GANTA, Nimba – Calls are raining in from several NGOs within Nimba for the county inspector, Reginald Mahn, to retract statements he made in Grand Gedeh accusing organizations like the Carter Center of fueling conflicts among ethnic groups in order to obtain funding.
Mahn made the statements during a peace conference held by the Carter Center to foster reconciliation between the people of Nimba and Grand Gedeh.
At the conference, Mahn said that NGOs operating in the country are fond of fueling conflicts with the purpose of using those conflicts to raise funds. He suggested that the people of Nimba and Grand Gedeh were being used in a similar way.
“As long as they continue to elevate confusion between us, then they can be able to write proposals to get money… and use the money for their organization to continue to operate,” Mahn said about NGOs.
Daniel Nyahn Gboe of Chess-Liberia, a local NGO working in Nimba, said he was disappointed in Mahn’s statement.
“I was very pleased to hear that the conflict between Nimba and Grand Gedeh was being resolved,” Gboe told a Radio Kergheamahn reporter. “But what was very surprising was when Reginald Mahn said that [NGOs] are using the case to inflame conflicts, and in fact, they are using the case to make money from the international community.”
Gboe added: “I think that statement is misleading and he needs to go back and retract that statement and also come on air and apologize to the NGO community.”
Joseph L. Menlor, co-chair of the Nimba NGO Network, also expressed dismay to Presley Boosan of Radio Kergheamahn.
“I have come to caution him to [retract] his statement,” he said. ”We want to be very crystal clear here that NGOs are a major partner to the government of Liberia as we speak. And what they as politicians see as nothing is happening, we as NGOs see it as a source of conflict, which if you are not careful in handling, can hover into disaster in a given community.”
In response to the call from the NGO community, Mahn has said he is in no way obligated to apologize to those asking him to. He said, “I stand by what I said and will not rebuke any statement.”