Every sociopolitical epoch has got its own flag-bearers, legends and warriors to whom they look for inspiration and courage when alive and for whom they weep and whose memories they preserve and celebrate when dead. For the contemporary generation of the people of Grand Gedeh County, slain ex-president Samuel K. Doe is that iconic figure that impacted them than anyone else in history. His rise to leadership in Liberia placed an unusual spotlight on a tribe and province barely known in the political mosaic of the country. He was a rallying point for the Krahns and by extension most Liberian natives if not all who had hardly tasted political power or its benefits in 133 years prior to his ascendency. Though a congruence of factors fit for volumes of books brought him down fatally in less than ten years of leadership, Samuel Kanyon Doe is not forgotten by Liberians, and if any citizen or group of citizens does, it cannot be his “dolees”, his brethren, who still regard him as their “Beor, bordeoh, nyon-gbawho and geesayfannokon”—their liberator. And for this reason, his kinsmen are contemplating undertaking a horde of initiatives, including building a statue in his honor. The Analyst reports.
At long last, and as hurts of the Liberian civil war as well as bitter feelings of history recede, plans are underway to give honor to whom honor is due. Ex-President Samuel Kanyon Doe, Sr, the first indigenous leader of Liberia, is one of such to be honored.
President Doe led a group of noncommissioned men of the Armed Forces of Liberia that toppled the True Whig Party administration and brought 133 years of political domination by repatriated Africans that came to be known as Americo-Liberians or Congo people.
Having led the nation for 10 years, first a military junta leader and then duly elected president of Liberia, President Doe met his end on September 9, 1990 when he was captured and killed by then rebel leader and now Senator Prince Yormie Johnson.
His era witnessed one of the most turbulent times of the country’s checkered history that culminated into the 14 years of civil strife.
The regime also witnessed some infrastructural developments and monumental change in fortune of sports development for which he became endeared to Liberians for his good deeds, and for which he had to his memory the naming of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, Liberia in his honor.His kinsmen, the people of Grand Gedeh County, are embarking on a project to memorialize him with the construction of a statue to be situated in Zwedru City.
The preparation is said to be in full swing.
The President of the Grand Gedeh Associations in the Americas (GGAA), Mr. James Youboty, must have made good his intention to fulfill his campaign promises to his fellow compatriots to embark on projects that will have lasting impression on the people and posterity.
One of them is the construction of a statue of the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe, Sr whom he described as a legend who during his administration did his best to change the development narrative of the country with passion.
Speaking to scores of Grand Gedeans in the United States recently during one of events to raise funds to finance the project, Mr. Youboty said that the project is not only about Grand Gedeans honoring the late President, but an initiative that other Liberians should see as a way of documenting their leaders whose contributions to this country must be remembered so as to inspire both the young and adults to commit to the Liberian project.
“A society without a collective memory would be as disoriented, dysfunctional, incoherent and programmed for destruction as an individual without that critical faculty,” Mr. Youboty noted. “Liberians must turn a new leaf to remember the good things our leaders put in to develop this country, not just dwelling on their shortcomings. When we don’t appreciate people, we will not encourage others to do what we want to do.”
In order to fast track the project and make sure it succeeds, a local liaison office was established in Monrovia and the office has begun coordinating activities of the projects earmarked by the leadership in the United States of America.
Mr. Randall Youboty, a prominent businessman is heading the liaison office.
When asked why the construction of the statute, Mr. Youboty said it was a very important decision taken in the right direction to remember the man who meant well not just for Grand Gedeh county but for the entire country such that more than 30 years after his demise, the Liberian people still remember him for the multi-party democracy we enjoy today, the road connectivity, the development and promotion of sports in this country, massive investment in education and agriculture, the stability of the economy.
He said further: “Every great leader makes history and leaves behind an enduring legacy. He was the first indigenous leader this country produced against all odds and meant well for the country. He was the eye opener; he opened up the country for prosperity to flow. For Grand Gedeh County, he was the greatest son of the soil, he brought our people to the spotlight so we have to embrace and honor him now so that his legacy will be reflected in our mind, our community, our county, our country.”
Mr. Youboty who decried what he called a poor culture of Liberians not to remember their leaders and others who make enormous sacrifices for this country, challenged other Liberians to do the honorable thing to remember people who are from their setting, so that we can have authentic and written history of our past unlike forgetting about great people once they die.
Responding to question of what use will be the statute besides immortalizing the late President, Mr. Youboty who is overseeing the activities locally with passion said that the statute will provide the beautification of Zwedru where it will be situated, attract tourism because people will be going to see it especially the strangers and younger people who were not privileged to see the late Doe while he was alive.
He said the project will also contribute to the proposed museum around the same vicinity to document the history of the Krahn people, heroes, culture, tradition, history of the county, development and any historical relevance to the county and the country.
He said besides the statue, the Diaspora Grand Gedeh County community through the leadership will also be undertaking the construction of a modern state of the art Library fully equipped with IT facilities that will also be hosted in a building with a conference center as well as construction of a basketball court on the campus of the Grand Gedeh County Community College.
Mr. Youboty added: “These are legacy projects and thank God we are receiving overwhelming support from our people and other Liberians but more is yet to be done. So, come May 6, 2021, on the birth anniversary of the late leader, we will be launching a fundraising program in Monrovia to solicit financial and material support for all of our projects earmarked to be undertaken by this administration. We are calling on every Liberian from everywhere be it from different ethnic, religious, political or economic backgrounds to come out and support this worthy cause.”
According to him the projects if executed will promote greater unity and reconciliation among Grand Gedeans as well as between and among the people of Grand Gedeh County and their fellow compatriots.
He stated that for the wrong reasons Liberians went against each other for acts initiated and perpetrated by people who were not interested in the togetherness and development of the people and country but with the positive development coming from Grand Gedeans, every Liberian should see this as a rallying point for the common good of the country.