Theme: “Together, We are Stronger: Fighting COVID-19 and Achieving Development, Peace, Human Rights, Justice, Health, and Prosperity for All…”
His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President, Republic of Liberia;
Madam Clar Marie Weah, First Lady, Republic of Liberia;
Honorable Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President, Republic of Liberia;
Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President, Republic of Liberia;
Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, Former Vice President, Republic of Liberia;
Honorable Speaker Dr. Bhofah Chambers, and Members of the House of Representatives;
Honorable President Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie, and Members of the Liberian Senate;
His Honor Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, and Members of the Judiciary;
Former Officials of Government;
The Dean and Members of the Cabinet;
Excellency, the Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps;
The Resident Coordinator of the UN System and Heads of International Organizations;
The Chief of Staff and Gallant Men and Women of the Armed Forces of Liberia and other Members of the Security Apparatus;
My Spouse, Dr. Muriel Victoria Goodridge Nelson and Members of the Julukon Sarwolo Nelson Family
Chief Zanzan Kawar, Chair of the National Traditional Council of Chiefs, Elders and Zoes;
Prelates, and Members of the Clergy, Heads and Members of Religious Institutions;
Heads of Political Parties, and Civil Society Organizations;
Heads of Educational Institutions and The University of Liberia Family;
Presidents and Chairpersons of Youth and Student Organizations;
Presidents and Chairpersons of Women Organizations;
Members of the Business Community; especially Market women and men;
Yana Boys and Girls; Bus and Taxi Drivers; Kekeh and Penpen Drivers; Wheelbarrow Operators;
Disadvantaged and Physically Challenged Citizens;
Members of the Fourth Estate;
Distinguished Guests; Fellow Liberians;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Please join me in a moment of silence for those of our compatriots who have succumbed to death, as a result of the novel pandemic (COVID-19) and the recent sinking of the boat, Niko Ivanka. (Pause). May their souls rest in perfect peace.
First and foremost, Mr. President, please accept our profound congratulations on the celebration of the 174th Independence Day of Liberia, your fourth observance as President of the Nation. This celebration is indicative of how far our democracy has come. We must express our gratitude to God Almighty, the Supreme Being, for grace, mercy, and shalom that has brought us safely through 174 years of independence as a nation. We, as a people, had vowed (some eighteen (18) years ago, following the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord, in the Republic of Ghana) that we will not resort to war, destruction, or conflict as a means of resolving our disagreements and our differences. We must therefore congratulate and salute the Liberian people for proving to Africa and the world that we can live together in peace and will “study war no more.”
Let us also extend our profoundest appreciation to you, Mr. President, and your government, for the singular honor of selecting us as the Independence Day Orator on this occasion of the 174th Independence Day, of the Republic of Liberia. Considering us, a child of God, born in Sonewein, Montserrado County, who grew up in Lagoon, New Kru Town, went to school in Bomi Hills, Lower Buchanan and Monrovia, and is now the fifteenth President of the Lux-In-Tenebris, the University of Liberia. God is good all the time, and all the time God is great. Thank you very much for this opportunity Mr. President. We appreciate you for the level of progress in our national development that your leadership has brought to our country and therefore urge you and your team to continue working harder.
We wish to also express our sincere thanks and appreciation to The United Nations (UN), The African Union (AU), The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The Mano River Union (MRU), as well as our bilateral and multilateral partners for their support to the Government and People of Liberia. We look forward to more partnership engagements as we pursue our development drive.
The Liberian Reality as We Envision the Future
This is our perception of the Liberian Reality, as we together envision the future of our common patrimony. As our National Anthem clearly points out, Liberia is a glorious land of liberty by God’s command for all of its citizens, irrespective of our social and economic status, and our political or religious affiliation. It is ours to enjoy, preserve, protect, develop, and turn over to the next generation after us in an improved fashion.
Liberia is a nation of great potential socially, culturally, and economically, that requires a nationalistic, patriotic, and visionary mindset to recognize, appreciate and pursue the common good of all. As such, it behooves all of us to unite and continually recognize, appreciate, and embrace our ethnic, racial, tribal, religious, social, and political diversities.
The Constitution of Liberia sets the basis for our interactions as families, tribes, and citizens for the common good of the entire community and the Republic of Liberia. In a society as ours, families, tribes and citizens are directed to have respect and appreciation for each other; this calls for tolerance, unity, peace, understanding, cooperation, dialogue, reconciliation, partnership, reconstruction, and sustainable development in the rich context of our diversity. In the process of upholding these virtues, we have had our shared challenges.
Liberia has always survived her crises and challenges. There have been crises which challenged our very existence as a nation, and a people.
In the past, some of the crises led to the annexation of our territory by powerful people; some had to do with the denial of citizenship and voting rights, while others resulted into the accusation of slave trade and as consequence forced the resignation of a president. Some had to do with the military coup d’état and a bloody civil war.
Our recent history has also not been devoid of crises. One such recent crisis was the invisible enemy –EBOLA–which killed more than 10,000 within our region. As we celebrate another independence day, our nation faces another invisible enemy- COVID-19, which is currently ravishing our economy and killing our people. But together, we as a nation and people must be determined to fight and defeat this invisible enemy by being conscious and intentional through our acts of love for self and others and our love for nation building. We are convinced that we will get there by the grace of God Almighty.
Acknowledging Our Challenges and Envisioning Resolution for Now and the Future
Fellow Liberians, let us retrospect on our history for a moment, and how we evolved into a nation state, pondering on some key mistakes we have made as a nation, in the hope of finding solutions for now and the future. Many years ago, our brothers and sisters were sold through the great transatlantic slave trade movement to become slaves on many plantations throughout the world.
Many, Many years later, they returned from the United States, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world in search of a home where freedom, peace, and prosperity would be embraced. They settled on Providence Island and later extended to other parts of the hinterland of Liberia. The indigenous people were already living here and welcomed them as brothers and sisters, but many times living together became a challenge. There were many internal skirmishes and sometimes serious conflicts, which threatened the existence of the young nation.
At other times, there were external threats from great world powers as well, and therefore the logical thing to do at the time was to come together as a nation and declare independence on July 26, 1847. So, the purpose of birthing Liberia as a sovereign nation was to create a safe and peaceful environment where there would be Freedom, Liberty, and prosperity for all, including the rest of Africa.
Fellow Liberians, Liberia is one of the oldest nations on the continent of Africa. This first-born child had the disproportionate responsibility to lead the rest of Africa to liberty. From the North to the South, and from the East to the West, Africans looked up to Liberia for guidance and direction. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Liberia politically fought for and spearheaded the independence of most African Nations that celebrate their sovereignty today.
Our forefathers and foremothers, both Americo-Liberians and Indigenous, envisioned Liberia as a nation where all of its people would live in harmony, love, peace, and prosperity. But sadly, my fellow compatriots, there have been times when we have painfully experienced oppression, marginalization, exploitation and corruption at the hands of some of our own leaders over the period of our history, and this has often resulted into conflicts, sometimes wars, the loss of lives and destruction of properties, infrastructure and the very fabric of our society.
Our nation and people have at other times fallen victim to some natural disasters such as land slide, flood, sea erosion, as well as other epidemics and pandemics, such as the Ebola Virus Disease and the current COVID-19 virus. Covid-19 alone has claimed more than four million lives globally, including some of our citizens.
The current COVID-19 pandemic, which is challenging the socio-economic wellbeing of Mama Liberia, is yet another evidence, that we have not always been faithful stewards of this gift (Liberia), a glorious land of liberty by God’s command, and we have not always sustained the vision that birthed our nation. But, my fellow compatriots, it is not late. We still have the opportunity to end the blame game, renew our minds, reconcile our differences, focus on what unites us, roll up our sleeves and build a new Liberia. Pride divides the community and society. Unity and peace brings the community and society together. The issue of unity is not just theoretical, it is practical. We should not only talk unity, we should practice unity concretely. We can demonstrate unity by the attitudes of gentleness, humility, and patience. The Psalmist says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity or harmony”. Let us walk in and work for unity. Let us allow unity to be the foundation or cornerstone to achieving development in Liberia.
We, who are heirs of this sweet land of liberty, must ensure that the love of liberty must remain our national commitment until the vestiges of oppression and exploitation are no more. We should not relent until “Africa’s sons and daughters rise to nobler destiny.” It is against this backdrop, my fellow compatriots, that we will speak to you on the national theme, “Together, We are Stronger: Fighting COVID-19 and Achieving Development, Peace, Human Rights, Justice, Health and Prosperity for All…”
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Liberia, with the experience of the Ebola virus crisis in 2014, witnessed and acknowledged the true picture of our already challenged health care system, which came under severe attack. But with national commitment and determination, we were able to face up to this menace, and defeated it completely.
As Covid-19 infections began to be reported around the world, in January of 2020, many countries responded by shutting down schools, workplaces and international borders in order to curtail the spread of the virus. We had our share of temporary lockdown and fought back the disease until recently when we have been hit again with a new wave that is reported to be even deadlier than the first.
In spite of this reality, it is worth noting that according to our national health statistics, our infection rate is decreasing with a maximum average of 42 new infections reported each day. This is 23% of the peak, which was the highest daily average reported since 8th July 2021.
We can confidently declare here today, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, that just as we together defeated the Ebola Virus Disease, we can, and we will certainly defeat Covid-19. Together, we will fight on until the invisible enemy “COVID-19” is defeated and eradicated from within our national borders.
That means, we must all galvanize our efforts, drop the blame game, pull together our resources, as a nation and people, and get each and every hand on deck, and fight this deadly virus together.
In order to fight it together, we need to adhere strictly to all of the health protocols!
In order to fight it together, we need to wear our masks at all times when in a public domain!
In order to fight it together, we need to wash our hands as often as we can!
In order to fight it together, we need to observe social distancing wherever and whenever necessary!
In order to fight this deadly disease together, we need to stop the conspiracy theories and get vaccinated!
In order to fight it together, the Government needs to disburse the needed funds allotted for the fight, to the right places and on the right medical weaponry to eradicate this disease!
In order to fight it together, we need to exhibit a high level of accountability for all resources entrusted in our care!
It is no secret that the very fabric of our society is plagued with systemic challenges of corruption and other negative practices that have entrenched our nation. These vices have the propensity to impede our progress toward our fight against this virus and other social and economic challenges. In lieu of this reality, we must be reminded, fellow compatriots, that only Liberians can develop Liberia. Our gracious partners will continue to support our efforts in this direction, but it takes us to lead and sustain the process of national development and patriotism. We must therefore muster the courage and rally our nationalistic spirit to stand up to these vices together.
The record shows that the entire planet is battling this pandemic, with some going into total lockdown, some into partial lockdown, others focusing on obtaining herd immunity through the vaccine, and many other approaches. But, one thing is certain; all of these countries are approaching their fight with a united effort. Liberia being no exception requires more than just a united effort. Our actions must be propelled by love for country first, before our individual social, economic, cultural, religious or political interest.
It is often said that the darkest hour is just before dawn. If that is true, then there is always light at the end of the tunnel. But to reach the end of the tunnel, we must work towards it. We must not become complacent with the fact that our situation is improving, but rather continue to rally our efforts whether we find ourselves in government, the private sector, civil society, religious institutions, etc. We have to work and continue a unified approach in standing up to this situation, and not getting weary until the fight is over and the victory is ours.
Honorable ladies and gentlemen, after 174 years of independence, Liberia is still being called a developing nation. This is nothing to be proud of especially when some of the countries we supported, to gain their independence, are far ahead on the ladder of human capital and infrastructure development. It is unfortunate that in many respects, we are the cause of our own lack of growth, and we need to own up to our responsibilities and duties as a nation and correct our errors in order to move our nation forward.
We are a low-income country that relies on donor assistance and remittances from the diaspora. On the contrary, we are, however, richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate that is very favorable to agriculture. In addition to our principal exports of iron ore, rubber, timber, diamonds, and gold, we are also engaging and encouraging oil exploration, while oil palm and cocoa are entering the marketplace. All of this is very promising, in addition to domestic resource mobilization, which puts us in a better position to achieve development at a greater pace.
We hasten to stress here today, that though the responsibility lies primarily with the government to create the enabling environment that will foster economic growth, social services, such as the building of schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure development. We, however, will not hesitate to add that, as proud citizens of this great land of liberty, have equal and important roles to play as well. While the government focuses on the bigger picture (critical national development priorities), we, as citizens, need to focus on the smaller picture by engendering a nationalistic mind, and demonstrating love for country at all times. We, as citizens, must never engage in actions that would be counterproductive to our national development aspirations. We must continually do our part, wherever we find ourselves to support and contribute to national development in whatever little way we can.
It is counter-productive to development when we walk along the road and throw garbage in the streets and drainages, while at the same time we sing the praises of other nations, whose citizens are careful to use the garbage bins, thereby keeping their cities clean.
It is counter-productive to development when we loot the electric wires, and solar panels installed on the streetlights to provide light at night, but admire other countries that are lit up at night.
It is counter-productive to development, when we take without asking for the crushed rocks that were brought to repair the cracks in the road, and in some places, construct roads, while at the same time commending other countries for having good roads.
It is counter-productive to development, when we exploit our children who are pursuing their education, while speaking well about the educational standards in other countries.
It is counter-productive to development when we are placed in a position of trust and we betray that trust; it is counter-productive to development when some of us begin to think that we are more Liberians than others.
Indeed, it is counter-productive to development when we demonstrate that we don’t care for the needs and welfare of others.
We are being practical today, because sometimes it is good to tune down from the high academic pedestal and speak directly into the hearts and minds of our average Liberians.
Mr. President, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit us to remind all Liberians once again, that the growth and development of our beloved country can only be possible if we continue to hold together, work together, share together, and support each other. For this to be possible, we have to remember the golden rule that states: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat others as you would want to be treated if you were in their place and position.
This cannot be done through demonstrating hate and dislike for each other, whether we are in government or out of government.
Peace, Human Rights and Justice
Now, about peace, human rights, and justice in the context of our nation. In 2015, world leaders adopted a new development framework: agenda 2030 which recognizes the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice that are based on respect for human rights (including the right to development), on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions.
Our nation as a member state of the United Nations agreed that this agenda cannot be realized without peace and security. And peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development.
Locally, in domesticating these globally agreed actions; we consulted in 2018, bringing together all stakeholders with support from our development partners; and agreed on a national development agenda, the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) which is anchored on four pillars.
These four pillars are:
1 Power to the People – To reduce developmental inequalities so the people can prosper.
2 The Economy and Jobs – Economic stability and job creation through effective resource mobilization and prudent management of economic inclusion.
3 Sustaining the Peace -Promoting a cohesive society for sustainable development
4 Governance and Transparency – An inclusive and accountable public sector for shared prosperity and sustainable development
5 The goal of Pillar three (3) under this national development agenda is “ensuring a more peaceful, unified society that enables economic transformation and sustainable development”. We collectively agreed to end fragility and the root causes of conflict by implementing the Liberia Peace Building Plan and Strategic Roadmap for Healing, Peace building and Reconciliation to improve social cohesion and reconciliation. As a means of sustaining the peace, we also agreed to incorporate peace building and reconciliation as part of the national curriculum.
6 Let us use this occasion of our 174th Independence Day Anniversary to remind all Liberians, including our development partners, that under the same pillar three (3) of our national development agenda, we agreed to ensure access to justice, rule of law and human rights.
7 Fellow citizens, domestic violence, rape and the abuse of women and girls is a serious problem in our society. It must be clear that women’s rights are human rights. Our women and girls need justice in the many reported rape cases across the country. On September 11, 2020, the Government of Liberia declared rape a National Emergency. Let us match this declaration with action by bringing the perpetrators of rape cases to justice.
8 In consideration of our 174th Independence Day theme: “Together, we are Stronger: Fighting COVID-19 and Achieving Development, Peace, Human Rights, Justice, Health and Prosperity for All,”, let us ask each and every one, particularly our three branches of government, to soberly reflect upon the implementation of this third pillar.
9 While the implementation of all four pillars is indispensable to the achievement of our national agenda, for the purpose of this address, we invite you to reflect on your role in the implementation of the third pillar.
10 The reflection is bordered on a heart-searching inquiry. That is, during these three and a half years into the implementation of this national development agenda, how have your institution or office contributed to the attainment of these agreed actions as enshrined in this national development agenda. How many of us as Liberians have taken ownership of this document as our national development plan, so that, in little ways, we might contribute to its implementation in our homes, institutions, communities, districts, counties, etc.?
11 Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate our 174th National Independence Day today, we wish to call on each and every Liberian to cultivate the culture of peace and working together, through our national development agenda. Let every stakeholder begin to see and own this agenda (PAPD) as a NATIONAL platform for achieving our development aspirations.
12 We call upon government public relation institutions and our district and county officials to ensure that the ordinary people understand what the government’s Pro Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity is, and the vision sustaining each of the four pillars.
13 Let them be written and translated in our various languages and vernaculars so that our people know them, understand them and own them.
15 Health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmities. It is a destination that we reach to help us become productive in life. Without an adequate health care delivery system, we cannot survive as a nation.
16 For example, in 2014, the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) exposed the weaknesses of our health care delivery system. Now, it is the coronavirus. Similarly, the impact of the coronavirus on our country has been intensified by the spike of the delta variant.
17 Together, we can be stronger in fighting COVID-19 as we are doing now, in the same way we defeated the deadly EVD. Let us, in particular, acknowledge and applaud the Liberia health sector, especially the Incident Management Team and our frontline health care practitioners and partners for the continued efforts in combating COVID-19.
18 It is important as we continue this fight for the achievement of ultimate victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the development of a vibrant health care system, that we allow the health professionals to make health decisions. We should not relinquish health care decisions in this country to another entity or non-health practitioners, as this will undermine the fight against COVID-19.
19 Let us invest in improving our health facilities, developing our health practitioners, and compensate them adequately for their sacrificial services to the people of Liberia. This can only be achieved if we cooperate, collaborate, and coordinate our abilities, skills, and expertise. Because, together, we are stronger.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Liberians…
I am delighted to inform you that the University Of Liberia College Of Health Sciences recently signed a $15million USAID grant along with the Yale and Vanderbilt Universities for the establishment of a research hub in Liberia and the enhancement of our health sector. The project will focus on applying research for a healthy Liberia (AR4HL) leading to a center for teaching, learning, and innovation (CTLI) in Liberia.
Your Excellency, Honorable members of the Legislature and fellow compatriots…
Having charted the course of our conflict-ridden history, highlighted the struggles to endure nuanced calamities and survive as a nation for 174 years and elaborated on the sad reality of where we are versus where we ought to be given our history, size and natural resource endowment, there emerges a portrait of missed opportunities.
But we should not despair as there is still a big wave to ride ourselves to redemption and become the oasis of development we know we should be. That big wave is Education!
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, as we use this occasion to convey a pivotal message of strength through unity and rally national support for the attainment of sustainable development and prosperity for all Liberians, let us realize that education is the fulcrum.
Education is the sole cross-cutting factor that can enable us to achieve all of our bold and lofty development aspirations in the medium to long term.
Giving power to the people, improving the economy and increasing jobs, maintaining our peace that was earned with sweat and blood, or improving governance and transparency cannot be sustainably achieved without the angling support of an informed and competitively educated citizenry. A cursory inspection of the history of development in the global South will single out education as the common denominator. In South East Asia, the development miracle of the 80’s and 90’s cannot be divorced from post-World War II policies that deliberately focused on human capacity enhancement to match capital expenditure. The Island of Cuba has the best doctor per capita ratio in the Western Hemisphere and one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Nearly all of their health practitioners are products of their education system.
Today, the rise of the two neo-liberal development shining stars of Africa, Botswana and Rwanda, are often credited to abundant natural resource endowment and tourism respectively but powering these two economies is the characteristically sound and educated citizen base.
We would be remiss not to at least hint our awareness that the education sector in Liberia, as critical as it is to the success of our development dreams, has been the subject of national conversations for a while, but also a victim of market failures and reform-implementation misalignment. There is failure when the rate at which we increase the size of our latent labor keeps exceeding the absorption capacity of our economy mainly due to mismatches between the demands of a 21st century economy below full potential and the relics of an outdated school system. We certainly have a problem in this sector when there continues to exist an ever-widening schism between reform and implementation.
For elected public officials, genuine commitment to investment in education is a catch-22: it is necessary as a long-term pivot for development but investment therein takes at least half a generation to yield results.
There is a need to continuously increase investment even though we do not see immediate results because of the human capacity development cycle. It takes time; it requires conviction, vision, courage, anticipation and leadership to demonstrate commitment to educational reform. This is why, Mr. President, we want to commend your leadership in supporting tertiary education reform efforts at the University of Liberia and other public tertiary institutions.
As we bring this 174th National Oration to a close, Mr. President, and our fellow compatriots, our friends and partners, kindly permit us to proffer the following recommendations for your kind consideration:
1 That the Government of Liberia invest more into the health sector so that our people across the length and breadth of the country may have access to quality and affordable health care delivery. Community-based healthcare training will be a significant contribution for our people through our health workers and professionals. Leading a healthy people is not only a feather in your cap, but will contribute to the benefit of all.
2 While we acknowledge and appreciate very highly the current tremendous effort of the government to improve the educational sector, there is a dire need to increase the budgetary support to the education sector including early childhood, primary, secondary, technical, vocational, and tertiary institutions across Liberia. Investment in education will enhance our fight against COVID-19 and contribute to the attainment of the goals and targets of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, as well as those of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thus ensuring a prosperous nation.
3 Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen…
4 Special attention must also be given to our “At risk Youths” (AKA, Zoogoes/Zoogees). A government funded nationwide program should be formulated to transform these youths into valuable citizens and contributors to our society. They should be trained and subsequently organized into agricultural brigades and given the basic inputs and implements to competitively produce crops, vegetables, rice, meat, and fish, among others.
5 That this government prioritize the empowerment of its citizens to grow what they eat and eat what they grow. We must prioritize agriculture, because it holds the greatest potential for alleviating poverty and inequality and ensuring food security and economic stability. Our plead, therefore, is for the government to prioritize once again the counties of Bong, Lofa and Nimba as the nation’s food baskets, and invest heavily in this sector, which will result in the saving of millions of dollars being spent importing our staple food, rice, as we did in prewar Liberia. By doing this, we will improve food security, reduce food imports, increase exports, and hence spark an economic transformation that creates jobs and boosts the incomes of ordinary citizens.
6 That national government prioritize investment in the full operationalization of the Liberia Research and Education Network (LRREN). This is because science, technology, and innovation (STI) are key drivers of sustainable development. The LRREN is a specialized Internet Service Provider (ISP) that interconnects research and educational institutions within Liberia with others across the globe. It is expected to connect to other regional and international Research and Educational Networks. It distinguishes itself by providing a very high-speed network both at the core and access levels with the possibility of offering dedicated channels at an affordable rate, for individual research projects for our students, faculties, and staff. When operationalized, this project will impact research institutions, educational institutions in addition to clinics and hospitals.
7 His Excellency Dr. George Oppong Forky Klon Jlaleh Gbah Ku Gbeh Tarpeh Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, distinguished Liberians, ladies, and gentlemen. As our nation charts a way forward in our endeavor to achieving development, peace, human rights, justice, health and prosperity for all, let us conclude with the following points:
8 God, our Creator, should be the reason for peace, unity, conflict transformation, dialogue, tolerance, reconciliation, and sustainable development. Our common heritage can be a reason. Our faith in God can be a rationale. Our nationality can be a premise. Our struggles against injustices, violence, poverty, disease, suffering, abuse, and death can be a common ground for peace. Our shared values, ethics, virtues, or moral essence can be a rallying point for our coming together as Liberians to work for reconciliation, peace and unity.
9 Peace is God’s will for all people. Peace is universal. Liberia needs peace for sustainable growth and development from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas, Rivercess to River Gee, Gbarpolu to Grand Kru, Maryland to Montserrado, and from Mount Nimba to Mount Gibi. Therefore, we need to work together for God’s perfect peace, dialogue, unity, reconciliation, and sustainable development in Liberia.
10 As a child of God, we are required to be righteous and exhibit righteousness in all we do, and at all times. This means, simply, let us endeavor to do the right thing that benefits all our people and glorifies God. We will never forget a Chinese proverb which says:
11 “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
12 If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
13 If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
14 If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world!!!
15 As we say in our Liberian parlance, “no condition is permanent.” We are of the strongest conviction that though Liberia may be called a developing country after 174 years, though Liberia may be faced with the challenge of divisiveness and developmental struggles, with our renewed commitment to foster togetherness, unity, and hard-work, our current condition will definitely change, and we will rub shoulders with our fellow compatriots and other nations, as we keep the spirit of nationalism, patriotism growing from strength to strength.
16 May God grant us the wisdom to know right from wrong; the knowledge to change those things we cannot accept; the courage to accept those things we cannot change, and the serenity to know the difference, as we rebuild this sweet land of liberty that shall forever be ours. Together, we are stronger. In union strong, success is sure.
17 We shall overall prevail!
18 Long live the President of the Republic and his family;
19 Long live the government officials of the Republic
20 Long live other leaders of the Republic;
21 Long live partners and friends of the Republic;
22 Long live the resilient people of the Republic;
23 Happy July 26. Happy 174th Anniversary, and Happy Independence Day!
24 Thank You All, Very Much, and God’s Richest Blessings be with you always.