Mapping Opportunities for the Consolidation of Peace in Liberia: “Voices from the Countryside”
The results from the study determine that Liberia is rife with existing and looming conflicts, which have the potential to undermine national peace and stability. Essentially, the findings of this study resonate with previous conflict-mapping exercises, and reveal that there are three critical conflict drivers that present the most eminent threat to the sustainability of the nation’s fragile democracy: land/property disputes, corruption and border/boundary disputes. Together, these three drivers constitute a “dangerous triplet” that requires bold, concerted national efforts to combat with urgency and decisiveness. Notwithstanding these efforts, conflicts abound – citizens report many unresolved conflicts, as well as emerging controversies that have high conflict potential. Some of these grievances include rising unemployment and economic hardships; discontent about natural resource management practices; limited access to good roads and quality social services, such as healthcare and education; inadequate voice and involvement in local governance and decision-making processes; strained state citizen relationships; religious and ethnic tensions; etc. Despite the plethora of conflict factors plaguing the nation, analyses of conflict drivers in Liberia reflect a pattern of apparent homogeneity, whereby the major drivers are central to most counties, with alternating degrees of risk intensity. However, these interlinking characteristics reveal a highly dynamic nature of the conflict phenomenon in Liberia. Understanding this paradox of dynamic homogeneity of Liberia’s conflict paradigm is at the heart of successful peace building programmes and reconciliation efforts.