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Making Our Independence Much More Meaningful-By Tiawan Saye Gongloe

Fellow compatriots, within a couple of days, Liberians everywhere on this Planet will be commemorating our National Independence Day, which we all traditionally refer to as ’26 Day. This year’s celebration marks our 176th anniversary! Can you believe that? As a nation, we have been in existence for 176 long years. That’s about 110 years longer than Ghana’s independence, or 119 years longer than Botswana’s independence, two of the gradually developing countries of Africa.

Again, as we all observe this auspicious day in our nation’s history, we all need to take a deep breath and reflect: What does Independence mean to you? When somebody tells you that our country is the oldest independent Republic in Africa, what it really means to you? Have you ever pondered over this question? Do you think that the meaning of Independence Day, which entails the citizenry galvanizing their energies and gallantly working in unison towards the socio-economic development of their country is the same meaning to our current batch of leaders? Do you see them effectively working for the socio-economic development of our country?

I pose these questions because for most of us, this is the only country we have, and as a result, we are determined to roll up sleeves and exert every effort towards improving the prevailing situation, in order to make Liberia a better place for us all. But for many Government officials, especially those that are in charge of and have access to national resources, for those who are fond of frequently stealing public funds and buying properties with their ill-gotten wealth in Ghana, in France, Queens, New York; Florida and other foreign parts, they have different meanings of our Independence Day.

They have different meaning of Independence Day because they perceive Liberia as their farm, as their personal domain where they can rip off our resources, feloniously amass wealth with impunity and invest in foreign countries. Because they have multiple citizenships, so Liberian citizenship and Liberian Independence Day are secondary to them.

Because they actually don’t care about Liberia due to their wealth and luxuries abroad, Liberia’s Independence Day is secondary to them. But for us ordinary Liberians, for those of us that the elites look down on, for you, for my running-mate, Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey-Yarkpawolo and me, Liberia’s 176th Independence Day means a lot to us, because that’s the one and only country we have.

Fellow compatriots, that’s one of the reasons why together, we must all work in unison on October 10, 2023 to ensure that our independence becomes much more meaningful. We must make our independence much more meaningful, because those who founded this country were imbued with patriotic aspirations and noble anticipation.

From the onset, they boldly declared to the world that “Liberia is not the offspring of grasping ambition nor the tool of avaricious speculation.” Moreover, our Founding Fathers had also “indulged the pleasing hope that we would be permitted to exercise and improve those faculties which impart to man his dignity…”. With such hope, they had anticipated that all future Liberian Governments in the aftermath of our Declaration of Independence will engender an enabling environment, so that all Liberians will have the capacity to “train up our children in a way they should go—to inspire them with the love of honorable fame…”

Unfortunately, my fellow Liberians, the disastrous socio-economic situation currently prevailing in our country is a brutal repudiation of the noble aspirations profoundly declared by our Founding Fathers 176 years ago. When our hardworking civil servants’ “take-home-pay” can no more take them home, when their severely meager salaries are not disbursed for multiple months, our Government is not imparting to them their dignity as our Founding Fathers had anticipated.

When our lawmakers, whose salaries and other incentives are already more than the salaries of members of the United States Congress continue to egregiously apportion more  emoluments for themselves while many other appointive Government officials brazenly steal public funds with impunity, how possible can we as a society, “train up our children the way they should go”, how can we instill moral rectitude in our children as the Founding Fathers had anticipated?

When by their conspicuous criminal deeds and impunity, our current leaders are implying to our young people that being crooked, that being sleazy is the easy path to success, how can we possibly train up our children in the way they should? Folks, can any of our current national leaders be role models for our children?  Are our leaders today setting good examples of honesty and integrity for our children to follow?
Fellow compatriots, as I have been reiterating to you in almost all of my messages, we as a people and as a country, cannot continue to persistently tread this gloomy path of bad governance and anticipate glowing outcomes. I have no doubt that we can do far better than the prevailing ineptitude and pervasive corruption in governance, which continue to victimize our people.

Fortunately for us as a people, we all have a clear way forward to rid ourselves of the prevailing hellish situation and triumphantly put Liberia on a transformative trajectory. YES, A BETTER LIBERIA IS POSSIBLE!
Together, we must exert all efforts to redeem the tattered image of our country within the comity of nations. Following the October 10, 2023 elections, let not our new batch of national leaders be a sort of laughing stock in international circles, eliciting negative buzz here and there.

As we’re all aware, this year’s Independence Day is very unique, because we’re observing our independence day on the heels of a crucial presidential and general elections that will ultimately decide the destiny of Mother Liberia. I need not remind you that based on the conduct and outcome of the impending electoral process, we as a people, will either be heralding our political maturity, our fortitude and determination to part with our ugly, corrupt past as well as ongoing developmental inertia, or imprudently repudiate the sacred declaration by our Founding Fathers 176 years ago, that we Liberians are competent and capable of governing ourselves.

Fellow Liberians, having traveled throughout our Country in the past two years, since we accepted a petition from a cross-section of our compatriots on December 4, 2021, in Ganta, Nimba County to become Liberia’s Servant-in-Chief, reaching out to our people in 327 hamlets, villages, towns and cities so far, I can conscientiously tell you with certainty that Liberia is lagging far behind many other African countries in basic developmental features. Our country is besieged and shackled by an abysmal underdevelopment.

And so, as we celebrate the 176th independence of Mother Liberia, I say to you in our traditional way: MY ’26 ON Y’ALL OOOO! Having said that, I humbly urge everyone of you to join me and my dynamic running-mate, Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey Yarkpawolo, in making Liberia’s independence much more meaningful. In the highly anticipated October 10, 2023 elections, let’s make our independence much more meaningful by decisively booting out all those greedy hustlers who don’t care about the development of our country.

If we take their T-shirts, their caps, bags of rice, their money, their cars and still reject them at the ballot box on October 10th, because they just want to continue stealing our money, we will be making our independence much more meaningful.

My fellow Liberians, I have come to inform that we all have a clear path to success by radically reversing this hopeless trend for better results and A BETTER LIBERIA. On October 10, 2023, if together we peacefully change our leaders to ensure our “safety and happiness” as mandated by Article One of our Constitution, we will be making our independence much more meaningful.

In closing I leave you with the exact wording of Article One of our Constitution so that we all will internalize it before the pivotal election of October 10th. It says: All power is inherent in the people. All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require. In order to ensure democratic government which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such period, and in such manner as provided for under this Constitution, to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments.

Fellow Liberians, with this clear mandate from our Constitution, we are encouraged, we are enabled and we are empowered to peacefully change our Government, to cause our leaders to peacefully leave the People’s Offices that they are temporarily occupying. Our safety, our benefit, and our happiness demand that we must kick out George Weah and his officials from their offices because of their ineptitude and pervasive corruption. Together, let’s go for it on October 10, 2023.

Long Live the Republic of Liberia


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