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Weah signs laws to give power to locals

President George Manneh Weah has signed into law the Local Government Acts (LGA) and the Liberia Land Right Act (LLRA), giving land rights citizens and more power to the traditional people here.

During the signing ceremony Wednesday, 19 September in Monrovia, Mr. Weah vows to do everything for Liberians to get the benefit of these instruments.

Among all of the things his government has proposed, Mr. Weah says he thinks these two instruments are a key component. To develop Liberia, Mr. Weah says the right thing has to be done for the people, noting that it was necessary for all the time it took [to get these Acts passed by lawmakers] because the dividend is now being realized.

He expresses hope that “our people” will now own the land and will respect the rules and guidelines surrounding the land to make sure that it brings economic dividends to the generation of this country.

President Weah says this is his second signing on these laws, [first as Senator for Montserrado and now as president of Liberia].He thanks the Legislature and international partners for being there with Liberia throughout its difficult periods.

With the signing into law of the two Acts by President Weah, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf says government is now going to do decentralization by enabling decisions to come from local governments to central government.

According to him, these two Acts will add value to Liberian citizens because they have been given land rights while traditional people are also being given more power.

He recalls that these two Acts originated from the Governance Commission (GC) which worked with his ministry and the erstwhile Land Commission to get the instruments sent to the Legislature for passage.

He appreciates the U.S. Embassy through USAID, Swedish Embassy, European Union along with UNDP for their work with Liberia on the phase of the decentralization program that had to do with service delivery.

The head of Liberia’s tradition council, Chief Zanzan Karwor celebrates this move by central government to give back power to local authorities and land rights to citizens.
He says it’s a challenge, but assures that the land will be protected.

But he urges locals to go back and start making farms in low bush and swamp lands, warning them to avoid high forests so as to save the country from the wrath of storm.“We don’t want to get this land, then we start begging for bag of rice,” Chief Karwor tells traditional people here.

U.S. Ambassador Christine Elder, Sweden Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist and UN Resident Coordinator Yacoub El Hillo hailed the signing of the two Acts and pledged their commitments to continue to work with Liberia.

By Winston W. Parley

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