He lamented that it was now time for traditional leaders to take up the mantle of authority in their communities to buttress effort of government in ensuring peace in the nation even as UNMIL departs. “Let me say this to the local government, as UNMIL peacekeepers depart Liberia in the near future, we expect the local government structure to be solely involved in maintaining the peace we now enjoy through its interactions with the people,” he said. The new Internal Affairs Ministry boss assured that he would work with the leadership of the Council of Chiefs and other stakeholders for the restoration of dignity and authority of traditional people throughout Liberia.
Dr. Tokpa spoke over the weekend in Buchanan at the launch of Carter Center Access to Justice Pillar expansion program in Grand Bassa County. He acknowledged that these efforts have been applied through different kinds of trainings, mentoring as well as technical and logistical supports, and that he is aware that a dispute resolution mechanism to help resolve disputes using local and traditional means is in place.
He added that this scheme is critical to supporting national efforts in the wake of UNMIL draw down plans. Also addressing the forum, Carter Center’s Chief of Party, Pewee S. Flomoku, said the extension to Grand Bassa County brings to eight the number of counties the Access to Justice Program is being run. He said the program has proven positive, noting that many traditional leaders including women and youth now understand their rights and responsibilities in their various communities.
Mr. Flomoku stressed that through the Access to Justice Program, his organization works closely with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to enhance chiefs’ capacity in the areas of peace building, advocacy and leadership at the community level. According to the Carter Center Chief of Party, former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife were happy to see the level of improvement Liberian traditional leaders are making in their communities and at the national level through the support of the Carter Center. He then promised to strengthen the collaboration with the Internal Affairs Ministry and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders to further enhance the capacity of traditional and other community leaders including women and youth