Liberia: The Nordic Relationship

As the Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency Ingrid Wetterqvist, ends her tour of service in Liberia, there is the opportunity of at once saying thanks to her and recalling the essence of the Nordic Relationship as found in the Nordic Partnership with Liberia and other African countries

By Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Contributing Writer

Let me begin by expressing how our people feel in the Swedish language: Tussen tack. Hej da. Vi kommer att sakna dig. which means: Thanks a lot. Goodbye. We will miss you. In the Struggle to liberate Africa from the yoke of colonial rule, the Nordic countries performed well through their persistent substantive moral and financial contributions to the colonized Africans for the Struggle. Many Africans who were forced into exile found refuge in Nordic countries, where they received relevant education and training. I recall meeting some South Africans in Sweden while I was there in exile, forced out of Liberia by the military regime. When I was in Sweden, one of my books, Democracy: The Call of the Liberian People, was published there. In fact, I lived near the movie house where the late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme got assassinated. It can also be recalled that the late United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden got assassinated while working in the Congo Sub-region of Africa to end the fighting there. Despite the dangers connected with the work in the interest of the Oppressed, the Nordic countries persist in the pursuance of this work.

The assassinations have motivated the Nordic countries in their continuation of liberation activities so that the Passing Away of Nordic Stalwarts would not be in vain. These activities are found not only in African countries but in other countries where there are Oppressed People. In Liberia, Ambassador Wetterqvist has been engaged in providing leadership related to solving the most vexing problem of bad governance through work on the land issue and the electoral system. The Land Authority is being assisted with human and financial resources from Nordic countries. Most recently, Sweden donated some funds for the transformation of the electoral system. This transformation is most crucial for the election of persons with good records to establish good governance in Liberia. Despite the flawed electoral system, the raising of mass awareness resulted in having nearly all of the Legislators who wanted to be re-elected to the 52nd and 53rd Legislatures to not be re-elected.

The Nordic liberation activities were not practiced by the governments of other developed countries. For example, the United States of America (USA). supported the USD1.2 billion facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the apartheid government of South Africa. I was active in the Global Campaign against this facility that was led by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. This Campaign gave hope for the emergence of the post-apartheid era, as I became Senior Advisor to the Training of South Africans in the Management of the Post-Apartheid Economy. This Program was based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and named after the Father of former South African President Thabo Mbeki. No wonder when South Africa became liberated from apartheid, Madiba Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela, who was jailed by the apartheid regime for 27 years, expressed thanks to the Nordic countries in the name of the People of South Africa. Overwhelmed with this reality, former USA President Bill Clinton remarked that there are three words that give the world hope for a better future and these words are: President Nelson Mandela.

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