Citizens of Sinoe County have blamed their leaders for promoting tribal politics in the county. They said those seeking political offices in Sinoe are responsible for the tribal division being instigated among the local population.
Senator J. Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County recently accused his colleague Representative Matthew Zarzar of the same county of promoting tribal divide by trying to create a Sarpo County that would be detached from Sinoe.
Speaking Monday, 7 September on UNMIL Radio’s “Coffee Break” program, a citizenship group under the banner, Sinoe United to Promote Peace and Democracy, expressed disappointment in those political leaders preaching divisive politics in the county.
The group’s chairman, Emmanuel Kuateh, said each time political leaders go to the county during electioneering, they sow seeds of discord among the people by telling them to not vote for Kru, or Sarpo person. “We noticed that the issue of tribal division in the county comes from political leaders whose aims are to accomplish their own selfish interest, because I know the people of Sinoe County; we are peace-loving. We don’t encourage things that will hinder our development in the county, but our political leaders have this problem that we are confronting with”, he said.
He added that tribal division means no good for the count, but only brings divisiveness and undermines the growth and development of the county and Liberia at large. Emmanuel disclosed that plans are underway to launch a peace and reconciliation conference in Sinoe this December to unite the citizens, adding that the essence of the peace conference is to bring together officials of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or TRC, officials of government, citizens of Sinoe, including political leaders to chart a new course for the county.
It may be recalled that recently two lawmakers from the county were engaged in verbal confrontation over claims that one is plotting to “sow seed of discord” in pressurizing the government to partition Sinoe into two counties through endless tribal disputes.
Senator Milton Teahjay claimed Rep. Matthew Zarzar believes that by raising tribal issues, the government would partition Sinoe to create a “Sarpo County” that would separate the rest of the tribes from the Kru and “Americo-Liberians.”
“… No, we’ve been doing that, but the hypocrisy that characterizes Honorable Zarzar’s behavior is what is hurting the reconciliation process. He and you would talk something today, having an understanding; before you look, he’s on tribal field,” Teahjay alleged.
But Representative Zarzar dismissed claim that he’s opting for a tribal county. He, however, argued that Liberia has Bassa and Grand Kru Counties; therefore, it is not a crime to have a Sarpo County as well. Zarzar instead, accused Teahjay of being responsible for Sinoe’s tribal divide, further alleging that the former Superintendent “committed crime,” by “stealing from the county.” Senate Teahjay has repeatedly challenged his accusers to take him to court to prove their allegations.
By Lewis S. Teh – Editing by Jonathan Browne