Land in Liberia: The Initial Source of Antagonism Between Freed American Blacks and Indigenous Tribal People Remains the Cause of Intense Disputes

  •  Stephen H. Gobewole    


This study examines factors of land grabbing in Liberia, especially from tribal communities, due originally to different social expectations regarding land and contracts between indigenous people and settlers from America. In addition, land appropriation throughout the history of the Liberian nation is due largely to the Americo-Liberian oligarchy and public corruption. The study analyzes survey, empirical, and concession contracts data gathered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Sustainable Development Institute, Government of Liberia, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, and United Nations Mission in Liberia. It then correlates associations between a number of concession companies, their land acreage under operation, county acreage, and incidence of land grabbing to demonstrate an increase in disputes during the early 2000s due to practices of corrupt public officials. This has resulted from the consistent implementation of inequitable land laws, which have perpetuated land transfer from tribal communities to mostly Americo-Liberian descendants and foreign concessionaires. This land appropriation has fostered public corruption, increased land related disputes, and raised the level of conflict in Liberian society.

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