Liberia’s 172nd Independence Day Orator, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee spoke truth to power on Friday when she delivered the country’s Independence’s Day message, requesting government officials to walk their talks.
“Mr. President, members of the 54th Legislature, members of the Judiciary, members of the cabinet – the fight against corruption is not in words, it is in action,” the Orator says.
“You all must walk your talk. You cannot preach against corruption and fail to declare your assets or keep it locked up when declared. Show us what you came with so that in a few years if you have acquired two houses, we will know that you already had those resources,” she suggests.
At the invitation of President George Manneh Weah, six visiting African Presidents in persons of Burkina Faso’s Roch Mar Christian Kabore; Nigeria’s Mahammadu Buhari; Ivory Coast’s Alassane Dramane Ouattara; Senegal’s Macky Sall; Sierra Leone’s Julius Maada Bio and Guinea’s Alpha Conde graced the ceremony.
Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf and members of the diplomatic corps attended the event.
Further, Madam Gbowee stresses the need to address Liberia’s harsh economic conditions as families barely find food, pay their children’s school fees or buy basic necessities.
She laments that the young people here are feeling hopeless while the ruling establishment and the opposition continue to argue about who is right.
Madam Gbowee cautioned that the country cannot continue to conduct business as it did since 1847 while the children’s futures are being mortgaged and natural resources are being sold to people who have no development agenda for the County.
She notes that drug addiction has taken over the country, and education is perceived as a mess by both sides of the divide.
“While Ruling Position and Opposition go at each other’s throats, our children’s futures are being mortgaged, natural resources are sold to those who have no development plan for the Republic of Liberia,” she says.
Madam Gbowee observes that truth has evaded Liberians, noting that they lie to gain prominence, position of authority, lie about lifestyle and what one owns and do not have.
From generation to generation, Madam Gbowee notes that Liberian leaders have been fooled by religious and traditional leaders.
According to the 172nd National Orator, Bishops have become partisans, turning the scriptures and prophecies to suit the political parties of their kind.
Pastors and Imams have become praise – singers, traditional leaders repeatedly twist the cultural practices to please the powerful few, Madam Gbowee laments.
According to her, they give unmerited traditional title to individuals who do not deserve it.
She warns that Liberia is not a political party, but a nation for all Liberians, suggesting the need to recognize that all citizens are part of this society.
In special remarks, President Weah expressed appreciation to Madam Gbowee for her inspiring and thoughtful address which he says has given new insights into the importance of peace in the nation and renewed hopes for a better Liberia.
President Weah recommits that Liberians’ togetherness will encompass the peace and prosperity of all citizens.
He assures that the presence of justice will be evident as his government advances the nation with the involvement of all.
“We will face the challenges, but let us not be overwhelmed,” he says.
He urges that all must be done within the powers of Liberians to continue to plant the seeds of unity, maintain peace and reconcile the nation and its people.
In consideration of their enormous contributions to the cause of humanity, especially to Liberia, President Weah decorated with high distinctions visiting Presidents Roch Mar Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso; Mahammadu Buhari of Nigeria; Macky Sall of Senegal; Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and Prof. Alpha Conde of Guinea.
Ivory Coast’s Ouattara had earlier been honored during the term of former President Sirleaf.By Winston W. Parley