Monday 25th September 2017,

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Liberia’s tribal grouping, a welcomed enterprise in Nimba County

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Mr. Rishmond Konneh

Mr. Rishmond Konneh

Tribal fixation in Nimba County is taking an alarming proportion. It appears as if most conversations in Nimba circles whether here in the Diaspora or back home, center on tribal affiliations.

Tribal groupings for the collective good of all the tribes of Nimba County is and will always be a welcomed enterprise in my book; but this is not what is happening in Nimba County at the moment.

Conversations about the state of Nimba County and the perceived future directions appear to focus either on the Gio or the Mano perceptions, thereby marginalizing members of the minority groups-Mandingo, Gbi and Krahn. Take the “Traditional Council” that was recently convened in Sanniquellie to attempt to resolve the TeekoYorlay and the Nimba Legislative Caucus $260,000.00 debacle.

How many members of the minority tribes were represented? Imagine a meeting of Nimba leaders and elders and only the Gio and the Mano people are represented without any serious attempt to be inclusive.

How inclusive are the Nimba Lawmakers? Will it be fair to brand all of them as products of their environment given that most Nimbaians appear to be more concerned about their tribal affiliations as opposed the collective good of all the tribes of Nimba County?

Applying the Nature nurture theory to the tribal divide in Nimba County in which the minority tribes are exposed indeterminately to the power struggle between the Gio and the Mano people, one will theorize that indeed, the members of the Nimba Legislative Caucus are “tribalists” and therefore products of their tribal environments. They do not appear to care about the other tribes of Nimba County.

Any talk on the part of some Nimba officials and/or Nimba intellectuals about the tribal makeup of Nimba County is pure rhetoric. Not making genuine efforts to include the other tribes of Nimba County in the decision making of our county, the Nimba lawmakers are showing their true colors behind their legislative clothing; and I am afraid they are no different from most Nimbaians that see everything in Nimba County through tribal lens.

We, the members of the minority tribes are not doing ourselves any favor by remaining silent in the face of the singular focus on the Gio and the Mano people only. It is time that we engaged our lawmakers to recommend qualified members of the minority tribes for political appointments in the county.

It will also be morally right were the members of the Nimba Legislative Caucus to see inclusion as a way forward and take concrete steps to bring about some sort of equitable representation of ALL the tribes of Nimba in the running and decision making process of our county.
I have read eloquent speeches made by some of our leaders of Nimba County in which they have invariably acknowledged the tribal composition of Nimba County, but have yet to make genuine efforts to include the minority tribes in the decision making and running of our county.

The location of Nimba County gives rise to cross border settlements by the Mano from Guinea and the Gio from Ivory Coast. The same can be said about the Krahn and the Mandingo tribes.

In fact, some prominent families of Nimba are said to have their Guinean and Ivorian family members in both bordering countries of Nimba County. So why are the minority tribes being marginalized. We all came from somewhere, some earlier than others.

The members of the smaller tribes of Nimba County have educated people too. We have every right to Nimba just as the Gio and the Mano people, but our numerical disproportion puts us at a disadvantage.

In such case, the folks elected to represent ALL Nimbaians are expected to do the right thing by engaging in inclusive endeavors that will bring us all to the larger Nimba family table, where we can discuss the future of our county together. For a county populated by five different groups, it will only be fair if appointments were made based on equitable representations by all the qualified sons and daughters of said County and not just members of the Gio and the Mano tribes. Therefore, in the future, the list of Nimbaians serving in both the regional and/or the national government should not only be limited to the Gio and the Mano people.

It would morally be the right thing to do if our leaders and intellectuals were to shed their tribal veils and think about an inclusive Nimba County and recommend a Mandingo man or a Gbi woman for a prominent position in the regional and/or national government; unless these folks are playing lip service about the inherent benefits of inclusion while quietly engaging in behaviors that exacerbate the Nimba tribal divide to the detriment of the collective good of our county.

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