Committee for Peace in Lofa County Releases First Phase Report

Thursday, 7th April 2011

Monrovia, Liberia - The Committee for Peace in Lofa County (CPL) has advanced several recommendations aimed at ensuring lasting peace and stability in Lofa County.

The recommendations were contained in the Committee’s first phase report presented to Vice President Joseph N. Boakai on Tuesday, April 5 at his Capitol Building office.

The Committee was constituted by the Vice President upon the directive of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in September last year to coordinate a response to the February 25 and 26 violence in Voinjama and work to ensure lasting peace in Lofa County.

 It Committee was tasked with working to address the underlying causes of the violence, promote reconciliation and develop a concrete action plan for lasting peace in Lofa County.

In its five-count recommendations, the Committee called on the county’s ethnic groups to put aside their differences and understand that co-existence is the only way out for sustainable peace.

The 11-member committee chaired by former Lofa County Lawmaker Philip Saa Tali, reasoned that if all Lofans respect each other’s culture and religion, peace will reign supreme in the county.

It also recommended that Government expedites the investigation of cases involving the instigators and perpetrators of justice and called for reparations for victims of the February 25 and 26 Violence.

The Committee also recommended that in a bid to put a halt to land disputes in the county, all tribal land should be justified by a legitimate tribal certificate signed by relevant stakeholders and should be officially surveyed by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy.

The Committee also recommended that an inter-faith group be organized and sponsored by the Government to operate in the county for religious awareness and tolerance.

The Committee also called on the Ministry of Education to introduce in the curriculum cultural practices and civic education to be taught in schools across the country.
It also called on the Internal Affairs Ministry to reinforce guidelines to regulate the traditional practices of the Poro or male society and Sande or female society.

The Committee also called for the setting up of emergency youth empowerment programs and development and expansion of skills training programs for economic sustenance.

 The Committee attributed the February 25 and 26 violence to unresolved land disputes, lack of youth empowerment, rumor mongering and spread of misinformation, negative historical teaching by some parents to children, religious and traditional differences, marginalization of certain ethnic groups and xenophobia, among others.

The Committee’s findings and recommendations were based on series of consultations with local administrations, elders, tribal chiefs, zoes, women and youth groups in all seven districts of the county.

The Carter Center, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and UN Peace Building Office are assisting the committee in its work.

Other members of the Committee are: Madam Setta F. Saah, co-chair; Dr. Herman Browne, Joseph Boye, Boakai S. Zulu, Garmai Y. Barco, Foya District Paramount Chief Momo Taylor, Alfred M.T Pinney, Imam Sheaku, Ma Kona Kleema and Oldman Zoe Kolleh as members.