“Respect the laws of this land that welcome you open – heartedly and participate in its development efforts through work,” Ivorian Ambassador to Liberia and Sierra Leone, Dr Féni Kouakou told Ivorian nationals in Bentol City, Montserrado County over the weekend.
The Ivorian diplomat made the call during a visit to compatriots residing in Bentol City.It is the first of a series of planned visits to meet with Ivorians living in Liberia, interact with them and offer some words of encouragement.
The choice of Bentol City is not a coincidence as this city, which is the hometown of the assassinated former Liberian President William Tolbert, is a symbol for the diplomatic and fraternal relations between Liberia and the Ivory Coast.
These relations were reinforced in the 70s when Adolphus Tolbert married Désirée Delafosse, goddaughter of Houphouët-Boigny, first president of the Ivory Coast. According to sources, Houphouët often came to Liberia, precisely in Bentol, to rest for some time.
But this friendship was blurred in the 80s. Houphouet was angry with slain Liberian President Samuel Doe for two reasons. Not only did he overthrow and killed his friend, President William Tolbert, who offered him vast fields for plantations in Liberia, but also because Doe had his son, who was also his son-in-law, Adolphus Tolbert, executed following the failed coup of General Thomas Quiwonkpa in 1985.
The Ivorian diplomat was first received by local authorities in the city, specifically by the mayor of Bentol City, Martha Woheel, to whom he paid a courtesy call.The Mayor welcomed the visit, which she says is the first of its kind since her appointment by President George Manneh Weah in March 2018.
“You are my first guess since I took over. Welcome and make yourself at home, “she says and recalls the good relations of friendship that existed between the Ivory Coast of Houphouet Boigny and the city of Bentol.
According to her, a street in the city bears the name of Houphouët Boigny.However, she expresses her frustration over the fact that, Bentol City, despite being the capital of Montserrado County, has been abandoned by the government of Liberia.
For his part, Amb. Kouakou, expresses his joy for the warm welcome he received. He also thanked the local authorities, the government and the people of Liberia for accepting Ivorians, most of whom are refugees, in Liberia.The exchange of pleasantries was followed by a meeting with his compatriots in Bentol at twhich time they expressed various concerns.
They informed him of the various activities they have embarked upon here such as farming and raising chickens, but are confronted by resource constraints to expand their farms. Others said they are engaged in teaching, trade and construction.They also indicate that they have good relations with Liberian citizens who treat them like brothers and have made land available to them to cultivate their crops.
In response, the Ambassador encourages his compatriots and exhorts them to work hard, to be disciplined, to respect the laws of their host country and especially to be united.According to him, when they are united, they will be strong, adding that: “With union, you can accomplish great things.”
By Valery Guhena