Contrary to the Coat of Arms of Liberia and the pledge of loyalty to the National Ensign, the orator for the 172 anniversary of the Flag of Liberia, Nimba County District #9 Representative Prof. Johnson N. Gwaikolo, says so many vices including intolerance and greed amongst Liberians created the conditions for conflicts in the Country. The Nimba County Legislator also named mistrust, distrust, suspicion, amongst others
Gwaikolo who said these vices stands inimical to Liberia’s existence pointed out that the Liberian flag to which we pledge loyalty stands for liberty and freedom that form the basis of the republic, not suppression and oppression; noting that the flag stands for hope for all within our borders, not doom and gloom; for courage and moral excellence, not fear and lack of integrity.
The national orator for the Flag Day Celebration also indicated that the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Liberia represents the same virtues of the national flag as well, taking for instance that the Coat of Arms features a gold-bordered shield with an image of a ship arriving to the land of Liberia with a rising sun. On the land is a plough, shovel and palm tree and above the ship is a white dove holding a letter.
He explained that the scene presented by the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Liberia is said to represent the slaves coming back from America to Liberia. Above the shield is the motto “THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT US HERE” and below is “REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA.”
The Coat of Arms, he further explained, suggests that Liberia is a promising land full of hope (rising sun); Liberia is a land of plentiful through dignity of labor (plough, shovel, palm tree); Liberia is a land of peace and reconciliation (white dove). The settlers came because they wanted liberty; the natives accepted them because they too wanted liberty.
Notwithstanding these illustrations that symbolize hope for all, like the Flag of Liberia, Mr. Gwaikolo told his audience that the negative vices that have long permeated the existence of Liberia resulted to the end of Liberia’s first republic when President William R. Tolbert was assassinated and the government overthrown in 1980 in military coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe.
This, the lawmaker and educator said, led to the crafting of a new constitution in 1986 establishing the second republic after Samuel K. Doe, then transitioned from military power to civilian rule.
Addressing students and paramilitary groupings in Monrovia that commemorated the Flag Day Celebration yesterday, Prof. Gwaikolo who chairs the House Committee on Education and Public Administration said mistrust, distrust, suspicion, intolerance, greed, and other vices violently disrupted the liberty, peace, and harmony of the second republic in December of 1989, resulting into fourteen years of civil crisis, adding that the end of the civil crisis brought in the third republic with the election of Charles Ghankay Taylor as President.
“Today, we are living the constitutionally elected Administration of the third republic under the leadership of President Dr. George Manneh Weah. As we are in the second sitting of the third Administration of the third republic, we must know the meaning of our national flag and take cue from it and govern ourselves accordingly”, Representative Gwiakolo said.
The Flag-Day orator however said there seems to be a disconnect with the values and principles the Liberian flag tries to instill in Liberians. “Hatred seems to be on the rise; social media posts are full of hate messages directed at everybody. Physical violence is creeping slowly as evidenced by the attack on the Deputy Inspector of Police and the electoral violence in District 15, Montserrado County,” he asserted.
He thinks that Liberia is not supposed to go in that direction; that Liberia is to be the land in which “we are our brothers’ keepers; Liberia is to be the land where our national policies and practices will attract investments to reverse the ailing economy; Liberia is to be the land where slum communities will be transformed into productive communities; Liberia is to be the land where political opponents are not life time enemies.”
Hear Mr. Gwaikolo: This brings me to the point that I am calling on the Government through the Ministry of Education to bring back civic education into the Liberian school system. We can begin this by teaching the Constitution of Liberia in our schools.
He also suggested that including the Constitution of Liberia into the curricula of the country’s school system will help students and citizens to understand their civic duties, adding that Patriotism can be developed and strengthened if the people know their civic duties and responsibilities.
Orator Gwaikolo who historicized the flag concluded, “… let us remember that the national flag is our past, the flag is our present, the flag is our future, the flag is our strength, the flag is our courage, the flag is our integrity. Uphold it and uphold Liberia.”