Southeastern Liberians Want Ellen ‘With Immediate Effect’ Dismiss Concession & Disputes Affairs Coordinator

Lahai G. Lansannah, Coordinator for Concession and Disputes

Several angry citizens of southeastern Liberia are calling on the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirelaf ‘with immediate effect’ to dismiss and replace the coordinator for Concession and disputes Affairs Coordinator for what they described as his inability and ineffectiveness to deal with concession issues.

The citizens hailing from Sinoe, Maryland and Nimba Counties who are also in the employ of concessional areas in these counties further expressed frustration in the performance of the coordinator, who previously served as Senator of Bomi County, who they also claimed is only seeking the interest of the people who are working in the concessional areas of both Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties.

One of the frustrated citizens from Maryland County, Morris S.B. Toe, who spoke to journalists over the weekend noted that “Every week Mr. Lahai G. Lansannah is in Bomi or Cape mount counties, and not one day or one week you will see him travel to Sinoe or Nimba counties; he is not for Sime Darby alone,” the angry citizen speaking to reporters noted.

The former Bomi County lawmaker was appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on July 6, 2016, to settle disputes within all concession areas in the country.

Toe said, Lahai is not making any impact at all and he is only getting money from the office of the president to do work in Bomi and Cape Mount.

“We think the coordinator is not working in the interest of the country, but rather in his own home county’s interest. We have issues at the Maryland Oil plantation on wages. Even to Golden Veroleum,” Toe said

Toe said he is speaking for several aggrieved workers from the concession areas.

“But not one day you will see Lahai go to the South East. All that he does is to move to Bomi and Cape Mount counties. He was not appointed by the president to be ambassador for Sime Darby or Aureus Mining or Jungle James mining group in Western Liberia. If that is the case, they should name him as coordinator for   Western Liberia and not the for entire country.”

Another friend of Toe, Arthur Wilson said “as a result of that, he(Lahai) has become ineffective and is proving Senator Sando Johnson right. He does not care to look into the plight of the southeasters. For me, if this continues, we will recommend to the president for his dismissal.”

Recently, Senator Johnson described Lahai as one whose position was based on political accommodation. He also said that Lahai was not competent for the position.

 

Mr. Lansanah was appointed against the backdrop of repeated disputes at concessions resulting into violent protest, destruction of lives and properties. With the hope that a former lawmaker could bring some sanity in concession areas by helping to resolve conflicts.

However, angry workers said the President’s appointment looks to be inflaming the situation rather than helping to resolve.

He went on to say that since  his appointment, Mr. Lansanah is yet to resolve any dispute arising from concessions within the country after nearly one year in such position, leading many within the concession industry to wonder why such appointment was made by the President.

One Executive Mansion source confided in reporters that Mr. Lansanah is yet to make a simple assessment report to the office of the President about prevailing issues within concessions areas such as Golden Veroleum in Sinoe County, Equatorial Palm Oil in Grand Bassa, Sime Darby in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties, Maryland Oil Plam in Maryland County, Mittal Steel in Nimba and other concessions around the country.

“I think he is looking for political money rather than helping to solve conflict. From what I see, Lansanah will bring more conflicts if the President does not act now. He will create more mess”, one top official source from South East said.

“He is very authoritative and acting like a military man rather than a professional person.  The choice of Lansanah is very wrong in terms of conflict resolution, he does not have the attributes of somebody that can resolve conflict”, another source stated.

Another worker from Arcelor Mittal who was once laid off some time ago by the company said Mr. Lansanah was accused of playing a role in concession disputes when he served as Senator of Bomi County during the 52nd National Legislature.

He was accused of fermenting trouble in the erstwhile Guthrie Rubber Plantations Company which area has been taken over by Sime Darby.

Under his watch as Senator of Bomi County, Guthrie was plagued by persistent internal conflicts.

“Even in Bomi county, we have been told that he is not doing much there either.  He is into politics rather than settling disputes,” one said

When this news agency contacted his office, no was available for comment. But an aid there said he was out in Western Liberia.

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About Cholo Brooks 4098 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL), including several other international organizations of journalists.