-Following Tension Among Gola, Nimbaians And Mandingoes
By T. Saye Goinleh
Normal activities have resumed in the mining Town of Kungbor in Kungbar District, Gbarpolu County after tension erupted following an alleged harassment against Nimbaians and Mandingoes in the area by their Gola hosts as a result of unleashing the country Devil (Poro Master) on them.
According to Rep. Larry Younquoi, lawmaker for Nimba County District Number eight who was part of a mediation team that travelled to Kungbor, the visit was predicated upon two separate complaints received first from the Mandingo ethnic group and later similar one from Nimbaians residing in the Town detailing reported intimidation, beatings, extortions and other forms of inhumane treatments by people of the Gola tribe.
Rep. Younquoi said before the Mandingoes took their case to Minister Varney Sirleaf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, one Oscar Saye of Nimba County who also resides in the area has already issued a lawsuit at the Bopulu Magisterial Court claiming harassment and beatings on him and his entire family by disciples of the Country Devil.
Rep. Younquoi further revealed that when the Mandingoes lodged a complaint to Minister Varney Sirleaf, he decided to dispatch an investigation team to Kungbor involving representatives of the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice and the Gbarpolu Legislative Caucus headed by Chief Zanzan Karwor, chairman of the Liberia National Traditional Council to look into the dispute.
He went on to explain that it was at this stage that the Nimba Caucus decided to send an envoy including him and a leader of Nimba umbrella organization in Monrovia (Nimba Kwado) with the delegation for representation since Chief Karwor has earlier withdrawn Oscar Saye’s case from the magisterial court in Bopolu for out of court settlement.
The team left Monrovia on Thursday, June 28, 2018 along with Rep. Younquoi and the lawmaker of Gbarpolu District Number 3, Rep. Joseph Matthews where they spent a night in Gbarma and proceeded to Kungbor the next day (June 29).
During the disposal of the Mandingo-Gola quarrel, the spokesman of the Mandingo ethnic group, Iman Mohammed Swaray indicated that his people were constrained to take the Gola, mainly those in Kungbor to the Minister of Internal Affairs because of the systematic manner in which the Poro Master was intimidating them.
Iman Swaray accused the Gola of using the Devil to loot their belongs including solar panels, radios, dishes, food and livestock. He went on to allege that the maltreatment being meted against them was based on mere perception that they (Mandingoes) did not vote for the incumbent representative of the District, Hon. Joseph Matthews during the 2017 elections; claiming that he (Rep. Matthews) instructed the Country Devil to use these methods on them as a way of flushing them out of Kungbor.
He concluded by stating that he and his people were dropping the charges against the Gola people in the interest of peace. Imam Swaray recounted that Kungbor was built by a Mandingo trader named Kungbor in 1962 and has experienced cordial co-existence among the Gola, Mandingoes and other tribes over the decades.
However, Rep. Matthews denied in the gathering at the investigation that he has at no time given orders to the Gola to use the Poro Master against any ethnic groupings so as to see them flushed out because they did not support him during the elections.
For the Gola-Nimbaian dispute, Chief Zanzan Karwor having heard from Representative Matthews calling on his people to embrace peace, coupled with the earlier decision by the Mandingoes to drop their case, he turned to the larger Kungbor Community to inquire from them how they feel about the case.
The residents responded through their respective group representatives declaring that they should allow peace to prevail. “These people are our brothers, although they are from different region, but we are all Liberians. Let them forgive and forget so that we can forge ahead,’’ they all sounded in unison.
Considering the overwhelming yearns for peace including the efforts of Chief Karwor and his team, the Nimba Community through their Governor, John Wango, agreed to settle the matter without going into details. In fact, this has been an earlier plea by the elders of Kungbor not to discuss openly the role of the Country Devil which would further expose their culture to public ridicule.
As a result, a resolution aimed at confining the Poro Master to its base in the jungle and not venture in cosmopolitan and industrial areas was signed by the leaders of the various conflicting parties involved. This was attested by Rep. Matthews along with Chief Zazan Karwor.
Members of the Gola and Mandingo tribal groups as well as the Nimbaians were made to embrace each other at the assembly urging them to allow harmony to prevail among them.