Monrovia Daily Newspapers (“Stability at Border”, New Democrat, October 22, 2013; “Special Statement by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf”, The Analyst, October 22, 2013) report that in her closing remarks at the just-ended, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County meeting, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf underscored the need that “it is not an option”, but “a necessity for La Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia to work together . . . find new ways to enhance . . . cooperation and collaboration . . . to make sure that there will be never be conflict again between our two countries . . .”
Peace-Building, National/International Reconciliation . . .
Indeed, the Chiefs, Elders and People of Grand Gedeh County whole-heartedly agreed, concur and support their President’s call and statement. The Peace-Building, National/International Reconciliation effort for cooperation, collaboration to prevent future conflicts and cross-border attacks is in the best interest of the people and the county, because Grand Gedeh County experienced the deadly result of the civil war much more than any other political sub-division in our country.
However, there are no problems to reconcile between the brotherly people of La Cote d’Ivoire and the people of Grand Gedeh County, separated, only, by the Cavalla River. There are friends and relatives on both sides of the River. When Mr. Charles Taylor invaded Liberia and unleashed a reign terror that, specifically, targeted Grand Gedeh County, the people fled across the Cavalla into the welcoming arms of a friendly, brotherly people. Similarly, when civil conflict broke out in their country, La Cote d’Voire, they fled across the Cavalla to their friendly, brotherly people in Grand Gedeh County.
This particular Peace-Building, Reconciliation Effort is needed at Government-to-Government level, because it was the Government of La Cote d’Ivoire that provided the save haven in La Cote d’Ivoire for Mr. Charles Taylor to plan, organize and invade Liberia; it was the Government of La Cote d’Ivoire that granted and gave Ivorian border-opening permission to Mr. Charles Taylor to enter Liberia for the devastating nightmare of fifteen years that left Liberia and Grand Gedeh County, on the border, now on its knees.
If President Ouattara, now Chairman of ECOWAS, is serious (and we believe that He is) about Peace-Building, National/International Reconciliation, cooperation and collaboration, the people of Grand Gedeh County say and ask that His Excellency engage the thousands of refugees from his country in our county, with guarantee of safe return. Grand Gedeh County is now caught in the power-plays of regional leaders.
By Bai M. Gbala, Sr., Senior Member – Grand Gedeh County Council of Elders