MANO RIVER UNION | UNION DU FLEUVE MANO
Who we are
The Mano River Union is an Intergovernmental Institution comprising of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.
The Organization aims to strengthen the capacity of Member States to integrate their economies and coordinate development programs in the areas of peace building, as a prerequisite to any development, trade promotion, development of industry, energy, agriculture, natural resources, transport and telecommunications, monetary and financial affairs in short, all aspects of economic and social life of the Member States.
What we do
OUR WORK IN THE WEST AFRICAN SUB-REGION
We maintain the initiation of dialogue at all levels between its Member States for the purpose of achieving greater unity and solidarity, and promoting goodwill, neighbouring cooperation and peaceful co-existence amongst its people, promoting peace, security, democratic principles and popular participation of citizens in the pursuit of good governance.
In May 2008, the Heads of State and Government of the Union took a decision to revive the Union. The MRU Secretariat was accordingly mandated by the May Summit to pursue the revival, growth, socio-economic development and integration of the sub region within the framework of four pillars namely, institutional revitalization and restructuring with focus on the Union Secretariat and public sector of Member States; peace and security; economic development and regional integration; and social development. A strategic plan has been prepared to deal with all issues related to the pillars summary of which will be elaborated upon in the programme section.
MRU IN BRIEF
As a regional integration organisation, MRU was created on October 3th, 1973 by the Malema Declaration, signed by President William Tolbert Junior of the Republic of Liberia and President Dr. Siaka Stevens of the Republic of Sierra Leone and enlarged by the accession of the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, respectively on October 25th, 1980 and May 15th, 2008.
A short historical background about MRU was written as a broadcast introduction to the Mano River Union, the idea, the Secretariat, and it's several institutions. It is of great importance that people understand that the name Mano was not pulled out of a bag, but rather chosen because the River is the natural and formal boundary between the member states: Liberia and Sierra Leone. More importantly, it is in the area between present day Liberia and Sierra Leone which was once one state or kingdom known as Kailahun Luwa
This paper was written as a broadcast introduction to the Mano River Union, the idea, the Secretariat, and it’s several institutions.
These broadcasts were deemed necessary since many well-placed and informed people seemed to be quiet ignored of the real functions of the Secretariat, and even less, of the customs and economic union which it is hoped will be the end product of these sacrifices.
Perhaps, the broadcast should start with an understanding of why the name Mano River Union was chosen. It would be impossible in such a short time to trace the history of the relationship between people that predates colonial Sierra Leone and the Republic of Liberia. However, it is of great importance that people understand that the name Mano was not pulled out of a bag, but rather chosen because the River is the natural and formal boundary between the member states: Liberia and Sierra Leone, more importantly it is in the area between present day Liberia and Sierra Leone which was once one state or kingdom known as Kailahun Luwa.
It should, perhaps, be remembered that it was only in the late 19th century that, an agreement between the United Kingdom and France, that Kailahun, Luwa was divided by an arbitrary decision using latitude 14º west of Paris as the democrat ion. Prior to this division, this state was one the largest in the region and had its capital in Kailahun. After the division, the capital Kailahun moved three miles into Sierra Leone territory and the ruler at the time went into treaty relationship with the British primarily to protect himself against takeover by the Liberian State as well as from worrying factions. In this treaty relationship with the British, he agreed that he would sign no other treaties with foreign powers; nor cede territory, and that all trade and the arbitration of disputes would go to the then colonial government of Sierra Leone. Further south-west of that territory was Gola territory and it is after the 1911 Agreement between the Government of Liberia and the colonial Government of Sierra Leone that the Mao River Union River became the boundary between British Territory and Liberian Territory.
That agreement was ratified only in 1917. The Gola people, now mainly in Liberia, occupied all of the area east of the Mano which is now Mende Territory. However, researchers and historians all agree that, even to this day, most of the names of rivers and towns are Gola names and there are still strong Gola cultural traits in the region.
Also in this same epoch, there existed the Kondo confederacy which was one of the most powerful Vai States. It stretched across the River Mano in the south-west. Two-third of that state was in present-day Sierra Leone and one-third in present-day Liberia. This confederacy reached its peak in the mid 19th century, unfortunately, aided by the slave trade. Records indicate that slave ships came to a small Island in the river to load their ignoble cargo.
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