Fish Town City: Day 5: Institutional/Thematic Hearings

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The First Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.

Chairman: good morning and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, River Gee County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

Your Name again please?

Primary Witness: Benjamin L. Paul

Date of birth?

Primary Witness: March 16, 1944

Where were you born?

Primary Witness: Putukan, Gelebo district

Primary Witness: Ok, almost all of the warring faction affected me, on September 12 1990, between 4 and 5 the evening hours I was shot by Prince Y. Johnson it was that very day they burnt Slipway, I was going to Clara town to buy food and I had a black bag containing 10,000 on my way closer to Bong Mines Bridge Prince Y. Johnson was on a motorcade of five vehicles but Prince Y. Johnson was in the third car and shot me you can see the mark here [head displayed to show mark]. For how long I don't know but when I got up and stated to move I stepped on body what was also killed by him I had blood all my body so I manage to get Redemption but all the nurses had left so I went to my uncle who took me to one Nigerian man who assisted me.

When NPFL came and they captured Putuken I had my property there with my brother it was 1990 -1992 when they entered I had 45 cows and 14 goats and they carried all I say all.

Then in 1994 when LPC entered too under Ruth Milton who was leading LPC here in the southeastern they burnt my three houses right now you go there you will see the sport the house the one company was renting was burning by LPC.

In 2003 when MODEL arrived I was the County Educational Officer the MODEL people went Bledekan where I was keeping my goat, the Commander Tobga Wleh he was in Jalaken sent his troop to Beldekan for my balance goat the troop was headed by one Koffi and they arrested me and they took me to Togba Wleh and that one Isaac K. Doe and one Nyenehyon talked to him and he released me they carry all my things and carry everything from now - now I don't have anything and those were things that put down so that when I am old I can be able to live there in my old age.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: What work do you do currently?

Primary Witness: I am not working now I was doing a contract with the trc as statement takers.

Was the women shot before you or after you were shot? Did you see Prince Y. Johnson shooting the woman?

Primary Witness: I was the first to be shot as I was coming I saw many women suddenly I saw yellow light and then I was unconscious

Before you were shot there was no body?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Stewart: can you describe the circumstance that led to your shooting?

Primary Witness: I don't know I didn't say anything people were around selling.

How close you were to him when he shot?

Primary Witness: He car coming as you at the chair I was closer I was not being the street house.

What time of the day did this happen?

Primary Witness: I said it was between 4 and 5 it was the very day they burnt slipway.

Did he stop when he shot you?

Primary Witness: I did not see him again.

Did you see your bag when you became conscious?

Primary Witness: When I got up I did not see the bag again, when I got up people were still around moving.

And you walked from where you were to Redemption Hospital?

Primary Witness: Yes, from there I met my cousin a Gelepu woman who help me out.

Who was the NPFL commander?

Primary Witness: RPG Junior, some one showed him to me in the drug in Sanniquelle, he is the person who killed Samuel Tuah too.

Who was commanding LPC at the time?

Primary Witness: Ruth Milton former superintendent to grand Gedeh.

Was there any other act of atrocities besides the burning of your 3 houses?

Primary Witness: They burnt more than 30 houses not only in Putukan they even did village attack and all.

Were you in River Gee when MODEL came?

Primary Witness: I was in Kaweake, that evening we ran in the bushes, and later I left for my town that was when they were carry the three last goat and we argue over it and they wanted to kill me.

Commissioner Washington: which direct Prince Y. Johnson was coming from in town way, I was going to St. Paul bridge were I was living, he was coming from in town going back to their Caldwell base.

So he just fired at you while in the convoy?

Primary Witness: Yes,

You saw him?

Primary Witness: Yes I saw him clear.

You could remember anyone being shot before you?

Primary Witness: That the woman who I saw the fat woman.

You found yourself in the same area where you were shot?

Primary Witness: Yes, some marketers were around.

Did you hear of any other time when he was shooting at random?

Primary Witness: That particular day when my cousin carried to the hospital al the nurses were out the INPFL people were shooting around and because the people were outside only old I saw a watch man.

Did the bullet stick in your head and they had to take it out or what?

Primary Witness: No the doctor did not tell me but the doctor treated me.

Who is Randall Jalabah?

Primary Witness: Randal Jalabah a Putu man and junior commander also accompanied Ruth Milton even the village attack which was in 95 - 96. He led the village attack; he is in Putu Pelekan now. He took away my brother wife she was there for two years and she came back. He killed 21 persons in the village attack in Putuken.

Commissioner Konneh: was Prince Y. Johnson in the car moving or was walking by in when he shot you?

Primary Witness: He was on a vehicle, he was sitting on top of the vehicle there was 5 car and he was in the 3 car, I was walking when I saw the car coming I stood on the side.

Without doing anything he shot you?

Primary Witness: Yes I did not do anything.

The person you saw was a lady, was she shot before you or when you woke up?

Primary Witness: No I believe I was shot before her but when I came to myself she was in front of me the came from behind me.

When was it when they looted your cows?

Primary Witness: 1990 to 1992 it was between that people I was in Monrovia, and I left all my things with my brother here in Putuken and everybody in the town begin to explain to me what happened.

Where were your houses that were burnt?

Primary Witness: All were in Putuken.

What MODEL did to you?

Primary Witness: That time I was in Kaweake, May 9 that time those goats that I have it became their animals.

Those people who name you just called are they all alive?

Primary Witness: So far I know MODEL commander is presently in Gbaweleh, Randall Jalabah is alive and Ruth Milton commander for southeastern region I have not heard that she is dead, RPG Junior is in Tappita.

Where do you think we can find Jalabah?

Primary Witness: In Putu Penehkan

Is he alive?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Syllah: what are some the activities as commander Ruth Milton was engage in?
Primary Witness: I did not see her, I was not here when she became superintendent in the church in Putuken she when there and said the people should forgive her that everything she did was due to the war.

Do know where he is now Togba Wleh?

Primary Witness: In Jalakan, I will say these things anybody wants to do something me they should do it but I will talk what happened to me.

Is there any last word that you have for the commissioners and people of the county and the country before you leave?

Primary Witness: everything that have said I know it truth they are lots ob people who are afraid that when TRC leave the people who are have talking about will harm you, but for me I don't care I am not afraid so long I have already tell the TRC I am satisfy, right now I don't have fitting house to stay in at my own home town and they took all away from me.

Reconciliatory sub-ceremony between
Victim Mrs. Martha Watkins and alleged Perpetrator Washington Moore
[Please see both testimonies for insight of stories]

Washington Moore: first of all, I am Washington Moore now my message is going to Martha Watkins and the TRC and the Liberia people as a whole because today if anything happen and you know you never mean to do but when it happened and you don't want to apology it would seem that you mean to do but what happened between me Sis. Martha Watkins it was an accident I did not know that what happen was going to happen, but before I say anything to here I must tell the TRC I am sorry for what happened I did not know it was going to happen the way it happened If this was something I mean would not have been here in Fishtown here. So Sis Martha what happen between us I am very sorry, very, very sorry because from the beginning I did not know what happened so I am appealing to you to please forgive me for what happened so that is my end.

Response from Mrs. Martha Watkins: good morning to TRC and also good morning to all my brothers and sister I repeat my name is Mrs. Martha Watkins I must say thank to the TRC that I have been able to live up to the challenge of my late husband. And today the TRC have come up to make my husband word to come up with this thing because when he was dying these were things that he said I must do, but Washington Moore I think God you should be asking for forgiveness, but for me I say Washington Moore I say I forgive you, so TRC I say thank you very much.

Commissioner Konneh: the principles of TRC is speak the truth and once the truth is spoken you might be forgiven, the act that we are operating on gives us the power for amnesty and so forth, yes what you said yes and the response by Martha Watkins that is on the surface but human life is so sacred and so anything pertaining to that God is the only one that forgive that and so you Moore for you be benefited from the amnesty from this commission you need to go further for what you did, so you still have the opportunity to appear before the commission either publicly or privately to furnish us with what ever information that we need. So you know about your deeds and all those that you have worked so that you can benefit from this commission so it is you prerogative to say oh I want so say something there was some that I did not say but I want to say now.

Commissioner Syllah: thanks for initiating the process as Sheikh says you know it is a process and Mrs. Watkins, we know it is not easy but thanks, with God on your side all is possible.

Commissioner Washington: thanks for taking the first step to bridging the between you the Watkins family my colleagues have said all, it would also a help if one takes a relationship between you the family but it is good for you to say what happen to you many say I am sorry for what you said but be ready to say what you did, it is good to say the truth, but how ever I think you have done a great thing here today by coming forth, you need to take responsibility for your died., and Mrs. Watkins this is the beginning for healing for you and the community and hopefully this process will continue and you Mr. Moore will continue this process and good luck to the two of you.

Commissioner Stewart: Mrs. Watkins let me command you for having the spirit for coming forth you know the way we relate our fellow human being is how God want us to relate to him. So I commend you having the spirit of forgiveness you but today you have reach the crossing point on the road to forgiveness and like you said your husband gave you the responsibility to tell the world how he died I think you have completed the obligation. And you Mr. Moore only man can do what you have done, you know every man have conscious and have put all that behind that you and take the courage to come forward before your community to say I am sorry, you know only a man can face another man is easy but to face yourself that is a really manhood, but for me I am not from the southeast for the side I come from when you wrong someone you come to the person's feet and say I am sorry and the person put their hand on your back. I was a little disappointed when I did not see that happened but thank god that Mrs. Watkins have said she has forgiven you.

Mrs. Watkins: the reason for which I said he should not hold my foot is that I am a woman in this setting woman is nothing but a woman, Mr. Watkins is a man, and he had bothers he can go and hold the brother's foot but not me I am a Christian and on behalf of me and my children we have forgiven Washington Moore.

Pah Sayde, Paramount Chief/Chief of Elder: well I want to say big thanks to TRC to letting me to talk, Mrs. Watkins that day and they called of Alfred Young and the paramount, but day is the day though we don't the root cause of what happen, do you know when someone died why plenty people can go there, some go to see you cry and others go to say they too experience same too and today you have been victorious this process has shown the community people and the TRC and the international community this the first incident that I have see, you study the tradition, you and this man from this quarter....Mrs. Martha Watkins: yes.... and I know you have rooms but time to settle this issues properly, the brother and traditionally he will go down to them, my young man even though you did not tell us what you do but you will tell the TRC it is good that anything you do you say it and come from your heart, but if you try to do another thing she will think about it so when you say you are sorry you must say it for good but there will be perfect peace with you if went to the family and say sorry that will the real and lasting thing in house.

Another thing I left out now Glaro is now part of River Gee county: This is one of some appealing and this traditionally we can settle thing I want to suggest to you that we the people chiefs and elders to come so that we can make perfect peace you will hear some time from now that you some elders went to Glaro to make peace we want to get involve, I thank you

Chairman: Thank you very much I think the chief have taken all of my words from my mouth, the chief can take this issues to completion like he said in house and if the TRC is needed to contribute then our coordinator is here and we can be contacted through him, Mrs. Watkins please see Washington as your son and thank that you have accepted him and thank that the chiefs have gotten involve in this so we tell all of you thanks, thank you very much and the Pah Sayde thanks even though your time will come but thanks very much.

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Fish Town River Gee County
Good Governance
Presentation made by: Jackson C. Nyepan Acting Superintendent
(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: good morning and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the Educational Sector.


We firstly wish to express our highest but profound gratitude to god our maker and protector who made possible this day to be a part of such an important occasion.

We also want to register our appreciation to the chairman and members of the TRC of the opportunity afforded us to speak to you on what we al in recent time refer to as good governance. Governance is described or made simple by scholars as the express or the exercise of authority or the control of power.

It is sometimes refer to as the institution, process or mechanism through which the maximum use of power is express by the conduct or public office. The idea or understanding of good governance surfaced in Liberia in the late 1980s as a result of central governance failure to adherer to and advocate the application or development policies as well as the failure to respect the principles of universal human rights. The concepts of good governance and human rights are interrelated based on the core values of decentralization, participation, accountability, state and individual responsibilities. However, political activists and researchers have agreed in principle that there is no one model (institution and or process) for the practice of governance evolve in our time.

Good governance framework requires promoting checks and balances between the formal and informal institutions or governance, effecting, the necessary social changes, particularly regard gender equity and cultural diversity, generating the political will and public participation and awareness and responding to the major or very important challenging issues or corruption, mismanagement or national wealth, social and economic disparity, injustice and violent conflict.

In river gee county, our conflicts have centered around the issues of sassy wood administration by justice, land and boundary disputes, which in most cases resulted to tribal conflict. Therefore as the TRC seeks to investigate the root caused of our national nightmare, we would like to suggest strongly that you catalogue some of the various dispute of the past and present.

In the 1970 boundary dispute between Chedepor and Killepo resolved by Tolbert administration in 1980 boundary dispute between Glarro and Kiteabo, resulted to lost of lives though imprisonment by the Doe administration.

1n 2006 - 2007 land boundary dispute between the Nyennebo, Tuobo and Gedebo resulted to burning housed and destruction of line trees. Additionally, there are cross-county issues of sassy wood such as:

In 2006 the six persons murdered by sassy wood in Geapo Flerroken. In 2007 more than one person was murder by sassy wood in Nyennebo.

All of the disputes were investigated, findings and recommendations submitted to central government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs for subsequent actions.

Good governance as it relates to decentralization requires effective system of government under our current governance structure, there is confusion and conflict over who controls and exercise authority over a given sub-national level of government. The effective functioning of governance institutions in most part of the county is being hindered by bad or roads condition which we assume to be our greatest enemy. This situation to a largest extend deprive the full participation of our citizens, especially our women and the youth in local governance. In the present administration, we here only a single female commissioner in Sarbo District while a very few number of them are found in the classroom and in clinics.

The form of decentralization that underpins good governance including political decentralization, fiscal decentralization and administration decentralization. It discourage overlapping of functions conflict or interest and duplication of functions. Decentralization enables local needs and priorities to be exacted and reflect in the planning implementations of local development programs. It further underscores the best framework for sustainable peace and national healing.

We the administration and people of the River Gee uphold the basic principles of decentralization as it relates to good governance and support a leave and effective government system.

Therefore considering the foregoing, we the people of River Gee like to recommend the followings to the Government of the Republic of Liberia through the TRC for consideration into the National Agenda:

1 That Central Government through the MIA and Land, Mines and Energy take prompt actions to resolve the land dispute in River Gee County as we all participate in he ongoing National boundary delimitation, demarcation and harmonization exercises.

2. That central government through Ministry of Internal Affairs, ministry of Public works and lands and mines and energy appointed, assigned and empowered resident land surveyor and engineers to river gee county to legalize land ownership and proper demarcation or streets in the county.

3. That appointment of superintendent by the present by upheld. That city mayor, paramount, clang and general town chief be elected. And that district commissioners and other lower county officials be appointed by the superintendent to ensure political decentralization.

4. That in order to promote administration decentralization, administrative service such as the production of identification cards for civil servants be done at the county lever and that the disbursement of government of Liberia salary checks be further centralized on the district level.

5. That 40% of the revenue generated in the county be deposited in the county's development account in addition to its share of the national pie and other investment initiatives. This will enable the county authority to put in place some basic social services to attract private sector investment and ensure fiscal decentralization.

On the above, we further wish to commend the TRC on behalf of the citizens and county authority for the national endeavor and historical task. The honorable chairman and member of the commissioner, we will thank you but God will recall your names in the book of wisdom.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: We thank you so much for the statement. The commissioners will ask you some questions.

Commissioner Konneh: The issue of land dispute has become an age old thing in our society. Ritualistic killing has been around for long coupled with the issue of sassy wood.
Is your recommendation, what you have discussion by everybody in the county or just from the office of the Superintendent?

Presenter: thank you very much, Mr. Konneh, the issue of sassy wood has been address by the central Government and has referred to if as unconstitutional and illegal. So it is not an issue for discussion among county citizens whatsoever, it is a mandate and so we the people of River Gee have no choice but to comply with the laws of the Central Government.

Again you continue to mention land dispute in the county. Are you saying that there are no land surveyors in the county?

Presenter: There are no land surveyor and resident surveyors in the county. And we need these people assigned to the county. I assume that the delay for is due to the same qualified- personal shortage. The Ministry of land, mines and Energy.

In some areas citizen identify a trained persons fro service and make recommendations to central Government to employ the service of that kind of person. Has your county done so?

Presenter: Yes

The non reputable gender representative you talked about. What has been the coordination between woman and working side by side?

Presenter: we have now a woman coordinator here from the Gender Ministry and they are doing their best. Just recently, I visited the site of their project and I was impressed with what they are doing.

Commissioner Syllah: Do you have an idea as the revenue collected and the percentage being left in the county?

Presenter: the revenue Agent in the county has not been feeding us with the information we need. But one thing that is clear is that there is illicit mining going on here.

Commissioner Washington: I wanted to know about the economic strength of the county, but the earlier speakers have touched on that already now, what I want to know is whether there has been good relationship amongst local leader in the face of this land dispute.

Presenter: Yes, there is a good level of cooperation and coordination even in the face of the land dispute.

What efforts have the Central Government put in place to provide border protection especially those who live along the border with Ivory Coast.

You find out that all the people who live on the both side of the border are the same people - Grebo people doing the same fishing business. So at times to monitor there is a bit difficult.

What is the crime rate or level of criminal activities in the county and what crime is often reported?

Presenter: The crime rate in the county is not too high. It is encouraging. The crime often report here is aggravated assaults..

Commissioner Steward: You said in your presentation that there is the absence of judiciary sections. In what way has this affected you judicial process is that why you have resorted to sassy wood to extract confusion?

Presenter: the absence of Circuit Judge and police station has caused us an embarrassment and we have asked the Central Government for this.

Steward: Can you confirm the news that certain local officials have refused to take up their job in Fish Town?

Presenter: In the past, not now

Steward: what is the arms situation in the county?
Presenter: It is fine because even recently the UNDP small Arms Unit found some arms and turned them over to UNMIL.

Steward: what would you say is the Inter-County relation between Grand Gedeh County, River Gee and Maryland County?

Presenter: Very cordial. We exchange visits and we are friendly. Even as we speak the Development Superintendent is on the way to me.

Steward: what is the level of woman participation in local administration and what is their economic strength.

Presenter: the culture where woman think that where men sit they don't sit there has been impeding women participation in government here. But I would you say women in this county are economically well off. We see them bring there pumpkins and bitter ball etc to market and they are happy.

Chairman: Thank you very much. Honorable Superintendent. My colleagues have said and asked all the questions I had. So I just want, on behalf of the TRC, say thank you for coming.

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Fish Town River Gee County
Traditional Leaders
Presentation made by: Rev. Anthony N. Chea.
(Second Institution)

The presenter of Second 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: good morning and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the Educational Sector.

Chairman: Chairman of the traditional console, what tradition says is necessary for local and national experience to bring these people together for national reconciliation so as to have nation healing. So to come today to speak to the chief elders, we are honor and very, very happy. And we will just ask a few questions. What is your name?

Presenter: Alright to you my sons and daughters of the TRC, Well, I am Parl Saydee the paramount chief, chairman of the traditional console of River Gee County. I was absent when the people give you traditional cocoa, even though I was here but due to some reasons I went back there. But this after noon before I give you I want to most welcome you to River Gee County. The word TRC, I want to first of all say something. To we the elders of River Gee county, TRC they are words or letter, but to me or the elder, TRC is a just a person or individual. Is a human being .I doing take it to be word. I want to give glory and blessings to that body that really put that body together. The way to deal with the hearts of the people of Liberia, TRC is very excellent in this country. And so I want to say thank you to all of you. Well, we the elders we don't write what we say what we get on mind, and so we don't talk long. We talk brief. We know the entire thing that happened in Liberia, we believe that you know all even more then us, but yet still we get little to give you as they come. And we want you to be patience because we know all will we not just come, so you get long time way to go. We don't get plenty thing to say here. Today we the elders that was dishonor that our own sons and daughters did not respect us, today we are the elders that they come to elect them in the senate into all the big, big positions our culture were spoil by our own children. Our chiefs that time, I was elder that day, but people used to tell us we respect you pappy but sit down here. You were called pappy, you were called chiefs, but you were allowed to sit down for somebody to climb in your upstairs. Although many things we get to say. After the war came down, we called serious meetings stated reconciliations ahead of you. And say look at those dirty deals that went on in our mist, so we say let bad gone be bad gone. We need to forgive our children. if we hold fast to elders to these things, because we were once Maryland, and God blessed us with this county status, we need not be fighting among ourselves, with our youths, with our children , wives and children. We need to come together. We had series of meeting. And so, all these things so of us most of the elders today, we started to forgive our children. That's the time we got to know about TRC. We don't know first when the people talk about TRC, while we were thinking about TRC for people to explained what happened to them when those things finished already. But today we get to know the important of TRC to bring ever little secret to lights that we can build our stronger society and community tomorrow. So TRC is very much important. So we can only recommend to you in steal to say all things that we did that happened to us, that we saw, that we did not see. Some of us, we didn't see people lying in front of us to be slaughtered them. But some people saw it. But some of us felt the heat in the streets, we ran into the valley, on top of the mountains. I mean that?s just how some people felt some things and some things went on. Oh, but sorry oh, my sons and daughters of the TRC, we strongly want to worn you, we just want to recommend to you and not to talk too much. You get greater task to go on .We want it on the county levels, districts level, We want it even on the clan levels and on the chiefdoms level, because is important, and so thank God for given us county status. So because you want you to schedule your meeting here, so that our old man, our young people will listen to you people, because you have the gentle way of talking to people these are some of our recommendations. You see, you get power too to prevail on the government too.

You see when we talk about health, health, education, road, road network. Let's put it on the table, me the traditional-practice way, I look at these things, that make us more light, I priorities road to say, the bible say seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things will be added unto you. Where there is no road no good
Health facilities can go there where there is no road the students walk in the bushes to get to school, you must walk on the road to go to school, and you must walk on the road to go to the market, walk on the road to go to hospital. We want to bless the central government to actually think about road building in Liberia. Look at the road conditions from Zwedru to come here. When you get in your car of any body car, you will be racking, you will not feed comfortable the car will be running with all the speed. So TRC, If you get that power to get to the government on behalf of the people do it. We want road net work, complete road net work. The heart from here to River Gee county, this peace building you are doing, we get plenty tribal land disputes, today when we say then maybe we do our traditional, but we want you to get connected. Because you can do it through the form of workshop, tribal people hold together and the government go and say look, you try you run we want to see you so, so time look for these things the problem finish. But what happen next? Do any body talk to any body, do any body but you the TRC can take up this responsibilities by talking people and carry these kind of cases closer to yourself before the table, you know after maybe this time I will say town X and town B then you get between them you will say old man, so, so thing will hummer your pa. Your sweet way of talking to people we need then, in our tribal war arrangement. And so my son, with all this recommendations we the old, old people we can't write thing, but we just want to say thank you. And we want to recommend to you that you have a greater task. My sons and daughters we thank you for accepting you the commissioners to talk to the hearts of your friends, your brothers , your sisters don't take it comer you are not Ministers, don't think because you are not president but all that you are doing is important in our lives. I am sharing with you my tradition. So hold fast to what you get for our benefits and your benefits. I thank you.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: We want to say thank you again for coming to the TRC and explaining to us the views and opinions of he elders of the community and the situation that is confronting all of you in this county.

Commissioner Stewart: Thank you. What is the traditional technique of setting disputes and you can help us show us a way to merge the traditional and our methods of setting disputes?

Presenter: Well thank you .When we have problems in our clans, we call meetings. Our traditional method of setting disputes is we call a big meeting and ask what happened for the disputes for come. So when we go through the matter and those who are wrong pay fine and all of us leave from there with nothing left on chest, people have to voice out every thing and reconcile.

Commissioner Syllah: You mentioned about TRC staying a workshop with the local leaders on how to resolve conflict and reconcile?

Presenter: Well, we sat and try to observer you. And we say thank you, my daughter. You the TRC people your really know how to talk to people and you people it looks like your get wisdom for conflict resolution.

Commissioner Konneh: I was one of those who drafted the 1980 constitution of Liberia. There I came up with the concept of position culture. What is your positive culture?

Presenter: When I look at the national tradition. Let me give you a history. We had the chiefs, the bodio and others Zoes. All these people have differences and when you form any association and you make a member of one group, will becomes disinterested and want to leave because it is not part of own of group cultures. So you're the TRC have to come and put us together and teach us socio-coordination and reconciliation methods.

Commissioner Konneh: Long before the history of Liberia recorded 28 tribes in Liberia. How many tribes do you have here originally and name them?

Presenter: Tenebo, Kpeyebo, Jelebo, Palebo, Sabo, Kitiebo, Garbo, Netiebo, Tuobo, Diebo, Kayelebo, Jutu, Kabo, Kelebo, Webbo, and Nyenebo.

Chairman: We know that the war affected every body because you mentioned in your presentation how child soldiers were telling old people pappy sit down. How do you accept the youth?

Presenter: Very well, because what else do we do with own children. TRC you people are good people. We will stand by you to reconcile with our children.

Thank you chiefs, when we came to River Gee you people welcome us and consider us to be citizens of this county. Since we arrived in this county we have been feeling very fine in deed you people are good people. Now to show our appreciation, Commissioner Kafum Konneh will present a white envelope representing purity of hearts, and Commissioner Massa A. Washington has the oversight on women will make a similar presentation to the women.

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Fish Town River Gee County
The Educational Sector
Presentation made by: Rev. Anthony N. Chea.
(Third Institution)

The presenter of Third 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: good morning and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the Educational Sector.

The Honorable Superintendent, official of Government, Heads of Local and International Organizations, Honorable Commissioners of the TRC, Chiefs, Elders, Women Groups, Youth Groups, Students, Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to first of all give thanks to God almighty for this opportunity to comment on the state of affairs of the Education sector in River Gee. For me, this is an honor and pleasure to be part of this unique and history making occasion which, if you will agree, is intended to set the basis for healing the wounds left by year of brutal civil strive, and erasing the scars and grudges that have been long embedded in the hearts of many helpless survivors victims of the war. I am particularly honored because I have been requested to present a paper on the state of affairs of the Education sector of River Gee which bears several visible scars of the many round of the war in the Southeastern Region. This fact, I am sure, make the educational sector an institution victim of the war rather than a human victim. Having said that let me come straight to the point.

We are aware that as the fourteen years of total decadence devastated every region of this country the education sector of River Gee, like most rural counties in Liberia was worse affected. The sector has been plagued with numerous problems and issues to contend with. Professional teachers were killed and children who form the heart and soul of the school system were either drugged or expose to inhumane values and concepts of violence, crime. Although we all accept that the war era is over, I strongly feel that education sector is struggling to bring the war to an end in many ways. There are several keys issues which continue to stand out as education authorities (supervisors, Principals and Teachers) strive to rebuild a pre-war school environment - where learning for a better future is paramount. Some of these key issues are:
1.Lack of adequate infrastructure/school material/textbooks
2.Tradmatized (traumatized) school age and over age children
3.Lack of trained teachers/staffs
4.Inadequate incentives for supervisors and teachers.

Prior to the war, most of our schools were held in churches, private home or in the make shift structures built by communal effort to ensure that children had access to learning. These make shift structures were regularly maintained by students, teachers and the community. However, post war conditions are different and more deplorable. Community members now harbor mistrust for each other such that communal urge has evaporated. In terms of buildings there are only eight (8) out of the one hundred and twenty (120) schools in the county are built with concret (concrete). Although these were badly looted/damaged in some areas, they serve as our best. The bulk of our schools are still held in thatch roof buildings made of sticks and mud with no cement floors. During rain storms roofs and blown off and schools are disrupted over long periods. Also because war affected children find it hard to cope with the harsh realities of the regularly maintaining the schools they become frustrated and move to other counties to seek other means of schooling or drop out from school permanently. This scenario tends to hamper the free and Compulsory Education Policy of Government. In response, there has been very little action on the part of government to fully address the plight of our schools. A few international organizations (GAA. DRC, UNDP) have responded in a rather limited way undertaking rehabilitation and construction of a few modern schools in accessible areas only.

Secondly, be disadvantaged by our geographic location in Liberia the county is highly landlocked and inaccessible by road almost all year round. This makes it hard for essential supplies/materials to sustain and animate the school system to easily reach our schools. Moreover, there has been a massive brain drain of qualify teachers from the system. Teachers in Liberia are classified into three (3) categories: The "C" Certificate, The "B" Certificate, College degree in education and above. Before the war, teachers training institutions (TTIs) and the University of Liberia as well as Cuttington University College were all active in providing training programs for teachers. Most of the graduate of these institutions were present in most schools of the county. However, many of the trained teachers - some have died, some become so old to serve. While others either left the profession for greener pastures. In the absence of trained and qualify (qualified) teachers and the lack of basis school supplies, the quality and output of our schools continue to decline. Although, we are constraint to apply the maxim that "in the absence of the quality the available becomes the qualify", to save the system, such measures can only serve to remind us of the ugly effect of the war. Now, most of our teachers are high school graduates or college dropouts who are expressing their love for the school system but unfortunately most of them do not receive pay from Government.

In the foregoing, permit me to use this occasion to advance the following recommendations to Government and stakeholders in education in Liberia fro urgent attention and support to the Education sector of River Gee for total healing and reconciliation to endue.
1.That government constructs and equip more schools in River Gee for our young ones to learn better and overcome memories of the war.
2.That a modern vocational multilateral high school be built in the county to allow aborigine children to live and acquire life long education on home soil.
3.That teachers who have willingly sacrified ( sacrificed ) their time and paid salaries and incentives.
4. that government provide incentives for rural teachers to attract qualify teachers to remote counties expecially (especially) River Gee.

I thank you.

Presented by Rev. Anthony N. Chea.
Admin. Assistant
CEO, Office

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Fish Town River Gee County
The Women
Presentation made by: Veronica G. Tanyon
(Forth Institution)

The presenter of Forth 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: Thank you for coming to represent the Women of this county. You may now go ahead with your presentation.

In the midst of 1979 up to 2003 war, violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation.
And it is perhaps the most pervasive. We the women of this county, River Gee our human rights were violated by our own people.
Below are those human rights violation which were committed.
?Denial of education
?Early marriage
?Denial of decision marking(making)/participation
? Mothers were raped/gang raped
? Girls were raped/Gang raped
?Force labor
? Pregnant women were slaughtered
?Sex slave
?Human shield
?Abduction of girls and women
? Torture
?Children were abducted
? Houses were burnt
? Houses, farms and cattle were looted
? Children were killed before mothers
?Husbands were killed before mothers.

In this light, we are recommending to the TRC to Liberia and the international communities to assist the women and girls of River Gee county in the below recommendations.
?All perpetrators head should be prosecuted before the Law of Liberia and the international court in order to avoid such incidence in our country Liberia.
?Empower women and girls by facilitating micro credit loans
?Establish Day Care Centers in each district
?Establish Recreation Centers with requisite requirements of our children in each District
?Compensation should be given to victims/survivors of the war.
?Train women and girls in various skills areas such as Carpentry, Masonry, Electricity, Plumbing, Metal works, Arts and Craft, Auto mechanic, Tie and dye, Tailoring, Hair dressing agriculture, Baking and Catering, Computer, agro-food processing.
?Establish adult literacy program in every district
?Establish continue Education for both girls and women who dropped out school
?Establish psycho-social - trauma counseling center in each district for victims/survivors.
?Empower women with agriculture tools including power saw. Sugar cane mills. Rice mill, pesticides and insecticides in each district.
?Volunteers in hospitals, clinics and health center should be placed on payroll for subsequent salaries.
?Train women in small business enterprise/Marketing management.

TRC of Liberia public hearings should be given additional tenure, so as to complete the process.


Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Syllah: Was there any unique role woman played before the war that they are not playing now?

Presenter: Before the war, women were denied participation in Government, etc reduced to kitchen tool. But today we are aiming high.

Commissioner Steward: have there ever been priest in this are?

Presenter: only one

To what extend did the women participate of this county participate in the just ended war?

Presenter: no

Commissioner Washington: you outlined a form of violations against women in this county, do you have a statistical backing and are these violations still going

Presenter: Statistical to support is not available due to certain problems, but there are violations and women abuses in this county, especially rape. Even now these are case of rape around but what is most disheartening is that these cases are compromised by the parents.

Do you want the TRC to recommend rape bill increment to assist reduce eradication or rape in the county?

Presenter: Yes, we want the TRC to help us in that direction.

How prepare are you doing to enable women of this county to fully participate in local administration/Government?

Presenter: we have been having a serious of workshops addressing the need for women to fully participate in local leadership. The only huddle we face is the women generally are not financially potent to do something.

Chairman: Thank you very much for your splendid presentation and for pushing women case forward. But how do women the farming, what machinery do they have?

Presenter: We don't have equipment here. Women do must of the work but with hands. Even you can bear me up that you saw women on the road toting heavy load and all me do is to work on the side.

How many women organizations do you have here in River Gee County?

Presenter: 39

Have you noticed any discrimination of women in this county?

Presenter: yes, by men, Right now this is clearly presently in Jarkarken. Men go to school more than girls.

Why is this so, is it because parents prefer by child to go to school than girls child?

Presenter: Yes, but I think the main thing here is girls themselves are not showing much interest in education they are just after early marriage.

Commissioner Konneh: You talked about rape. Do you have female police officer here in the county, or fish Town?
Presenter: Rape issue here in River Gee is always compromised our traditional leaders. I have two cases on my desk, one involving one 14year old girl, and another involving 5year old year. What the traditional leaders are forgetting is that some of these rapes can result into HIV and AIDS. The victims are not medically checked, but they say that they will settle the matter at home. But I will not rest. Upon your departure, I will go there and find out.

Commissioner Syllah: what is your last word to the Commission?

Presenter: I want to urge my women to work hard and I ask the TRC to help to in that my women work and have the opportunity to learn things like sewing pestering etc.

Institutional/Thematic Hearings Barclayville City, Grand Kru County
The Youth
Presentation made by: P. Gbain Sampson Jr.
(Fifth Institution)

The presenter of Fifth 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: good afternoon and welcome. We want to thank you for coming to make this presentation on behalf of the Youth.

We the youth of River Gee under this process of TRC's Hearing wish to express those wrongs that that were commented against the youth populist.

All our fundamental rights were violated during the war by warlords and their group. We also believed strongly that the war came because of the following: Illiteracy, poverty and power greed. Moreover, the above listed factors were used by warlords as a tool to take the youth to comment the following crimes force marriage, Rape, force labor, child soldier's recruitment, murder, harassment and intimidation, etc.

The warlords during the period of the war in Liberia used the youth to enrich (enrich) themselves. Whereas their children were in good schools and house abroad.

Further more, they were exploiting our natural resources which causes the youth today behind time into development activities.

Because of the illiteracy rate and poverty among the youth population warlords used us again to gain power in the past election who are in Government presently.

The warlords killed our sponsors who were in past Government position as a result the youth could not continued their educations to secondary and college level respectively.

In view of these issue of violations mentioned above, we the youth of River Gee wish to recommend the following to the Government and international community through TRC

?That the TRC should recommend to Government and the international community that a policy be put into place which will make all its local employees accountable to the people monthly or periodically to minimize corruption and power greed.
?That all those who commented (committed) crimes against humanity should be sent to war crime court when proving whether in Liberia or abroad.
?That the TRC be given one more year extention (extension) to fully complete its mandates.
?That survivor of all humorous crimes be given some incentives by Government funs (funds) money material etc. to heal their wounds.
?That the TRC should address all impunity. This means that all those criminals should call upon and if they agree and asked for forgiveness, they should not be sent to war crime court.
?That the TRC recommend to Government and international community that disabilities caused by war must be given special attention to them feed part of society.
?That TRC should perform and carry out it (its) mandates successfully and all those perpetrators including those in government be subpoena if fail to appeal volunteerily (voluntarily)
?That the TRC should recommend to Government that Elders/chiefs council visit their people to destroy those traditional protection that were given to individuals and towns to forter (further) development and total peace or turn them from negative to positive for national good.
?That the TRC should recommend to Government to built (build) children play ground, recreation centers and modern size football field in River Gee so as to forter (further) the rights to play.
?That the TRC should recommend to Government to provide a decentralize skilled training center for war affected or disability.
?That the TRC should recommend Training healing program in our county.
?That equal opportunity be given to the youth in all aspects of our society. Be it private or Governmental sectors(Job opportunities)
?That the TRC recommend to Government for scholarship and students exchange program for secondary and college/university level respectively.
?That the TRC recommend to Government and international community that Libery (Library) be built in every district were (where) our constitutional rights to youth and students so as to know their constitutional rights,

Having said all the above with concerser (consensus) of the youth of River Gee, we want to command (commend) God first and people of TRC for adfording (affording) us the opportunity to comment on issue that affected the youth populist directly and indirectly.

Thank you very much.
P. Gbain Sampson Jr.
Youth Chairman R/Gee Co.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Syllah: thank you very much for your wonderful presentation. What you've highlighted just relates what youth in our earlier counties have said.

Commissioner Konneh: under the concept of peer pressure what role did you played in the war, since the youth was active in the war?
Presenter: We are only now concerned about our youthful activities like organizing football games, educational programs, etc.

Chairman: Youth leader, I want to thank you very much, but what role does the youth played in the past war?
Presenter: to be frank, the youth did bad in the war, they were influenced by those with financial power.

What efforts are the youth making now in helping their people on the farms to show that they regret the role they played in the war?
Presenter: We have been doing just that, but we are impeded in that we don't have tools, the NGOs are not helping us with tools.

Commissioner Steward: To what extend the youth participate in the DDR process?
Presenter: Let me let you know that the disarmament was not profitable to the youth of this area. People have to walk distances to carry their arms for disarmament. Some give their arms to their commanders, and their names were not taking for the issuance of ID cards. So for that reason, they were not enabling to take in the DDRR process.

Do they remember the series number of the arms that they give to their commanders?

Presenter: most of the boys don't know about take down series numbers of their arms, all they know is what type of arms given to them.

What is the percentage of youth that did not take part in the DDRR program?
Presenter: Approximately 55%

Commissioner Syllah: Thank you for the presentation and you may leave now.

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