— Gongloe-Weh appeals to Nimbaians
The Special Senatorial election is over, but there seems to be bad blood among Nimbains on tribal lines — so much that senatorial candidate Edith Gongloe-Weh has seen the need to speak out against such tribal division, which she considers bad for the county and its development.
According to Madam Weh, her people need to grow up and do away with tribal conflict, even though there are still mixed feelings from the just-ended election. However, such mixed feelings do not warrant the steps they are taking now; rather, it is time for them to unite and behave as members of the same happy home.
“My heart is truly broken with the amplified tribal division of our county on social media, especially between the Mahn (Mano) and Dan (Gio) people. I sincerely beg everyone to please disengage! We are too closely knit to descend into tribal conflict! Perpetrators of this deadly tribal game are sadly oblivious of its deadly consequences. Only those who do not read history dare to tread this path,” said Edith Gongloe-Weh, who is currently challenging the results of the Nimba County senatorial race, which were announced by the National Elections Commission in favor of Rep. Jeremiah Koung of District # 1.
At the recently held Senate polls, Jeremiah Kpan Koung, a candidate on the ticket of the Movement for Democracy and reconciliation (MDR), achieved more votes and was announced as winner of the election. But Madam Weh took exception to the results and challenged the win of her opponent at the hearing office of the National Elections Commission (NEC), as provided for by law. Hearings have been ongoing and NEC’s hearing office is yet to come down with its findings to accept or reject Madam Weh’s appeal.
Madam Weh, who is the sister of human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe, argued that history is replete with accounts of deadly tribal wars. As a result, when seeds of tribal hatred and dislikes are sown, she noted, they eventually culminate into tribal violence, which no one can win.
“Is this really what we Mano and Gio people want? She asked rhetorically. “Absolutely no one can win this war. It’s everyone’s to lose. Our language might be sligtly different, but our culture and geneology are pretty much the same.”
She said there is no way anyone can separate the Mano and the Dan and, as such, those involved in instigating tribal conflict through social media or whatever means should stop, rethink for a moment, and take deep breath and read Dr. Joseph Saye Guanue’s historical account of the origin of both tribes in the Nimba 2010 historical Magazine, which reveals that both tribes are products of two brothers’ children.
Dr. Guanue is one of Liberia’s outstanding historians and hails from Nimba County. Many of his books have been adopted by the Ministry of Education and are currently in use at many grade schools across the country.
Madam Weh added that the tribal division drum beat is getting louder and louder and is a recipe for a massive disaster that no one will benefit from, so the sooner they take control of their emotions, the better it will be to “save our county from self-inflicted destruction.”
Madam Weh told her kinfolk that it is time for all stakeholders in Nimba County to work for the harmonious coexistence of everybody and secure a better future for the children of today and others yet unborn instead of preaching tribal politics which is wrong for the county.
“The world is threatened by [the] Coronavirus, shattered economies, decaying infrastructures and collapsing social structures. Liberia is even worse and on the brink of untold human sufferings,” she said. “Something terrible is happening. It is not just wars with guns. Let’s cease this tribal rhetorics, for Heaven’s sake, and work for a reconciled county and the entire Liberian nation as a whole.”
She added: “While other people from other areas and even in Nimba are jealously pursuing education, our children (Manos and Gio) are busy riding motorcycles. While we need that means of transport, it is unfair for them to ride all through their youthful ages, forgetting they need to learn and acquire skills for tomorrow, when they will no longer have the energy to ride the bikes they are riding today.”