Encroachment On Voinjama Public School’s Land Must Stop

Alphonso Toweh
Read Time:9 Minute, 58 Second

Declares VDGCA; Set Roadmap To Purge Injustice, Corruption & Bad Governance

Wilmington, DE—  In the wake of encroachment on the Voinjama Public School’s land allegedly by some citizens of Lofa CountyDr. Zayzay Gwepougee Kpadeh, speaking to local and international journalists on the line from his Wilmington Office of the Voinjama District Global Citizens Association (VDGCA) in the US, Dr. Zayzay Gwepougee Kpadeh stressed that far too long since the inception and end of the Liberian civil war, citizens of Voinjama District have experienced considerable level of injustice from both local and national leaders in the country.

Dr. Kpadeh who is currently a prominent scholar of theology, environmental justice and ecology in the United States of America, says citizens of Lofa and Voinjama District in particular must resist the temptation of the abuse of power, which is common in Liberian political pathology. “Now is the time for an uprising for social justice and equitable protection of the rights of citizens in the county” the social justice activist and environmentalist stressed.

Speaking specifically about the current prevailing inhumane and disheartening situation surrounding local government and governance in Lofa County, the learned scholar and activist said a new day was on the horizon for the people of Voinjama District.                                                                                                                                                                                    

According to him, systemic and illegal transactions of land sales in Voinjama District, Lofa County is an affront to the cultural and traditional history that made Voinjama City as one the most accommodating cities in Liberia.

Lofans, especially citizens of Voinjama District must be aware that a new day is on the horizon to end the structural collapse and failure of leadership in Voinjama District.  

He said a cadre of Voinjama citizens including intellectuals both at home and abroad were currently galvanizing resources to revive Voinjama City. “We are strategically organizing in three strategic areas: education, agriculture and healthcare. Making Voinjama more proficient in these three strategic areas will go a long way in not only reclaiming the history and heritage of the City, but will also open new avenues of opportunity for the residents of the city and the district as a whole”, scholar Kpadeh said.

In making sure that this becomes a reality, Dr. Kpadeh said his organization is going to root out the vestiges of corruption and poor governance in the City and the District.

“The era of injustice and incompetency at the county level must end.  A wind of change is erupting to lead a new wave of dispensation that will begin a new conversation about the plight of the people”, the activist and Community Organizer stressed.

“Character as it is often said, begins at home”, Dr. Kpadeh emphasized. “The culture of impunity must end at both the local and national level of leadership in the county”.

“The county leadership beginning with the Office of the Superintendent as far as we are concerned as an organization or Association, has failed to deliver for the people,” Dr. Kpadeh lamented.  Pointing to a specific and disturbing development, Dr. Kpadeh noted the Association has painfully learned that a portion of the Voinjama Public School’s land in the heart of Voinjama City was allegedly and illegally sold to a Sierra Leonean national.

This land sale according to the learned scholar is in gross violation of the basic rights of the current students of the school and all former students of the Voinjama Public School.

In a recent release issued from Wilmington, Delaware, the US-based Dr. Kpadeh stressed that this act (the illegal land sale) is a strategic and historic mistake associated with the many gross violations and the abuse of power in the county by the power that be: “Let’s not forget that this is a historic landmark for the people of the district. Besides, the historicity around this educational institution is truly a remarkable story about how people in power in the county have reportedly taken advantage of the citizens of the county”.

In retrospect, the historicity of the school dates back as far as 1917 during the administration of President Daniel E. Howard.  This land sale is truly a remarkable indication of how local government in the county have taken advantage of the poor and the marginalized—a clear illustration of the gross abuse of power.

 The Voinjama Public School land is not anything to be taken for granted by anyone in authority. We will litigate this matter not only in a court of public opinion Dr. Kpadeh said, but the Association will also pursue the case in a court of competent jurisdiction to ensure that justice prevail.

Dr. Kpadeh says, he has officially spoken with one of the senators of Lofa County in person of Senator Stephen Zargo on this sensitive matter. “Senator Zargo informed me that he was not aware of the case and that no one has ever brought the case to his attention”, Dr. Kpadeh said.

Retrospectively, Dr. Kpadeh is a former student of the school, and the current Acting Chairman of the Education Committee of the Voinjama District Global Association, an American based advocacy organization dedicated to uplifting the conscience of the district’s citizens following years of neglect and absenteeism by the original citizens of the district –sons and daughters of the land, majority of whom fled the area due to the Liberian civil war several decades ago.

The release urges Lofans, Voinjama District citizens to be vigilant and steadfast in defending the heritage and the vast lands in the county.  The release urges Lofans that this is not the time to sit on the sideline and clapped in cowardice to the failure of leadership in the county rather this was a time to stand up for equity and justice for all citizens in the county.

Dr. Kpadeh stressed that the Voinjama District Global Association is committed to rooting out corruption and poor governance in the district and by large, the county.“Let’s be clear and emphatic, a new day is at hand. A new wind of change is blowing in the County aimed at equity, and social justice for all,” Dr. Kpadeh said.

Speaking further on the current state of affairs in Voinjama District, Dr. Kpadeh said the fight for illegal and alleged sale of a portion of the Voinjama Public School land is just the beginning of the current campaign of his association aimed at bringing Voinjama back from the vestiges of systemic failure of leadership in the county.

The Association says it has received credible and reliable information that there are several influential individuals in the city allegedly involved in this illegitimate sale of this public school property and a team of lawyers are engaging the matter and representing the Association’s legal interest..  As a former student of the school, Dr. Kpadeh said his organization’s primary aim is to not only ensure equity and justice in this case by returning the land to its original owners—the students  of the Voinjama Public School; but while it’s true that this transaction is allegedly reported to have taken place during the era of Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, any transaction done illegally and illegitimately, is not done at all, Dr. Kpadeh.             

“What we seek currently in this case, is to ensure that the wrongs of the past against our people are legitimately and coherently corrected, Dr. Kpadeh informed this paper. 

The learned scholar pointed out that the school is located on a historic landmark, a place that has trained and continue to educate many of the county’s stewards in the strategic areas of primary education. “A place that trained many sons and daughters of the county including this humble servant, who is now contributing immensely to development of global justice around the world, including the tri-state areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware”,   Dr. Kpadeh emphasized.       

 Currently, our lawyers are prepared to test the legality of this case not only in the court of public opinion, but also in a court of competent jurisdiction. Dr. Kpadeh said.

Our legal briefs will be filed soon in a court of competent jurisdiction in Liberia under the banner and canopy of a legitimate legal team under the auspices of the Voinjama District Global Association.  This is the initial step in the series of several pending litigated steps aimed at liberating our people from the vestiges of poor leadership on both the county and the national level. Dr. Kpadeh, is a scholar of liberative, theological and environmental justice based in the American state of Delaware.

He holds a Doctorate in theological education with specialization in Body, Mind and Spirit Congregation from the prestigious Drew University based in Madison, New Jersey. He holds a Master of Divinity Degree from the same institution of higher learning. Recently, Dr. Kpadeh completed a third master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Justice from the prestigious Drew University, his alma mater of nearly a decade. 

On the question of the 2008 census in Lofa and Voinjama District in particular, Dr. Kpadeh said the second campaign for liberation in the county and the Voinjama area will center on the illegal demarcation of lands belonging to Voinjama District partitioned during the corrupt regime of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.       

Some of our towns and villages in the Voinjama District including Vezala, Yokollie’s Town, Sainormai,  Lawalazu, Massamai, Zawordamai, etc.

“This historic and illegitimate partitioning will be declared non and void soon. It will be declared non and void during the next census. Our county has experienced considerable level of injustice politically due to the redistricting that occurred in 2008. But what is evidently clear though, is that history has a way of bringing out the truth. 

A true history of the people is primarily rooted in the protection of their culture, heritage and their land. adding that injustice anywhere, is usually a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. Kpadeh emphasized.

The 2008 redistricting of political boundaries between Voinjama and Kolahun Districts was calculated by a handful of so-called politicians working against the poor and the oppressed masses. Such era of oppression and devaluing of the people’s rights must end. 

Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman of the Education Committee of the Voinjama District Global Association is urging citizens of District residing in Monrovia and other parts of the country including Gbarnga, and Kakata to return home and contribute towards the rebuilding of the county and the district.

Lofa County, and Voinjama District in particular is what God has given us. We must do all we can, working in the spirit of brotherly and sisterly love to uplift our district and give our suffering people a new sense of hope, peace and belonging, the release in toned.

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About Post Author

Alphonso Toweh

Alphonso Toweh Alphonso has  been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.
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