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Lip-servicing genuine reconciliation

GENUINE NATIONAL RECONCILIATION would continue to elude Liberians for long because the country’s national leaders seem to lack political will to drive this vital instrument of cohesion. A nation that is so divided in its historical and political existence can but go no further.

LIBERIANS CELEBRATE MAY 14 each year as National Unification Day, credited to the late 18th president William V.S. Tubman, who saw a compelling need to unite indigenous citizens and former slaves from America, who settled here and exercised a dominance posture over those they met on the ground, perhaps as a result of influence from ex-slave masters.

DIVISIVE POLITICS OR politics of exclusion is one vice that has subjected a population of less than 5 million people to deep-seated hate for one another with some semblances of envy, greed and narrow mindedness.

PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH Weah said this year’s National Unification Day couldn’t be commemorated officially due to the novel coronavirus fight in the country. But truth to the matter, what is there to celebrate?

MR. WEAH HIMSELF, who once headed Liberia’s national reconciliation under former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prior to winning the presidency in 2017, failed to initiate any meaningful program to bring Liberians together, despite coming from a marginalized and politically deprived segment of the society.

SOME MAY ARGUE that he might had adapted such done-care posture for obvious political reasons, not wanting to have a leader whose position he was eagerly eyeing, to take the glory or credit. However, ex-president Sirleaf herself had publicly remarked that her real weakness is forgiveness. She has no desire or interest in pardoning her perceived enemies.

NOTWITHSTANDING, THEN here is Mr. Weah, now President, saying he wouldn’t sit with members of the opposition to share views and ideas on ways to not just uniting Liberians, but moving the country forward, principally because of persistent criticism against his government.

SO LIBERIA CONTINUES to wallop in this unfortunate quagmire with leaders from one administration to another talking reconciliation on their lips, rather than from the bottom of their hearts. They preach one thing in public, and totally mean something else in private.

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JAILED FORMER PRESIDENT Charles Ghankay Taylor, from the Americo-Liberian background or decent of settlers, said his greatest regret as a former leader, is he was not able to reconcile Liberians. He led a bloody rebel incursion in 1989 against the first indigenous President of Liberia, Samuel Kanyon Doe in a clearly reprisal attack, for Doe toppling the Tolbert regime, which was dominated by the settlers.

THIS NATIONAL DIVISIVENESS has stagnated this country for over a century, and from every indication, is not going away any time soon. The 14 years (1989-2003) civil war even exacerbated the situation. The people are divided from tribes, clans, communities, right into households and families.

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