“Stop Romanticizing Inherited Challenges” -2022 National Orator Tells GoL Officials, Pleads for Nat’l Unity

Fourteen years of brutal civil conflict which decimated critical national infrastructures and which reversed the country’s steady development drive, coupled with decades of prior political failure, has increased public expectations and put extreme pressure on the current government of President Weah to ramp up transformational efforts. Every sector and every political subdivision competitively beg for public service attention, spiraled improvement, amid scarce resources. Amid the conundrum, there are some public officials carrying critical responsibility but who sit idly by and merely lament, rhetoricize and romanticize with dire challenges on hand. This has claimed the attention of a fellow public service, this year’s National Day orator, Commerce and Industry Minister Mawanie Diggs who is cautioning against complacency, lip-service and carefree attitude. The Analyst reports.

The National Independence Day Orator, Commerce and Industry Minister Mawanie Diggs, is urging national leaders, in every sector, particularly in cabinet positions, to desist from romanticizing the genuine challenges that Liberia is faced with, however true it is that these are inherited challenges.

Madam Diggs asserted that by assuming their leadership roles, which she said are a conscious choice they have each made and to commit, officials of government in the Weah administration should put themselves in the position of alleviating these challenges in support of the President’s Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

Speaking Tuesday, July 26, 2022, as this year’s Independence Day orator, the Commerce Minister also said mutual respect for individual viewpoint is non-negotiable if the people of Liberians should be united for the common good of the country. She noted that unity must be entrusted with every Liberian and be treated as the national fabric on “which we should come gather as a collective force irrespective of our differences”.

“This brings me to the point of urging our leaders, in every sector, particularly my colleagues in government to desist from romanticizing the genuine challenges we face. It is a known fact that these are inherited challenges but by assuming the roles we have today we have each made a conscious choice to commit to alleviating these challenges in support of the President’s Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). Let us therefore desist the desired attempts to show off our literary brilliance and instead act. Let us work for the people of Liberia.

She reminded Cabinet Ministers in President Weah’s government that they have a crucial role to play in helping the president deliver on his Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development; this must never be taken for granted. It is an expectation that the children and people of Liberia benefit from the decisions we make and the impact those decisions have on their lives.

“We must all strive to reduce the bottlenecks associated with the implementation of these donor projects, as those delays work against the timely delivery of these projects in the interest of the Liberian people,” she intoned.

She urged her colleagues to desist from romanticizing the genuine challenges being faced in the country, but that they should ensure that such actions manifest in every sector, including respect for the rights of women.

Our nation is currently acclaimed for breaking the glass ceiling in this regard therefore we must continue to forge ahead and not pay lip service or relegate. That my fellow Liberians would be a true travesty.

The National Orator asserted: “Our President, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah is often heard saying that “Without Peace Our World Would Be Difficult” and for me, this statement always serves as a strong reminder of the importance of Protecting our Peace as a nation considering that twenty plus years after the end of the civil war, we are still experiencing the after effects in terms of lingering social and infrastructural deficits.”

Sermonizing Unity, Peace

Speaking in the theme of the occasion, “Fostering Unity, Protecting our Peace for Development and Prosperity”, Minister Diggs sees a fundamental responsibility that comes with being citizens for which unity must therefore be entrusted with every Liberian.

The major responsibility of every government, she added, is the maintenance of peace, which she said is an uncompromising common good.

“No democracy can thrive, no development can take place and the welfare of the citizenry cannot be served if peace is not guaranteed. Therefore, the maintenance of peace is not solely the responsibility of the government in power. The opposition has such equal responsibility as does each and every Liberian citizen including foreigners residing within the borders of our land,” she expounded.

She said it would be extremely naïve to expect that all Liberians think or act the same, adding however that we must be able to work as one in the interest of Liberia.

Madam Diggs maintained that when she thinks of the term UNITY, which she described as the concepts of Oneness, harmony and shared-Values, protection of Rights and Citizen Participation quickly come to mind, saying that there is a fundamental responsibility that comes with being citizens of this great nation.

 According to her, embracing the fundamental responsibility of unity begins with acceptance of the “will” of the people in a free and fair democratic space.

When the will of the people has been expressed, the question of leadership and who has the mandate to articulate the collective aspirations of the Liberian people is no longer up for debate, she said.

“Understand that fostering unity does not necessarily imply that everyone will consent, for democracy itself calls for the respect of individual’s viewpoint and to make choices from a wide range of options,” the National Orator said further. “But there must be respect for those whom the people have called upon to be leaders. That my fellow Liberians is non-negotiable.”

      So instead of fighting so hard to stay within the lines drawn for ourselves under the umbrellas of ruling party, opposition, feminists’ groups, independents, civil society organizations and the numerous other auxiliary groupings which exist, she implored Liberians to instead exert half of that energy to building bridges and pathways to continuously fostering unity which will in-turn protect our hard-earned peace for development and prosperity. 

She said we often take for granted the weight of our individual titles and how it is perceived by those around us and those observing from a distance, which perceptions she intoned, come with a level of expectation.

She said fostering unity, protecting the national peace for prosperity and development is the responsibility of all citizens, something that knows no one individual, no political side, no tribe, and no religion.

“It is a charge to keep for each and every Liberian far and near, a reason she devoted her oration to resisting the temptation of restating our problems and challenges, but instead focus on how far we have come as a nation and subsequently remind us of our collective responsibility to go even further,” the 39-year-old female public servant said.

She however acknowledged that has Liberia, over the years, made enormous strides.

She added: “We have now moved in the direction of overcoming the perils of the war, and the destruction it left in its track, and added that she is sure some of us still remember the ethnic and political cleavages of the polarized nation we once had; one that valued identity over patriotism; and engaged in systemic exclusion and malfeasance.”

The Commerce Minister pointed out that this eventually led to one of Africa’s most brutal civil wars which wiped out a significant portion of our country’s population, indicating that the youth of our country were the main implementers of these heinous crimes that occasioned the brutality simply because they were mostly illiterate and easy to manipulate.

Years after major hostilities ceased, she said the subsequent effects of the socioeconomic decline the war caused is still very apparent: This is mainly in the form of the thousands of disadvantaged youth who roam the streets living a life of drugs and crime.

“However, I can proudly delight in saying that this government has now planned a more sustainable program intended to help ameliorate their lives. This is definitely a far cry from the years of lip service politicians have thrown at what potentially is an existential crisis for our country,” Madam Diggs

Peace is a prerequisite for development as a whole because it creates an enabling environment for the fundamentals of societal progress which are Infrastructural Development, Free Market Structures and the Rule of Law, she argued saying that when there is the absence of peace, key sectors such as Education and Health break down, critical systems to enable nationwide development all crumble.

She said peace preserves additional resources both human and financial which if left unabated would otherwise be used to instill violence.

She maintained that at 175 years of independence, our country is still challenged in many regards, which she said they are neither proud of nor are we ashamed of, point out that with every challenge comes the opportunity for Liberians to demonstrate true patriotism and sincere love for country. 

“Our political history reminds us that Liberia was a founding member of many international and multinational organizations. The challenges that faced the world then which necessitated the formation of such organizations are still confronting the world today and Liberia is not an exception,” Ms Diggs further said, adding: “Prosperity and Development resonates from sound leadership, uncommon vision, bringing citizens along in the governance process, fiscal probity, zero tolerance for corruption and accountability.

”Nevertheless, prosperity and development is not achieved overnight nor are they instantaneous outcomes. They are outcomes of bold leadership and prudent decision making which brings me to the not so favorable topic of modus operandi in terms of donor support in the form of direct budget support or donor implemented projects,” she said. “As the government actively engages in the development of our country, she believes it is now time that we sit as partners and fully examine the impact of these donor sponsored loans and grants in order to assess the true impact on the lives of our people. What goes into deciding how projects are determined or selected? Where and what part of the country are those projects implemented? And under whose authority are those monies expended? Are basic queries she proffers.”  

Credited for Resilience

Madam Diggs used the occasion to praise all Liberians who, she said, should be credited for the resilience the country has exhibited over the last two centuries. She noted that together, we have faced and fought many foes, be it political, social or economic, with much valor. 

Recently, she said Liberians, like the rest of the world, even triumphed over a major global pandemic.

This is a testament to the Liberian spirit of patriotism and determination for which we must all be proud, she noted.

“Nevertheless, we as a people must never forget the price paid by leaders of generations before us and the sacrifices they made to give us what we now have as Liberia,” she added.

175 years of Independence and 200 years of existence, she asserted, requires a different level of boldness. On that note she addressing those she called “self-proclaimed social media and talk show heroes” who are constantly disguised in self-dignified arrogance to understand that their criticisms without the proffering of solutions or actions is just another level of hate.    

“So as you use your individual platforms to point out the ills of our Liberian society, I challenge you to demonstrate your love for country by not just words but also actions that make a difference in the lives of everyday Liberians,” she averred, noting that for the country’s image they so easily tarnish today is the same country they desire to lead tomorrow.

So for the sake of love for nation as proclaimed, let us unite in the midst of our differences and move Liberia forward so that if you are ever given an opportunity to lead, you will inherit a wholesome nation.

Not one divided based on personal interest or political ambition,” he said.

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