Weah Frowns at Border Disputes in South-Eastern Counties

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President George Manneh Weah

— Weah seeks chief, elders intervention; as 3-County conflict Deepen,  

President George M. Weah has announced the setting-up of special a committee compromising elders, chiefs and members of the legislative caucuses of Maryland, River Gee and Grand Kru counties to settle the issue of continued border disputes, which has resulted in a number of deaths.

President Weah said it was unfortunate for citizens of the three counties to engage in conflict that subsequently led to the deaths of “Good citizens” and displacement of others in their own country.

He cautioned the chiefs, elders and caucuses of the three counties to ensure that the peace of Liberia is maintained, stating that, “Without peace, we will not have development in our various counties.”

“The chiefs, elders and officials need to intervene now into the land and boundary disputes. United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) left us and it is important for all of us to maintain the peace because, without peace, we will not develop our communities and the country at large,” President Weah appealed.

In the south-east, there have been land conflicts between River Gee and Maryland, Maryland and Grand Kru, and Grand Kru and Sinoe, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs last year intervened, but the situation is yet to be resolved.

“Mr. President, we have several problems ranging from land border disputes and tribal conflict. The conflict is from one community to another. We have been protecting our county amid River Gee’s and Grand Kru’s constant attacks,” Maryland County Superintendent George A. Prowd said.

According to the Superintendent, despite these provocations, citizens of Maryland County continue to exercise restraint with us on promoting the peace for the good of Liberia.

“I am pleased to report to you, Mr. President, that as part of these provocations, Grand Kru County, particularly the people of Behwen, on December 16, 2020, forcefully drove out 38 of our citizens, which led them to leaving back their belongings including farms,” Mr. Prowd told President Weah during a town hall meeting.

Participants at the town hall meeting in Maryland County with President George Manneh Weah.

Superintendent Prowd said citizens of Maryland County have been keeping the peace over 40 years despite the forceful removal of their citizens who have lived in Behwen for years and intermarried.

“We thought that the intermarriages and co-existence over the years would end this long conflict, but not at all. Though our citizens are at home, they are displaced and have no access to their farms,” Superintendent Prowd added.

According to the Supreintendent, the citizens of River Gee County have become equally hustile and provocative because of the discovery of gold in Matee Town, Behma Town and other areas which lie around the boundary with Grand Kru County.

“We are still kind because of the motherly love we have for these people. We parented all of these people, both Grand Kru and River Gee counties. One would wonder why such ungratefulness,” Superintendent Prowd lamented.

He lauded Minister Sirleaf for his continuous intervention over time which has accordingly led to maintaining the peace, but expressed the need for serious intervention from the government of Liberia.

It can be called that Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf during the heat of the conflict in December 2020 intervened, but it appears that serious attention is needed by stakeholders to address the situation.

President Weah, committing to support efforts in addressing the disputes, called on the people of the three counties to unite, work together as a team and with Minister Sirleaf and local leaders to resolve the issues.

Land dispute became a point of attention after the Liberian civil war. For what the Liberian government foresaw to be a breeding ground for conflict, it enacted a new land law and established the Liberia Land Authority to intervene and settle all land matters.

8 COMMENTS

  1. What if the government was to consolidate these three counties? Wouldn’t this move make it easier for the planning and implementation of projects. Too many political subdivisions especially among people with a similar history and background pose a challenge of how to allocate funds among competing resources. This is not necessary.

    Just recently rumors have been circulating that parts of Bong and Nimba counties are contemplating on seceding to become separate counties because some disgruntled citizens feel their communities are always dealt the wrong end of the deal when the issues of development arise.

    However, even though the argument above may hold some water, but another analysis do suggest that not as much as county rendition and development is concerned as is the exploitation of the citizens by insidious politicians for selfish gains.

    In other words, some local leaders often foment disagreement among the folks based on issues that are fundamental but lie dormant, just to push a personal agenda. For example: The aspiration and ambition to be elected to the senate or house of representatives regardless of one’s education, experience and ability to perform is one of the major drivers that fuel some of these tribal divisions.

    The more the government kowtows to the secret strategies of the crooked politicians, the more the people will be divided and the more boundaries will be created. This is not good for the socio-economic development of the country.

    • Too many District #(X,Y, Z )s, Representative for District # X , (Grand) X County, District # Y, Grand X County and so forth! It’s all about politics ,in this case exploitation and manipulation and conditioning of the people, creating a feeling of unique identity that really doesn’t exist.

      I have always been wondering why “they” applied “Grand” (suggests merger of territories I guess) before some counties names (Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Grand Bassa). Now nothing is wrong with that, Liberians are one people, different tribes. It’s these politicians constantly pulling the chiefs and common people by their ears, that are creating these problems at large.

      As for the land disputes, in this age and time of technology, LISGIS can easily assist the concerned ministries (Most likely Internal Affairs) to resolve these issues (internal issues).

  2. Why don’t we focus on the essentials and let go futilities?

    What is the difference between the Grebo from River Gee and those from Maryland?
    What is the difference between the Grebo from Maryland & River Gee and the Kru from Grand Kru?
    My people, what is/are consequential difference/s among these 3 groups of people within and out of Liberia (in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire)?

    You all have the same ancestors, same history, fairy tales, cultural values, traditions and moeurs, why be at loggerheads for land?
    In fact, Superintendent Prowd, what do you mean by “we parented these people? Don’t you think the use of the word “ungratefulness” is a misnomer or provocation?

    You have the golden opportunity to tell your president to open the region to major investments, empower the citizenry, provide the catalysts to catapult such investments and empowerment, but delving on futilities and imbecilities.
    Do you consider administrative control as parenting someone, Mr. Prowd? When we (ANC) come to power, some of you should think before you talk in our presence.

    Stop this your segregation of bush Grebo and seaside Grebo.
    Stop your segregation of the Grebo man being more civilized than the Kru man.
    Come together as one people with common objectives and speak to your president on how you can improve the livelihoods of the people living in the Southeastern Region of Liberia.

    I hope and pray that Superintendent Prowd will henceforth watch his words when he speaks on behalf of a people.
    As for me, I know you were NOT talking for the Grebo people of Maryland, but from your domineering selfish and uncouth upbringing.

  3. This just the same case with the Lorma, Mandingo, Mano, Gio, and Kepelleh( s) Living in Liberia and Guinea. As also the Gios of Liberia and La Cite d’ivoire. These ethnic groups share the common ancestry root. Then what brings about “Lay people la foreigners”? This statement is mostly directed at Mandingo s living in Liberia. For example; My name is Saïdik Yusuf Ali, unfortunately I am being stop constantly at various checkpoints because of my name. Even though both my parents were born in Nimba, likewise I myself. Even though, my grandmother father had been a well known traditional herbalist and famer in Saclepea for ages. Even though, my late father served many years in the police and the AFL from Talbert time to Taylor time. In other to have a better and stable Liberia, we must join forces to eradicate tribalism!

  4. Skirmishes have been going on between tribes or even between towns of the same tribe over land – especially farmland – in Liberia. This has been going on before the founding of the Republic. In his numerous Executive Councils throughout the country, bloodshed over land matters, was one of the main complaints that came before President Tubman. This took a good portion of his time settling disputes at the councils. Quite evidently, this particular issue is not about tribal differences but rather, pure land disputes. Shift farming that is carried out each year, in order to plant the new crop of rice, demands new and fresh land other than the land on which farming of the preceding year was carried out.

    Not having well defined boundaries that demarcate the lands of these various towns or tribes, easily leads to neighbors sometimes unintentionally crossing over to adjacent land that do not belong to them. This is a challenge cut out for the Ministry of Local Government ( AKA Internal Affairs). Engaging the various chiefs and elders, and the ministry acting as referee in such disputes, is the way to go. The eyes of the ministry are the superintendents, commissioners, and mayors of the areas involved. These local government officials should be proactive in contacting their neighboring counterparts of the other side swiftly and in good faith in order to quell such confrontations from escalating.

    Finding a lasting solution to this festering problem lies with the ministries of Local Government, Lands and Mines, and Agriculture. You cannot wait for the president to put off such fires every time!

  5. Yes indeed, these land disputes have existed in Liberia even before Tubman’s reign. However, a factor that had played and continues to play into the citizens being accustomed to automatically look up to the president for intervening in these land disputes had been the unitary nature of Liberia’s form of government under which they have been led for years. I sometimes regard Liberia’s unitary form of government as a dictatorship that masquerades itself under the guise of a democracy.

    The government creates a kind of fuzziness in the chain of command and delegation of powers and duties, and it accounts for why in many instances the cabinet ministers cannot independently make professional and ethical judgments wherever and whenever emerging situations deem expedient for them to use their education and experience in the utmost way to benefit the country.

    What compounds their challenges even more is when problems that should not be politicized are sometimes politicized indirectly by influential people surrounding the president and at other times by the president himself. As the result, the cabinet ministers’ roles are relegated to that of a bunch of praise singers.

    Regarding rotational or shifting cultivation: The ancient jhum practice of crop cultivation, whereby farmers in Africa and many other parts of the world would conduct farming in one area and abandoned such area to allow the soil to restore fertility, has been reported to be good but only in the short run. Agricultural experts have concluded and published findings that time has arrived for Africa and other developing countries to begin looking at other alternatives because the “slashing and burning” associated with this practice promotes the degradation of the environment in the form of soil erosion and massive destruction of the natural vegetation.

    The challenges before the country are cut and dried.

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