19 January 2004

Liberia: Nimba Supt. Turns Down Instructions From Monrovia

Nimba County — There are indications that the Superintendent of Nimba County, Harrison Karnwea, has turned down instructions from the Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Chief Jerry Gonyon.

According to credible information, Deputy Minister Gonyon on January 12, 2004 instructed Superintendent Karnwea to ensure "that the Township Commissioner residing in Zontuo Headquarters go back to Behyapea the original seat of the Township's Commissioner when I (Gonyon) was Clan Chief in 1985".

Chief Gonyon also instructed the Superintendent "that Zoekonopea Gorwee, Duowin and Guakpannah be named Konopea Clan and that the Acting Clan Chief of these towns be Mr. Joseph Vaye who is presently acting as Zone Chief from Zoloapa and that the Township Commissioner position be decided by the people themselves".

The Deputy Minister further told the Superintendent that, "we deemed it necessary that the Commissioner be selected from Guakpannah Town to show transparency".

But in response, Superintendent Karnwea in a letter, told the Deputy Minister that his information is that Zontuo is a legitimate Township, and that Zontuo being a Township, its Commissioner can only reside and function in Zontuo and not Behyepea.

He pointed out that if Behyepea is another Township, then the Township Commissioner is supposed to reside and function there.

Superintendent Karnwea added that the Act of the National Legislature approved on February 24, 2003, which created Gbao Chiefdom comprises only two clans, Gbao and Gweh Clans. He argued that Gbao Chiefdom does not have a third Clan to be named Konopea.

" In view of the foregoing, Mr. Minister, since the creation of the new political subdivision is the constitutional responsibility of the National Legislature as stated in Article 34 (a), we will suggest that you propose to them appropriately", Mr. Karnwea said.

The Superintendent further told Deputy Minister Gonyon that the decision of who becomes Township Commissioner is also the Constitutional responsibility of the President.

"I am also suggesting that you direct the recommendation to the Executive Mansion for the appointment of the Township Commissioner".

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