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The Rich Blamed for Poverty Gap

By Estella Nelson, The News (Monrovia),
25 October 2000

Monrovia - The privileged few have been blamed for neglecting to address issues that would narrow the gap between they and the impoverished masses.

Mr. David D. Kiazolu, Secretary General of the Interfaith Mediation Council, made the observation in an interview with this paper yesterday. He said, the higher ups and well-to-do in society feel complacent because life with them is palatable.

They do not speak out on issues in the interest of the common people, but lust after personal gains, Mr. Kiazolu stated. He pointed out that while a powerful minority enjoys good living, the silent majority struggles for 12 hours or more every day to find bread to eat.

Mr. Kiazolu stressed that if the nation must realize true reconciliation, there should be opportunities available for the masses to empower themselves.

He pointed out that the empowerment of the masses cannot be divorced from the reconciliation process in postwar Liberia saying, genuine reconciliation, which is the trump card for success goes along with building the lives of the people.

There should be a positive impact on the life of every citizen, irrespective of their diverse backgrounds. It should include a policy where the cripples on the streets will appreciate humanity and feel worthy, the Interfaith executive said.

Mr. Kiazolu further said despite the holding of democratic elections in the country, citizens have not yet been able to reconcile.

He pointed out that if the spirit of reconciliation had taken roots in the hearts of every citizen, it would have been manifested in the quality of democracy, the rule of law, the growth of the economy, and total participation in national issues.

Reconciliation is being stalled by conflicts. If put on a scale, conflicts arising since the holding of elections are more than the successes in reconciling the people, Mr. Kiazolu stated.

He then called on Liberians to be nationalistic and learn to respect the human rights and dignity of each other, so as to avoid the recurrence of violence in the country.