The Executive Committee of Kulu United Development Association (KUDA) has condemned in no uncertain terms comments by the Chairman of the organization, Sampson Toby, “threatening war and bloodshed” against the people of Tarjuowon Statutory District in Sinoe County.
The News newspaper quoted Toby in its December 31, 2013 publication as saying that he and his undisclosed supporters would wage war in Tarjuowon if the Indonesian company, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), failed to consult with the people of Kulu, Shaw and Boe District up to its planned operation in Tarjuowon Statutory District in Sinoe County.
But in a release signed by Secretary General Brown N. Keh and approved by Co-Chairman Samuel B. Wleh, Jr., the Executive Committee of KUDA terms Chairman Toby’s threats of war as diabolical, senseless and baseless.
The KUDA Executive Committee says it is unfortunate that despite calls from elders, youths and prominent citizens of Tarjuowon for Sampson Toby to desist from his unpopular agitation against the popular wishes of the people regarding GVL investment, he has continued to embark upon schemes of “blackmail, extortion and scare tactics” to disrepute the deep-rooted aspirations of the people.
“We want to make it clear that Toby and its small clique of agitators and blackmailers based in Monrovia do not have the mandate of the people of Kulu, let alone Tarjuowon Statutory District, to speak to negotiation between GVL and the people,” said KUDA Co-Chairman Samuel Wleh, Jr. “The people of Tarjuowon, including the Kulu section, have since signed a win-win Social Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding following several consultation meetings with local indigenous citizens at home in Kulu and Tarjuowon.”
Mr. Wleh said Toby and a small clique based in Monrovia have adopted the tendency of taking money from GVL and threatening agitation against the company if it failed to give more money, but whenever the company gave money to facilitate their participation in meetings held in Tarjuowon, they often chose to evade the meetings.
Recently, according to Mr. Wleh, Sampson Toby and his clique received US$1,330 from GVL for the purpose to going to Tarjuowon in Sinoe County to hold a consultation meeting with all the people, but used the money to instead demonize the company without meeting with the local people.
“Every time Sampson and his clique run out of money, they will engage into bad publicity about GVL and its negotiation with the locals in an apparent bid to extort more attention and more money from the company,” Mr. Wleh said. “This tendency of blackmail and extortion is unacceptable and we want to inform the public not to take the extortionists serious as the majority of the people of Kulu and Tarjuowon are clamoring for GVL investment.”
“There were countless number of consultation meetings held between the indigenous people of Tarjuowon, including Kulu, two of which Sampson Toby attended and endorsed,” said Mr. Wleh. “It is mind-boggling that Toby would threaten war against the people on account of lack of consultation.
This is arrogant, selfish and preposterous, to say the least.”
Mr. Wleh further said instead of Toby complaining about lack of development in Kulu, he should be ready to account for over L$80,000 raised by the poor people in 2011 which he has siphoned and yet to account for.
“Mr. Toby is one of the dangerous stumbling blocks to development in Tarjuowon District,” Mr. Wleh said, adding: “In 2011 he lured the people of Kulu into putting their poor earnings in his pocket when he organized a fundraising rally and collected over L$80,000.
Since he brought to money to Monrovia, and despite calls for him to account, he has not. And the money was meant to buy fuels and construct a major farm-to-market road.”
The KUDA Executive Committee says the people Tarjuowon, including Kulu, like other Liberians, are fresh witnesses of the horrors of war; it is therefore inconceivable that Mr. Toby would be threatening to retort to war only because he and his small Monrovia-based clique has lost their ill-fated obstruction to GVL investment in Tarjuowon.
“Our people believe in and trust the MOU and Social Agreement signed with GVL as well as the process that led to the signing of that Agreement,” the KUDA Executive Committee said in a release.
“And the people of Kulu and Tarjuowon will never allow themselves to be consumed by the gimmicks, blackmail and scare tactics of, or taken ransom by, a disgruntled group of persons in Monrovia.”