Division Of Nimba Opposed
-Nimba Grassroot Movement Speaks Out
It is unclear what would be the ultimate end of the ongoing debate over whether or not to divide Nimba County into two.
Prominent sons and daughters of the country are already divided over the issue; the county is politically strategic and is often looked up to decide Liberia’s leaders, particularly in the second round of presidential poll.But as the debate continues unabated, a prominent son of the county, Nvasesekie N. Konneh who is a member of a group under the banner, “Nimba Grassroot Movement” had the opportunity to declare where he stands on the issue.
Addressing fellow Nimbaians on June 29, 2018 in the Gompa City, Nimba County, Konneh said “today, Nimbaians are debating over whether to remain as one county or divide the county into two or three counties. As members of the NimbaGrassroot Movement for One Nimba, we join fellow Nimbaians to say no to any division of the county.”
He declared that although the citizens may have many challenges, they must forge ahead as one people to overcome any of those challenges, adding that “though this debate is largely between the two dominant tribes of the county for political power, the concerns and voices of the minority ethnic groups must not be ignored or swept under the carpet,” Konneh urged.
According to him, one of such concern is, the land dispute which has existed for over a decades since the end of the war. “Because of this never ending land issue, there is a widespread dissatisfaction among the Mandingoes and some of them have expressed their frustration by saying no need to be on any side of this debate because it is not addressing any of their concerns.”
“Now, we, the undersigned grassroots citizens of the location that covers Electoral Districts,1,2,3 4,5,6,7,8,and 9, which constitute YarwinMehnsonnoh, Tapitta, SaclepeaMahn , Zoe Geh,SanniquellieMah, and Gbela-Geh Statutory Districts wish to bring to your attention the following;
Nimba was created in 1964 along with Bong, Lofa, and Grand Gedeh because of a 1960 Supreme Court ruling which mandated President William V. S. Tubman to recognize the country in the way that it engenders the political inclusion and resource distribution to Liberians living in the provinces.”
He told the audience that since then, there has been a subdivision of the other counties, and Nimba is the only county which remains as a single county. Liberia currently has 15 counties.
It is a matter of policy, Konneh added, that following every national census, a threshold is set to determine representation. The wisdom of this law is to promote equity in resources distribution and political authority.
Unfortunately, according to him, since the 2008 National Census, there has not been a cleared threshold for representation to reflect equity in resources distribution and political authority. The current provision for representation which for example gives Montserrado county, 36,000 persons to one representative, Nimba county, 26,000 persons to one representative, and to the least of which is River Gee county, 9,500 persons to one representative clearly shows the wide gap in resources distribution and political authority which undermines the spirit and the intent of the threshold policy.
“Nimba County is therefore currently underrepresented with an exponential impact on resources allocation from national budget to service delivery activities that caters for its huge population. As a result, the citizens residing in Electoral District 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9 which constitute YarwinMehnsonnoh, Tpitta, Saclepea Mah, Sanniquellie Mah, Zoe Geh, and Gela-Geh Statutory Districts do not feel the impact of government and its shared development dividend as far as the current Nimba county is concerned.”
In his view, adding additional Electoral Districts, Administrative Districts, Cities, Townships, Chiefdoms, and Clans remain the best option to achieving Easy and effective management of people and resources affecting the people mentioned in the electoral districts, administrative district, cities, chiefdoms, townships, and clans; Proper representation in proportion to our population; Participation and inclusion of the people of the districts; Distribution of national wealth in proportion to engender desire impact on the above mentioned districts and Effective service delivery to the people of the districts mentioned above.
“As county of diversity of ethnicities, cultures and religions, we must respect one another. We must listen to one another’s concerns and make genuine efforts to address those concerns. The Mandingoes, Gbis and Krahns have complained of marginalization for years and they all deserve to be treated fairly at the Nimba table.”
Ten years after the war, Konneh noted that when Liberia is enjoying peace, they shouldn’t be talking now about people fighting over land, adding that it is unfortunate that “we are hearing this as we speak. Not too long ago, members of the Sackor family went to survey their land in Sokopa. One person was abducted and up till now, he’s not been seen and this has not claimed the attention of the authority in the county. Such flagrant violation is more of a concern to others just as any attempt to divide Nimba is of concern to all of us.”