Montserrado County Peace Committee (MPC), on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, held an acquaintance meeting with the standing committee on Peace, Religion and National Reconciliation of the Lower House of the National Legislature.
Held at the Capitol Hill offices of the Committee’s Chairman and Nimba County Representative, Rick Y. Toweh, the meeting was also intended to provide the National Legislature with an update of MPC peace building activities within Montserrado County since its establishment in 2009.
MPC is a local organization, which has been involved with mitigati ng and mediati ng land and other communal disputes in the county.
During the meeting, Rev. Augustine Arkoi, Chairman of MPC highlighted the activities and gains of the committee aimed at not only consolidating reconciliation and peace in Montserrado County but in Liberia as a whole.
According to the MPC Chairperson, since September 2009, the Committee has recorded 378 land disputes in Montserrado County involving individuals and institutions.
Rev. Arkoi disclosed that MPC has successfully investigated 191 of the land disputes, 25 surveyed while 9 others are pending survey by the Committee.
He further briefed the august assembly that 104 of the 378 land cases have been amicably resolved and one case has been forwarded to court for adjudication by parties involved.
According to the MPC Chairman, 82 of the land disputes in Caldwell and Brewerville areas of Montserrado remain unattended to owing primarily to resource constraints.
He clarified that the 387 land cases were indentified in the Caldwell and Brewerville areas of Montserrado County where MPC has been conducting a peace promotion pilot project.
The MPC Chairman further told the National Legislature that there are other cases of land dispute involving individuals and institutions in Montserrado County that are yet to be formally recorded owing to lack of sufficient logistical and manpower support.
According to him, the MPC Land mediation mechanism has immensely benefitted not only under privileged community residents and citizens who fear going to court due to lack of funds, limited understanding of the country’s justice system, and social contacts.
He added that even individuals who are relatively rich, many of whom are afraid to be mobbed in an attempt to exert their rights to reclaim their legitimate properties also preferred the MPC conflict resolution mechanisms.
Rev. Arkoi also used the occasion to acknowledge the sustained support given the MPC by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and other collaborating partners including the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Land Commission for providing training and other technical support.
Rev. Arkoi however indicated that MPC members have not only volunteer their services over the years, but improvised for nearly all activities implemented.
Land dispute, according to Rev. Arkoi constitute a major threat to sustainable peace and development in postwar Liberia. “We call on the Government of Liberia and International stake holders to give immediate priority to supporting strategic peace building programs aimed at reconciling Liberians, Rev. Arkoi told the National Legislature on behalf of MPC.”
In remarks, the Chairman of the House Committee, Rep. Rick Toweh, lauded the MPC for what the Nimba County Legislator characterized as the committee’s splendid job as it relates to consolidating and enhancing genuine national reconciliation and peace in Liberia.
Rep. Toweh, while expressing the House’s esteem regards for MPC activities, underscored the need for MPC and the National Legislature to work together at all times in the promotion of genuine peace and reconciliation in Liberia.
He further expressed admiration and delight over the composition of the MPC delegation to the Capitol Building which he said reflected gender balance.
Also in attendance of the meeting was a member of the Senate Committee on Peace, Religion and National Reconciliation, Senator Dallas A. Gueh. He too praised the MPC for its activities which he said are in the best interest of the country and its people.