Liberia at 174: Should Citizens Celebrate Country’s Independence?

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Gbarnga, Bong County — As Liberia marks its 174th Independence Day anniversary Monday, July 26 2021, some citizens of the country have assessed the journey so far.

We are yet to fulfill our potentials, Jesse Cole, Intellectual

“The truth is that we have achieved some progress in terms of infrastructural development. But apart from that, qualitatively, we have regressed as a nation. For example, the education we had in the early 1980s and 90s was much better than what we have today. The same goes for the health sector and governance as a whole. If you compare the indices today, you will realize we have mediocrities in power which is not what we had in the past. So, generally and honestly speaking, Liberia has failed to fulfill its massive potentials 174 years after independence from the American colonial rule.”

We are yet to know our purpose for existence, Martha Benson, Businesswoman

I believe better things are still coming to this nation but it would take a lot of hard work which may be drastic, but something has to make the country a better place. We are praying to God that our leaders would make our nation a better place.”

We have decayed infrastructure, Fahn Borbor, Intellectual

“It’s mixed feelings. My feeling is that in the first 50 years or so, we seemed to have done better. Then, in another 20 years, we didn’t do well. But in the last 10 years, it’s been very good to have communication. On the other hand, our infrastructure has decayed and not matched our population growth. That is one area where we have not done well. If it had been taken care of, we would have done much better. We have made some progress in the last one year with the unbundling of the power sector. We now have the distribution companies, but what is left now is the transmission. I hope they do something to complete the chain. Power is key to the industrial development of the country so we can do better in the areas of infrastructure, energy and roads. For instance, if we improve on infrastructure and power, it will empower the youths and energize small and medium scale enterprises. We could have also done better in the area of power. Our security should also be revamped and there should be accountability.”

Growth like that of millipede: slow, aimless: Obediah Weahweah, Intellectual

“Liberia has not made any progress in 174 years. We are moving like a millipede. If you take a look at the country, key sectors are lying fallow without the appropriate authorities doing anything tangible about it. Corruption has become fully entrenched in our society, swelling by the minute in fact. So, in my humble opinion, I think Liberia has moved from where it used to be at independence, but that movement is nothing short of a millipede’s movement: slow and aimless.”

The journey has not so fared well, Martha Sackie, Businesswoman

“Well, it’s so far has been unstable; things have been going up and down. Our dreams have not been met as a nation. We are not yet where we are supposed to be. Things have not been working as expected. If you look at all the sectors of this country, they are just not showing any good strength in such ways that could provide better living for the people. Year in, year out, things are getting worse. The real issues are not being treated well. Electricity, potable water, employment are cardinal issues that have not been addressed. To crown it all, corruption is still a bad thing in this society. Security of lives and property is still a big issue we are yet to tackle. In short, we do not have many things to cheer about.”

Liberia has gone far, but not well, Ma Martha Brown, Businesswoman

“Liberia has gone so far in the last 174 years, but not so well. At 174, we don’t have anything to show as a country. All these things are examples of a failing country. But in spite of these, as a people of faith, we are hopeful that we will come out of this. The first step is for Liberians to decide to take their destinies into their hands and be proactive. They should ensure that their votes count in 2023.”

“Also, our education was much better and well respected at that time. What we experience now is evidence of bad governance. We should hold our leaders accountable for their actions. After two years in office, some of them suddenly become richer, so Liberians should follow the money. Figures are announced in our budgets, but don’t impact on Liberians.”

Leadership failure has kept the nation crawling for 174 years, Steve Kennedy, Intellectual

“If I were to assess the nation as an examination paper, I would not give a pass mark. Given the potentials of the country, where we are after 174 years, in truth, cannot be adjudged as progress. A cataclysmic serial leadership failure has kept the nation crawling for 174 years. All segments of the society have performed within the failure range: education, defense, health, security, unity, infrastructure, youth employment, etc. it is easy to share the sentiments of certain discernible figures in society that Liberia is more or less a failed nation.

“Yet, the enormous potentials that can turn the nation’s fortunes around still abound. We need to muster the collective will driven by a focused and selfless leadership to maximize the depths of possibilities at our finger tips.”

Not a time to celebrate, Mercy Flomo, Businesswoman

 “This is the time for us to mourn the failures of our leaders. We have not seen any development or improvement in the country. Most people are running away from the country because there is no hope for them.

“We can only celebrate social problems, unemployment, and prostitution. Liberia would have been better without independence because I believe that the colonial masters would have performed better than the crop of leaders we have had in this country”, she said.

Liberia is going backward, Aaron Vallah, Intellectual

“I would not really say we should mourn during our independence anniversary, but the truth is that we don’t really have anything to celebrate if we consider the fact that for the past 174 years, we have not achieved anything. As I speak right now, bad government and the education level has gone down and the level of unemployment is worrisome. Generally, I think we are actually going backward. I think Liberia has not been blessed with good leaders.

“The past and present leaders have really done nothing. I remember when I was in secondary school, we had no generator in school, we had no borehole because the taps were flowing and we hardly had blackouts. Today, we have actually gone backward. Look at Ghana; Ghana has left us and I doubt if we will ever get to the level Ghana is right now. Let’s forget about the western world and look at Africa. We are still sleeping. So, I will say there is nothing to celebrate. But at the same time, I don’t think we should mourn because we are not dead yet. Personally, I think we need divine intervention for the country to change positively.”

 No tangible thing to celebrate, Samuel Elliot, Intellectual

 “As Liberia marks her 174th year of independence, there really is no tangible or reasonable cause for celebration. What we should be doing is to mark a day of thanksgiving rather than a celebration of our shame as a nation.

“Liberia has a lot of things to thank God for but hardly anything to celebrate. That we are still one country though not a truly united people who trust one another is one miracle and a major reason to give glory to God.

“Despite the corrupt acquisition of the nation’s wealth by unrepentant public officers and political office holders, our economy has not totally collapsed is also a reason to be grateful to God. What really is there to celebrate? It will take a people without a sense of shame or remorse to roll out the drums to celebrate given the level of challenges currently facing the country.

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