The second leg of peace dialogues between Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties last week ended with all parties pledging their commitment to sustainable peace in and between the two south-eastern counties.
The dialogue was initiated and organized by the Carter Center Liberia office with funds provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It was held in Gaye Town, a few miles from Zwedru and brought together chiefs, elders, women and youth representatives in face to face exchanges.
Carter Center officials told the Daily Observer that the peace conference became necessary against the background that there was a slave camp in Nimba playing host to citizens from Grand Gedeh.
Internal Affairs Deputy Minister for Administration, Varney A. Sirleaf, urged participants to consider peace as the best way to attain genuine development, growth and progress.
He assured participants that the Ministry of Internal Affairs would give serious consideration to the inclusion of more women in the governance of the country.
Deputy Minister Sirleaf also disclosed that the improvement of the road that leads to the south-eastern counties is paramount to the government’s goals for the enhancement of social and economic progress.
Mr. Sirleaf drew attention to the decentralization program through which the Government is providing service centers in several parts of the country to bring services such as issuing of birth and marriage certificates, licences, payment of taxes within the reach of citizens who will no longer have to travel to Monrovia to access such services.
Minister Sirleaf further assured the gathering that he will continue to support their efforts to promote development and social cohesion in the country.
Minister Sirleaf cautioned local leaders to always demonstrate respect for the citizens in their various districts, clans and counties.
He further admonished appointed officials in the Ministry of Internal Affairs that if they failed to respect and hold citizens in high esteem, they would feel the weight of their respective administrative authorities.
He also extended appreciation to the Carter Center and USAID for their help in facilitating the meeting.
In his remarks, Grand Gedeh County Superintendent Peter Solo noted that the constant perception of confusion between Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties has now been put to complete rest forever.
“In my candid view, the Nimba citizens are our immediate relatives and let it be known that such perceptions are now over from today under this peace tree in Gaye Town, Grand Gedeh County,” Supt. Solo asserted.
There are huge numbers of Nimba citizens, especially businesspeople, in many parts of Grand Gedeh County engaged in all kinds of enterprises, said Supt. Solo.
His Nimba County counterpart, Fong Zuagele, said the doors of his county had long since been open to all Grand Gedeh citizens to work and do business anywhere of their choosing.
In a 19 count resolution, participants and other stakeholders agreed on several social, cultural and business issues between the two sister counties, including the exchange of cultural visitations, respect and dignity for each other and the exchange of vital information through their leaders. Participants also advanced several concerns on trade, commerce, culture and socioeconomic development for further discussion.