By Edwin G. Wandah
The ongoing peace and reconciliation process that kicked off at the Centennial Pavilion on Ashmun Street last week had another spectacular event at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex on Saturday when scores of former African soccer stars who were invited to grace the occasion blew up the jammed packed SKD stadium. Prior to the event that appeared colorful with a parade from the Palm Spring Hotel in Congo Town, through Sinkor via major Streets in Monrovia, many fans of former soccer players and current ones lined up the Streets to at least cheer their players and also give their supports to the peace and reconciliation process.
Our reporter who attended the scene and followed the queue, managed to witness a drama at 24th Street junction when a Guinean national abandoned his customers, about six to seven persons who have come to shine their shoes only to follow the crowd, shouting at the top of his voice, “Bravo! Bravo! E’To bien venue a Liberia”, which is interpreted in English, “Bravo! Bravo! Samuel E’TO, welcome to Liberia,” the man stated.
He immediately ran to the truck that was decorated with the national colors of Liberia and attempted shaking hands with Samuel E’TO, former Spanish giants striker Barcelona who won three successful Champion Leagues medal and a many La liga and Spanish Super Cups titles, Italian side Inter Millan’s domestic league titles and one Champion League in Italia and four times African Best.
Another Musu Jebeh, a petty trader, took off her lappa and spread it on the ground for the truck to pass on it. “I am very happy today to see big, big football players coming to our country to support our peace and reconciliation process; I hope our leaders will join in this process and totally forgive one another because everyone is tired with us,” she said.
On Saturday, Ambassador Weah led a host of former Lone Star players known as George Weah Elleven and former and current African players called Africa number one who mixed-up at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex to buttress the process.
Those that were featured for the Africa Number One included Patrick N’boumah, Richard Kingston, Gorge Gebro, Kwenme Ayeu, Joe Addo, Mohammed Gargo, Roger Milla, Abelea Billel, Rodney Strassir, Omer Dein and on the bench Cyrus Dan, Yousif Fofana, Mosia Tenasee and Ourai Oyoh, while Weah All Star saw Ambassador Weah and James Debah leading the group.
Other players included Louis Crayton, Danisius Saybwe, Mohammed Kenkai Kallon, George Solo, Kelvin Saybwe, Jayjay Okocaha, Joe Nagbe, Mohammed Kallon, and on the bench, there were N’senfan Augustine, Eugene Nabge, Prince Daye, Janjay Jacobs, Sheriff Semeh and Wills Smith. The game ended 7 – 7 at peace.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Society for the Promotion of Peace, National Reconciliation and Reunification, Mr. James Mayfield Copson has commended President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Amb. George Weah for the official launch of the National Reconciliation and Roadmap, which according to him marks the beginning of the practical implementation of the national reconciliation process across the country.
Mr. Copson, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the SPNRL is at the same time calling on the Government of Liberia through President Sirleaf to give the fullest support to his organization both financial and logistical to enable the organization extend its peace building initiative across the country in keeping with the President’s commitment and promise to support the implementation of national reconciliation initiative across the country.
According to Mr. Copson, the national reconciliation program to be implemented across the country will include, trauma healing and counseling, palava hut meetings and dialogue, workshops on conflict management, conferences and sports.
In a related development, the organization has officially expressed its desire to work alongside Amb. As an implementing partner, to extend the national reconciliation process to the fifteen political sub-divisions of the country at the grassroots’ population level with the involvement of every Liberian and stakeholders.
SPNRL in collaboration with the office of Nimba County Representative, Ricks Toweh, Chairman on the House Standing Committee on Peace, Religion and National Reconciliation and other stakeholders are expected to host the first Peace and National Reconciliation Conference on July 19, 2013, at the Centennial Pavilion and not on June 28, 2013, as was previously planned.
He said President Sirleaf, Amb. Weah and several stakeholders have been officially invited to the conference.