Saniquellie City: Day 5: Institutional/Thematic Hearings

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Civil Society

Presentation made by: Zawolo Z. Zuagele

(First 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: Thanks very much for coming to the TRC; this aspect of the Public Hearings is intended to get the insight of the problems the various organizations in the counties faced during and after the war. Please tell us your name and state a little about yourself.

Presenter: My name is Hon. Zawolo Z. Zuagele.

Presenter: The Late Gandi of India once said that "truth resides in every human heart and one has to search for it there". In this view, the objective here is to search for the truth in our hearts so that the work of the TRC can lead Nimbanian in particular and Liberians in general, to lasting peace and prosperity.

This heart searching exercise is under the topic: The Liberian Crisis: Nimbanians' Role, the Consequences and the way forward.

The national crisis that started in Liberia on December 24, 1989 is the result of tribalism. The member of the PRC (the 1980 coup makers) encouraged the practice of tribalism as a strategy to divert public attention from the expectation for them to take serious actions to put fear in themselves and future leaders of Liberia not to engage in misrule. In response, a larger segment of the Liberian society adopted tribalism as a way of political living. So it did not come as a surprise for Liberians to push the country into national crisis.

The Nimbanians, particularly Gios and Manos' Role in the Liberian Crisis:

Nimbanians are to be blamed and must blame themselves for pushing Liberia into fourteen-year national crisis. It is the Manos and Gios' tribalism against the Krahn-led government and the Mandingoes' economic successes in trade, transportation, etc that pushed Liberia into national crisis on December 24, 1989 through the NPFL - Gio and Manos - dominated military and political organization.

Mid 1980 rumor circulated that "Thomas Quiwonkpa (a Gio) was the main maker of the 1980 coup and he gave Samuel Doe (a Krahn) the national leadership position because Doe had higher rank". The rumor created suspicion between the two tribes - Gio and Krahn. The logical implication was that there will be confrontations. However, initially the Manos were crafty in their loyalties as the situation provided opportunities for the Manos to get more senior positions in government.

The 1983 Nimba Raid notified both sides (Gios and Manos Vs Krahns) that there will be confrontations, political and military. The rest of Liberians hoped, on the basis of tribalism, that they will benefit from the confrontations. By then, some Manos and Gios were concerned and feared that they did not have the savvy to compete with the Mandingoes in economic activities. It therefore became obvious that many Manos and Gios would cooperate with any side in a national confrontation that would guarantee them the opportunities to eliminate the Mandingoes and their economic activities in Nimba County.

The 1985 presidential election took Liberia to the middle of the road toward the national crisis. Some claimed that Jackson F. Doe (a Gio) won the election. But such claim did not warrant anyone's serious concern or attention because none of the presidential contestants, on the basis of tribalism, claimed defeat. The situation was instructive and popular nationally and internationally, that Samuel Doe (a Krahn) should continue his administration for six (6) years but in civilian clothes. In the same year, 1985, there was a Quiwonkpa-led coup attempt against Samuel Doe which took Liberia to the door-step of the national crisis. Some of Doe's people claimed that they killed Quiwonkpa. His death provoked many Gios and Manos to join the NPFL in the final preparations for the national crisis.

The Manos and Gios have their own silent but dangerous rivalry which undermines them during the political and military confrontations. The Gios have the clear advantage of population the Manos claim superiority in education. This rivalry also explains why Taylor became leader of the NPFL. This rivalry also convinces some people that many Manos were worried and concerned about a Gio-led government (be it Jackson F. Doe or Quiwonkpa) for fear that such government would give the Gios opportunities to be educated like the Manos. It is logical that the NPFL exploited the tribalism against the Krahn-led government and the Mandingoes' economic successes to start a popular uprising in 1989. Charles Taylor was the leader of the NPFL, but many Manos and Gios turned the uprising into blind insurrection in order to achieve their interests.

The Consequences:

Doe's forces targeted and killed Gios and Manos.

NPFL's forces targeted and killed Krahns and Mandingoes.

The consequence of peculiar concern is the death of prominent Gios and Manos like Jackson F. Doe, David Dwayen, David Toweh, Steven Daniels, etc. during the crisis. It is inconceivable to believe that Samuel Doe killed these people or Taylor masterminded their death in the face of the desperation of some Manos and Gios in the US to return to Liberia in senior government positions.

The other consequences are problems, which remain with us, that are most likely to disrupt the peace we enjoy today in Liberia. The first one is the problem of citizenship. The provision of the Liberian constitution that denied non-Negroes citizenship in Liberia is a clear indication of Liberian's determination to continue with tribalism as a way of political living. It is an omen for crisis for any one to insist that the Moans, the Gios, the Congoes or the Mandingoes cannot be citizens of this district or that country.

In addition, our claim that Liberia is a Christian Country is contradicted by this clause. A truly Christian Community is multi-racial, so should be a Christian Country. A Christian Country does not deserve a racist constitutional provision under any circumstance. Where will we Liberian Christians go because both Heaven and hell will certainly host all races?

The way forward is to amend the constitution for non-Negroes to have the right to be citizens of Liberia like Negroes.

The second problem is the land and property issues in Nimba County. While the problem is almost history in most parts of Gio-dominated areas appears to defy solutions in Gompa City. The only reason can be the fear for the lack of self-confidence and savvy to compete with others. Unfortunately, I do not know of medicine for fear.

The efforts for deeds and other papers prepared during the crisis to take precedence over any kind of ownership before December 24, 1989 cannot stand the tests of reason and wisdom. Moreover, it may undermine the chances for lasting peace.

The way forward is to have everyone or his/her heir to repossess, with the same degree of ownership, whatever land(s) and property (ies) he or she owned up to December 24, 1989.

Conclusion:

When we continue in the same circle of tribalism we will certainly get the same result-crisis. I will end with the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. "If we do not learn to live together as brothers we will perish like fools". I thank you.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Do you say many of the people killed during the NPFL time were Gios and Manos?

Presenter: Yes, many prominent Nimbanians both Gios and Manos, for example, Jackson F. Doe was killed; there was silent rivalry between the Gios and Manos that actually contributed to these deaths.

Do you say many Gios died than the Manos?

Presenter: Yes, their deaths were masterminded, and at the time, the Manos were on the fence.

Commissioner Konneh: We believe that you have good faith in your presentation; we hope that the citizens will thoroughly and critically analyze your presentation; what do you think caused the suspicion between the Manos and Gios?

Presenter: Amongst the Manos themselves, there was this rivalry, those that were members of the Secret Society segregated against those that were not members; and this went to the larger extent between the two tribes.

Why is it that the Secret Societies will go this far?

Presenter: I think the best way forward for these kinds of activities to be discouraged is that when we are mixed up with other nationals and these kinds of activities will gradually fade away. I heard that the TRC is going to rewrite the history of Liberia and I have a different view; for me, the pioneers brought segregation to Liberia and for that reason, they led the people with suspicions, for the fact that there were several tribes here before they came or returned..

What has been your own endeavors to unveiled these problems?

Presenter: It is clear that when you go our villages, you will see that the standards of riches; probably one steel mill and small coffee farm that cannot cost US$20,000.00. So I think that the best way forward is to explore the outside world; and because of this my view, I am been considered as favoring foreigners in this county.

Commissioner Stewart: Thanks for your presentation; your presentation compels one to think deeper. How the rivalry between the Gios and Manos affects this county during the coup period; how it manifested itself?

Presenter: The rumors during the time of the coup that "Quiwonkpah was the strong man, but had to gave up power to Samuel K. Doe because he (Doe) had the highest rank" created a serious suspicions, the Manos were on the fence; but most Manos were in high positions; the likes of Robert G. Saye who died after it was said that he went after Quiwonkpah During this time in review, it was observed that Doe started taking side with the Manos and appointed the like of Emmanuel Gbalazeh as Chief Justice, and many others. The rivalry was like a cold war, it was very silent, but the Gios did not understand the positions of the Manos.

How is the leadership like in this county with this rivalry?

Presenter: I think that the Manos are actually dominating; the Superintendent of this is a Mano man, and many others.

How the rivalry reflected itself during the NPFL administration in Liberia?

Presenter: When the civil crisis started on December 24, 1989, the Gio people were saying that they had not come to fight for the Mano people and this actually deepens the suspicions between the two tribes.

How the schools are divided in this county, number of high schools in the Gio setting and number of high schools in the Mano setting?

Presenter: As you may be aware, Ganta is the head or at the front of the county and it is a Mano providence; but the first school in this county was built in Sanniquellie City which is also a Mano providence; therefore, this suggest that the Mano people had a better hand of the schools that are in this county. But in my opinion, the schools should been built according to population.

Commissioner Syllah: Based on your experience, what do you consider as the similarities that can be best use positively?

Presenter: I think the best similarity is that most Liberian in Traditional Religion; and this could to some extent help in the process.

Traditional beliefs in what sense?

Presenter: Lets take for example, if you and myself have a confusion, we swear to a sheep; are you not aware of that? This can be use to unit us.

What is the relationship of Nimba County to other counties in terms of tribes?

Presenter: I was born here and schooled her; yet, some people stay believed that the Manos are not citizens of Liberia, these are some of the problems; so long you say these kinds of people are not citizens will always fuel the conflict and confusion.

Comment from the audience.

Mack Tomah - Sanniquellie City: In 1990 when the war started in Buutuo and NPFL retreated, General Smith and his troops destroyed Buutuo in its entirety; the hierarchy of NPFL had top Americo-Liberians like D. Muslim Cooper, John T. Richardson, Cucu Dennis, etc. what is your comment on these two information.

Moses S. Nagbe - Accordingly, when the civil war started, the Manos were on the fence and said that the Gios had brought trouble and they actually want to divide Nimba County and they as the Mano people with their providence different and that of the Gios, Please address yourself to that.

Presenter: Yes, I actually remembered when I was traveling from Monrovia, the Mano people used to say that; yes I agreed with you. I hold the view that it was tribalism that brought the crisis; people were using this as a means enriching themselves, and it is a clear fact that we all are aware.

Is it possible that there should be a separate county for the these tribes (Manos and Gios)?

Presenter: I do not think that it is important or needless to have 15 counties because we do not have money; we should be thinking about reducing the number of counties.

Emmanuel Baypaye Sr. - I want to differ with the Speaker that the Mandingoes were targeted for their wealth; it was not because of their wealth but is was because of their involvement in the crisis, they were pointing at the Manos and Gios when the war started both in Monrovia and in Nimba county; secondly, he that the Manos were more in the Doe's led government, I also think that it is not true; the Gios had more people in that particular government, we had the likes of S. Gblorzou Toweh, Johnny Kpeah, etc.

Presenter: If we must make progress, we must stop pretending, lets go into villages and see the economic strength, it is very poor; that is the fact.

Chairman: What you say about the Snake Society?

Presenter: Yes, I said that the snake society is here and they mainly involved in the destruction of people that are struggling to improve their living standards.

Is it that our people in the interior do not want to get rich or they just need the technical assistance/ support?

Presenter: I am of the opinion that they just lack the ideas.

Now that you have completed you presentation, is there anything else on your mind that you will like to tell the TRC before you leave?

Presenter: I think I have said all, my last word is in my recommendations; "If we do not live together as brothers, we will perish as fools".

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Tubmanburg City, Bomi County

Office of the Superintendent

Presentation made by:

(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.

Chairman: welcome, we brought you here and we are happy that you have come to give us the religious back grounds of Nimba County. This shows that we are all tire of a particular thing and we are headed to a new Liberia. And by coming together, we are going to have lasting peace in Liberia. So we want to know the roles the religious leaders play in our country's past conflicts and how best we can recognized and move our country forward. So at this time, you will introduce yourselves to us for the record.

Presenter: Hon. Jerome Verdier Chairman, Truth & Reconciliation Commission & members of the commission here present; Cllr. James W. Zotta, Jr. Assigned Circuit Judge 8th Judicial Circuit Court, Nimba County; The chairman & members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia Nimba Chapter; UNMIL Civil Affairs Coordinator for Nimba County; Other members of the UN system here present; The Religious Communities; The press; The Liberian People, People of Nimba, One & All:

We thank the Almighty God for making this day possible. This day is unique and timely.

We also want to use this occasion to thank the authorities of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for inviting us to present paper on this sacred day in the history of Nimba County.

Therefore, may we evoke your keen attention to discuss with you the Topic: "Governance in Post Conflict Nimba and the way forward in the attainment of genuine Reconciliation"

Knowing the past and its associated events puts anyone in a better position to prepare today for a better tomorrow. That is, in order to discuss Governance in post conflict Nimba, one must clearly define and understand the Governance system, the permeated, pre-conflict Nimba. Through this, we would determine whether, pre-conflict Nimba merited what lead to conflict Nimba. Because, without conflict Nimba, there can be no post conflict Nimba.

What Governance system did we experience during pre-conflict Nimba? This question is too broad just as is the topic assigned us by the TRC. However, we shall attempt to highlight key factors that may have given rise to event which took place during conflict Nimba.

The following words are key or cardinal to events that gave rise to the period we have referred to as conflict Nimba.

a) Marginalization

b) Neglect

c) Nepotism

d) Sectionalism

e) The people's thing

f) Tribalism

g) Centralization

These words were applied various levels and placers to suit the taste of the power be, to the detriment or the vast majority of the citizenry of Nimba County, yea Liberia.

Government and Governance was seen as something exclusive for few private sector or the feelings. UBF, all fellows mason local paramount chief, favored President, or Senator and Representative who themselves had picked by the power thy be.

Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, is an obvious phenomenon by nature that man, when denied, neglected or marginalized will attempt to relief himself by any means possible. The means may be violent or orderly. But the means are most often termed by the gravity of the neglect of marginalization.

Man, when denied right to his livelihood, -social services as educational, health, road, watsan electricity, jobs and other opportunities is bond to fight back in pursuit of these I alienable rights. In the process, these will always be resistance from those licking the honey. The fight will be about the followings:

  1. participation
  2. inclusion
  3. sharing
  4. decentralization

Because these characters were not present, or visibly applicable in the governance system of pre-conflict Nimba, conflict Nimba became indeed eminent and or inevitable.

The period we refer to as conflict Nimba was the time when less privileged people found themselves privilege, un-educated or semi-educated people found themselves in position preciously held by educated people, the newly privileged to began to sized belongings of the preciously privileged, the barrel of the gun were perceived as those that way change of and so, people were eliminated, forced into exile because of the order of the day.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please permit me t take a little bit of your time to briefly discuss with you my assigned topic "Governance in Post Conflict Nimba, the way forward in the attainment of genuine reconciliation"

To begin with, I have the percussion that there can be no peace without war and reconciliation without conflict. In time of peace one prepares for war and in time of war, one prepares for peace. One of these processes must be obtained in order for next one to prevail.

Therefore, Governance in post conflict Nimba must be characterized by mutual respect, adherence to all international human rights protocols, broad base participation in Government on the basis of qualification economic recovery, opportunities to all, social services opportunities to all irrespective of sex, tribe section or religion.

The way forward for Genuine Reconciliation in Post Conflict Nimba.

My fellow Citizens, please permit me again to make these philosophical statements before expanding on my assigned topic: When I was grown up as a youth in my village and later on in the very Sanniquelle, my father counseled me with the following statements: And I quote , My son be mindful of cow pupu. Finally, my son when roasting a rat, make sure you take the gout out before you roast it. My son when you want heal a sore, remove the scar, script the sore and when you see the real tissue with blood spilling out, then you should spy the sore and apply the sore power and tightly banish it. You will see the difference.

In a nutshell, the way forward to genuine reconciliation in post conflict Nimba is to firstly speak the truth about what Conflict Nimba suffered, did or inflicted on other.

Secondly, Conflict Nimba must be sorry for what it did or inflicted on others and ask for forgiveness.

Thirdly, Conflict Nimba must also forgive others from what they may have done it; and

Finally, Conflict Nimba must take on the characteristics of good and carrying leaders:

? participation in Government

? Decentralization of national cake

? Provision of some basic social services

? Opened and accountable system of government

? Respecting the views of others and the dignity of the human person.

I thank you.

Questions from the Commissioners and the Audience:

Chairman: Thank you for your presentation and for your analysis of the root causes of conflict not only in Nimba but in Liberia going back to an examination of post- conflict Nimba, pre-conflict , conflict Nimba and then post conflict Nimba. And deviating several other factors or emanating from marginalization and other things that associated with it, including tribalism and ethnicity. We thank you very much. And at this time we want to ask couple of questions and then our participants, audience will also make comments.

Commissioner Stewart: You talk about pre-conflict, post-conflict Nimba. I would like to ask from your prospective, we have listen to a lot of witnesses since we started this process namely in Nimba. So far, we listen to a number of witnesses as well, and what keep coming up is that there are issues of conflict in Nimba county centering around land ownership, and if you may say citizenship. Their are people who spoke about been dispose of their properties and uneven distribution of security personnel in terms of uneven representation let me put it that way, of the various ethnic groups that make up Nimba within the security structure as well as conflict surrounding land and issues about dispossession. I would greatly assume that the county authority is fully award of these issues. What I would like to ask, how are these issues been address by the county authorities and to what extend are some of these issues been resolved in a way that you will call mutually satisfactory?

Presenter: Are you asking for pre-war conflict Nimba or post -war conflict Nimba?

I am talking about post war conflict Nimba. Those are problems you talked about marginalization all of that and post conflict Nimba today.

Presenter: We are sorry that our superintendent is not here. But we are very close to his day to day activities. And I can record that the president constituted a committee to resolve this land crisis in Nimba County, headed by the internal affairs Minister and which of course, the former superintendent of Nimba County is part of the commission Harrison Kaweyah and the present superintendent is part of the commission. What I do know is that the land crisis in Nimba County is mostly in Ganta and its part adjacent. But the issues of the land in question, we are talking about front pest land in Nimba right by the motor road, not the inner most part of those land. If you check here in our own county Sanniquellie here, you will find that bulk of the land in question the Mandingo people have their land. But those that on the main road, because it situated strategy for marketing and they are all tousling over it. The question here is, the kids now that have grown up to realized that their father's properties some were given because of friendship, and say my friend I will give you this place sit down there and you can trade. Because our people did not know about trading at the time. And so these guys after the war, they narrated the story to them and they got to know the important of the front pest land. So they decided to take this land back because it was not bought but those who bought theirs, and were able to show some tangible papers and had gone through it and almost 50% of the land in question has been given to the rightful owner. For those who have not brought in their genuine papers are the few that we still talking about. So if it comes to land business, a bulk of them have come and also sold their land because they no more want to may be in Ganta or Sanniquellie and other areas. That we can attest to it and so the land issues here is been almost 80% resolved. And it is just for those who have not brought in their papers to show the rightful ownership of their land, those are the lands they took. 20% of the land that is still in question now we are talking about now so bulk of those land issues has been resolved. And the security issues, we request for security, we want this number of security. once we had a join security meeting here, the security will come and say we short of men power here and we are 17 and we want additional number 15 you only request, so they give us men power we don't know form whence this person coming from, and which county so if they just give us the men power, then we receive the men power through their commander. So the distribution of security according to the tribes that are from Nimba, that is little bit beyond our own control.

You say that the contention of issues surrounding land has been about 80% resolved, except those who have not been able to establish documentations? So, I also like to ask a question that against the back ground of the civil war where documents were destroyed, homes were burn and all of that. Is this call for presentation of documents to authenticate ownership is it on one side or it is on both sides? What I mean is this, who claim that their parents give this land to friends and say come sit here and trade, and they been trading there for some times and where the war happen people had to leave and come back? In other words, what is the standard set for adjudicating such a matter? Are those who claim to be the original owners, are they also presenting the requisite documents to establish ownership as it require under our laws and symbol or establishing ownership is only on those who were there or those who claim to be disposes?

Presenter: Okay, thank you. Let me put it this way; at one time Mr. Fabullah said, your degree is there, but is the people that can qualify your degree. You know the issue of certificate, it comes first but again, I know the time these Paso of land were given out people were there, and all of these people are not dead or were not killed, so if you go through the paper system and where you can't get paper system to substantiate your claim, traditionally as they call and people say who can give testimony of this man having this land, people come and openly testify that yes I was there when this kind of transaction was going. So you get one or two persons to give that testimony and if it is genuine to the investigator they have no other alternative but to say let the man take the land. But because sometimes the child will be adamant and very frisky, he wants some little money, no, I will not do it. And that took him to go back and met where you know the man is saying this and this, so let do this for him. at least give him this little token to this child to leave this thing once and for all. And all of these things are done. And it is not only with the Mandingo people, even with the Gio ethnic group and the manor ethnic people do this same thing, because the land disputes is all over this county. My very self sitting here I get a land disputes; I have to go there this Saturday that is coming, tomorrow. So again, if you go and your paper is destroy, I don't think all of those people of that town are destroyed. One or two persons they have heard about it or know something about it. And they can come to testify openly oh yes, that this land is for this person. And in so doing, said amount can be given to the owner.

And if the person may have been occupying the place before the war, sitting there operating doing business or the transaction which lead to his occupation may have happen about sixty years ago, 65 or even 70 years ago, when the current inhabitant may have not been around, so in such situation how is it like that?

Presenter

Well, that's what I said, about 80% of these issues has been redress but the problems of others who have not brought in there papers, the county authority is just finding it difficult and to see how best they can find ownership of the reporter that this land is for me. So it is from this background that; that 20% has not been resolved because the issues of paper bring the paper, paper has been burnt. And now who can come to testify that those witnesses are not there to really substantiate the person's claim. So the county authority is finding it just very difficult and even the commission that has been establish they are finding it very difficult. So It is in this background that those areas that are still in question, their issues have not been resolved, because it is very difficult to get the truth of what they are saying. So we are finding it difficult.

Concerning reconciliation in Nimba, what can you say has been the achievements of the county authority and what are the prospects, how does the process look for reconciliation in Nimba?

Presenter

Well, I think in this hall we had numerous reconciliation meeting in this hall, we express at the time we were representing the Youth from our own district, and other youths came here and spoke, other people came and spoke, we had some in Scaplay and we try to put behind us our differences. Even thou some one or two or three persons may have their personal difference but on the county sean, we put aside all these things, we have reconciled, we have told our brothers to come home. This county belongs to us all. For me, let me just say it this way if I did not say it with the inception of Gbelee because the county authority wants us to go this way ,put let say in this country we have sixteen tribes but if you look at the demarcation of these political conflict this man migrated from this area, he came here at this time but our history did not tell us when the Goi man came here, our history did not tell us when the Gbandi man came here but they say we came from here there, but because we came first, so it make us to have this land? It is that because the man remains at last, he came lately and does not have place to settle this is what making him alien? This is the problem that we have to ask our selves. We all came here at the time but because one man came late, that one man is suffering. then I say again, today, we are having inter marriages and the Fula people are coming and they are having children by our daughters and sisters and maybe 20,30, 50 years from now these guys may take citizenship what will we say in regard, will we say that because the other group came late? For me personally as human beings, we all belong to this one county, this country I don't distinguish people, people who know me for what I speak. This county is for us all. we have numerous of meeting here, whole lot of conferences we been talking about bad feelings and been talking good feelings, we have reconcile and we have been moving forward. Except for one, two or three people who may have had their own personal differences. That is there. But we are moving fine. For my district Karnplay, where I heir from Gbalay, all the speakers that talk here they are from my place. The 2003 war that was even fought, they remain there they were protected. No body hamper them, no body touch them. Because if you had touch them you will be touching another person, so the question that came about was, there is a friend there who heads the driver union as secretary and who heads the Gbalay credit union it was I don't know up to US 50,60,70,80 thousand he managed it for us he is the head. So one time we ask him, you if they say go and kill Anson you able to kill Anson? He nodded, you can you go and kill Anson? He nodded. So if you look at the meaning of friend; who is your friend? What good will it do you to take his life? So that how it looks like for our county. Nimba County the war came we treated each other bad, this is why we pleaded for forgiveness, but again we are moving forward we are not looking at the war any more, we are looking at how best we can develop our county. So this how is it with us.

So the conflict situation in Nimba, is it only between Mandingo and none -Mandingos or other ethnic group, and what could you say, how they devise been address between so-call sea-side Namibians and none sea-side Nimbians?

Presenter: I don't think we have that in our mist. I don't think we have sea side Nimbians, we have interior Nimbians. We are just Nimbians when we meet and we just transact as Nimbians.

Coming to the Administration of one of the county, how participatory could you say is the management of the affairs of Nimba county, to what extend people at the local level have a saying in issues, in determination of matters that affect Nimba ?

Presenter: Because we don't have truth participatory democracy at this time, but we have representative democracy; we have the quarters chiefs that liaise with the town chiefs, town chief with the zoon chief, the Zoon chief with the clan chief, the clan chief with the parliament chief, parliament chief with the county, it use to be the county district commissioner but administrative district commissioner, then the Administrative district commissioner liaise with the Statutory district superintendent. we can always every month the second Wednesday, in every month we have some thing they call CSC county support team meeting. They will come and tell us their problems, what they want, what is the way forward, we have this meeting every month, the second Wednesday in every month, we have CSC meeting. Besides that the government has introduce the poverty reduction strategy and where you know you have the command people, the people down there, they invited 50,50 from each chiefdom or districts to sit and decide what they want from their own package of government covert assign to the county what do you want to do with your money. Here is your money, not like before where they take your money and give to the law maker give it and your go for development, and so times they come no development. But this time the money is kept in the bank. No body touch the money it is there you come to the people and ask them what do you want for your own the money. You have 19,000 for your district, here is your nineteen thousand but what do you do with your nineteen thousand? Youths were represented, Women were represented, elders were represented, Zoes were represented from all worth of lives, 50 from each district. They came they decided this is what we want, they put it on the paper and they kept it and the money is here now. So that's the chiefs were saying, so you see they are making there own decision. They are participating through their representative that they sent. They make the decision and they take the decision back to them. And when their money come and stuck in the bank they just assign engineers when is approve of the engineers the workers go there those who are doing the work, with the committee assigned to them they just make sure that they go and sign their money with the taxation of the committee members and they take their money after the work they just show us the work they do and they take their money so that how the sanctions of government funds is been delivery to our people in our own county.

Thanks for precipitating my question because I was just about to ask about the county development funds, I wanted to ask to what extend is Chief Lakpah involved in deciding what goes to his districts and weather is fair or unfair. But you preempted my question so let me ask, in your opinion, if you were to list a high ranking of needs what would you say are the five most crosier development needs of Nimba county? And that includes the issues of peace as well.

Presenter: Our basic needs for now; roads and breaches, and we have well up to date hospital, then we want a college, and we will also want a technical institute to be build here.

But do you think the technical institute could be a part of the college?

Presenter: If it is part of the college because most of the colleges give other disciple and just leave the technical aspect out . If it is a technical college, it will be fine.

So you prefer that we list that separately or we do it under the college?

Presenter: It can be under the college.

So what we have now is four?

Presenter: And also we say in our own county, other areas are enjoying some immunity with government convert and others are most slickly behind. The Gbee and Gorlu we want to get better hospital for them, we don't have schools government build schools and clinic there, Gbee and Gorlu. And then the same thing with Gbablee district the Krahn settlement they don't have good school building over there and they don't have good clinic system.

Chairman: Did I hear you to suggest that you need a Mandingo chief or that there does not exist a Mandingo chieftaincy?

Presenter: You know, I say this to say that when it comes to chieftaincy, we can under go election, you can be elected. So In our own county, every time we have Mandingo govern, and we know the intent of govern ship. So if you have a govern, then it means you have left other areas to come and reside in your another county so you representing your people as a govern and you are on pay roll on the internal affairs pay roll. So if you consider your self as a govern then you representing people who have come from out within. So if this system contains, our children will feel that, because some of our children are educated. They will feel that these are strangers that have come. And so that's why they have this representation as govern. So they have chief, quarter chief, the tenth quarter chief. The quarter chief is not elected is there to represent his quarter. So that will be preferable then to say govern.

So the quarter chief is base upon ethnic group, your own people you represent?

Presenter: Yes,

Was it natural, that Nimba citizens dominated a conflict in Liberia since 1990, especially where in the ranks of the NPFL?

Presenter: Alright, let's just get it right. When MODEL was coming into this country, they found their way to pass through Nimba; it was not possible why it was not possible? If we should pass to Nimba, will the people of Nimba accept us to go through? Will they join our forces? They wanted to p ass to Lofa; if we should pass to Lofa, will the people accept us to join our forces to get our aim across? And so all of these guys ask themselves. So the guys who came with NPFL at they time they felt that Quoiwonkpa came with NPF, and so because they failed, and so other group went, and it is easy for politicians to manipulate people. And so when they use the word NPFL, is the continuation of Quoiwonkpa episode. So if we should pass through the Nimba people they will accept us because they have been marginalized. And so they came, bulk of the people they met here that was Gio people, bulk of the people they met here that was Minor people. And so in this conclusion, the Gio and Minor people became very plenty in NPFL. So when MODEL too was coming, they decided to pass through Grand Gedeh, because the Krahn ethnic group on that side could embrace their brothers. So when they pass there, they were very plenty too as compare to other tribal group. So the see saw went just like that. So I would just like to answer your question in this miner. So where ever you pass, with your own group that relates to your feelings, then they join you in that abundance.

So the people of Nimba were manipulated, their joining the NPFL has nothing to do with their response to either marginalization, or been neglected, Nepotism, secularism, tribalism, centralize government?

Presenter: Then I will come back again there, the politicians are very smart people. And I believe before they could even come and sit with these guys, my man your brother is not working in government you have been denied your human dignity. Every thing in Liberia is in Monrovia all these things were said and if the guy fines it fit, he say okay I think is truth, so this is why I term it as manipulation. So to manipulate you must explain you must not just say come join me and you have to explain all these components and then if you find it fit, you join the people. So that how it was looking like. And so, that's how other people join these things. Some other people too at the time, other people parents too were mid treated by the AFL when they came they were killed their fathers, their mothers, their sisters right in front of you and so what option do you have? I will go to do this. So that's how most of these people join NPFL weather Nimba was dominant in NPFL, I was not there t to name their fighting forces. But I do just know that NPFL pass here.

How decentralize is governance in post-conflict Nimba?

Presenter: Well, I understood when one of the commissioners were asking. Will it not be a burden If there are whole lot of petition in government sector where government payroll will be bucker. But I think we have in our own interior regulations, that in time to come, parliament chiefs were not taken pay, clan chiefs were not taken pay but, that provisions were there. When the economic system is improving, all these guys will come on board and their coming on board means, demarcation of political territories. So again Nimba County is so petition that we have not agree to divide our county. But what best we have done, is to divide the six political districts into other working districts. So that the issues of I want be this person, I want be this person, it can be quench out right there. So our six districts again have been divided into seventeen administrative districts. And because it is divided into seventeen districts, those areas that were once clans are been divided into zones, so that we can get part of the cake that will be coming into this county. So you see we have decentralized all of these things and people are going fine. So the job is not stagnant only in Sanniquellie or Ganta or Secleapea but is every where.

Alright, thank you. Is there any group or citizens of Nimba who can rightly claim to be marginalized at this time in post conflict Nimba?

Presenter: As for me, and for my own prospective, when it comes to that, I don't think any one is so marginalize in our own administrative structural. But I give just one example; the superintendent, is a Minor man, the Development superintendent is a Gio man, but we can't make people to feel bad. The county inspector is a Minor man he was in the job; he could just come and say my man move this was bringing some hit rage, then the religious and all NGOs affairs in Nimba County. Because Suck, the evangelist Wallace that Krahn man; and the superintendent for operations, is a Mandingo man. So I think we are fairly on pad.

Any Gbi man there?

Presenter: Yes, the Gbai people, for now the problem we have with the Gbai people is that you know this education, there is a man that has a BSc is still sitting down in Gbanee, there is a man that have Master he decide to and is still sitting down in Gbanee. The bulk of these people when you call them, they will say I coming. They say the local government is a waste of time. So if we all say is a waste of time and we all decided to leave. And we also say police job is a bad job because police can do this, then who will excise in that part of society? So we have problem with that area. We are not the one to say don't do this job the internal affairs is for every body, and Nimba County is for us, but they have to record their mind as to weather they can come back to help that is the problem. So all these guys agreed, the man I am talking about he is a BSc. he is the superintendent for operation. If he agree to be superintendent for operation, when the superintendent has not agree to sent him for operation, then he still sitting down dormant. But the man has his degree and says I will come there to help my people.

How about women representation?

Presenter: We have the Gender Ministry coordinator here, she's a lady.

That's Gender Ministry Coordinator?

Presenter: Yes, but she coordinators with the Ministry internal affairs.

In county leadership?

We have women parliament chief, woman clan chief in this place here. Yes, but all the majors here are all women. Only one man we get as major.

So that other position reserve for them?

Presenter: It is not really reserve for them.

Also revenue generation, how involve, how transparent is the process, to the extent that the superintendent office is involve. In most of the county we went through, that was the complain that Ministry of finance just come and collect the revenue and then is transported to Monrovia they don't account to the superintendent's office, the superintendent don't know what is been generated and they been raising that in cabinets meeting one after another, so what's the situation here?

Presenter: I can't speak for other counties, but I can speak for our own county. You know, some times we will say also is from the administration, if you don't invite me, I will not come. If you invite me, then I can come. I just want to say this that we just had our county development committee meeting just about two days ago, and so these guys from all the port of entrance their collect team were all invited through their heads. And the Internal revenue agent, they were all call through their heads. And for the internal revenue collector, he's always with us when they call for such meeting, even lands miles and energy we call them this time, but they said it was the first time of inviting them so they are not to be blame. So the next time they are coming, they will bring their reports. April report and this month report. So we want to know how many proceed that they can get out from Nimba county, that can go to central government. and so they assure us that they will be doing it, but the internal revenue agent is always with us give account of what he collects from this county that central gov3ernment, but the other people we just call them this time and they assure us that they will be in our next meeting to give what ever proceed they been collecting for the past year and for the past month there, we will have in sight of what they are doing. So we can always call them but this time we invited body to be there. It depends on communication if you invite the people they will come, if you don't invite them, they will not come but they always want to be on the side to do their own thing. So we are not complaining why they are not coming to job but it is us who have not sent for them, so this time we sent for them and they responded to our call. And they assure us that they will do every thing possible to give us what they are doing.

Thank you very much. Are there questions, comments from the audience? We will take about five, and then you answer. And then, we take another around just so we keep track.

Comments from the Audience

I just want to call the attention of the superintendent office to the fact that, what we see as a strategy to under mind the return of other Liberians. Because the place they want to construct the market in Ganta. That market myself who standing here Zaway Suawayah, I push wheel berry to be hulling Mandingo people bonnie. If they wanted to construct market there, the first market there that was build in Gbapah city was suppose to be build to that particular place because the building where LBDI is, they sold the place to LBLI and now they want to under mind other the return of other people by attempting to build market over there. I just want to call the superintendent office attention to the fact that, that is the shape of things to come to under mind the effort of other people to be in exile or refugee camp in constructing to their place.

The one which is the last one is about the cause of the war. Marginalization, I don't see it that way. What I see as problem here is tribalism. I take the strong view that Minors and the Gios they have tribalism against the Krahn lead government. And many of the ordinary people in Nimba they were concern and total about the Mandingo economic success in Nimba. So I see tribalism as a problem so if you can make comments I will be happy. But that's what I want you understand so that you can keep it for your record. Thank you.

Presenter: May be I may make Suawayah to know that the place where LBDI is presently occupying is a land that was belonging to Samuel Vorger and Samuel Vorger allowed the Ganta citizens to the build the first market there, and when he was prepared for his land, he ask the people to give it out before the civil war. Thank you.

My name is Mark Torma, I think the representative of the superintendent talked about Mandingo governor I think when we were small town here those days, they had Mandingo parliament chief. When Tolbert came he said it was not fair, they abolished it. And during Doe time, it was not in existence but this few time, Mandingo govern, Mandingo govern it is creating some physiological feelings within the community. So I go in line with him to recommend to the TRC that Mandingo govern should be abolished. Let all of us will work together under one chief. If you are living to airfield zoon two where we are coming from, if that Mandingo man, you should be under that chief, then to have Mandingo govern like that way we have Bassa govern here. And that is correct because Bassa people are not from this county. Thank you.

Basically, I have two points to make it will be translated into questions. Again I am Mohammed. Alright, the first point is the theory, the superintendent office stated that naturally if a warring factions pass through a particular county, then that county origin dominates the warring factions, I will like to disagree with that. Because I noticed the coming of ULIMO, they pass into Grand Cape Mount. And I didn't see Cape Mountains dominating that. So the superintendent office, how can you reconcile that with a theory of a tribe or a particular group dominating a warring factions when they pass through a county?

Secondly, I have been in this county for about a year plus now, and as a youth chairman for the youth empowerment program, I have notice that tension still run amongst the youth when it comes to this issues of tribalism. Like recently on the issues of Ganta, where the market is to be constructed or been reconstructed. There was this rumors circulating that there were Mandingo planning to come and take back their land and then, youth from other ethnic groups, especially minor and Gios were saying let this Mandingo people come again. What we did to them first, they will see what we will do to them. What is the superintendent or the government of this county doing to despair some wrong notion to disabuse the mind of the youth of not engaging into such activities?

Alright thank you very much. I am William S.Wontee again. I want to ask the Honorable superintendent office. During the fourteen years civil war, we find out that youth was the key player in the war that just ended, but what the superintendent office is doing to stop the root causes that we just name that is marginalization, when even youths are not represented in the local government, or office. Youth are not participating in most of your activities here. And you are saying that marginalization was the cause of Nimbians going into war. If you find out in the local office, you find out that all the people that work there are older people, you will not find out one youth represented there. Thank you.

I am Mr. Tokpah Prince. This is land matter, I think what is happening here is, this is an economic issue; because from all indication of people who have deal for land, legal documents, they have come, and land have been given to them. And People who illegally occupy those areas have been told to leave. And you know, what we want to say here is that when our brethren were here, when they came as visitors because that's how they call themselves at the time they came, they said they were visitors, so at the time where people were talking about given some land rules and other thing they were enforcing people to go and do some oth3r work for government they said they were not citizens. So for this reason they excerpted themselves. So base on this, people that were doing these things, they did it. So they consider themselves to be stranger so it is this notion that has been brought up that this governor issue is on hand. So they took themselves to be stranger in this place here. So base on this, they have not really come out to say that they are citizens. Now on the other hand, where Tolbert came here and say that these people are citizens that started another problem. When they came, at the time the war came, Liberians we know fully well that, at the time when they heard about Taylor coming, every Liberians cheer it because every Liberians needed a change at the time. So when the people came by the way of Butoe, all Liberians accepted that. When it comes to the rank or power of NPFL, I think most Liberians, from the fifteen political party sub division of Liberia; we find out that they were fully represented at the rank and power of NPFL.

And as they move Liberians accepted that. Now Nimba, let be very precise, when this happened Nimba citizens conceded with Taylor, so for this reason, most of them were trying to look for hiding places. Most especially, those that were letter and those that were in the middle. While these things were happening, other grass rooters that lived with our brothers and sisters they started looking at citizens to be Mino, the Gios and what have you. And especially Saniquellie, at the time I was at Konala academic, phebee and other international media was carrying these things. Hands were pointed at people and homes were destroyed from this point, other tribes felt that they were secure any more, so they started to run away. Who did you see at the time here? It was the Mandingos they were all around here and showing people and were riding military jeep going to other areas and what have you. Pointing at people, destroying villages and towns and what have you. And it was base on this I think the war starting taking another dimension. So what we want to say here is that, when it comes to this land matter, people that were empower economically at the time, that had story building and what have you, they loose all of these things. But not that they can't get this land; they can get the land. Most of them have gotten the land. But because when they see the prosperity of other community, where a topical Namibians, topical Liberians are involve into these businesses it becomes a problem. Then, they go out there and make some noise and say well, the people don't want to give our land; the people don't want to give our land. And knowing fully well that the justice system is quiet in place, there is a legal process. The courts are open, majestic open, the justice of the peace is open, the eight judiciary court is open all over why is it that they can't come to these places so that, even people at the local level, the local authority, a lot of them would have free these things to say that here is the man paper it is proven that this area is for him. even if he does not have a paper, if the land was given to him by owner , there are land owners, you have land owners when it comes to these matters, you can't just leave from there and go to Grand Bassa and say I want this place, you must get to the rightful owner; you will get the land. So it is the same thing in this Nimba County and other counties. So if these people are coming back and know fully well that they don't have paper and where by they know that perhaps it was base on some mutual understanding that they had these areas, they should come right back and discuss with the local leader, discuss with the land owner, they will take them, we have gone through the fourteen years of civil conflict and I think we have come to reconcile and I think there is room that we reconcile. But at least if they try to follow the right trick, we will be able to listen, our people will be willing to listen, the land owner will be willing to listen. So they should not just go on national media all of the time and say Nimba get problem, Nimba get this.

Alight, I am Ezekiel D.S Woetee. I am Human Program Officer with Community for Peace and Development Advocacy. And we are base in Yekepa. I have only one recommendation to make: in fact, I am from the southeastern region. But before I make this recommendation, I just want to give you what we are doing on this side of Yekepa. Actually COVAR is involve in having, you know during the war time, we have lot of war affected children in soap making, tide dye, carpentry, during that time, we have the memorandum of understanding with the police at the time where when youths were arrested for some big crimes we can go there and console them and at the end where they are discharged we go there and include them on the program. Besides that, we have been giving loans out to these very children to get into some business and we teach constitution on the radio, we do part farming, we visit the cell and find out that all there and why they are there and how long they have been there. So this is what we are involved into. But one basic thing we notice is that, from our initiative we were able to organize a group call Correlation of Truth and Reconciliation, this group has been going along to give awareness to the TRC process. We have carry on a lot of awareness and even because of that we have one of our witnesses who will soon be testifying soon. but one recommendation we want to make about what wed have experience in the past is, the youth especially from the grass root level, should be train, the youth at the grass root level need to be train. They need to be educated, and we think that when these kinds of programs are coming, they should go far into the interior part of our county and train those youths that are there. Because we notice that most of our problems are from there. So there is a need for us to extend there, and train them and make them to understand what they have to do. Is very much disheartening to say that some one wrong you, you do have a right too. For us the human rights people, we should tell you your rights and tell you your responsibilities. We are trying best and we hope that it goes fine. I thank you very much.

Chairman: Thank you very much for that introduction of you organization and your recommendations. The TRC values the role and future of youths, so we have an entire committee, program and unit of the TRC that focus on youth. Thank you for this recommendation.

Rev. Duo: Well, I am Rev. Duo from Sanniquellie here. Well, I want to do the recommendation; I recommend that the TRC should tell the government to set up a date for the devil and a date for the Christian meeting. This will bring crisis, this is always brining crisis between the devil followers and God followers

Is there no better name for calling them, other then devils?

Rev. Duo: Yes, but not pro society per say, they call themselves society. Not pro society per say, it can be pro society or else, some area in our area, there is no pro society.

We don't want to argue but we want to understand your recommendation. You are saying there should be special day for the devil and special for the God people and who else?

Rev. Duo: That's it.

So only the two?

Rev. Duo: Yes, what I saw was there was a time set up and this time has been violated by them.12:00 o'clock, government says from 12-3 they should stop their business.

On what day?

Rev. Duo: At night, at any night. They should start 12:00 o'clock and 3 they stop. That what I heard from the government. So this law has been violated by them. They Some times just 5 o'clock in the morning, some times in the evening in the day time 12:00 o'clock where as Christian are in section and they will interrupt and they will tell the Christian people to go to the house, and where as is not time for people to go to bed.

Thank you Rev. we get that recommendation.

Alphonso Torwon: I am Alphonso Torwon, one of the youths. My recommendation goes directly to the superintendent also to the TRC. One basic thing I see as root cause of the entire war in Liberia was, education. People were not educated. Lack of education has brought us this far. So now a day, people come, government will sent scholarship and we can't receive it, especially the youth. You know, people in authority can take the scholarship and give it to their closer people. And lot of youth who have graduated from high school are wasting especially in Nimba. We have over fifteen to sixteen high schools operating in Nimba but now a day, all of the high schools graduates are here only struggling on their own to go to school. Government is not been engage into sending students into university even out of this place. People in the university are dropping out because of what? No support from government or authority in Nimba
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