WE WERE TAKEN aback that a local land dispute in Nimba County, Liberia, would be referred to the highest international and multinational institutions such as the UN, EU, AU and the ECOWAS for speedy resolution.
WE THINK THE call by the Concerned Youth of Ganta for Reconstruction and Development on these institutions to intervene for the speedy resolution of the Nimba land dispute sends out some signals about the vigor or interest of the Liberian institutions that ought to ensure justice for all and the maintenance of peace and stability.
FOR US IF THERE are advocacy institutions in any society that pursue the issues of human rights and justice in consistent and vigorous manner, and without succumbing to the countervailing pressures of the local context, such calls that invite outsiders to come and watch us or join us in washing our dirty clothes would be considered unnationalistic.
FIRST, OUR ATTENTION was alarmingly drawn to the plight of the weak in our country and in any other countries of the developing world where government democracy is stifled by the very attitude of the branches of government and where the government does not seem to honoring its obligation in the social contract that is between it and the general public.
WE ARE TOLD that the people surrendered their authority to the government in exchange for protection from the evil of injustice and arbitrariness. Such contracts are furthered cemented by the organic laws or constitutions of civilized societies which serve as tools for the assessment of governments’ conformity to the contract between it and the people. The governments declare in their oaths of office to uphold and protect the constitution, which guarantees the social contract.
WE HOPE MEMBERS of our National Legislatures would agree that in strong democracies they are the hopes of the weak masses and the marginalized in society. It is they who exercise oversight over the counties and represent its people, regardless of ethno-political and ethno-religious differences. While exercising what appears to be a kind of “peer review” amongst themselves on a routine basis, they also have power to call other government appointees to account for their actions, be it omission or commission.
WE ALSO HOPE they will accept our humble opinion that as the hopes of our masses, the call by dispossessed land and property owners for the international community to intervene in restoring their rights, speaks volume of the oversight responsibility and the social contract between the Liberians and their government.
AS FOR THE Executive Branch’s use of money to remove intruders and trespassers from the legitimate properties of a group of citizen, we see as less attractive adherence to the promised protection and equality of all before the law.
AS FOR THE CIVIL society institutions, we think this call by the youth group for the intervention of the international community in resolving the land dispute, is a wakeup call for them to broaden their focus, grasp the issues that affect any segments of the society and avoid being misconstrued as sleeping on the plight of the people of a society that has seen much turmoil and still needs advocacy for justice and equality.
WE THINK THE RELIGIOUS and traditional leaders also have been dented by this call for the outside world to come to our aid in a matter they can easily resolve, given the will to do so.
WE THINK POWER struggle may engage the politicians to the extent that they may neglect or evade an issue for obvious reasons. We think our religious leaders must step in and correct the situation without delay, fear or favor. They are the elders and where there are no elders, you better pack your Satorga and leave, because the wisdom, patience and temperance of the elders must always serve as guide for a refined and cultured people.