1990 Civil war resulted in serious destruction of the physical
and social infrastructure of the country, especially the killing
of various ethnic groups because of their association with different
contending leaders including: Charles Taylor, former minister;
Amos Sawyer supported by the peace keeping force. A third group
ULIMO (United Liberation Movement for Democracy) represents the
supporters (mainly Krahn) of the previous regime. It is based
in Sierra Leone after expelling the Taylor forces. The ECOWAS
powers hoped to support elections for a new government. However,
the conditions after the civil war, and the continuing war caused
by the attempts of Charles Taylor to seize the presidency delayed
There was no constitutional government since the one-party
state was overthrown by Samuel Doe and the "other ranks"
of the army.
The underlying problem may be that the aristocracy
fell but was not replaced by any competent ruling group.
Elections held in July 1997 under UN supervision produced
a government but the war may break out again. Charles Taylor,
one of the rebel leaders was elected. His father was from the
former ruling aristocracy while his mother was from the indigenous
people. His regime continues to be that of a warlord. Another
group LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy)
may be gaining power to overthrow the Taylor regime. Would they
be any better? Only time will tell.
Taylor has been suspected of assisting Osama bin Laden's group
by helping to launder their money via the smuggled diamond trade
he controls. He has been indicted in Sierra Leone for his actions
in provoking the war there. In mid June 2003 opposition armies
captured Monrovia but were beaten back. Taylor resigned 12 August
2003 and went into exile in Calabar Nigeria. Will he stand trial
for war crimes in Sierra Leone?
An agreement was signed (18 August 03) in Ghana to form an
interim government from both sides in the conflict. The hope
is that later a technocratic government will be formed which
will rebuild the schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure
and bring law and order to Liberia.
What about Taylor's activities in Sierra Leone, Guinea and
Ivory Coast? It is hoped that without his direction these rebellions
Under UN supervision new elections were held in October 2005.
A former World Bank economist Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected,
the first elected woman government leader in Africa. She has
a difficult task ahead of her, to rebuild the whole state structure.
One of her first acts was to call for the repatriation of
Taylor to face the UN court in Sierra Leone. He has been arrested
in Nigeria and sent to the UN court in the Hague.