Liberia Clocks 176 Tomorrow -Regrets, Hopes of Liberians

MONROVIA: Under normal circumstances, when a nation celebrates its independence emphases are placed on how important the day is to the nation as it symbolizes the struggle to obtain freedom and the efforts exerted thereafter to keep the hope of the people alive through progressive changes in the socio-economic wellbeing of its citizens and the urge to keep consolidating further on the gains made over the years. Anything short of this is considered as a failure, a situation that is usually pronounced among those who are victim of poverty, neglect and abuse.

Liberia is not an exception such that as the nation celebrates its 176th independence tomorrow, a feat in itself as being the oldest nation on the African continent, reactions are mixed, with one school of thoughts believing that what has happened to the country after all those years was a far cry from what the founding fathers envisaged as the nation has derailed over the years and could not account for all those years of nationhood.

On the other hand, others believe that much progress has been recorded over the years and Liberians should be proud to see where the country is and where is it heading.

For those who are expressing regrets, they maintained that when the country was declared as independent there was high optimism of being a model for other African nations to follow but generations later, it derailed down the line which resulted to some of the most terrible upheavals the nation witnessed such as the brutal civil war that destroyed every fabric of our national lives.

The aftereffects of the wrong path the nation has followed over the years have brought the nation to near collapse with the attendant rampant corruption, worrisome level of hunger, insecurity, high rate of unemployment, the complete breakdown of family value, the degeneration of the image of the country in the international community.

They maintained that Liberia is far below par with many African countries, some of which got assistance from Liberia during their struggle for independence, including Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Ghana, etc.

“Liberia has attained an age where one could boast of high integrity and exhibit high sense of sincerity, honesty, justice as well as respect for the rule of law but it is a regret that these qualities have eluded the country”, said a political pundit who spoke to The Analyst last night.

However, another group believes Liberia, despite the setbacks she might have had, the country has recorded a lot that needs to be celebrated on such a historic day when the nation is marking its 176th independence anniversary.

They contended that unlike other countries that got their independence and inherited a good quantum of infrastructural development and an appreciable trained human capital, Liberia virtually did everything on her own to build from the scratch to where it is today. They praised Liberia’s leadership role in Africa and to a larger extent on the global scene when she served as a foundation member of most of the international organizations like the League of Nations, the United Nations, the former Organization of African Unity (OAU) and now the African Union(AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), etc.

They also spoke about the expansion of governance to rural parts of Liberia resulting into construction of roads, schools, hospitals and the rise of a youthful population into a working class with skill sets and professions far better than many years ago. They also spoke about the huge number of Liberians in the diaspora who are directly and indirectly involved in the development of the country.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 has been proclaimed as a public holiday by President George Manneh in observance of the 176 Independence anniversary which is in consonance with the Patriotic and Cultural Observance Law of 1956, setting aside July 26 each year to be observed as a public holiday to be known as “Independence Day” just as the Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia will serve as the national orator for this year’s independence day celebration.

According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs release issued yesterday and signed by David KB Akoi, Assistant Minister for Public Affairs said the Proclamation calls on all citizens and foreign residents within the territorial confines of Liberia to observe the Day as such. It said all government offices and business houses are to remain closed during the observance from 6 o’clock ante meridian to 6 o’clock post meridian.

The release further said that the official festive celebration will take place in the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, under the theme “Giving Our People Hope for a Violence-Free, Fair, Transparent, Inclusive, and Credible Elections”, and an indoor program commemorating the day will be held at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street, Montserrado County, commencing at Eleven O’clock ante meridian, with Hon. Chief Zanzan Karwor, Chairman of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of the Republic of Liberia, serving as the National Orator.

“The Proclamation further invites and requests all citizens, in solemn cooperation with all prelates, priests, deacons, evangelists, imams, elders, and other members of the sacerdotal order, regardless of religious creed, to gather together with one purpose in their respective places of worship across Liberia, especially in the city of Monrovia, on Friday, July 21st,  and Sunday, July 23, 2023 to offer thanks and praises to God for His Blessings showered upon the nation and to beseech Him for His continued goodness and beneficence towards Liberians and peoples around the world.

“The Proclamation states that it is in grateful recognition of the blessings and miraculous deliverance which His Almighty Hand has extended to Liberia as a Nation and State, in which the nation has been unworthy of, to give thanks, adoration, and praises to Him for saving the nation and to commemorate the brave and timely decision of the nation’s forebears on July 26, 1847.

“The Proclamation adds that after due deliberation on the future of the settlement and facing colonial challenges and threats, the founding fathers did publish to the world the historic and immortal instrument known as the “Declaration of Independence” by which the commonwealth of Liberia became presented to the comity of nations as a free, sovereign, and Independent state, thereby warding off encroachment from any colonial powers and becoming the “First Independence African Republic”, the release said.

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