Monday, May 14, 2012 was observed across the Republic of Liberia as National Unification Day. The observance of National Unification Day by Liberians was a result of a proclamation issued by the President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on May 10, 2012 through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Proclamation was in consonance with an Act of the Liberian Legislature at its session in 1959-1960, declaring May 14 each tear as National Unification and Integration Day, which eventually led to the erection of the Unification Monument in Voinjama, Lofa County in 1961 by the Administration of Liberia’s 18th President, the Late William V.S. Tubman as a perpetual remembrance of the ideas.
According to the Presidential Proclamation, Liberia as a nation was in adherence to the principles of justice, equality, fair-play and equal opportunities for its citizens and residents regardless of tribe, creed or economic status so that the nation may be united. In a much as we, too, do subscribe to the foregoing principles for which our nation (government) stands in ensuring national unification, we, as a people, continue to remain at a long distance from fostering togetherness.
When National Unification Day was elaborately being celebrated at the historic Providence Island with the conspicuous absence of the Legislative and Judicial Branches of Government, we still see disunity. Even if invitations were officially extended at the eleventh hour or not extended at all, it would have been important and politically stimulating for the rest of the people to feel the presence of members of the Legislature and Judiciary alongside the Executive at Providence on Unification Day.
While reasons for their conspicuous absence from the Unification Day program may not have been made known, we think it was very unfair to the process of national reconciliation in Liberia, owing to the fact that they are our leaders and must set the example. Entrenched bitterness among Liberians may be a serious attribute to the difficulties we as a people face in enhancing reconciliation among ourselves-probably for political and socio-economic reasons.
When the majority of the people of Liberia continue to live in abject poverty, the issue of reconciliation and unity will continue to be ‘far-fetch’; when the exchange rate between the American and Liberian dollars and prices of commodities continue to be uncontrollable to the detriment of the poverty-stricken, the issue of reconciliation and unity for the majority of Liberians becomes questionable; when the unemployment rate continue to increase across the country, the issue of reconciliation and unity becomes less important among the majority; and when a few of us continue to negatively ‘brand’ or perceive others or ‘back-bite’, undermine and lie on others and our leaders continue to encourage such, how possible, then, is reconciliation?
This is where the Government of Liberia must now intervene in practical terms and avoid its regular public relations gimmicks, if it should succeed and be credited for propelling the process of reconciliation in Liberia in furtherance of the Unification and integration Policy. All-in-all, at the core of this practical drive, the Government and us must make SINCERITY our foremost hall-mark.