MONROVIA: A presidential front runner in the October 10, 2023 general elections, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has said that the prevailing statistics on Liberian Children are pathetically grim, quoting information from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and noted that Liberia has the world’s highest percentage of out of school children, that 15 to 20 percent of Liberian children between the ages of 6 and 14 are out of school and moreover, a whopping 46 percent of Liberian children don’t even complete primary school and vowed to reverse the trend when elected President.
According to a press release issued yesterday, Thursday, June 15, 2023 by the Strategic Media Committee of Team Gongloe, Cllr. Gongloe’s assertion was contained in his message in observance of the Day of the African Child which is being celebrated today, Friday, June 16, 2023 throughout the African Continent in compliance to the resolution of about 53 African leaders signed in June, 1990 in Abuja, Nigeria, under the aegis of the Organization of African Unity now African Union. The day was not only set aside by the Continental Leaders to honor and salute the memories of heroic African children, who were brutally massacred by Apartheid South African police during the Soweto Uprising in 1976, but to also remind African leaders and other policy makers about the imperatives for mainstreaming national policies that are pivotal to the healthy growth and development of the African Child.
“When I’m elected President in the 2023 elections, I solemnly promise every Liberian and foreign resident within our territorial confines that uplifting the children and maximizing opportunities for them will form the bedrock of our national policies. Every day, we must ensure that our children immensely benefit from the decisions we make and the policies we pursue..
“Additionally, about 25 percent of Liberian children between the ages of five and seventeen are also engaged in child labor. For those of us who live and work in Liberia, we witness the severe impacts of the prevailing economic hardships on our children on a daily basis. We see school age children who should be in classrooms selling in the markets rather than going to school; many children are now the “bread winners” for their families, helping to minimize the economic difficulties on their parents and guardians.
“Within the healthcare delivery sector, more and more Liberian children continue to encounter multiple challenges, such as high infant mortality and maternal mortality rates. In fact, Liberia’s infant mortality rate is among the five highest in the world, with 15 percent of children dying before their very first birthday.
“Fellow Liberians, like any other children on the face of this planet, Liberian children deserve a better and a brighter future. Our children deserve an environment that will enable them to optimize their potential. In order to ensure a brighter future for our children and posterity, we must prudently carve out forward-looking policies aimed at engendering healthy living conditions, affordable, accessible educational opportunities and the general wellbeing of every child in this country”, Gongloe said.
The renowned human rights said thirty-three years after our heads of state declared the Day of the African Child, and rhetorically said how are we faring as a continent and wondered if there are policies holistically focused on creating a brighter future for the African children
“To begin with, the debts that our national leaders acquire today are obviously the future burden of today’s children, because when those debts shall have matured for repayment 20 to 30 years from now, some of the children today and even those yet unborn will be the national leaders, who will inherit such debts. And so, when today’s national leaders secure loans, when they receive grants from sympathetic countries for socio-economic development purposes, in order to improve the living condition of our children and callously convert those resources—whether loans or grants—into their personal use, they are stealing, not only from us, but also stealing the future of our children.
“And so, fellow Liberians, as we all celebrate the Day of the African Child this Friday, June 16th, let us search our souls and ask ourselves these hard questions: Are our children better off today than they were five years ago? Do our children have better healthcare facilities, better educational facilities than they had five years ago?
“I pose these questions because every society is expected to be dynamic, not stationary. Every society is expected to move forward, not backward. Unfortunately, in our pathetic case in Liberia, pervasive corruption is tremendously impeding the forward movement of the Liberian People”, he said.
Cllr. Gongloe who is contesting the presidency under the platform of the Liberia People’s Party(LPP) said amid the prevailing corruption and resultant hardship in this country, all is not lost, “because as sacredly enshrined in Article One of our Constitution, we all have an inherent right to peacefully change our national leaders via the ballot box for the betterment of our lives and our children’s lives. As we approach the October 10, 2023 Presidential Elections, let us all remember that our vote is our voice; that our vote is our power, because it’s our birth right”.
“I therefore humbly renew my clarion call to you all, to join us at the Liberian People’s Party and the Gongloe Global Movement, so that together, we can usher in a transformative Good Governance paradigm for a Better Liberia in 2024. For me personally, every day is, and should be a day of the African child and all other children around the world. When I’m elected President in the 2023 elections, I solemnly promise every Liberian and foreign resident within our territorial confines that uplifting the children and maximizing opportunities for them will form the bedrock of our national policies. Every day, we must ensure that our children immensely benefit from the decisions we make and the policies we pursue”, he concluded.