River Gee County Senator ConmanyWesseh, who chairs the Senate committee on peace, reconciliation and good governance here is calling for a National Day of Peace to be celebrated on 18th August each year as a working holiday.
He says such day should be commemorated throughout the country characterized by thanksgiving, peace education andfestivals, including cultural, sports and other activities emphasizing, “never again to war” based on the causes and lessons of the Liberian civil war.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia Tuesday, August 18, which marked the 17th Anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) brokered in Accra, Ghana that ended hostility in the country in 2004, Sen. Wesseh also suggested creation of a special national recognition for peace which could be done in two categories at separate ceremonies – one to be named Legislative Medal for Peace to be awarded annually by the Liberian Legislature to lawmakers whose Legislative leadership may have contributed in special ways to promotion and maintaining of peace in Liberia; and the other category could be called the State Medal of Peace to be awarded by the President of Liberia to individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the promotion and maintaining of peace in the country.
“I believe that by taking these legislative actions in remembrance of the CPA, we could be reminding ourselves, the people we represent and those who stood by Liberia especially, those whose blood and sweat made us to be alive today that we made a promise for peace to keep and vow to renew in the best interest of our children and future generations”, he adds.
Liberians warring factions and civil society organizations met in the Ghanaian capital, Accra with support of the international community and signed a peace deal that ended 14 years of bloody civil war and ushered in a National Transition Government and subsequent democratic governance after disarmament of belligerent forces by 15,000-strong UN Peacekeeping forces.
Sen. Wesseh recalls that on August 18, 2003, Liberian leaders made a solemn and strong pledge to end the war by signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which was the outcome of three months (June to August) of negotiations.
He says by their signatures, the leaders, in the name of the Liberian people promised the country and the world at large that Liberia would never go to war with itself again; that Liberians would never allow the use of Liberian territory for war against its neighbors; that they would disarm themselves and remove weapons of destruction from the politics and rebuild, reform and re-create governing institutions such as the legislature, the executive and judiciary necessary for enduring peace, and use electoral means to choose leaders as provided for in the Constitution, among others.
He reflects that justice, truth and reconciliation will be Core Avenue to sustained peace; that Liberians would give hope to the children and young people of the country that there is a future for which to live and work; and, that they were fully and unwaveringly committed to peace, socio-economic progress, democracy, and above all, to love of country.
“On this 18th day of August, 2020, we the people of Liberia must be proud of ourselves that we have been keeping our pledge for peace. We the people should therefore celebrate that peace have won against war.
To continue the victory of peace over war, we must never allow any of our institutions or individual leaders to be so intolerant as to force our citizens to choose a foreign country to live as refugees fearing for their safety. We must continue to freely organize ourselves to pursue our political, religious and other wishes, ambitions, interests and beliefs; and we must express our views on all matters without fear, but guided by patriotism, truth and civility,” he pleads.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne