One group of citizens who are said to be highly affected by the delay of national Government to find lasting solution to the long-standing post-war land dispute, is the Ganta-based “Concerned Youth of Ganta for Reconstruction & Development” (CYGRD).
Ganta is Nimba County’s strategic and most populated commercial city, and its citizens are said to be the highest affected in the land ownership dispute.
According to the Chairman of the youth group Mohammed L. Kamara, those who are victims of the dispute were among the most enterprising citizens of Ganta before the civil crisis, but a good number of them still reside in refugee camps in the sub-region, awaiting Government’s amicable resolution of the dispute and their eventual return home.
He recalled and lauded government’s initial intervention in the dispute as far back as 2010, which culminated into the constitution of the Musa Bility Commission, aimed at finding mutual and acceptable solution to t the land ownership issue.
The Musa Bility Commission, after months of consultative meetings with the affected “land owners,” produced a final report which included recommendations which was sent to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It was in this vein that payment to claimants and respondents was instituted throughout the contested areas.
But the financial payment process, which commenced weeks before the October 2011 presidential and legislative elections, was suspended mainly, according to government, due to the shortage of funds, earlier promised by the international community.
By then, the government had paid claimants and respondents in Tappita, Sanniquellie, Karnplay, and over 75% payment in Saclepea. Claimants and respondents in Ganta (and Bahn) which constitute the highest number have reportedly grown impatient and there are fears of suspicion within that vibrant commercial city.
It is therefore, in line with this “mounting suspicion” that CYGRD has decided to seek other avenues which their chairman hopes will help bring resolution to the problem.
Chairman Kamara said the group is now calling on ECOWAS, the African Union, European Union, and the United Nations to intervene in the speedy resolution of the land dispute.
In their appeal to the international community, the youth group notes: “It is neither pertinent nor useful to recount here the rather tragic story of what has transpired in Liberia in the last decade and a half, when peace-loving people went through difficult times, including a bloody civil war.
It will not be pertinent because some of the details are still too fresh and too painful to many individuals land and properties are still been illegally occupied in Ganta, Nimba County.”
The youths however, agreed that it will not be useful to recount those tragic events as such an account is bound to raise questions about causes and effects, such as who did what to whom, who provoked what, who is to blame…”And we all know that surrounding emotions, opinions and perceptions differ on these questions.”
Chairman Kamara and his youth organization is therefore reminding the international community that the delay in the resumption of the payment in Ganta is undermining the process, thus bring the process to disrepute.
“No political leader, no matter his/her vision or ambition can stall this process. Let us be reminded that the issue of land has human rights and national security implications, and therefore must be taken seriously. Let us also nurture and strengthen democracy, for this is the only form of government that can protect the rights of all citizens.”
Mr. Kamara meanwhile, told our reporter yesterday that his organization has written the Ministries of justice and Internal Affairs seeking audience with the two institutions with the hope of finding solution for resumption of payment.
It may be recalled that former Minister of Internal Affairs Harrison Karnwea was responsible for disbursement of payment to claimants after funding was received from government through the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs then headed by new Finance Minister Amara Konneh.
According to the method of payment to claimants and respondents, the government of Liberia was responsible to pay half of the amount agreed on to the tone of about US$1.2 million and the balance to be paid by the international community.