Liberia: Acceptance Speech by Grace McGill-Kpaan, Vice Standard Bearer of the Liberia National Union

Grace Kpaan, the Vice Presidential running mate for the Liberia National Union (LNU) dressed in blue.   

Dr. Clarence Kpehe Moniba, Standard Bearer of the Liberian National Union (LINU) and proud flag bearer of OUR “New Liberia” vision. My loving family and friends who stood by me and know that I will never stop fighting until we see a more prosperous and developed Liberia; to all Liberians who pray for, work for, and demand a new Liberia in which every single citizen benefits from the resources of this country they deserve.

To our sons and daughters who remain hopeful of a brighter future whey they will be well fed and have access to better healthcare and education to enable them to prepare themselves as future leaders of a better Liberia; to all of us, I say that Liberia is the greatest country in all of Africa and our dynamic administration is ready to prove this by building a nation that we all will be proud of.

To our dear political party, the Liberian National Union, I’m very humbled and honor to stand before you all today as your vice standard bearer. Mr. Standard Bearer, Chairman, and members of this historical party, I want to assure you that this is an honor I do not take lightly and I am prepared to handle it with every fiber of my being.

Today marks the birth of a new nation and the beginning of a “New Liberia”. The vision of the “New Liberia” by our young, capable, and enthusiastic Standard Bearer, Dr. Clarence Moniba, is no mistake. The Moniba/Kpaan administration will have no room for corruption; Our public resources will be used for the growth and development of our great country, Liberia.

It is no hidden secret that we have been the forerunners in the fight against corruption. We fought corruption in the past and we will fight it again. 

A few weeks ago, Liberians woke up to the shock of their lives when we stood with Dr. Clarence Moniba to fulfill the New Liberian dream; a dream that reaches to the ghettoes, the slums, the prostitution camps, the elderly, the literate and illiterate, the child street seller, the abled and disabled; this is a dream that I, as a mother, will nurture and support with all that I have. This New Liberia vision falls in line with our hopes and aspirations for our dear country, Liberia. Our presence here is not just a testament to the role women played in Liberia, but a representation and homage to great Liberian women.

We’re reminded of the legend of Madam Suakoko, a great tribal leader of earlier times; Madam Ruth Sando Perry, the great Cape Mountainian who served as our first female (interim) leader amidst a horde of men;  we’re reminded of Angie Brooks Randolph, a great Liberian woman of an iconic mark who served as the first and only African woman and second woman to ever head  the United Nations general assembly; Madam Mary Brownell who fought along with many Liberian women to restore the peace and dignity that we now enjoy in our country.

Liberia, after many years of civil conflict; we’re also reminded of Ma Gbessay who trained our young women at the Liberian National cultural center, aka Kendeja, a rich Liberian heritage. Our blessings as a Minister wouldn’t be fully told if we didn’t remember a renowned spiritual leader like Reverend Wilhelmina Dukuly, a true prophetess of God; in fact, we’re also compelled to remember our first market-woman to become first lady, Madam Nancy B. Doe, whose rise to prominence serves as a constant reminder that we’re all in this together. Furthermore, we’re reminded of our not-too-distant past that ushered in Liberia’s and Africa’s first elected female President and nobel laureate in Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

My fellow Liberians, this New Liberia cannot just remain a vision. It has to be made into reality. And that’s why, when we received the call to join this ticket, we knew something much bigger than just human works was in play here.  Together, we embark on a journey to bring about the much-needed change --- and progress that Liberia deserves as we are at a  pivotal moment in our history -- a moment when our choices will determine the trajectory of our nation. 

Our nation is brimming with untapped potential. Our land is rich with natural resources, our people are resilient and resourceful, and our history is one of courage and determination. Yet, despite these blessings, we find ourselves plagued by poverty, inequality, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness.  

Why would we join Dr. Moniba? Well, let us answer it clearly as a student of history and we know what it takes to move this country forward. Throughout our most recent turbulent history when leadership was so deearly needed to jumpstart our country again, it was the women who stood up to provide the roadmap to peace after war, tranquility after chaos, development after destruction, and a system to rebuild after failure. 

The October 10 polls are therefore a watershed moment; we must seize the moment to shape our country's future and rise above the constraints of apathy and complacency, so as to stop electing rogue and corrupt leaders. The October 10 elections should be about change, which is in our hands, and you must acknowledge that the power to shape it lies within each and every one of us. 

Our country is being torn apart by corruption and bad governance -- which has seeped deep into every crevice of public institutions --- undermining progress and suffocating the hopes of our people. We cannot afford to let this cancer persist any longer. To do so is an endorsement of a political system marred by corruption, where rogue politicians take advantage of their positions to enrich themselves while the masses suffer.    

In this election, my friends, we are confronted with the Past, the Present, and the Future. So, you may be asking in light of this, “What is the Moniba/Kpaan ticket all about”? This ticket represents Liberia’s emerging history: it tackles our challenging present times and builds for our hopeful future. Liberia’s future is, indeed, very bright because of this ticket.

If you care anything about women’s rights, this IS YOUR ticket; if you care about building a future that cares for the elderly, this is YOUR ticket; if you care anything about taking our young men and women from on the streets and giving them a purpose in life again, this IS YOUR ticket; and, seriously now, if you really care about young people’s education and future, this IS YOUR ticket; if you care about the disabled, the musicians, the ke-ke and kpen-kpen riders, the laborers and workers’ union, the store boys and girls, the yannah boys, the marketers, the lawyers, the doctors, the nurses, the actors and actresses, the soldiers, the police, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the hurt, the lame, the widows, and all other Liberians—if you care about real change—THIS is your ticket. 

Fellow Liberians, God does not vote. It is the decision that we make at the ballot box that will either break or make us. So it is time to rise above the shackles of complacency, vote with our conscience and elect individuals who have demonstrated unwavering integrity, and individuals who will put the interests of the nation above their personal gain. 

It is time to scrutinize the track records and character of those who seek our votes. But if we  elect rogue officials like it has been in the past, we are essentially handing over the keys to our nation's destruction once again. We cannot expect to achieve greatness when we knowingly elect people we know are corrupt and driven by personal gain rather than the common good. The responsibility for change lies with you and if you abuse that at the October 10 polls, you have no one to blame but yourselves for the failure of our country. 

You can't continue to point fingers at politicians when you willingly choose those who are tarnished by greed and self-interest. You must hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make at the ballot box.

For years, it has been easy to blame politicians for the failures of our nation, for the rampant corruption that has eroded the very foundations of our society. It has been easy to point fingers at them and play the blame game. But the reality is, we the people of this country are responsible for the poverty, inequality and bad governance in this country because we knowingly elect rogues yet want to expect change which is impossible.  

However, another opportunity is here again and that is the October 10 elections. On this day, the fate of our nation will lie in your hands and when you cast your vote on that day, you will be doing so not just for yourself, but, but for the generations to come.

So if you elect rogue and recycled politicians, you will harm yourself and that of your generation. But if you elect leaders who embody the principles of integrity, accountability, experience of doing it before, and selflessness, as it is with the case with Dr. Moniba and me, you will be seeking a prosperous future for your country, yourself and generations to come.

The reality is, if you once again elect rogue leaders you are giving them your seal of approval, you are directly condoning their actions and enabling them to push our nation further into chaos and despair.

The election of rogue leaders has consequences that extend far beyond personal disappointment. It is not merely a matter of temporary setback or frustration. It is the harbinger of a dark future, where corruption festers, where the interests of the few supersede the needs of the many, and where the common good is sacrificed at the altar of greed and self-interest.

Picture in your mind the scenes that will unfold if you fail to elect the rightful people into office. What will happen is a society plagued by inequality, where the gap between the haves and the have-nots widens, and the marginalized are left to fend for themselves. An economy in shambles, burdened by mismanagement and short-sighted policies, leaving the majority struggling to make ends meet while the elite thrive.

Imagine the erosion of trust, the dismantling of our democratic institutions, and the erosion of our fundamental rights and freedoms. Witness the stifling of dissent, the suppression of voices that dare to speak truth to power. Is this the future you desire for our children? Is this the legacy we wish to leave behind? We cannot simply absolve ourselves of the consequences of our choices. We cannot afford to cry foul when our decisions lead to disastrous outcomes.

Change, my fellow citizens, begins with us. We must be vigilant and discerning in our selection of leaders. We must demand transparency, accountability, and a proven track record of good governance. If you don't engage in critical thinking, seek truth beyond the superficial allure of political campaigns and demand transparency and integrity from politicians seeking power so as to not to settle for anything less, you should not cry when your hopes are shattered, when the noble ideals you once held dear crumble before your eyes. 

Do not say they failed you.  It is you that would have failed yourself because you refused to boot them out when you had the option. You cannot shift the blame onto them alone. No, you must shoulder the share of responsibility for the failure of our nation because it is our duty as citizens to be vigilant, to scrutinize the track records of all of us seeking power.

Fellow Liberians, it is time to rectify the mistakes of the past by electing a competent group of leaders with the integrity of the Moniba/Kpaan ticket in the face of deteriorating governance. It is time to take ownership of our choices. No more complaints, no more tears.  Instead, let’s channel our energy into rectifying the situation as you hold the power towards a brighter future.

We must become active participants in the democratic process, by engaging in informed discussions, and holding our leaders accountable. Let us build a society where corruption is not tolerated, where meritocracy thrives, and where the rule of law prevails.

Together, we can create a Liberia that our children will be proud to inherit. A Liberia where dreams are not crushed by corruption, but nurtured by opportunity. A Liberia where hard work, dedication, and integrity are rewarded.

But, my fellow Liberians, hope is not lost. The Moniba/Kpaan ticket stand before you today, not as individuals seeking power, but as guardians of a vision—a vision for a New Liberia where the rule of law reigns supreme, where our resources are used judiciously for the betterment of all, and where every Liberian, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to thrive.

As I stand here today, I make you a promise – the Moniba/Kpaan administration will build a Liberia that works for all its citizens, not just a privileged few. We will tackle the root causes of corruption and institute comprehensive measures to eradicate cancer from our society. 

We will strengthen our institutions, empower our law enforcement agencies, and ensure that those who betray the public trust face swift and severe consequences for their actions. No longer will corruption go unchecked; no longer will the guilty escape justice.

But our fight would not stop there. We will address the pressing issues that have plagued our nation for far too long. Our education system is in shambles, leaving our children without the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. 

We will invest heavily in education, ensuring that every child in Liberia has access to quality schooling, well-trained teachers, and the resources necessary to succeed. We will prioritize vocational training, entrepreneurship, and innovation, equipping our youth with the tools they need to build a better future.

We will tackle the healthcare crisis that has ravaged our nation. No longer will our hospitals lack basic supplies, our doctors lack the necessary training, and our people lack access to affordable healthcare. We will invest in our healthcare infrastructure, recruit and retain skilled medical professionals, and implement comprehensive health programs that prioritize prevention, early detection, and accessible treatment for all.

My friends, it is time for us to break free from the chains of dependence and chart our own course towards economic independence and prosperity. We will prioritize job creation, stimulate investment, and promote entrepreneurship. 

We will foster an environment that encourages innovation, supports small and medium-sized enterprises, and attracts both domestic and foreign investment. Together, we will unlock the true potential of Liberia's economy, creating opportunities for all and leaving no one behind.

My fellow Liberians, this Vice Presidency will truly honor the Constitutional definition of the role of the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and we will “assist the president in the discharge of his duties”. We will fight to save the 

We will fight to save the rest of this country starting with our family heritage in Bassa and Lofa; very solid base with thousands of volunteers in Montserrado and Margibi; stronghold in Bong, ties in Gbarpolu, network in Maryland, Rivercess, Rivergee; institutions in Grand Kru, operations in Sinoe, and history in Grand Gedeh.

Then we will descend and build on our solid relationships in Bomi and Cape Mount counties. Watch us make history in October, 2023. However, my friends, to do this, we have to work very hard and not take anything for granted. We have the energy, network, and strength. Let us campaign and campaign and campaign and campaigning until campaign closes at midnight on October 8, 2023. We will fight for every vote, just like we will fight for every Liberian so that their lives can be better tomorrow than what it is today.

Finally, this is a clarion call to our men: you know your mothers are the backbone of your families; you know your sisters are your precious gems to protect; you know your daughters are God’s gifts and enduring responsibilities to you. Look at us and tell us why you don’t see your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife, your girlfriend, or just your plain old fellow citizen. And if you do see the female half in your life on this ticket, then make no mistake about it: this is just as much about you as the Standard Bearer himself is about you.

And, interestingly, we have the experience of executive governance in this country; we know what it takes to deliver. Ehn you know we’ve done it before and rest assured we will do it again.  May God bless the works of our hands and save the state. Long live the Standard Bearer of the Liberian National Union; long live the partisans and peaceful citizens of the Republic of Liberia. There is only one Liberia, fellow Liberians. Let us make it the greatest it has ever been and let us do it together. Thank you and God bless this great Republic of Liberia.

May God bless Liberia, and may God bless us all.

Thank you.