A high National Council of Churches (NCC) official has been addressing a number of serious issues affecting the nation. These include the conflict between the churches and traditional leaders, or zoes, in Malawu, near Zorzor, Lofa County.
The Rev. Kortu Brown, NCC’s first vice president, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer last week, expressed his views on issues ranging from Malawu to immense poverty in the country to the mysterious death of Representative Fayiah Saah Gbollie to Ellen Corkrum and dual citizenship.
When a clergyman speaks of widespread poverty, he knows what he is talking about. For pastors are in touch with the ordinary people the desperation of their human condition.
We must remember especially at this time the youth, most of whom are jobless. Two years ago the government intervened by empowering the Monrovia City Hall to give youth vacation employment. Thousands of youth benefitted; but poor payment arrangements caused the youth to explode violently. The government promptly suspended the program and we have since heard nothing of it.
About two years ago GOL hired a US Air Force-trained woman to serve at Roberts International Airport (RIA). But within a short while she unceremoniously departed, accused of absconding with US$500,000. From all indications, GOL did not know what they were doing by bringing her aboard. It turned out that unknowing to top GOL officials, she conducted taped conversations them. These she has unleashed, to the woeful embarrassment of those officials and GOL itself.
This, Rev. Brown has warned, has placed in very seriously jeopardy any chance of dual citizenship between Liberia and the USA ever becoming law. Yet Heaven knows that if ever Liberia is to develop, our people in the Diaspora, most especially those in the United States and Europe, will have a crucial role to play.
Why? These nations, in particular the USA, are advanced in every way. Many highly trained Liberians and other Africans have contributed to that. There are thousands of Liberian specialists in every field working at leading institutions in the USA. Many of them, in order to achieve tenure in their organizations, have had to acquire US citizenship.
They yet remember the land of their nativity and wish to return and help Liberia climb the development ladder. But in order to do so, Liberia has to do what Israel and many other nations, Ghana included, have done—offer dual citizenship that will make it easy from these talented Liberians and their highly educated children to make the transition.
But Rev. Kortu Brown is right. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Behaviors as such as came out of RIA scare people. But we pray that our lawmakers will remain focused on THE BIG PICTURE; and remember the terrible harm many of our people, who have remained RIGHT HERE ON THE GROUND, have done to the country.
We call on the Constitutional Review Committee, too, to include Dual Citizenship in the forthcoming Referendum, so that the PEOPLE will be able to decide upon it.
We turn now to Malawu, and before getting to the heart of the matter, let us first commend the people of that ancient town who have become among the key custodians of Liberia’s traditional culture! Thank you, people of Malawu and keep up the good work.
On the other hand, the Malawu people must realize that they live in a democratic country which is governed by a Constitution—the law of the land—which guarantees to all freedom of conscience and of religion. It gives the Malawu people every right to practice their culture and traditions; it also gives religious people the right to worship God in the manner and wherever they choose.
We think the Minister of Internal Affairs should make contact with the Malawu people ASAP and help them understand that Christians and Moslems are the Malawu people’s brothers and sisters, too, and are welcome to practice their religion in Malawu.
With this initiative, however belated, Minister Morris Dukuly can help make this Christmas possible in Malawu. Even the traditional mask dancers and acrobats can join in the celebration.