Tubmanburg City: Day 5: Institutional/Thematic Hearings

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The presenter of First Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.

Report from the Educational Institutions.

Co-chairman: Good morning and welcome to the day 5 of the public hearings in Bomi County. We want to welcome you and the CEO of Bomi County.

Commissioner Washington: welcome to the TRC hearings for Bomi County. For the sake of the record, can we get your name again?

Presenter: Amos A. Fully.

Your date of birth please?

Presenter: I was born December 8, 1954.

What do you do?

Presenter: I am a class room teacher.

How long have you been in this position?

Presenter: I have been in this position for 2 years but mostly I have been in the field.

What is your responsibility?

Presenter: I am the County educational Officer for Bomi.

Presenter: The effect of the Civil Crisis on the educational Institutions in Bomi County.

a) The Civil Crisis has great effects on learning institutions as well as human resource. There was abrupt closure of schools in the County. The burning and destruction of learning institutions have caused serious setbacks of the growing population of students in Bomi County. (eg) The LMC public schools were also destroyed and was renovated by the UNMIL and now occupied by them.

b) The H. Q Taylor elementary and Junior High School was destroyed up to present it has not been renovated by any one. The CH Dewey Central High was vandalized and everything was taken away. To conclude on the destructions of learning institutions, we are pleased to mention few.

Bomi Jr. High, Parker High, Mae- Davies Public School as well as Suahen Mission, Jenneh Public School including LOIC in Klay that was used for training of peace crops in Liberia including many other institutions.

Who Did What to the Educational Institutions from 1979-2003

Destruction of Human Resource Teachers and Students Died.

Civil Crisis also has effect on our institutions as well as students. To name few, Uncle Sam Amoah, a teacher assigned at the L. M. C public school as well as for the Bomi county association was killed by the then NPFL. Mr. Amos Kanneh, a teacher assigned at the H.Q Taylor public school also got killed by LURD forces for using such word as ?I am Tired".

Francis Ramsey, a teacher assigned at the CH Dewey central High School and later assigned at the Sass town public school also killed and Dump in the Manor River by Government Troop.

Two of our students were also killed by ULIMO troops in Tubmanburg and their bodies were displayed. Many other teachers and students got killed in Bomi County. Many properties including other facilities such as books, chairs, laboratory equipments all were taken away, which made it very difficult for learning to be effective, including zinc doors, windows furniture, school documents were found in market places.

The Roles of Educational Institutions in the National Reconciliation Drive are in Many Counts.

Participants: Ex combatants have been accepted in our learning institutions as well as in Vocational and skill training program so as to change their attitudes, their thinking as well as their behaviors. Free Scholarships have been provided for many of our young people that took part in the civil crisis.

Constraints and Problems:

  1. Resettlement is a serious constraint because one will have to start life all over again most especially in terms of construction.
  2. Building of schools in many of our villages is a serious constraint.

High cost of living is a serious constraint in terms of prices low salaries high cost of transportation, lack of trained teacher to replace the qualification, health problem for teachers is a constraint.

Prospects of Recommendations:

Many of our elementary schools have been renovated with trained teachers by UNICEF through the ministry of education. There is a free and compulsory primary education in our county for our elementary schools. Government has given subsidy to all of our primary schools.

Recommendation:

  1. That more schools be built in all of our villages in order to enable our students more especially our females to go to school.
  2. That free education be prioritized at all levels.
  3. That price on school materials be duty free.
  4. That every high school have an auditorium, laboratory and a computer lab, with trained and qualified instructors.
  5. That war should be discouraged so as to give free movement to our people.
  6. That perpetrator be called upon to give statements before the TRC commission.
  7. That after the statement of the perpetrator, they should be forgiven and be integrated into their communities.
  8. That the CH Dewey central high school auditorium be paid for during programs or occasion.
  9. That anybody caught as a rapist be taken to the court when found guilty be jailed for 10 years.
  10. Anyone caught stealing public test and selling it to students be immediately dismiss from the job and be sentenced to jail for 5 years and said student be disqualify for that year.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Washington: Thank you very much Mr. Fully, you were very eloquent. Your presentation has thrown light on the educational system in Bomi County and to improve the system. We will ask you some questions for the sake of clarification.

Commissioner Coleman: Thank you for the presentation. I am concern about the statistics of the schools, before the war and after the war.

Presenter: I can't be exact right now, but before the war, Bomi had about 200 plus high schools are the war we now and after the war, we now have 120 schools and the C.H Dewey high school as the only high school.

So can you tell me how many students are out of school, to how many that are in school now?

Presenter: Before the war, we had about

What about the adult education, is it true that the schools have adults?

Presenter: Yes, we have a program call the ALP where the students are a about 18 years old. And we can't put some that is 20 years old. And the major problem it lack of electricity, we don't have light.

What is the illiteracy rte her in Bomi?

Presenter: I can't really tell, but the rate is still very high.

Do you have any relationship with the CDP?

Presenter: Yes, I must say our superintendent is working hard, but I can't really tell but we are building a school now in one other town.

Do you have voluntary teachers here?

Presenter: Yes, even yesterday, the educational Ministers were here and we were discussing them. We have 320 voluntary teachers and the 229 pay teachers here.

So that is, if the voluntary teachers decide not to work, there will be no schools?

Presenter: Yes, the last time, we even had problems with that issue. Because the voluntary teachers decided not to teach and they were no schools and students wanted to strike.

Do you think that building more schools will help the rate of students walking distances to attend schools?

Presenter: Yes, because even in the Poe River, when the water gets full, you will not able to go to school.

What about housing?

Presenter: With housing, that is another problem because no body wants to go to teach in the rural areas because of the housing problems here.

Do you have a high rate of rape cases?

Presenter: Very high, but before the war, it was high but we were not exposing it. So I thank the international community for exposing it. For the toilet system, we have flush toilets but no water system.

Commissioner Syllah: Thank you very much for that brilliant presentation. Can the people meet the demands of the students?

Presenter: No, as I told you the rate of students are higher then before the war because every body knows he importance of going to school.

How many students do you have per class?

Presenter: I will say 45 per 1 but now we have more then 60 students in one class and some times, you will see a man being the principal and the vice and at the same times teaching.

What will you say was the percentage of the last year government exam result?

Presenter: It was very poor last year, but last year because of lack of teachers. Another problem was that the children don't have a laboratory.

What is the ministry of education during about that?

Presenter: Education has the high number of employees on the list. Until the ministry root out the payroll, then we can give something god to the boys from Monrovia. We must encourage the boys.

You said that the illiteracy rate is still 60% what do we do to help this situation?

Presenter: Firstly, let's start with the kids. There is no Day Care for the kids here, in Bomi that is a government school. Let go to the adult program, we don't have an adult educational programs. That one can go to work and go to school after wards.

Commissioner Dolopei: tank you for the presentation. What is the ratio of girls to boys in the school, cause you said, you have about 30,000 students.

Presenter: Let's say it is comparative, but last year we had to go on the radio to encourage them to come to school and WFP had to come with the idea of giving them food if they come to school. And now, the boys are more in the schools.

And how well are these girls doing?

Presenter: They are doing their best, but it is one thing to come to school and it is another thing to do well in your lesson. But there was a time a lot of girls were in the street, but I talk to them and they are trying their best. We have the night school from 5th grade to 12th grade, but no electricity. The 120 schools in the county how many are privates and how many are public schools. I can't really estimate, but I will give you the break down later. But mostly, the government schools are more then the private schools. Most times, we see a lot beautiful schools built along the way, but we see that the population is low, what do you have to say about that?

Presenter: t is a big problem here because most NGOs go to undertake projects and they don't tell the people of the town. I mean they don't consult the heads of the county. And we want to appeal to them to desist from that habit.

Do you have a committing for that funding?

Presenter: Yes, I have a committing and But I was lately informed.

Commissioner Washington: Are these girls consistent in being in school or are you experiencing a drop out?

Presenter: No, he drop out rate is not too high, that's how I got the report from the school, but there has never being a condition where we had 10 girls and 5 dropped. It is not too high.

I will like for you to throw light on the impact the different factions had on the educational system in Bomi. How were school facilities t with treated?

Presenter: Lets start with the NPFL, because I was here when they came to Bomi. Then later, people started leaving Bomi because every now and then, you will hear that some one was kill the next morning. And then during the normal days, t he late President Doe built a school that was well structured, but when the war was coming, he made it a Barracks, and when the war started the children had to leave Bomi. And 1992, when ULIMO came that was when every thing was destroyed and we all can testify. That was when our infrastructures were demolished and we all had to leave.

Commissioner Washington: Was it when they split?

Presenter: Yes, because if I am not mistaken, it was ULIMO K that was here.

Can you tell us how it, the CH Dewey was set ablaze?

Presenter: Yes, it was burn in August 14, 1988, but the president Doe came and rebuild it.

Can you throw on salary and benefits on teachers in the counties?

Presenter: There is no other benefit besides the 3,145 Liberian Dollars in the County. There is no other Benefit, but it was only UNICEF that gave cars to few counties for works.

What do you think need to be done in our schools to keep the students in schools?

Presenter: The first thing is, lets look at the VIDOE CLUBS problems, most of these girls come to schools with their color clothes in their bags and after school, they go straight in and if it is 6 movies they will watch all. So we all have to work it out, and secondly, most of our students are in to taking drugs and stuffs.

What do you think that can be done, because before he war, we had programs like PTA, what are you people doing to help these students?

Presenter: Yes, we do have the PTA, where we have Teachers and Parents Association. We even have the ALL GIRLS ASSOCIATION, where we want them to feel in the system.

Do you have any other recommendations, thank you for coming to help us do our work?

Presenter: Yes, on behalf of the Bomi County Educational System, we will like to say thank you, don't relent, there will be criticisms, but keep up the good work.

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Tubmanburg City, Bomi County

Women Group

Presentation made by: Rebecca Boakai

(Second Institution)

The presenter of First Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.

Commissioner Washington: We want to say thanks to you and your women for coming. Especially, knowing what women went through during the war?

Could you please tell us your name?

Presenter: My name is Rebecca Boakai.

When were you born?

Presenter: I was born April 27, 1965.

We want to say thank you for coming to represent your women group. Now you may go ahead with your presentation.

Presenter: Bomi women in collaboration with Ministry of Gender and Development and women groups present position statement on the Institutional and Thematic hearing to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Bomi County on 2nd May 2008, in the capital city of Bomi (Tubmanburg) Republic of Liberia.

Honorable, Chairman, Co-chairman and members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Superintendent and members of the local government United Nations agencies, National and International NGOs , women, children and youth groups, students ladies and gentlemen,

We first of all wish to thank and appreciate your coming to our county. We the women of Bomi are wholeheartedly pleased to welcome you and your entourage for the coming of the TRC to us the rural people, who constitutes the vast majority of the county's population, on that women are being set up as special group in so doing, we understand "TRC" stands for Truth and Reconciliation Commission", as we are aware of the fact that it is a group usually set up by a country that has come out of a long period of war/conflicts or crisis. Our research also shows that there are many countries that have set up a TRC: Example, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Chile, East Timor, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Morocco, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, a total of 16 countries in the world have encouraged TRC process which total healing to the people and citizens of seven (7) countries from Africa.

As we are aware the purpose of TRC are many but is limited within a given context to six (6) major points, namely, (1) come up with a true, fair and correct account of the nature of troubles and happenings of the past, the reasons for those troubles and happenings, the persons and bodies behind things and there effects on individuals, groups and country as a whole. (2) Heal the wounds of the past. (3) Encourage people to forgive another, (4) make sure that lasting peace and unity return to a war/post -war affected country. (5) Ensure justice and Security, (6) prevent such trouble and happening from coming back to a country. As a matter of fact we understand the TRC work or usually set up to work for two or three years but we are appealing that it goes beyond at least six (6) years if we are to truly stand for these objectives and to implement your goals, Mr. chairman it can be recall that on April 1, 2008 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission branch in Bomi county had worked assiduously with various stakeholders and community groups in all due respect sent us a communication through our focal point, the ministry of Gender and Development office informing the women about the public hearings activities scheduled for April 28, -Ma y 2, 2008 requesting the women to prepared a paper on thee institutional Thematic Hearings in the following manners: (a) The effect or the civil Crisis on women in Bomi, (/b) who did want to them between 1979 to 2003, (c) The role of women in National Reconciliation drive, (d) An over view of women's role in post war Liberia with: Engagement and activities , constrain and problems, prospect and recommendation , ect .

Admiringly, today is when women in Bomi County are recognized to state their effect of the civil crisis without regards to divisions, such as national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on the past struggle and accomplishment s, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that awaits future generation of women in Liberia and Bomi in particular.

According to Liberia's statistics, women constitutes about six of Liberia's post -war population of approximately 3 million in the country continue to be serious concern , Despite some efforts made to improve the statues of representation in decision making and management, high illiteracy rate, poverty, sexual violence and high unemployment, ect. Stereotyping, structural and other forms of human rights abuses are usually subordinated ad their potentials under utilized. With the fourteen (14) years of civil unrest constitutes serious war crime against humanity including systematic rape and other forms of sexual violence were counted in Bomi county and Liberia as a whole. Amnesty International representatives visited Liberia particularly Bomi county in November 2003 recorded the following abuses: Rape, gang rape, adolescent girls , abducted on their way to school, raped ad forced in to sexual slavery, pregnant women raped at gun-point . Although there has not been violence, it is estimated that thousand of women and girls still remain vulnerable and are often subjected to violence in many parts of the county. The risk is heightened by esteems poverty and dependency on young children especially girls who are petty traders around streets corners for family survival.

Violence against women affect al aspect of their physical, social, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. It has harmful consequences not only for the individuals, who experience it but also their families, communities, and society as a whole. Additionally, women and girls as well as children are ill- prepared to face violence attack and consequences thereof.

Who did what between 1979-2003 statistics reveled that there were human rights abuses carried out by individuals and citizen including our own children who were conscripted into holding arms. Indicated are revelations obtain: (1) it can be reveled that 1988 C.H Dewey Central High school was burn down by Honorable Sando Johnson and Seku Donzon formal Representative of Bomi, this ill action resulted to keeping several citizens of Bomi County out of school not leaving out the women population. (2) Discrimination was one of the major practices that led to the death of many women and girls. (3) Women were forced and used as sex-slaves, raped in very percent of their helpless kids and unprotected husbands. (4) Women, husbands and children as well as relatives were murdered in cold blood. (5) Women and girls were used for force marriage, at the age of twelve, women were been delivered by gun men seeking to know the sex of the unborn child. (6) Women were killed if your connected to men in high position and most commonly because of once position. (7) women were being abuse by arm men who forcibly place their hands in their private parts looking for money or jewelries.(8) our children were taken away forcibly by soldiers to conscript them into the army or rebel forces who intern became soldiers and treated women without due respect or regards. (9) Our children were being raped painfully in the presence of their parents. Some parents were force to sex their daughters and men were to sex their mothers in the present of family members. (10) In 1980, there were frequent disappearance of your husbands and family members. (11) Women saw the open killing of innocent people either by execution or secret man slaughter. (12) Women were forcibly taken to Maher bridge by unknown men who were believe to have been Taylor's fighters about 75-100 women including their children were killed by forces led by Benjamin Yeaten, former Genera of the Liberian forces. Varney Gargama a notorious rapist from 1995-2003 was responsible for raping over 150 women, meanwhile, through the endlessly effort of the women of Bomi this rapist was arrested by the National Police of Bomi County. (14) In 1996 the women in large number were besieged in Tubmanburg City and its surroundings by the ULIMO -J faction to be exact with an attacked from the forces of ULIMO -K as a result there were sever hunger that took the lives of several women and children. Children, men and women were taken as slaves by rebels. (15) It can also be reveled that in the same 1996 August, women and children were forced to witness the butchering of a civilian who was arrested by the ULIMO -J General named Grab, who himself slaughter the man in the presence of his wife and children including on lookers, on the campus of the St. Dominic Catholic school in Tubmanburg City.

(16) In 1994, a man identified by the name of Larzoe, was beheaded by ULIMO-J and his head was displayed in the open air, while his wife was subjected to kiss the beheaded body. (17) In the same 1994 two students were arrested by forces of ULIMO -K while returning form their study class, from the new Road community in the city of Tubmanburg, and their hearts were eaten by ULIMO -K forces.

Consequently, many rural women has suffered the most during the Liberian civil unrest, especially between 1994 to 2003. They were victim of violence against women, such as sexual and gender base violence. Women and girls were abused and treated as sex parents because they had lost their husbands who in many instances, were killed in their presence. Mr. Chairman, universally, gender based violence is an issue that goes unpunished, to the extent that those committing violence , especially in the rural environment run virtually no risk of investigation let alone prosecution and punishment. This is due to the absence of courts, correctional facilities and inadequate judges, sometimes fear and lack of information allow these crimes to be committed with almost total impunity. Moreover, while there is no real progress in addressing the culture of impunity that surrounds sexual abuse, the consequence is that women tend to avail themselves for fear of rejection of their own communities. There remain numerous obstacles to prevent such crimes and helping the victim or survival effectively and appropriately. Often our rural women have too much and too little to become familiar with their rights. As a result, at most times, they forego their rights of lack of knowledge. Therefore, there is a grave need to educate these women on their basic rights, especially the rape and inheritance law.

Generally, illiteracy in the county is very high, magnified by the large gender balance. The illiteracy rate is estimated to be as high as 63% with 75% being female as compared to 50% males. Furthermore, there is also an urban- rural disparity. Approximately 25% of rural inhabitants are literate compare to 61% of urban inhabitants. Clearly, illiteracy is a problem that is more prevalent among women than men especially in rural communities. Moreover, rural women are too often disadvantaged I comparison to men in terms of education, information, and employment opportunities. In Bomi County, 12% of women are employed in the office of the County administration. Despite this and other difficulties, the women continue to participate in the local government initiatives and contribute effectively to national reconciliation. There are (8) women group involved in peace building, reconciliation and conflict management, some of the contributions of these women have been to attend training and workshops both government and private.

Women's engagement:

  1. The Bomi women center in collaboration with women group successfully led the campaign to have Varnery Gangama, a notorious rapist arrested in 2007; another major step taken by the women is the provision of counseling of survivors of rape and domestic violence cases at the women center. The doors of the women centre continue to be open to the gender public.

The women also presented a petition to the Circuit Court in March 2008, calling on the Judges to seedily try all rape cases pending on the court docket.

A. The Bomi women also demanded a speedily trial of the accused in the participated in the all important county development agenda, Land Reform, and Boundary Harmonization meeting the county and national levels. Moreover, the women group are colos3ely working with the Ministry of Gender and Development in the county.

RECOMMEDATIONS/PROSPECTS:

The women represented by various women groups in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Development urges the state to undertake every measure possible to restore enjoyment by the women in Bomi County, their rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Liberia and make it the highest priority and have it reflected in the allocation of human resource at all levels: In this regards, the TRC, through the state (Liberia) should urge the International Community (other Governments), United Nations agencies, NGOs to continues their pledged in most expedient manner and further increase their financial and humanitarian assistance to the women of Bomi county. The women wish to express their fullest support for such an appeal taking into accounts these other recommendations as significant to the women of this county (Bomi):

  1. That those in authority should abolish and see the need to dislodge for the national reconciliation drives.
  2. That GOL to enact laws to enforce the implementation of juvenile justice.
  3. That band all phonographic photos.
  4. That GOL to enact Laws to abolish sexual exploitation/abuse.

In addition to our recommendations, it is important to note that even though the issue of rape and domestic violence was in force as requested by the TRC, but we will like to share our statistic with you, with respect to rape and domestic violence cases. In Bomi county between 2006-2008.

    1. Statutory rape eleven(11) cases
    2. Gang Rape seven(7) cases
    3. Rape forty-two (42) cases.

Total cases of rape report are sixty (60), some investigated while some of the perpetrators are in jailed and some are at large.

Domestic violence cases reported are investigated by the National Police and WACIP is sixty eight (68) cases but none were sent to court due to family members and the community compromising these cases.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Washington: Thank you very much for an excellently job and the research done by you and your group. Now the commissioners are going to ask you some questions.

Commissioner Syllah: All of the fractions that were in Bomi, they did carry girls with them, if so, have they return?

Presenter: Yes, we have encounter of such, when it comes to taken out of the county.

Women Representative: Mr. Zoe T. Russ. Yes, it is true some return, some was rape, some came back and one Pastor who lives here daughter was taken away raped and later died.

The notorious rapist you talked about, what happened to him?

Presenter: He was tried and converted and is now in Monrovia

Commissioner Dolopei: As women were also use as fighters, what has been done about them as women group?

Presenter: I must first give God the glory for the effort of the women. To eat human being hearts is not easy, but with the collaboration of the women, things are fine. Today we are even having fast and prayer, and also in consoling, we tell then how to live again as human in the society.

How about your own work with the males' fighters?

Presenter: Well, at first it was only girls but now we are incorporating the males. Things are fine

You talked about the percentage of the position of women to men, 11-12 percentages, what position are they holding?

Presenter: We have the development Superintendent as female

Thanks very much, you all did a hard job and we will put those recommendations in our records.

Commissioner Coleman: Is any organization activity here responsible for family rights?

Presenter: Well, when it comes to that it has to do with the Judiciaries.

Gender Coordinator: The reasons why domestic crime is a States crime, so my question here is what are the police doing because domestic has hamper family. For example, one man cut his wife hands while at sleep. I don't think domestic violence should be compromise because it is still causing problem for the communities.

Children going to video clubs become a family problem, so parents should take responsibilities. So we should work together and the women should take note of that too. Sexual abuse against women how has the family and the communities cope with this, and what is the effect?

Presenter: When it comes to violence against women, people are not sensitize to know their rights, so it becomes semantic and if you carry to the court nothing comes out then others feel weak to carry case and just forget about it, but we have met with the Gender coordinator to help us to know about these things and so, if we women can rise up, nothing of such will happen.

Women have been victimize twice, some family structure has been damaged, did it happened here? Are they experiencing similar thing here?

Presenter: Yes

Commissioner Dolopei: If women in each county take these positions, example, if a woman hand is cut off and the families take this serious, I don't think this will happen.

Editor of the Daily observer: You talked about women empowerment financially, what do you want to do with it? You also talked about Benjamin Yeaten, taken people to the Mohir River; can you tell us how they took them and how it happened?

Presenter: The only thing we mentioned it is, because we heard it and we know it happen. So I can't give you a clear picture.

Gender Coordinator: On the note of the request, we have women illiteracy program, we are carrying on adult illiteracy. They need money to invest to give other women in order to re-manage. Victims come to the center we can't give them money but we can council them. The women want to construct guest house so that in time to come, they will be able to make their own money.

Chairman: Madam Presenter we want to say thanks for your presentation.

Any thing you want to say lastly?

Presenter: I want to thank the TRC in general. There were lots of things we thought of TRC, like brining old wounds, but I think we have understood the purpose, so especially to women of this county, we need to rise and stand for our rights and to those who make it possible for us today, again, we say thanks to the TRC.

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Tubmanburg City, Bomi County

Religious Institutions

Presentation made by: Rev. Konnah B. Dowoh (Head of the Liberian Christians Association)

(Third Institution)

The presenter of First Institution of the Thematic and Institutional Hearings was called to the stand and was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah.

Chairman: You are welcome to the TRC and at this forum we take a look at individual hearings and by this we want to know how institution, how group of people of a specific type can undertake in it and all of that, in the hope that the TRC can benefit from the recommendations of these different groups and institutions. So we thank you for coming.

Can you kindly just say a little about yourself, your link with this institution in this County?

Presenter: Well, I am happy to be part of this gathering of the TRC to state the role of the church and what I know about the church and the entire process. I am Rev. Konnah B. Dowoh, the head of the Liberian Council of Churches.

Presenter: Ok, I will talk a little bite on the churches in the post conflict situation. As you are aware the year we witness a successful election for the president and national legislature, which was acclaim world wide as a free and fair, transparent and incredible elections. The council in Liberia fully participated in these elections, in the areas of civil elections, voter's registrations, meeting with state holders and offering a voluntary works. When January came the inauguration was headed for HE Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In reference to her effort, government recommended that we should learn computer and election and the past census have already taken place in this country. Up to date, the government had found it difficult in establishing functional courses out side of Montserrado County even though we appreciate the effort so far.

Liberians have enjoy free democracy and the national legislature had done its best to ensure its independence, and for the first time, now challenges issues of executives. Many radios and televisions are functional, and there are programs which allow people to express their selves publicly. And there are many news papers which are evidence of the free press. And the judiciary continues to design itself and made efforts to ensure that the rule of law is respected in this land. That the executive branch for the first time in Liberia encourage the environment to ensure good governance and democracy in this country. It is wise to know that serious efforts have been made to reestablish cordial relationship with the Mano river Union country such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is highly commendable to know that churches are picking up their pieces to help in significant way. We also have schools, passing under serious constraints and difficulties are highly vulnerable. With the constraints and difficulties that the country is faced with, I am very happy to know that the majority of Liberians are determine to make ends meet to survive. The reliance of the people and the ability to continue to smile and laugh, and additionally, to remain all Liberians to put aside their differences to work along with the government which is determined to make a positive change in Liberia, and to all Liberians there must be hard ship, but the sun will shine at last. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was created by the Accra Comprehensive peace agreement, as a national policy of the peace process which was formally inaugurated in the year by the president of Liberia. The commission is the most appropriate mechanism to make peace in Liberia, put by the people of Liberia to confront their difficult past. As this nation come from war to peace, it is confronting the past that we can connect to our present, to the future; especially the nine commission of the TRC is to find the entire cause of the conflict, by investigating the abuses and violations in this nation. It is found to establish regular measures that will bring eternal relief and justice to this country, and hopefully prevent the repeat of the violence we experience. The church must support the work of the TRC by engaging in the Truth and Reconciliation process. The church will not only be in obedience to God's words but to also value this special message of redemption and reconciliation to believers. The church in Liberia has a unique role in this important national undertaking because just as it has given the Liberian encouragement in the fact of bringing the war. It must continue to peace to preach the message of Peace, justice and Reconciliation. As far as I have given here so far, as far as the role of the church to work with the TRC, to make sure that what so ever the TRC stands for, that will be for the benefit of the people. Thank you, and your mission for coming here is accomplished.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Rev. we want to thank you for that presentation. It was short, and precise. So at this time commissioners will ask you some questions.

Commissioner Coleman: Rev. Dowoh, we want to thank you for coming to the TRC. I don't have any questions for you.

Commissioner Dolopei: Mr. Dowoh, I want to join my fellow commissioners to ay welcome and thank you for coming to the TRC. I assure you, you have come to help us do our work. Thank you.

Commissioner Washington: thank you for coming, but what help has the Liberian Council of Churches done to help the people of the community?

Presenter: Firstly, I will say the council of churches has started a great job, especially the Sierra Leonean and the Liberian Councils. We are trying to see that the council helps to empower our local people in farming and making our own food.

Commissioner Syllah:

Chairman: should the TRC recommend prosecution at the end of the process?

I will say no, because that will not be a way of reconciliation.

Commissioner Coleman: base on that recommendation, what will be your own idea of the way forward in this process?

Presenter: I think that it will be good for us to call the perpetrators, to give statements and apologized and then we can integrate them in the society and move on.

Now, as you know that we can't force a person to repent, so what do you recommend we do?

Presenter: I will say that if they don't want to change, the best way is to for give them, and I think the TRC should have a strategy to keep things calm.

End of the Institutional/Thematic Hearings Bomi County


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