LIBERIA: Numopoh Community elects new forest management body 

By: Ezekiel Geeplay/LFMW

Greenville, Sinoe County….Residents of Numopoh Forest Community have elected new code of officers of the Community Forest Management Body (CFMB) that will steer the affairs of the community forest for 5 years.

The election was conducted on March 13, 2022 in keeping with the 2009 Community Rights Law, which among others, mandates forest communities to conduct election after every 5 years.

Those elected include, Sam Kelgbeh, Chief Officer, Charles Togba, Secretary, Jamesetta Pennoh, Treasure, Alexander Taryon, member, and Alphanso Chelleh, member, all of the CFMB. Others are Cepheus Nyanwleh, Chairman, Lincoln Cole- Co Chairman, Sardia Flahn, Secretary, Mullar Karmoh and Finance Officer, all of the Community Assembly (CA).

“Our time has expired and we don’t want to be like other people who don’t respect the rule of law, and so we have officially turned over power to the newly elected officials who were inducted into offices week ago”, Outgoing CFMB Chief Officer, Bill Karmoh explains.

Bill Karmoh said he was happy to turn over power to the new leadership, adding that, he is available to share his experience with the newly elected officials. Bill hopes that the new leadership will introduce new plan of action that will represent the developmental needs of the larger community.

The new leadership, which, by all measures lacks capacity, takes over at the time community members are contemplating on hiring a new logging contractor following the termination of the initial contract with Delta Timber Company (DTC) for failing to implement the social agreement it signed with the community in May 2016. https://loggingoff.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/VOSIEDA2019-Numopoh-IFMreport.pdf.

There are concerns that with the lack of capacity, the new leadership is likely to engage the wrong company that may exploit the forest and leave community members vulnerable like the previous company, DTC.

The new Chief Officer, Sam Kelgbeh is said to be concerned about the poor capacity challenge among the new community leadership. Even though he and his code of officers looked determined to make a change, such determination can only be backed by strong capacity building support. Kelgbeh says coming on board as new leadership, they will ensure firstly, to work with FDA and partners in making sure that the boundary issue between Numopoh and Tartweh is meticulously handled to the satisfaction of all parties.

The Chief Officer of the Numopoh CFMB has meanwhile craved for training opportunities for members of the new leadership in financial and project managements, forest monitoring and forest laws and regulations with emphasis on the Community Rights Law which mandates community to own, control and manage their forests and its resources.

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