By Garmonyou Wilson
The Vice President of Liberia, Joseph Boakai says that palava huts are national traditional forms of settling disputes, whether in farming, land or family disputes.
Speaking yesterday at the opening of a three-day National Palava Hut Technical Forum hosted by the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INHRC) at the Monrovia City Hall, the Vice President said that the country is on the path of national reconciliation and healing with the palava hut discussions.
VP Booakai said further that the technical forum is a platform for stakeholders to discuss the type of palava hut mechanism that would be used as a national module when the INHRC goes nationwide in compliance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) mandate.
He then urged the participants in the technical forum who consisted of traditional chiefs, civil society and international partners to take the task seriously as they would steer the course to national healing.
Vice President Boakai concluded that Liberians from all walks of life should not only seek peace but should pursue it and the palava hut mandate handed down from the TRC is a step in that direction.
The Acting Chairman of the INHRC, Boakai Dukuly, said that the technical forum would provide the INHRC the opportunity to listen to stakeholders from across Liberia.
He continued that within the past two years the Commission traveled across Liberia creating working groups consisting of people of all walks of life to help drive the palava hut discussions that they were now discussing technical aspects.
He said that the palava hut is not a judicial process, but it’s a traditional one for the nation to consolidate sustained peace.
The INHRC Acting Chair said that after the technical forum the Commission would have a clearer understanding of how the national palava hut discussions would go.
For her part the Liberian Minister of Justice, Christiana Tah said that the palava hut process is the simplest form of justice because a lot of trauma existed in the country and the palava hut would give a lot of Liberians the chance to vent out some of their transgressions.
She concluded that everywhere in Liberia is a palava hut, in offices, in cars, and in the corners. “They are everywhere as long as someone is willing to listen to someone else to vent out his or her problems where a palava hut exists,” the Justice Minister intimated.
The National Palava Hut Program, pursuant to recommendation 15 of the erstwhile TRC was officially launched on October 19, 2013, in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, by the President of Liberia. Under that TRC recommendation, the INHRC is responsible to oversee the palava hut process.