Nimba, Remember Katanga?


The other day someone called the Daily Observer to say  that the

people of Nimba County were "war-mongers" and they wanted us to carry

the story as a headline.  Of course, we could never do such a thing,

since it would unfairly indict all Nimbaians, many of whom we know to

be among the most peaceful people in the world.  Take an humble and

caring young man like Tiawan Gongloe, a lawyer, who goes out of his

way to help people in trouble.  Take our own C.Y. Kwanue, who remained

on the ground throughout the war and though he is Gio, effectively

distanced himself from all of Charles Taylor's Gio generals, of which

Kwanue could have definitely become one, had he been interested.  But

NO! Kwanue remained faithful to his chosen profession and maintained

his integrity as a journalist.

There are, however, some Nimba people who seem to crave for war.  On

such person is Nimba Representative Samuel Gongbene (tall man) Kogar

(you look at me, I look at you).  Reacting to President Ellen Johnson

Sirleaf's indication that she would use the Nimba      County

Development Funds (CDF) to repair the damage which the violent Nimba

youth recently inflicted on ArcelorMittal's facilities, Kogar accused

the President of failing "to resolve a sensitive situation in the

governance of the state."

Then the Nimba lawmaker issued this threat: "If that's what the

President is telling us, Nimba would be prepared to break  away from

Liberia and stand as a country on its own."

Kogar may not have realized what he was saying, but he most certainly

portrayed himself as an extremist who would go to any length to

maintain legislative control over a few dollars in the  County

Development Funds, even it meant going to war to break away from

Liberia!  For how else does one political subdivision break away from

a country except through a declaration of war?

We would like quickly to remind Mr. Kogar and all who think like him,

of the mineral-rich Katanga Province  in The Congo which, led in the

early 1960s by Moise Tshombe, broke away from The Congo.  That

immediately ignited a civil war which, of course, Tshombe lost.

Can Nimba stand alone as an independent nation when, despite all her

vast acreage of green vegetation, identical to that of neighboring

Guinea, Nimbaians still import   peanuts, plantain and bitter ball

from their neighbor next door?

Yes, Nimba has gold, diamond and iron ore.   But are these enough to

sustain an independent state?  Or would they have preferred to have

been colonized completely by France–who already seized half of Mount

Nimba?  Do they remember what France did to Sekou Toure?  After he

said No in 1958 to joining the Federation of French African States,

President Charles De Gaulle stripped the beleaguered country of

everything, including curtains and commodes.  President W.V.S. Tubman

and Liberia had to come to Guinea and President Toure's rescue,

sending them emergency aid in rice, money, etc. to help keep this

newest African nation state afloat.

Or do Kogar and other Nimbaians who think like him want to give  the

impression that the Nimba youth who violently attacked ArcelorMittal

were right in what they did?   Then no wonder some people consider

Nimbaians as they do.  But we reject that notion and know that most

Nimbaians are peace-loving people.

Instead of issuing spurious (empty) threats that make their fellow

Nimbaians appear as what they are not, the Nimba politicians clearly

have a way out of this controversy.  They  should sit with the

country's leaders, House Speaker Alex Tyler, Senate President

Pro-Tempore Gbehonhgar (a man from Gbehzon–a forested area) Findley

and President Sirleaf and discuss all the issues toward finding a

peaceful resolution to all the problems.

Let Nimba politicians NOT give their youth the impression that

violence and war are  the way to go.  If they do that, then they are

telling investors that Nimba is not ready for investment.

Nimbaians see the very serious controversies in which the people of

Bomi, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount have had and are still having with

Sam Darby; the Sinoe people with Golden Veroleum; and Marylanders with

Calava River Company and other concessionaires.  But these people in

all  these counties have chosen patience, civility and negotiation,

NOT violence.


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