Liberia’s 169th Independence Day Orator Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan has called on Liberians to fight against poverty, disease and ignorance, rather than fighting war.
“If you want war, let’s fight. But you know what we’re going to fight? We’ll fight poverty, and fighting poverty, we’ll fight ignorance. In fighting ignorance, let the pencils be our guns and let the papers be our bullets,” he said amidst hands of applause at the Centennial Memorial Pavillion in Monrovia, 26 July.
Dr. Nyan is a Liberian Scientist residing in the United States from the Southeastern Liberian County of River Gee, and has invented a rapid multiplex quantitative diagnostic test that can detect and simultaneously identify many infectious pathogens as Ebola, HIV, zika, yellow fever virus, among others.
As Liberia prepares for 2017 presidential and representative elections, the National Orator urged Liberian political parties’ leaders against making inflamed statements that will have the propensity of leading to violence or intimidating the voters.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her Vice President Mr. Joseph Nyumah Boakai accompanied by his wife and cabinet members, lawmakers and members of the diplomatic corps graced this year’s Independence Day Celebration held at the Centennial Memorial Pavillion in Monrovia.
Dr. Nyan reminded opposition of their “big role” in … building democracy, which he says requires them to constructively critique the government, analyze government policies without malice and criticize in a mature way, using facts and evidence and not innuendos.
“Your should also suggest practical solution that will move the country forward. This requirement is fundamental to consolidating peace and progress in this country’s transformation process as we move towards getting our democracy to being a viable one,” he said.
Rather than going to war, he wants Liberians to fight diseases, using syringes as their guns and [medical] solutions be their bullets, adding that “if you want to fight, let’s fight corruption; in our fight against corruption, let sincerity be our guns and honesty be our bullets.”
“And you’re still not tired, you still want to fight. Let’s fight. If you want to fight, let’s fight against hatred. When we’re fighting hatred, let love be our guns and peace be our bullets,” he said, urging Liberians to encourage each other with progress and progressive ideas so as to rebuild Liberia once again and make it the pride of Africa as it used to be.
Dr. Nyan called for mutual respect as another way of achieving this, and that the rule of law must supersede individual status in society or position.
He says if sustaining Liberia’s democracy must step up, tribalism and ethnic politics must give way to common national interest, while the role of the watchdog like the press, civil society groups and others that have crucial role to play must be stepped up.
The National Orator observed that Liberia and its growing democracy have come a long way, citing significant strides made towards workable democratic process and culture that the society is now experiencing.
“Again after the brutal war, we have had two successful democratic elections. Elections in which several political parties participated ….,” he said, adding that Liberia can literally boast of practicing multi-party democracy during the last ten years.
He however said no democracy is perfect, citing political events in the U.S. as an example, though he says the U.S. tries to make democracy work due to the system put together.
But also recommended that consolidating Liberia’s gains and transforming the society must work hand in hand with good governance, and that the governance structure must fully empower the Liberian people to enable them express grievances, seek justice and fair-play as well as demand and shape better policies.
Having also reflected upon the co-existence of various religious groups in Liberia, Dr. Nyan urged Liberians against “creating” what he called Muslim – Christian conflict that did not exist here, and suggested the need for the country to remain tolerant of different religious groups and forge ahead.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf applauded Dr. Nyan for his patriotic Oration, and urged Liberians to adopt a new mindset as the country proceed to consolidating the peace and progress made.
Activities surrounding the observance of Liberia’s 169th Independence Day Celebration continue this week, after President Sirleaf cut ribbons to a renovated new Gender Ministry office on Capitol Bye Pass, interacted with students at the University of Liberia and opened the Omega Village where Redlight Marketeers are to be relocated.
By Winston W. Parley