Hundreds of squatters in the area known as LPRC Fence in Gardnersville outside Monrovia were told last Saturday morning to peacefully demand from the Liberian government the land on which they have invested thousands of US dollars as their new home.
The area, which is part of the Monrovia Industrial Park, was squatted on by thousands of people during and following the civil war. Now GOL is demanding that they relocate because it plans to demolish all the structures in the area in order to reinstate the industrial park.
“I know Ellen is a good mother,” stated Prince Kreplah, executive director of Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia, a non-governmental organization. “She will behave like a mother whose children are asking for help.”
Kreplah told the gathering that demanding for their rights as Liberian citizens is good, but “it must be done with respect and in peace.”
“This is the only land that you cannot be deported from,” Kreplah told them as thousands cheered, “and therefore you ask the President, your mother, to let you live here.”
He reminded them that there are many Liberians who were uprooted by the recent civil-war and have made residences in other countries and other places in Liberia as well.
“Many of you were uprooted from your previous homes far and near and as a result you deserve to be helped by the government, your government in the best way,” he said.
He added, “Your brothers and sisters who were uprooted from Liberia and are in other countries are asking for dual citizenship so that they can return to make their contributions to Liberia.
“You are not asking for dual citizenship but you are asking the government to let you live on the land of your forefathers and I think your demand should be granted.”
Kreplah told them, “Since the voice of the people is the voice of God, and since when we say government it means you, then it is important that the Liberian government listens to you and your demand to be let alone to live here.”
He added, “I know this government is a responsible government and it will act humanely and responsibly.”
Kreplah said he had no doubt that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would not encourage the demolition of over 2,000 houses and displace nearly 60,000 Liberian citizens in the wake of the recent Ebola tragedy, of which many of the residents are survivors.
Speaking to the Daily Observer Sayee Davis, 41, a retired Coast Guard personnel who has resided in the community for the last twelve years, said the recent announcement that houses in the community would be demolished has added more to the problems of the residents.
Though the exercise was not carried out due to a last minute order from the Supreme Court, the residents are still worried.
“We have been running since the war,” Davis said, “Where do we go from here?” He said should the Liberian government decide to eventually demolish the houses, “it would be a deliberate act by the government to create homeless people in the country.”
A resident who identified himself as Komara, a mechanic, said, “I came here to reside with my nine children and other family members.
“I lost two sisters to Ebola and the community asked me to leave. They threw our things out and we had to leave. This is home for us,” said Komara. “Who will listen to us?”