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Kpatawee Management, Residents On Reconciliatory Path

By Patrick S. Tokpah
The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bong County Superintendent, have appealed to residents of Kpatawee Clan to abandon their quest for closure of the Kpatawee Waterfalls in Suakoko District 5, Bong County.
Recently, the Commander of the Bong County Detachment of the Liberia National Police, Fasu Sheriff, ordered the closure of the Kpatawee Waterfalls after angry residents staged a protest against the management of Jalk Enterprise for reportedly violating the terms and conditions enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the leadership of the county in December 2019.
Residents of the Clan in Suakoko demanded that the Manager of the Kpatawee Waterfalls, Josephine Richardson, and Kuku Danies, leave on allegations of encroaching on their farm land, contrary to a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the leadership of the county.
During their protest, the Kpatawee Clan residents blocked the road, stopping vehicles and bikes from accessing the waterfalls, while some angry youths in the area were threatening to burn down the facilities if the management left the area.
But speaking at a dialogue meeting held on April 30, 2024, in the Clan, the Executive Director of the EPA, Emmanuel Urey Yarkpawolo, and the Bong County Superintendent, Hawa Norris, told the residents to disengage, on grounds that the Waterfalls is an international tourism site.
The duo, at the same time, assured the Kpatawee residents that their plight would be redressed within one month regarding the issues surrounding the Kpatawee Waterfalls in the county and the respective MOUs.
Yarkpawolo and Norris revealed that during their fact-finding dialogue, they got to know that two separate MOUs were signed between the residents and the Jalk Enterprise.
“The Community members are disappointed because they signed an MOU with Jalk Enterprise which manages the Kpatawee Waterfalls in 2019, and there was another MOU signed between the Environmental Protection Agency and Jalk Enterprise, quote-on-quote with the community, and they have some differences, and the community is holding onto the first MOU which was signed in 2019, which they said the Kpatawee Management (Jalk Enterprise) is not in compliance with. Meanwhile, Jalk Enterprise too is relying on the second MOU which was signed between the entity and EPA; this is one of the major factors that is causing the misunderstanding between the citizens and the entity regarding the implementation of the MOU,” they added.
However, the two leaders told the citizens that Tourism is part of the “Rescue Mission” agenda and Kpatawee is very important to the government of Liberia and the citizens, so they should disengage their protest.
They have vowed to launch an investigation into the two separate MOUs signed by past government officials and local leaders regarding the operation of the Jalk Enterprise at the Kpatawee Waterfalls in the county.
Also speaking at the dialogue on behalf of the angry citizens, Kpatawee Clan Chief, Menpakeh Darwokalar, lauded the efforts of the EPA Executive Director and Bong County Superintendent for their intervention.
Clan Chief Darwokalar assured the EPA Executive Director and Bong County Superintendent that they would abandon their protest and look up to them within the one-month duration, but assured them that if their plight is not addressed within the one month, they are going to stage another protest against the Jalk Enterprise Management.
Moreover, Jalk Enterprise Manager, Josephine Richardson, apologized to the residents for the wrong she had done to them and called on them to put aside their differences and work together for the development of Kpatawee and Bong County at large.

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