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2014 Could Be ‘A Year of True Patriotism and Reconciliation’ Only If… (Pt. I)

In her New Year Message late last year, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf admonished Liberians to welcome 2014 with a sense of humility, remembering that, as compatriots, they must continue to strengthen the peace now prevailing in the country. Her foregoing admonition is actually in reference to the landmark commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ushered in a decade of uninterrupted peace. She had stated: “We proudly proclaimed to the world that we had lived through a decade of uninterrupted peace- thanks to the contributions from all Liberians and the generous support received from regional institutions and global partners.”

One important thing she indicated was that although the country remains fragile, the record of continuity in peace and democracy was clearly present, and urged all Liberians to continue to build upon such momentous achievement for the good of their country. The Liberian President, then, charged Liberians with the responsibility of letting this New Year be one of true patriotism and reconciliation that will highlight the positive things that unite them, emphasizing that the country has great potentials, and that Liberians – are resilient people – have the potential to rise above the challenges, truly unite and make their country the great nation that it is meant to be.

From all indications and true to the reality, the President’s New Year Message may have been against the backdrop of the visible division among Liberians, either as the direct result of poor human relations and envy or corruption, bad governance, etc., across the board during the year 2013. And if this New Year should be one of true patriotism and reconciliation that will highlight the positive things that will unite Liberians across the country’s 38,000 square miles, our leaders in the Legislature, Executive and Judicial Branches of Government must begin to positively relate to the people in the true sense of representation and governance as opposed to the “bad blood” which existed between them in 2013.

We must all accept the reality that the process of national reconciliation and unity is now beyond Liberia’s ‘war years.’ It is about the positive impact of Liberia’s governance process in terms of the proper management of the country’s abundant natural resources and the tangible impact on the socio-economic growth and development of Liberians. While we do concur with the President that reconciliation would come about only with the commitment of all of us to peace and unity, such national commitment is also only incumbent on the relationship between our leaders and us.

It is no secret in our country that self-aggrandizement has completely taken over representation, as the issue of governance continues to only be on the basis of rhetorics to the disadvantage of all other Liberians – something that has created the “bad blood” between the governors and the governed.

If the 2014 must be “one of true patriotism and reconciliation that will highlight the positive things that unite us,” officials of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of the Liberian Government must exhibit good leadership qualities and traits by properly managing our country’s resources this time in a manner and form that the impacts will be visible.

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