Malawu, a highly traditional town in Zozor District, Lofa County, is still a ‘no-go’ zone for Christians, despite several intervention attempts being made by the Government.

Traditional people of Malawu Town say they do not want any form of worship in the town; even though they had accepted the Christian Revival Church Association (CRCA) to carry out religious and humanitarian activities in the town. Besides the CRCA which was allowed in 2006, no religious group-be it Christian or Muslim has not been accepted in Malawu Town since the town was founded.

It was reported recently and published in this paper that traditional zoes and elders chased members of the CRCA out of the town on grounds that their (zoes and elders) children were being converted to Christians, thereby downplaying their traditional beliefs and practices. Residents of Malawu, according to the reports, went as far as arresting one of the CRCA members, but released the member after being held hostage in society bush for three days.

Since then, members of the Church are still residing in Zorzor, the District Headquarters.

Our contributor describes the Malawu situation as tense as local authorities are finding it difficult to bring the parties (traditional or devil bush people and Christians) together. The head of society people in the town, locally referred to as “Devil” is reported to have ordered the CRCA Church locked and the keys be taken to the society bush.

But our contributor says the situation is far from being over because as the society people demand that the Christians go into the society bush to settle the matter, the Christians prefer the matter be settled in town, considering the traditional people’s demand as unrighteous.

In the same vein, fresh report indicates that members of the CRCA are planning to take more than one hundred (100) persons to hold a revival in Malawu Town beginning October 12, 2013, with the view that they have the right to worship.

News about the planned revival in Malawu is creating fears among citizens in the town and other towns and villages in Zorzor District, because the Ziggida’s experience is still fresh on their mind.

It can be recalled that early this year, Ziggida, also a town in Zorzor District, was engulfed with a blooded conflict between the traditional people and the Muslims. The town became virtually deserted because of the crisis. Few persons were reportedly arrested in connection to the incident and are said to be undergoing investigation in Voinjama, the county capital. However, residents are said to be returning to the town.

When contacted via mobile phone on Monday, September 30, 2013, Zorzor District Commissioner, Henry Worlobah, admitted that the matter has not been settled and citizens of Malawu continue to reject any form of religious worship in the town.

“Let me just say that the situation is serious because the citizens of Malawu say they do not want anybody to worship in the town,” Commissioner Worlobah said.

The Zorzor District Commissioner had been mandated to gather first-hand information on the situation.

But Commissioner Worlorbah told this paper that he has forwarded the matter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, through Lofa County Superintendent, after all of his attempts to go through failed. “I tried but I cannot go through,” he averred.

He also confirmed reports that there is a planned revival for Malawu Town by the Church, but said the Superintendent has advised its members not to go to Malawu until the matter is settled. Commissioner Worlobah said: “It is true. In fact I received a cc copy of a letter the Christian Revival people addressed to the Superintendent planning to carry more than 100 members to Malawu for crusade. But the Superintendent told them not to go there because the matter has not been settled.”

However, Commissioner Worlobah denied reports that the ‘devil’ was in possession of the CRCA Church keys. He explained that the building referred to is a big building which hosts a school, town hall and other administrative offices and a place that was being used for worship.

Also contacted via mobile phone, a media consultant at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Emmanuel Wheinyue, said intervention is ongoing into the situation.

Though the matter is yet to be settled, Wheinyue indicated that it is under the full control of the Ministry. However, he did not further comment on how the matter is being pursued as attempts by local authorities failed up to press time.

Be as it may, human rights lawyers and activists believe the Malawu situation is a complete intolerance. They point out that such a feud is counter-productive to the government’s peace and reconciliation process.

The activists are therefore calling on government to quickly intervene into the matter and other conflicts across Liberia if peace must be achieved.