Little did the staff of the Land Commission Tribal Certificate (TC) recording team know that they could be overwhelmed with huge turnout in Bong County when the TC recording process started on February 18, 2015 in Wainsue Town, the Headquarters of Jorquelleh District-2.
The Tribal Certificate recording and vetting process, which is now running into a month, is characterized by unprecedented momentum and willingness among the citizens of Bong who acquired land under tribal certificate.
As a result of the eagerness of many people to have their tribal certificate recorded, the TC recording team has already recorded more than five hundred (500) Tribal Certificates just in the two districts of Jorquelleh with eleven districts in the county yet to be covered.
The anxiety shown by the people in Jorquelleh District to bring their Tribal Certificates forward for recording, if replicated in other districts of the county, will certainly drive the Land Commission of Liberia to realize success in its quest of having comprehensive data on Tribal Certificates issued over the years but yet to be transformed into deeds.
Local Chiefs Embrace the Process
The success being realized in the ongoing Tribal Certificate recording process by the Land Commission in Bong County can be largely attributed to the committed involvement of local leaders in aiding the TC recording team carryout its work.
“We really welcome the initiative by the Land Commission of the Liberia to have all Tribal Certificates recorded in the county so that our people can have deeds at the end of the process” Chief Flomo Barwlor the Dankpanah of Liberia intoned during the commencement of the Tribal Certificate recording process in Wainsue.
Chief Barwlor described the Land Commission of Liberia Tribal Certificate recording and vetting process in Bong County as a distinctive opportunity that will ensure people acquire the requisite legal title to their land.
The aging Paramount Chief of Jorquelleh Chiefdom voluntarily offered to assist the Land Commission Tribal Certificate inventory team mobilize his people in all of the clans to participate in the ongoing recording process to avoid being excluded from the exercise.
Chief Barwlor further urged his kinsmen not to be apprehensive about the Tribal Certificate recording process as it was rumored in some quarters that the exercise was designed by government to take away people’s land.
Prior to the commencement of the Tribal Certificate recording exercise in February, the Tribal Certificate team, with support from the Land Coordination Center (LCC), vigorously carried out awareness raising exercises and consultations in Gbarnga and its environs providing insight about the objective of the program.
Launched in 2014, by the Land Commission of Liberia, with support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and technical assistance from UN-HABITAT, the objective of the national tribal certificate inventory exercise is to collect information on the total number of tribal certificates issued over the years and record the information in a data base.
The Land Commission has indicated that the inventory process is also intended to end the usage of tribal certificates as means of acquiring land. The ongoing TC exercise involves several steps, including the recording, scanning and vetting of tribal certificates, which will ultimately convert tribal certificates into deeds, where applicable.
During the start of the exercise, the Land Commission called on those in possession of tribal certificates in the four counties earmarked for the project – Bong, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado to take advantage of the opportunity by bringing forth their certificates to be recorded during the inventory process.
The Tribal Certificate recording and vetting exercise in Bong County is expected to run up to August this year with Fuahma District the last to conclude the exercise in Bong County.