MONROVIA – After about a year of working on what it described as “a major historical imprint” in Liberia, the leadership of the Grand Gedeh Associations in the Americas (GGAA) has officially announced that the statue to immortalize the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe Sr has now been completed and set for dedication once the stakeholders, which include the Government of Liberia, the county leadership and the GGAA finalize the arrangement, adding “it is very historical for Liberia”
Disclosing this exclusively to The Analyst yesterday, the head of liaison of GGAA in Liberia, Randall Youboty who provided insight why the project was taken among many competing ones, 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 besides that , the monument serves as a symbolic memory for all who perished in the course of the brutal civil war as well as the vicinity of the monument will serve as burial site for all those who died and their bodies got decomposed in streets, bushes or missing in action.
He said the symbolic burial of the late Doe was done last year during the ground breaking ceremony of the monument after a delegation of GGAA with the consent of the deceased family went to Caldwell when he died in the hands of forces loyalty to then rebel leader Prince Yormie Johnson, and took soil which was brought all the way to Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County and presented to leaders of the three religious groups in Liberia, Christianity, Islam and Traditionalism in the presence of the citizens.
He said a symbolic burial ceremony was performed by the leaders of the three named religious groups where the soil was sprinkled at the vicinity and thus became the official burial site of the late President and others who died during the war.
“So the soil remains was sprinkled at the three corners of the triangle and the large platform was placed where the structural statue stands in the middle of the triangle”, he said.
Asked to describe the statue and its components, Youboty who said the vicinity consists of a of a 3 segment triangle which according to him first represents the 3 original district of the county, include Tchien, Gbarzon and Konobo Districts, the three major religious groups in Liberia and “in the spirit of the multi-party democracy the late President stood for, we can say the triangle also stands for the three branches of government, the legislature, executive and the judiciary”.
He also said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the statute, 16 sections of the Krahn language group were present, representing the 16 ethnic groups of Liberia.
He further said the choice of the venue of the statute was also of historical significance to the county because the spot was used by the rebel forces of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) to massacre a great number of Grand Gedeans and other residents who were seeking refuge in the county. He said besides being the burial site, the nearby building which is currently being used as a hall, will be turned into a National Museum where historical materials belonging to the county and country will be kept and those wishing to do research can readily access the materials.
“We are looking at the visit of the President to the Southeast where when he comes to Grand Gedeh County, the statue will be dedicated and we do not want people to see it as politics. It will reveal and send out a message to the world that Grand Gedeans are very, very patriotic people. And it will not just be about Grand Gedeh County but the entire country on the need for peace and tranquility to exist among us all” Youboty said when he was asked when will be the day for inauguration of the project.
Seeing it as a national project, Youboty said the undertaking should serve as a motivation to other counties such as Nimba, Lofa, Margibi, Bong, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado, etc where some of the deadliest occurrences of the war took place, to initiative similar projects to immortalize their dead ones. He said the Doe statue project is in line with some of the components of the recommendation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission(TRC) that memorial structures be erected to serve as remembrance of what happened during the protracted civil war as well as serving as closure from the ugly past.
Responding to a question how he can describe the statute, Youboty said, there is a part of the structure that carries the biography of the late President and under it is written his trademark saying, “Town trap is not for rat alone” He said the 2 other sides carried the list of prominent citizens both from Grand Gedeh and other eminent figures in Liberia including late President Doe, the late Gen. Barclay, former Minister of Defense among others.
He said three other pillars are still being reserved and 2 of them are for the central authority to recommend prominent citizens whose names will be included on the statute and the last one will be for the 15 counties to recommend 4 persons, representing renowned citizens who died during the war from those counties to also be included on the historic structure.
He concluded by saying that the project was fully funded by GGAA through donations and solicitations from spirited individuals and institutions.