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Sarpo Tribe Unhappy Over Exclusion From L$1000 Banknotes

Some eminent members of the Sarpo tribe have vowed to take legal action against the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) should the bank go ahead to infuse the one thousand dollars Liberian banknotes on the Liberian market without the tribe being placed on the specimen of the money.

Sarpo is an ethnic group in Liberia believed to have come from the southeastern part of the country, particularly Sinoe County.  

“As you may be aware, the CBL in an effort to introduce a new family of Liberian dollars banknotes in the country has printed a one thousand Liberian note with all of the tribes placed on it but excluding the Sarpo tribe,” the eminent Sarpo members stated. 

The group, through its legal team, in a communication sent to the CBL dated December 20, 2022 requesting the CBL to have the tribe included on the one thousand Liberian dollars banknotes before it is issued on the Liberian market.

According to the legal team, it is a complete violation of the people’s rights should they be excluded from the money when all other tribes are placed on the money.

“The Constitution of Liberia provides, “c) All persons are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to the equal protection of the law.” (Const. art. 11.) Therefore, the omission of the Sarpo people from a legal tender of Liberia is a violation of their right of recognition as an ethnic group in Liberia, in the same manner as the other ethnic groups of Liberia. It should be noted that marginalization of any group of people undermines the unity of Liberia,” the legal counsel stressed.

The team furthered, “We hereto attach copies of the two letters previously sent to you in order to remind you about the need to correct the omission made by the Central Bank on the specimen of the proposed one thousand Liberian dollars banknotes. In view of the foregoing, we hereby request that you inhale the name of the Sarpo ethnic group as one of the ethnic groups of Liberia.”

For their part, the Chairman and secretary of the Eminent Sarpo Citizen, Kpanyoun P. Wakocco and Siah C Chen in separate remarks told newsmen that if the CBL fails to have the Sarpo tribe on the one thousand Liberian dollars banknotes before infusion into the market they, would be left with no option but to take legal action against the CBL.

According to the two men, they have written the Executive Governor of the CBL, Aloysius Tarlue several communications concerning their plights but have proved futile, something they said is prompting their legal actions.

Both Wakocco and Chen believe that histories are not stagnant but dynamic, and left with men as time evolving to change the course of histories grounded on evidence and unfolding, adding, It is in view of the foregoing, that they are seeking a modification to the newly one thousand bank note been printed and or an amendment to reflect the true tribal representation of the nation.

“As a consequence of the aforementioned, Hon. Governor, we the Eminent Sarpo citizens request your honorable office to kindly and hastily adjust the human specimen of sixteen to seventeen on the one thousand bank notes being advertised to vividly picture or embody the true demographic,” the pair noted.

They voiced, “The decision or action of the Central Bank of Liberia has all the ingredients to isolate, marginalize and exclude the Sarpo people from national artifacts or symbols, and completely erase us from the History of Liberia. We have raised concerns about this grave precedence and its corresponding stressful and depressing impact on the lives of our people, which if not addressed, could obscure our cultural identity and jeopardize our status as an ethnic group in Liberia.”

Meanwhile, the group stressed that they are not prepared to take this issue lightly because according to them it has the propensity to obscure their identity and jeopardize their status as an ethnic group in Liberia, thus, given the gravity of this matter they will consider all options including legal action to maintain the cultural and bond identity of the Sarpo ethnic group of Liberia.

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