Says Internal Affairs Minister Sirleaf
Internal Affair Minister, Varney Sirleaf has said that resolving land boundaries conflicts among the counties is crucial to promoting reconciliation in the country.
Apart from tribal and sectional discrimination that have entrenched in Liberia making citizens see one another differently on the basis of tribalism, land conflict is another confronting social issue that is undermining reconciliation in Liberia after the civil instability.
According to Minister Sirleaf, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in collaboration with Partners and the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) has commenced the harmonization of the land boundaries conflict in 14 of the 15 counties of Liberia.
Commenting on the issue recently on a local radio talk show in Monrovia, Minister Sirleaf said they have observed that sometimes indigenous people are found to shift land boundaries because of their personal benefits; something he said if land boundary conflicts would be resolved, the residents must be truthful in their approaches.
“Sometimes the indigenous people are found to shift boundaries especially in some parts of the country where mining activities are hugely taking place. People shift boundaries because they want to mine minerals in a particular area. If we are not careful to address this, it will lead to serious conflict,” he said.
He said that there are several boundary disputes that the Ministry and partners are currently looking into. “We have just resolved some conflicts which some are inter while others intra,” he said.
According to him, the land boundary harmonization process is a key aspect of the work of his ministry to promote reconciliation.
“This is why we are starting this boundary harmonization process which is a very key activity at our ministry to enhance reconciliation in the country. If we can do that effectively, it will help to serve as a pillar of reconciliation,” Minister Sirleaf added.
Minister Sirleaf, however, said that the land harmonization process was not an event but a process.
“Land harmonization is one of the activities that lead to the process of reconciliation and it needs to be well managed. When jurisdiction is created by law or statute and that jurisdiction is not clearly articulated, it sometimes causes land conflicts. But once we look at the Act that created those counties and ensure that the law is implemented accordingly, it helps to solve some of those problems,” he said.
The Internal Affairs Minister added that the only way that Liberia will become a prosperous nation is when the citizens are willing to sincerely work together to promote peace and reconciliation, especially when it has to do with land issues.
“We need to all need to work together if we say reconciliation is the path to a better future. We need to be truthful and nationalistic in resolving land issues in a holistic way,” he said.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Wheinyue, Technical Focus Person to the Minister of Internal Affairs, said that logistics is a major constraint confronting the land conflict harmonization exercise, adding that there is a need that the government makes more funding available to smoothly implement the program.