A LINE IN THE SAND
ELWA Or SIM To Make A Choice If Government of Liberia Take Its Property
Clara K. Mallah firstname.lastname@example.org
Selna Arkuwuoille, Pastor of the Home Church Baptist Missionary Fellowship is still optimistic of reaching a common ground in the ongoing land squabble between the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) and the Government of Liberia (GOL).
Says Arkuwuoille: “For the betterment of Peace in this country just from war, I think the land issue can be solved in a simple manner”.
For Arkuwuoille, the management of ELWA and the government should sit and have discussions aimed at finding a common ground to resolve the land tussle. “We can handle it quietly without the outside world hearing what we have to say.”
The clergyman opined that since the GOL wants to use the land, while the ELWA management is still operating it, the management should come up with a blueprint or a plan of action for the last four/five years, and show its progress to the government and vice-versa. “From there, they all can sit and find a common ground”.
Mr. Arkuwuoille wants both ELWA and GOL to explain their plans for the development of the land and put an end to this public ridicule.
“Things must be clearly explained to the GOL while ELWA wait for government’s reaction. Let government also present their Plans to ELWA, and they can come together and find a common ground. I believe having both sides come together, one side can give in. Perhaps the government can give up depending on the blue print shown by the ELWA”, the clergyman added.
The Reverend is of the conviction that ELWA is a Christian institution and in the midst of such a problem, the institution should pray and look up to God for direction and guidance.
He also indicated that if the ELWA work alongside the government and hold constant meetings and consultations with President Johnson-Sirleaf, She as a God fearing president, could see reason and wave the land to the ELWA family, noting that confusion is not the way forward.
The ELWA Land Sage with the GOL
The land crisis involving the management of ELWA and the Government of Liberia is no longer a secret. With press statements from pastors and meetings with Vice-President Joseph N. Boakai and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a positive outcome remains bleak.
The government is requesting approximately 14.5 acres of the land occupied by ELWA for the building of a ministerial complex. But the management of the mission has emphatically said a big NO and is yet to yield to the government’s request.
The Executive Director of the ELWA, Kedrick White yesterday told FrontPage Africa that if the government takes the land from the ELWA management, then ELWA or the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) will have to decide whether to stay in the Country to continue their humanitarian work.
“The ELWA or SIM has supporters and people who have donated to these ministries over the years, they will not see their hard earned funds being destroyed by war more than once, and then be destroyed by government, if homes are broken down just to build ministries. They will have to choose to continue supporting the ELWA or not”, Mr. White averred.
A recent statement from concerned Pastors at a press conference in Monrovia had this warning to sound: “The Christian community is categorically opposed to all that the government is doing to the ELWA, and is calling on Christians and Liberians in general to stand with the ELWA by telling the government NO!!
The statement, read by Rev. Daniel B. McGee, hinted that some church leaders, who are now partnering with government against the ELWA, should understand that today it’s ELWA, but come tomorrow it could be any other institution”.
Rev. McGee: “Whatever the inducement, it is totally unacceptable for the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and its ecumenical partners to press the ELWA to give up the land. Ironically, this same council of churches, over five months ago (in October 2010) issued a statement calling on the government not to touch the ELWA property”.
Rev. McGee further indicated that the ELWA/SIM family is expected to build a modern Hospital Complex on the said property in twelve months, with help from Franklin Graham, Executive Director of the charity organization Samaritan’s Purse.
An Act of Legislation
The Christian community believes that an eleemosynary grant is charitable, giving that it cannot be retrieved arbitrarily, especially when the grant has stipulations, the release further stated.
Mr. White, comfortably seated in his ELWA office, noted that if there is a way forward, there are issues that must be dealt with before proceeding.
“We need to ask ourselves this question: how did all this begin? If you need to start with the wrong premise, the concluding results will also be wrong and misleading. The ELWA’s land was not borrowed and could be taken back at anytime, as was first reported. If such was the case, it would have been a done deal by now”, he indicated.
The Executive Director emphasized that the land was given to the ELWA by an act of the Liberian legislature.
“Now this is important because the Act may have to be repealed in order for the reversal of ownership to take place. Even if the conditions for this Act (or the land grant) were broken by ELWA, for which ELWA believes is not the case, due process must still take its course,” Mr. White added.
Referring to a letter sent to the House of Representatives from the President’s office, he furthered that it is important to note that one cannot make an appeal at the same time maintain that the Land can & will be taken, because the conditions for Land grant was broken.
It is also misleading to say that the Land is being taken away because 13 Ministries need to be build, and at the same time, they will take the Land by force because the conditions for the Land grant was broken.
“Seemingly split, the Christian body is in agreement because the ELWA, as a ministry is no longer effective, or the government needs the land, or there are other areas that can be used, or that the conditions for the land grant was broken, which one?
This land tussle has generated a hoard of emotional responses from every sector of society. This matter will not just go away, it must be dealt with very carefully”, he concluded.