Mandingoes Ask For Weah’s Intervention
-In Ganta’s Land Dispute
By Jimmey C. Fahngon
Mandingoes hailing from Ganta, Nimba County under the banner “Ganta Citizens United for Peace and Reconstruction” are seeking the intervention of President George Manneh Weah in the land dispute case between them and other inhabitants in that part of the country especially the Gios and Manos.In a statement issued last Saturday, the group said the Mandingoes want to go back home but cannot do so in the absence of repossessing their properties that were ‘illegally’ seized by some Nimba citizens especially the Gio and Mano people in the county, particularly in Ganta city.
They said during the war, particularly in the year 2003, most of their properties including land were seized by some citizens in Ganta, after the Taylor forces repelled Damate Konneh’s LURD forces from the city.
The group said since then, those who ‘illegally’ took their land are refusing to turn them over, even though, some of them were paid by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-government, through the assistance of the United Nations.
The group said the Mandingoes are eager to return to Ganta, contrary to speculations that they do not want to go back home.
However, the group said they cannot return home when their lands are being occupied illegally by individuals who are refusing to let go of them.
“Unlike other cities or counties in Liberia, we are welcomed; it is only in Nimba that we had been ostracized, denied representation in local governance. Be it as it is, denying us our properties through such fragrant manner, is by all indications a recipe for disunity, chaos, leading to the ugly and wrong path and not in the interest of national reconciliation.
Hence, we want each and every one in here to take a deep breath and reflect, envision peace versus the unwanted. So please help us. Let’s celebrate what brings us together and reject what puts us apart. Let’s reject the notion that some people were more important than others. Therefore, our coming back now to develop our homes and cities is irreversible,” the group said.
The group in the statement said the situation in Nimba County regarding the seizure of their properties is a total denial of the rights of a tribe to resettle.
The Mandingoes in the statement pointed out that conflict is an ugly situation that no one wants to get into, because his or her fate is unknown, as such; the need to peacefully resolve the matter cannot be over emphasized.
The group emphasized that the Mandingoes are now ready to return to Nimba, but need the intervention of President Weah to make it possible.
“Our people are languishing in towns in our neighboring countries. We are calling on this government led by President George Manneh Weah to speedily get involve to amicably resolve this long lasting land conflict in Nimba. We also call on the United Nations Special Representative to Liberia to help safeguard our land,” the group appealed.
It recommended that for fairness and expedience sake, those who lived on a piece of property before 1990 must be considered legitimate owners, and be given their properties without any precondition.
The group also recommended that the findings of the presidential committee appointed by former President Johnson-Sirleaf be upheld as a way forward.
In remarks, Senator Thomas S. Gurpee of Nimba County called for a national dialogue to address the land dispute in the county.
He said the dialogue would enable citizens of the county to derive means relative to the peaceful resolution of the matter.
He pointed out that it is wrong for individuals to illegally possess other people’s land.
Senator Gurpee said the new Land Act clearly states how one can acquire land and not by any illegal means.
He stressed the need for Nimbaians to reconcile and work together for the good of the county.
In another development, the Ganta Central Mosque that was destroyed in 2003 has been dedicated.
Muslims came from different parts of Liberia and other countries including the United States of America, Guinea, Ivory Coast, among others to form part of the dedication ceremony of their historic Mosque, which was destroyed during the 2003 ‘world war three’ in Liberia.
Delivering his sermon, the Grand Mufti of Liberia Sheikh Abubakar Sumawuro said Muslims, especially the ones in Nimba County are excited to see their historic Mosque restored to pre-war status.
He urged Muslims to make good use of the Mosque by serving Allah, who is the creator of all things.
Sheikh Sumawuro said the Mosque is meant to get Muslims more closure to Allah.
He said the Mosque must be used to unite the people of Nimba County irrespective of religious and tribal background.
He underscored the importance of using the Mosque to promote peace and unity in the county. By Jimmey C. Fahngon