Ignoring The Basic Necessities Of Life is Detrimental for Liberia’s Future


LAST WEEK, Rwandan President Paul Kagame officially launched the Sustainable Development Goals center at an international conference in Kigali, emphasizing how Africa could achieve the United Nations’ SGDs by 2030.

THE CENTER WILL provide technical support, advice and expertise to national governments, private sector organizations, the civil society and academic institutions.

THE CENTER, ACCORDING TO President Kigame, will serve as an important, focal point for advocacy and coordination. “But like the SDGs themselves this institution is a tool to help us get what we really want, and that is results. These global goals should not be seen as an external agenda, but as an integrated part of a country’s development vision.”

TODAY, MANY countries across the African continent are marveling at the transformation of Rwanda. 

NOT SO LONG AGO, BETWEEN 1990 and 1994, the East African nation was engulfed in a major civil war, emanating from a long-running dispute between the Hutu and Tutsi groups. Today, the guns and machetes of war have been replaced by peace and Rwanda has rapidly become the envy of most African nations. 

LAST YEAR, THE German carmaker Volkswagen rolled off a Polo from its new assembly plant at Kigali’s Special Economic Zone. “Africa does not need to be a dumping ground for secondhand cars or secondhand anything,” President Paul Kagame said at the unveiling ceremony.

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that a country with a recent history of war and violence could in the twinkle of an eye become the envy of its peers?

LIBERIA’S VICE PRESIDENT Jewel Howard Taylor, who represented President George Manneh Weah at last week’s SDG conference put it rightly when she said of the Rwandan experience: “All African Nations have the same capacity to turn stories of tragedies into successes and muster the political will to transform their Nations for the betterment of All their people. If this can be done there should be no more long or sad stories about the “woes of Africa and whether or not our abundant natural resources are a blessing or a curse.”

FOR KAGAME, Rwanda’s transformation did not come on a silver platter.  “Rwandans have come a long way in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The good performance was realized over a period of many challenges emanating from the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. This success shows that the Rwandan people have built the desire, the resilience and the capacity to deliver on their own development ambitions. The achievements realized are underpinned by continued emphasis on good governance, peace and security, which provide a platform for communities and stakeholders to dialogue and find sustainable solutions to development issues. Most importantly, when faced with challenges, Rwandans have not been fazed; instead we moved on, taking stock and learning lessons along the way, and that makes us better equipped to handle the future.”

NOT SO LONG AGO, Liberia too fell prey to a brutal civil war that killed scores of its own people and sent thousands into exile. Today, the country is in the midst of another war: Corruption and Greed.

TODAY, scores of parents cannot afford to send their kids to school, businesses are crying and struggling to stay afloat and most young children are going to bed without food on the table.

IT IS A PAINFUL picture that – even after a brutal civil war, continues to linger.

IN 2019, PEOPLE are still going to bed hungry, children are walking around without shoes and many others are the new bread winners for fatherless homes and mothers doing all they can just to survive.

YOUNG GIRLS are being raped daily and the only DNA dialysis capable of testing rape victims does not even work.

DRUGS ARE IN SHORT supply in most hospitals and many patients have to buy their own drugs. Simple defibrillators to check life-threatening cardiac conditions are lacking as many continue to die from simple pneumonia, malaria and other treatable diseases.

THIS SHOULD NOT be happening in today’s Liberia, not after so many died in a senseless war brought on by so-called liberators who are still reaping fruits off the backs of a newfound peace and stability – even if it is still a bit fragile these days.

LIKE VP TAYLOR AVERRED in Kigali last week, “there should be more and more success stories which show the unlimited possibilities, firstly of our great African heritage and secondly, the commitment of national leaders to leave that which has been given to us, better than the way it was given. If only each of us can manifest this simple truism, in every sphere of our National lives, the topic for our discussion would indeed be different.”

IN A FEW DAYS, Liberia will turn 171. These days, one is not sure whether superiority in age is a good or a bad thing. But being up there in age as the oldest country on the continent should count for something. 

IN A FEW DAYS, RWANDA will turn 57. On April, the East African nation celebrated twenty-five years since violence ripped the nation apart. 

A FEW MONTHS FROM NOW, Liberia will mark 29 years since its civil war started.

RWANDA WHICH ONCE struggled to offer healthcare for its citizens, now have clinics are equipped with basic medical equipment and a cupboard of essential medications and even more. 

IN FACT, things have been so good, the Rwandan government recently through its Military Hospital (RMH) offered support for the ground-breaking invention of Dr. Dougbeh Christopher Nyan, a renowned scientist and medical doctor from Liberia. 

DR. NYAN’S invention is a single test that rapidly detects and distinguishes a host of different infections, at least 3 to 7 infections simultaneously. The test also distinguishes multiple infections which bear the same symptoms, for example yellow fever, malaria, typhoid or Ebola. The test detects and identifies HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis viruses, Dengue, West Nile, and Chikungunya. Most testing methods take about 3 hours to 7 days or more, but this device gives test results within an hour, is simple to perform, and cost-effective for struggling economies. This new invention could prove to be revolutionary in the African and global markets, and provide a significant step in the detection and management of infectious diseases everywhere.

RWANDA AND LIBERIA – TWO POST-WAR NATIONS, with similar traits, seemingly trekking on the opposite end of time.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. But nothing comes easy. The sooner Liberians begin to realize their potentials, the better the nation will become.  

THE SOONER Liberia begin to embrace its smartest minds and erase hate, envy and jealousy of each other; the better the nation will be.

THE SOONER LIBERIANS begin channeling their hateful rhetoric and social media insults to develop their country, the better the nation will be. 

THE SOONER those at the helm of power begin to tap into the sea of talented Liberians doing great things in the world, the better and more open the nations will be.

THE SOONER Liberians begin to embrace those on the frontlines advocating for justice, war against the corrupt and pushing transparency and accountability, the better the nation would be.

TEARING EACH other apart is no way to build a nation. 

AS AFRICA’S OLDEST republic moves up in age, the young must learn from the old; those in high places must understand more, the plight of those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder; and those at the helm of power must make it a priority to put country before self, by ensuring that government provides the basic necessities of life to avoid the pitfalls that led us to war, chaos, confusion and the current state of uncertainty.