As is often the case, the return of Liberia’s Independence Anniversary each year characteristically provokes a fiery debate amongst the people, principally the intellectual class, who reflect on the country’s unsightly history of underdevelopment and upheavals and find someone or some group to blame. It has now become a tradition for each major political leader to issue a separate independence day’s statement in that context aside from the official government protocols. For the political leader of the youngest political party, the People’s Liberation Party, Mr. Dr. Daniel E. Cassell, the convicts of Liberia’s woes range from the first to the current leaders who, according to him, did little or nothing to address the debilitating problems of underdevelopment, conflict and disunity. In his 2021 Independence Day statement, the LPL leader’s radar zooms nearly all of the country’s political administrations, as The Analyst reports.
As Liberians have played audience to a multiple of opinions and official statements on how Liberia has fared over the years in observance, if not in celebration, of the nation’s 174th Independence Anniversary, the leader of the newly formed People’s Liberation Party has joined the chorus. Dr. Daniel E. Cassell, has also released his version of thoughts in a special statement on how Liberia’s progress has been since 1847.
Dr. Cassell specifically singled out the importance of unity, which according to him is the strength of any nation.
“As we celebrate this year’s Independence Day, I would like to remind you of the strength in unity of our forefathers in their fight for our independence, and why this should remain consistent and be jealously guarded,” he noted, acknowledging that Liberia is a diverse nation that needs all its people.
Liberia, he reflected, is divided by 15 counties, inhabited by individuals who practice different religions, speak different indigenous dialects, practice different traditions and lifestyles, eat different ethnic foods, dress up in different ethnic clothing, comprise of several different businesses, has several different political parties, serves as home to several immigrants, hosts several different foreign dignitaries, etc.
Despite the diversity, Dr. Cassell said, Liberia is united as a people and a nation.
“That is why we stand together as one when we sing our National Anthem. Also, that is the reason why we also have one local currency-LD in our country,” he said, adding, that “these are some of the commonalities that have united us as a people and nation.”
But Dr. Cassell opined that despite the reality of the situation, the nation has experienced several political, cultural, economic, and social issues since independence.
He said historical evidence has clearly documented the debilitating effects of the old order of extractive political dominance and poor economic institutions has had on the lives of our people and nation over the past decades and over several presidencies including the current presidency of President Weah.
The True Whig Party
The LPL Political Leader recalled that during the Tolbert era, the major political issues which resulted to the 1980 coup and assassination of former President William R. Tolbert was the extractive political and economic institutions under the True Wing Party for several decades which limited power and enriched the elite few at the expense of the masses.
As a reactionary formation, he said, this gave birth to the Progressive Movement which was instrumental in unseating the True Wing Party and eventually led to a reign of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL).
The NDPL of Samuel Doe
According to Dr. Cassell, the NDPL also engaged in similar practice of extractive political and economic dominance through tribalism, nepotism, and military control of power; and thereby limiting the nation’s wealth to the elite tribal and military led group at the detriment of the rest of the masses.
President Taylor And The Civil War
The PLP leader did not leave out unhelpful days of former President Taylor and those of the civil conflict, something he said further disintegrated the country and its people and deepened disunity.
He reflected that the civil war was centered around the revenge assassination of former President Tolbert and other high-ranking government/True Wing Party’s officials and mass killing of individuals belonging to the Gio and Mano ethnic groups out of Nimba County by the former President Doe.
“As a result, atrocity was committed by the Charles Taylor/Prince Johnson led rebel groups against the Krahns and Mandingos, and many other innocent citizens,” Dr. Cassell in his Independence Day Message to Liberians.
He added: “Consequently, many other ethnic rebel groups were formed and engaged in similar violence and mass killing, which cost the lives of many of our citizens, severely damaged our infrastructures and economy, and developmentally regressed our nation. Throughout the Taylor’s era, power and wealth were extrapolated by him and his circle of close Friends, relatives, rebel leaders and fighters at the expense of the masses.”
President Sirleaf’s Era
Picking bone with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Dr. Cassell said during her days in office, “the unity of our diversity was once again compromised at best throughout this administration as the practices of extractive political and economic dominance was extended through discrimination and nepotism.
He said this was manifested in giving elite groups, including family members, friends and partisans lucrative government jobs and special interest groups lucrative concession agreements or contracts, while most of the masses suffered to obtain daily bread.
He also recalled that during the Sirleaf administration “our judiciary system was widely compromised by the executive system to favor the elite few at the detriment of our nation and people and has contributed immensely to the current economic and social conditions of our nation.”
President Weah’s Era
Though the George Weah Government is in the midway of its tenure, Dr. Cassell believes it also has a share of the situation.
He noted: “During the 4-years rein of the current administration, no one can deny the extend of extractive political and economic dominance being practiced.”
He said this is evidenced not only through nepotism, tribalism, and ostracization of non-CDC partisans, but the systematic targeting of individuals and oppositions of the current CDC led administration through threats, intimidations, violence, and illegal censorship. He did not elaborate.
The youngest party’s leader urged Liberians to join him in the fight for unity and liberation of the people and of Liberia.
The LPL boss stressed: “As I’m demonstrating the behavior and attitude of nationalism and patriotism through my humanitarian works and being the Vision Bearer and Political Leader of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), it is my fervent prayer my fellow countrymen and countrywomen that you all would join me in the fight to preserve the independence that our ancestors fought so hard to achieve.”
“We can win the fight against the forces that have divided our nation by unifying our thinking, behavior, and attitude. This requires you all to join me in performing our patriotic duties by putting our people and nation first above all others, including political party, special interest groups, loyalty to individuals, etc.”
He said as the nation should not be divided by diversity, adding that “the truth is, we should all stand as a united force in our diversity despite belonging to different tribal groups, religions, political parties, traditions, cultures, lifestyles, and other identities.”
He said Liberians are one people “which is why we have one common currency throughout our nation, and we all stand united when we stand to sing the National Anthem.”
“Being a nation united in our diversity requires the behavior, attitude and spirit of nationalism and patriotism,” Dr. Cassell asserted. “This requires each one of us to join the fight in making the issues of our citizens and nation a priority. Therefore, I want to inspire and motivate you all to commit to the People’s Liberation Party (PLP)’s movement of unity in diversity of our nation.”
He called on Liberians to renew and reunite their thinking and judgement calling out and voting out the corrupt politicians and legislators who have continuously proven to be self-servants and not public servants as evidenced by the past and recent payment of $30,000.00 United States Dollars to each of the legislators.
He said the money could have been used to feed Liberia’s suffering masses and fight the new wave of Covid-19 virus. See page 2 of The Analyst Today’s Edition for the full text of Dr. Cassell’s July 26 Message.