By Patrick S. Tokpah, Bong County
President George Weah Thursday December 3, 2020 officially opened a two day National Peace Building and Reconciliation Conference in Gbarnga City, Bong County, where he urged Liberians to join him in the task of peace building because conflicts devastate lives, but only in peace development is assured.
Quoting former South African President Nelson Mandela, the Liberian leader said, “forgiveness is not an occasional act but a constant attitude” that needs to be cultivated by all Liberians.
According to him Peace is the only way to help move Liberia forward, while calling for a broad-based conference in 2021 to sustain and maintain the peace and reconciliation drive of the country.
He wants Liberians home and abroad to form a stronger partnership and an inclusive approach that would ensure total reconciliation.
Moreover, he called on his people to foster peace in a move to rekindle their relationships with one another and to break away from their ugly past so as to promote social, economic cohesion and development.
Paying tribute to all those who lost their lives during Liberia’s civil unrest, President Weah offered a national apology to the people and the country in general.
“Let me on this occasion recommit my government’s drive to sustaining and maintaining the peace process of the nation,” he added.
Giving an overview of the conference, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf noted that the country is making strides in addressing the issue of peace and reconciliation for the betterment of the society. He was however quick to add that more still needs to be done even though the government is committed to the process of lasting peace, reconciliation and development in Liberia.
He said the conference which began in 2018 and brought together eight counties is the second of its kind in Central Liberia.
Bong, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Rivergee, Maryland, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties were singled out as the participating counties for the two days events.
Minister Sirleaf encouraged the Liberian people to all get fully involved in the process of peace and reconciliation, adding that it is essential to lasting peace and development.
The Internal Affairs boss also stressed the need for rotational reconciliation which he noted is also good and a very effective method in addressing the issues of peace and reconciliation, especially at all levels.
At the same time Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, Rev. Richard Tolbert, re-echoed the need for all Liberians to remain peaceful and jealousy guide and protect the peace of the country.
Making specific reference to the ensuing December 8, 2020 special Senatorial Election Rev. Tolbert used the occasion to appeal to all Liberians to be calm and peaceful and exercise their democratic rights void of violence and destruction.
Meanwhile, the conference which brought together traditional leaders, local and national leaders, among others, was jointly organized by the Liberia PeaceBuilding Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the National Youth for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE) as one of the partners. The conference ends today Friday, December 4, 2020.
The conference is held under the theme: Enhancing Local Voices for Peace and Reconciliation at National and County Levels.