Ganta Violence: National, Not Tribal Issue

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Since the September 30 violence that led to the destruction of residential buildings, a hotel and vehicles in Ganta, views have emerged from the general public, styling the two dominant tribes of Gio and Mano as “war mongers.”

Some days ago, a certain unpopular individual was given air time to rain insults on the two tribes, while others suggested that the Government of Liberia must send soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia to bringing the “Barbarians” (Gios and Manos) under control.

Some have gone ahead to state that the Gios and Manos are the cause of the long lasting Liberian civil war and the destruction of the country’s infrastructures and human lives.

Whether you think it is or it isn’t, you are entitled to your opinion. However, one thing Liberians should know is that the menace of violence emerging from motorcyclists is not the first of its kind in Liberia.

You will recall that in April this year, motorcyclists staged violent protests at the Red Light where they burnt the police depot and assaulted some police officers. Prior to that, motorcyclists had burnt a bus along the Somalia Drive and attempted beating Abraham Kromah, former LNP Deputy Director for Operations.

Another was also staged in River Gee County, a few months ago, leading to destruction of a vehicle.

Besides motorcyclists, others had staged violent protests leading to destruction of properties in other counties in the Republic. One of such was in Butaw, Sinoe County, a few months ago.

Sime Darby Oil Palm Plantation in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties has suffered numerous protests.

It is against this backdrop that I want to join peace-loving Liberians to strongly denounce violence and caution the rest of us not to see the Ganta incident as a tribal issue, but rather as a national menace that we can collectively solve.

To solve this engulfing catastrophe, the Government of Liberia will have to take some hard decisions on its causes.

From the Judeo-Christian perspective, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”

Also on justice, Proverbs says, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice (21:3),” and “It is joy to the just to do judgment, but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity (21:15).”

Now that violence is exacerbating and undermining the hard earned peace the world has suffered to restore to this country, it is about time that perpetrators of violence and corrupt, evil works are brought to justice as quickly as possible to serve as deterrents for others.

For some, it is more convenient to react to the physical violent acts of an otherwise frustrated and disenchanted youth population, compared to the blatant (or sometimes clandestine) corrupt acts of prominent individuals in the government, business, religious and social sectors of our country. Let us not be so dismissive or blind and end up stereotyping certain people based on their tribe, belief or occupation.

It is time that we Liberians, regardless of our tribal origin, treat one anther fairly without prejudice or stereotype, allowing us to have our just rewards for our actions.

If we would move ahead, all Liberians must consider Liberia as our common denominator and we must work on our attitudes and behaviors for the development of this country.

About the Author: Joaquin Sendolo is a senior student studying Mass Communication at the University of Liberia. He has earned his first Bachelor degree in Management and attended several workshops and seminars both in Liberia and abroad. He also covered key international events including the 49th annual meetings of the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda and the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. He had participated in a reporting tour in both the United States and the People’s Republic of China. He now serves as a diplomatic and business correspondent for the Daily Observer. Joaquin Sendolo can be reached at 0886838535/0777463853. Email: [email protected]

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