Editorial: Liberia @165: Celebrating Achievements or Age?
Thursday, July 26, 2012 makes Liberia a hundred and sixty-five years as a “sovereign and independent state” on the continent of Africa. In conformity with a Proclamation issued recently by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, tomorrow, July 26 will be observed across the country as a national holiday.
A Foreign Ministry statement issued in Monrovia on Sunday, July 22, 2012 quoted he Proclamation as saying that under the Patriotic Observance Law of Liberia titled: “26 Liberian Code of Law of 1956”, July 26 of each year is set aside as a public holiday to be known as Independence Day and celebrated as such.
It is in commemoration of the ‘timely decision’ of the nation’s forebears on July 26, 1847 to announce Liberia to the world as ‘sovereign and independent nation’, said the Presidential Proclamation as quoted by the Foreign Ministry. The Government of Liberia has coined this year’s theme for the official program marking the day in Monrovia tomorrow as “Transformation of The Building of A Legacy of Development and Democracy”..
With such long years of existence as an ‘independent’ nation, there may be one question over which a few Liberians may be pondering as the country gears up for the ‘pomp and pageantry’-celebrating achievements or an age of 165 years? It is no hidden secret that the celebration of July 26 as Independence Day is about the country’s age and not its achievements for the past one hundred and sixty-five years of its existence. While Liberia’s forefathers must be hailed for what we have today as a nation on the continent of Africa, they must also shoulder the responsibility for the country’s under-achievements.
Sincerely and with no malice, their style of governance robbed Liberia of its socio-economic and political development in favour of the United States and a few other countries. Characterizing such bad governance, the negative effects of which our country is reaping today, were the social divides and mismanagement of the country’s resources. With the vast God-given natural resources-iron ore, gold, diamonds, forests, fisheries, etc., etc, and a small and manageable population, it would be foolhardy to accept any justification for Liberia’s under-development.
At the age of 165 years with its natural resources still in abundance, abject poverty continues to characterize the lives of many Liberians, while Medicare remains unimproved and infrastructure, including road network in terms of inter-connectivity far immeasurable with countries without such resources whose independence were achieved in the late 1950s, 60s and 70s, but are far beyond our country’s reach.
At 165, what are we to show- only age as the “oldest independent republic” on the African continent without achievements? With the discovery of oil in addition to the existing natural resources, there is still an opportunity for growth and development in practical terms, but such would only be possible if those who govern us sincerely commit themselves to breaking from the past as a way of leaving behind a legacy.
This is why we at the New Dawn-Liberia cautiously welcome the theme: “Transformation of the Building of a Legacy of Development and Democracy”. As announced by the Government of Liberia for the official program marking the observance of this July 26 as Independence Day. At 165, we do harbour the belief that the selection of the theme for this Independence Day by the present Liberian Administration was from the perspective and realization of the socio-economic and political degradation brought upon our country by our forefathers resulting to its poor state.
While we acknowledge and commend the current Administration for the process of transforming Liberia from a “failed state” to one accepted among the comity of nations, the challenge is now before it for the next five years having laid the foundation in the last six years, to make practical its theme for July 26, 2012: “Transformation of The Building of A Legacy of Development and Democracy”. and not the normal rhetorical slogans and jargons.
As country observes 165 years of existence as a nation, we do extend heartfelt felicitations to the President, Vice President and Members of the Cabinet, the Speaker and Members of the 53rd Liberian Legislature, the Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary, the Doyen and members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Peace-loving People of Liberia with the hope of placing LOVE at the core of our interactions in an effort to celebrate our country’s achievements during its 166th Independence and beyond.
With such love (union), strong success is sure as noted in our National Anthem. May the Almighty God continue to bless Liberia?