Amid calls for the resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly over statement attributed to him during a recent peace forum
between people of Nimba and Grand Geddeh counties, prominent Liberian Muslim Cleric, Sheikh Kafumba F. Konneh, believes the right person
that needs to resign his post should be Ambassador George Weah, whom he said is unaware of complexities surrounding the attainment of peace
and reconciliation in Liberia.
“If Weah should come for advice, I will tell him that this is complex situation and he is not able to handle it. One of the realistic things
one can do in life is to say ‘no, I am not able to do this.’ I am saying he will not be able to do this work. So, if he resigns, it will
be an honorable thing for him to do,” the Sheikh says.
Sheikh Konneh believes Amb. Weah does not have the requisite credentials to foster Liberia’s peace because he lacks and is not
willing to understand complexities surrounding the country’s peace, which he said is signified by the recent peace meeting between people
of the counties.
According to the Sheikh, Weah is, whether deliberately or unintentionally, playing blind, deaf and dumb with the real issues
that pose threats to Liberia’s peace, among them illegal land grab and dispossession.
“This meeting signifies that Ambassador Weah is unaware of the complexities of Liberia’s peace process. All conflicts analysts within
and without Liberia agree the most potential threat to peace and stability of this nation is land issue. Amb. Weah of his position
ought to know this fact; if not, it tends to suggest that he is insensitive to Liberia‘s potential threat.
“Am saying this to say that every ‘worthwhile Liberian, every stakeholder in this country is aware that there is deep rooted
conflict between the Gios and Manos on one side and the Mandingoes on the other side in Nimba County.’
“Government had spent about US$1.5m to resolve the issue in Nimba. Yet, the matter is still not resolved. If Amb. Weah was really sincere
in resolving conflict in this country, before he could have called the people of Nimba and Grand Geddeh to come to a reconciliation forum,
the Nimbaians should have been the first (to reconcile), the Sheikh said in an exclusive interview over the weekend at his residence.
According to the former First Vice Chairman of the National Reconciliation and Reunification Commission, all indications are that
people of Grand Geddeh County are well prepared, sincere and committed for peace and reconciliation than people of Nimba.
“In the first place, over 85% of the Nimba Mandingoes are stranded either outside of Liberia or some parts of Liberia because they are
been deprived and disposed of their real estate properties. That conflict is still there. Besides, there is also conflict between the
Gios and Manos. Those are issues that need to be handled and resolved (first) before you (Weah) could even invite Nimba to go and sit with
other counties for reconciliation.
“For it is said that he who comes to inequity should do so in good faith and with clean hands. How can the people of Nimba sit with the
people of Grand Geddeh when the Nimbaians themselves have not reconciled their differences?
“I have traveled in all political divisions of Liberia. It may interest the Liberian people to know that in Grand Geddeh, at almost
all of the front-view entrepreneur centers, you will find Gios and Manos. There are some villages in Grand Geddeh that you find no one
but Gios and Mano. They are free to move about. They are free to engage themselves in businesses of all kinds. They are doing hunting
and other things.
“So, the Grand Geddians are well prepared because they have little or no problem with other tribes in Grand Geddeh. They are more prepared
for peace than the Nimbaians. The Grand Geddians are sincere and committed to reconciliation. All tribes in Grand geddeh, including
Gios, Manos, and Mandingoes live in harmony with one another,” the Sheikh noted.
Not only did Sheikh Konneh question Weah peace-ambassadorial credentials, he also questioned the sincerity and commitment of the
man appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf shortly after her friend and co-2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, resigned the
post citing lack of commitment to peace from the presidency.
“Yes, I am questioning his credential as peace ambassador because of his behavior. From the onset when he set up the 11-men committee, he
did not include the youth, he did not include the religious community from the Muslim end. His attention was called to this fact but he did
not care to correct that mistake. He appears to be somebody who does not listen or care about people. He seems to only care about people
around him. I believe that is not the way forward for reconciliation in this country.
“There are three things that you do not underestimate. Do not underestimate fire because no matter how small, it can cause
destruction. Do not underestimate a creek no matter how small – someone can get drowned in it and do not underestimate trouble no
matter how small, it can disturb the society.
“From what I’ve seen, it will just be a cosmetic reconciliation. It will not be a truthful reconciliation. That’s how I see. He himself is
not even prepared to go to that extent.”
Sheikh Konneh is currently the National Chairman of the National Muslim Council of Liberia and President of the Inter-Religious Council
of Liberia. He also served Liberia’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as Commissioner but refused to sign the commission’s final
report on grounds that it usurped the Constitution of Liberia. Another Commissioner, Cllr. Pearl Brown-Bull, also did not sign the final