Liberty Party political leader, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, has reminded that as Liberians celebrate 168th Independence, the promise of the nation, at its founding, remains largely unfulfilled.
He says exercise of individual freedom and rights of the majority are constrained by ignorance, while the promised pursuit of happiness is inhibited by abject poverty, and opportunities for the exercise and improvement of “those faculties which impart to man his dignity” remain but a remote dream for too many Liberians.
He said the current political period may well be among the most important times in the history of Liberia, because Liberians are embarked on the task of remaking the country and believes future generations of Liberians will look back on this period of history and judge whether they measured up to the task of genuine nation-building in an effort to make Liberia a prosperous, just and fairer nation, or whether they continued with the “same old, same old” Liberian way; a path that has led the State down the spiral of social and economic inequality, entrenched poverty, and unabated crises, which eventually led to a brutal civil war.
“As we grapple with the challenges of these times”, Brumskine emphasized, “The most salient question before us continues to be: how do we fundamentally transform our country in ways that ensure that the dividends of peace and the benefits of our pursuit of democratic governance are widely shared, transformative, and sustainable. In other words, how do we engender changes that will visibly and meaningfully impact the lives of all of our people for good, starting with this generation of Liberians and extending, with far reaching significances, to posterity? Nothing will define us—this generation—more than how we address that question, particularly in view of our recent history.”
According to him, during these post-conflict years, how Liberians interact with one another, and manage the abundant resources of the country, whether they continue the mindset of the winner takes all in the political system or allow the continuing of the cancer of public corruption to permeate every aspect of national existence, and allow elitism and cliquishness to remain the order of the day as well as place Liberia first in all national endeavors, will all determine if the civil war was simply an interruption of the old and failed Liberia, “or whether we have learned the lessons of the war and its causes, and are now determined to set Liberia on a new trajectory of genuine national Reconciliation, Reform, Recovery, and Rebuilding.”
He said now, like never before, is the time for Liberians, as a nation and a people to unshackle themselves from the many forms of slavery that have kept the nation underdeveloped—the lack of knowledge, economic servitude, poor health, and lack of accountability, among others, which have kept the country divided and ever conflict-prone.
Delivering an Independence Day Address on behalf of the party Thursday, 23 July in Monrovia, Cllr. Brumskine, who was re-elected to the leadership of the party at a June convention in Voinjama, Lofa County – northern Liberia, said the national bond of unity of purpose and singleness of mind, as a people, is not as strong as it should be for the building of a nation-state, saying, “Our heroes and heroines, whose sacrifices and examples, should spur us to complete the work that was begun, remain owned and revered sectionally, not nationally. In short, we have much work to do to strengthen our oneness, as a people and a nation.”
However, he assures that experience from the Ebola crisis clearly bears witness that in unity, Liberians can surmount the challenges, adding: “The Ebola crisis gave birth to an attitudinal shift in our collective interactions, which must be continued in all of our national endeavors. In the midst of the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, Liberians roused a spirit of unity and advocacy in their communities; without waiting for aid, Liberians stood tall and collectively began to fight the common enemy with great success. We succeeded against the Ebola Virus Disease, because Liberians acted without consideration of one’s ethnicity, economic, social, political or religious persuasion.”
Brunskine is seeking a third opportunity to contest for Presidency in 2017 after two previous failed attempts both in 2005 and 2011 respectively. He has stressed a need for merger among over two dozen parties here as it has been convincingly proven from the two last Presidential elections that no single political party is able to achieve 50 percent plus one of the total votes as constitutionally required to take the Presidency.
The LP strongman has however been criticized in several quarters for preaching Bassa or tribal politics as he is on record to have said in 2005 that it was time Grand Bassa County produces the next Liberian President, a statement he repeated to the people of Rivercess County during campaign for the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
He said because Liberians saw Ebola as an enemy, whose mission was too dangerous to fathom, communities came together with a common purpose to make the society whole again, and it was this fortitudinous spirit — mustered up by the various communities of the body politic, which made the difference in the fight that saw Liberia declared Ebola free.
“What Liberians demonstrated during that difficult time”, he observes, “a sense of belonging and oneness, a determination to be selfless and work for the greater good of all—must characterize all that we do moving forward, beyond the 168 years of our existence.”
According to him, whether the enemy is corruption or low self-esteem, indiscipline or procrastination, abuse of power or discriminatory application of the rule of law, Liberians can overcome them all.
“We must commit to creating a new society”, he stressed, “where every Liberian can hope to enjoy the benefits of all the resources, with which God has blessed our country, believing, as we say in Liberty Party, that, ‘Everybody da somebody.’ Liberia must take a new direction—a direction that offers the greatest hope of empowering the Liberian people; a national reform that will establish justice, ensure domestic peace, and promote the general welfare of all of our people.” By Jonathan Browne