the
world’s largest rubber estate —90,000 acres with 11 million high-yielding trees at Harbel and Cavalla.
Rubber production growth has reached a plateau. The rubber sector could begin an irreversible decline in years ahead.
The gestation period for rubber trees is five to six years; considerable parts of the three main plantations
are coming to the end of their productive life, and no significant replanting is under way. Rubber requires a
longer-term approach and it remains a less easy target for “at source” off-budget expenditures. The spread of
the Lofa war has also affected rubber production, especially around Bomi. Re-plant has to start immediately
to secure middle term revenues.
The Liberian waters have a coastline and continental shelves, which permit substantial artisanal fishing activities.
The coastal waters are rich in exploitable fish species. The artisanal fishery sub-sector contributes about 50% of
the annual fish production in parts of the sub-region. Paramount among the constraints faced by Artisanal fishers,
fishmongers and processors are the lack of adequate training, fishing gear and processing facilities. FAO has been
providing some limited support to the sub-region in this regard and will be requested for supporting a program in
Liberia. The artisanal-fishing sub-sector can be highly profitable and could employ a sizeable number of the coastal
population. It can also be a major source of animal protein for much of the population. New activities can serve as
linkages along the continuum from humanitarian assistance to integration of refugees, IDPs and excombatants and
ultimately to rehabilitation and economic recovery. This stimulation-project should provide training and establish
improved drying and smoking methods as well as provide essential fishing gears to about 130 artisanal fishers,
60 fishmongers and processors. Selected artisanal fishing groups, including women fishmongers and processors can
be organized to establish communal ownership of, and collective responsibility for the inputs provided by the project.
This approach is expected to ensure sustainability of respective fishing groups.
MARITIME & CORPORATE REGISTRY
Liberia has the second largest maritime fleet in the world. In April 2002,
Liberia’s gross tonnage stood at 54,545,000 (29,191,000 net). There are to date
1,715 vessels registered under its flag of convenience (open registry). As a result from competition of other
offshore registries and lobbying from several NGOs, several ship owners are considering their flag of choice.
We have to stop this development and polish our name.
Under DAMATE's leadership Liberia will make great progress in civil rights, but much other work remains to be
done too. Sekou DAMATE is committed to protect voting rights and expand the federal jurisdiction for intolerable
hate crimes. Liberia has to make significant progress in protecting the civil rights of individuals, and we must end
discrimination and ensure fair and equal treatment of everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin or
In the short run, UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP and other UN agencies must help our Government resettle refugees and
internally displaced persons (IDPs), reintegrate child soldiers, reconcile war-related crimes, reduce ethnic tensions,
and improve social indicators.
High priority on the agenda remains the issue of reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian society.
Studies have estimated that as more than 60 percent of men and boys in Liberia are veterans. Big worrying
thing is the fighters that started the war as children and are now young adults. They only know war, what
will happen to them? DAMATE knows that a commitment to all our veterans, including the child-soldiers,
means guaranteeing dignity and fairness for all of them and security for the whole nation. Like so many in
other war troubled regions, when the dust settles will they re-socialise or revert to type and become armed
robbers or maybe carry on fighting the government? All ex-fighters, from any fraction, need training and
education to rediscover the values of life. To do so, they need productive employment and housing if they
are joining Liberia in the reconciliation process and reconstruction of our country. Specially for this problem
DAMATE established the DAMATE PEACE FOUNDATION (click here).
SECURITY, LAW & ORDER
DAMATE is also focused on fostering security guarantees between the Mano River states, and between
Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire, creating a comprehensive program for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR),
and restructuring and re-training the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the national police. However, it is
unclear that any current Liberian military commander is up to the task of guiding the transformation of the AFL
or the police. To no one's surprise, the justice system still is largely broken down, and the new Government will have
its hands full in addressing this problem. Arbitrary detention, extortion by authorities, bribery, and human
rights abuse are commonplace. All other progress depends on the Government of Liberia respecting the human
rights and dignity of its citizens. We too believe that the UN Office in Liberia (UNOL) and the UN Development
Program (UNDP) could work with the Justice Ministry while donors work with the Liberian Bar Association,
non-government organizations (NGOs), and others to institutionalize the new political mindset. Liberia's
Human Rights Commission must be reformed, strengthened and made more autonomous in line with recommendations
from UNOL and the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).
Few things are more fundamental to Liberians than their personal safety, and the safety of their family.
The government has to provide resources to help creating Neighbourhood Watch groups. To make our communities
safer, we need to make sure that those who leave prison do not go back to a life of crime. Sekou Damate Conneh
would strengthen community supports for former offenders, so that people who are ready to follow the law are
more likely to do so. DAMATE developed a plan to make sure that first responders have the training,
protective gear and emergency response equipment they need to protect us. DAMATE will
vigorously enforce gun-safety laws. We need tough, consistent laws to get drunk drivers out from behind the
wheel and off our streets. A strict, national standard for drunk driving makes good sense and will save lives.
Issues affecting women's rights affect every family in Liberia, but these concerns receive far less attention than
they deserve. I am dedicated to the fight for gender equality in Liberia and especially focused on women's health
issues and those issues affecting women in the workplace. DAMATE makes this fundamental promise to women: The freedom
of choice is yours alone. DAMATE will continue to fight for women's right to have government choose and appoint
judges who will uphold women's constitutional rights. DAMATE will support women's rights to choose and
to care for their family, to safeguarding equal opportunity for female business owners. They want to see a country
where women should be able to go as far as their talents can take them - whatever choices they make.
Liberia must become a leader in fighting drug abuse, addiction and drug trafficking.
Countries in Europe and elsewhere are turning away from failed policies. They are treating addiction as a medical
problem and are seeing significant reductions in crime and violence -- with fewer young people becoming involved
with addictive drugs in the first place. Addiction is a medical and moral problem that should be treated by
professionals, not dumped on the criminal justice system.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & THE INTERNET
Of critical concern is the digital divide. There have been some small successes in technology in the past decade,
many have been left behind and still lack the tools to fully embrace the digital economy. The forces of technology
and globalisation are revolutionizing every aspect of life in the western world. We live in a high-tech world where
Nelson Mandela can go online from Johannesburg for a global chat with Barck Obama in Washington DC on yahoo.com or Skype.
Foreign government officials can visit Monrovia if the country is connected to the Internet by phone or satellite.
The question remains how we are going to maximize this technological revolution, for our economy, and our nation."
DAMATE wishes to ensure that in the future all of our citizens can take advantage of new technologies by supporting
legislation that will provide assistance to small businesses, which need resources and assistance to compete
Access to water is a fundamental human right and need. It must not be controlled by private industries and sold only
to those who can afford it. Clean, healthy water is a right for all. Water is not an “externality”, or a sewer for
pollution. It is the sustainer of all life. Disregard of water is disregard of life. We owe it to future generations
to leave them the gift of clean water. Too many people die each year, mostly children, from water born diseases.
DEPARTMENT OF PEACE
Inspired by US Congressman DENNIS KUCHINICH, candidate for President 2010, DAMATE introduces a new
department for Liberia:
THE DEPARTMENT OF PEACE.
Citizens across Liberia are invited to establish a Department of Peace, seeking nothing less than the transformation
of our society, to make non-violence an organizing principle, to make war archaic through creating a paradigm shift
in our society for human development for economic and political justice and for violence control. Violence control
will be to support and respect disarmament, treaties, peaceful coexistence and peaceful consensus building. Economic
and political justice will examine and enhance resource distribution, human and economic rights and strengthen
The Department of Peace would not only address violence in the country but also in the home, spousal abuse,
child abuse, gangs, police-community relations conflicts and work with individuals and groups to achieve changes
in attitudes. This will help with the discovery of new selves and new paths toward peaceful consensus.
The Department of Peace will also address human development and the unique concerns of women and children.
It will envision and seek to implement plans for peace education, not simply as a course of study, but as a
template for all pursuits of knowledge within formal educational settings.
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