As Liberia commemorates her 174 Independence Day; Liberians have been called upon to realize that the real challenge facing the country is not who belongs to which political party and/or which political party is in power. The real enemies of Liberia remain “Ignorance, Disease and Poverty” as the late President William R. Tolbert averred about 50 years ago. The assertion was made by the President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), Bishop Kortu K. Brown when he spoke at a Special Praise Service to commemorate Liberia’s 174 Independence Anniversary organized by the New Water in the Desert Assembly of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Brewerville, Montserrado County
The praise service was held under the Theme: TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Scripture Text was taken from the Book of Psalm Chapter 126 verse 3 which reminds us that “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad”. Praise was rendered in the various Liberian languages according to the County to thank God for His manifold blessings on the nation and its people. The congregants thanked God for bringing the nation through years of struggles, the civil war, Ebola and now COVID-19. Intercessory and thanksgiving prayers were said for the family, church and nation including all the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 including our Development Partners who have continued to stand shoulder to shoulder with the country.
Speaking at the close of the worship service, Bishop Brown concurred with many Liberians who believe that the country remains under-developed after 174 years of independence. He decried the level of ignorance prevailing in the country terming it as the one number enemy quipping, “How can tribalism, sectarianism, corruption, political schism, etc develop Liberia? How can someone working in a public office not know that if the fuel or funds allocated to execute the functions are diverted, that assignment or particular development work will not be done and it will contribute to underdevelopment of the country? It is a level of ignorance fueled by a high degree of selfishness and un-patriotism”
Concerning diseases as a major enemy of the country, the astute cleric wondered why up to now Liberia is not able to properly fund a major health center in the country that will be able to handle critical medical cases instead of the country repeatedly reverting to Ghana which the country is 110 years older than. “Do you mean that our generation will expire and Liberia will not still be able to treat serious medical cases because of our insensitivity to our own health needs? Are we not able to run with equipment and staffing a good hospital in Liberia? Why do we even lack behind in supporting our fight against infectious diseases like COVID-19? How will our health workers be braved to go fight these terrible diseases if they do not have the fighting gears?
Bishop Brown who is senior pastor of New Water in the Desert Assembly and head of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church concurred with Liberia’s 19th President, William R. Tolbert, Jr., that the real enemies of the country are ignorance, disease and poverty. After 174 years, the majority of the people are still languishing in hunger and poverty while the same politicians run from one political party to another. “Our politicians have proven incapable of fighting ignorance, disease and poverty after 17 decades as a nation-state. All they do is run from one political party to another and blame one another for the country’s problem stating that “yesterday’s opposition is today’s ruling party while yesterday’s ruling party is today’s opposition aligned with the rest of the political parties that they met in the Opposition camp. The challenges facing our country are not just about a contestation amongst political parties or about the ruling versus the opposition parties. 99% of the political class has associated with the ruling establishment over the past 174 years and the country hasn’t changed much. So what’s the problem?”, the outspoken cleric said.
The Pentecostal cleric and social advocate decried the unnecessary blame game in the country. “About 50 years ago, they said President William V. S. Tubman was the problem. He did much to develop the country, etc. President Tolbert came and about 41 years ago he was brutally overthrown when he was accused of rampant corruption, high treason and misuse of public office, amongst others. The man who benefitted from his overthrow, President Samuel K. Doe, was himself brutally murdered about 31 years ago in the fratricidal war that was prosecuted in the name of ending political impunity in a nation shaken to its very knees. President Charles Taylor who led the civil war and eventually made his way to the Presidency was also driven from the position because he was perceived to pose a threat not only to the security of the nation but the West African sub-region.
About 15 years ago, Liberia elected the first female President in Africa. Her tenure ended like a tale that is told with poverty and corruption still stirring us in the face. About four years, President George M. Weah who spent twelve years in the Opposition assumed the political mantle of the nation. The cries are everywhere: hunger, poverty, corruption, lack of national cohesion, etc. So what is the problem? Over the past 50 years, every Liberian President has come to power from an Opposition mindset to a ruling mindset and also blamed the Opposition for making it difficult to move the country. Something must be fundamentally wrong with the country that we are not focused on
Bishop Brown averred that the country needs to identify her real enemies and form a national coalition focused on defeating the enemies that have been identified over the past 50 years. “We must stop the blame shifting and unnecessary divisions amongst us. No one group can develop the country. It is a collective responsibility. People shifting political affiliations will not help the country. The country will be helped if we combine to fight corruption, ignorance, disease, poverty, hunger, tribalism, sectarianism, etc. Imagine a high school graduate today can hardly write a fitting letter”, he concluded.