Liberia: Is This the Africa Our Ancestors Anticipated, Desired?
African Liberation Day message from the office of presidential candidate, Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe, standard-bearer of the Liberian People’s Party
On Thursday, May 25, 2023, we will all be joining our millions of brethren across the continent in commemorating the 60th anniversary of African Liberation Day. As Africa’s first Republic, there is no doubt that Liberia was one of the primary sources of inspiration for the then newly independent African countries in initiating diplomatic activities that eventually led to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity on May 25, 1963. Along with the erstwhile Empire of Ethiopia, Liberia played a pivotal role for millions of Africans from every nook and cranny of our Continent, as well as Black People around the world, in reinvigorating their sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. In other words, the mere existence of Liberia as a self-governing African country, gave impetus to the burning desires and yearnings of Africans and people of African descent everywhere to fiercely resist all forms of persecution and unshackle themselves from the yoke of colonialism and racial oppression.
History recalls that in July 1959, then Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, President Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea and our own President William V.S. Tubman held a trailblazing summit in the historic Central Province (Nimba was not yet a county) city of Sanniquellie, to lay the foundation of what later became known as the Organization of African Unity in 1963. Today, that organization is simply known as the African Union, symbolizing the desire of the African People to form a united front against some of the common challenges of humankind. Since its establishment 60 years ago, the OAU/AU has been robustly championing the causes of Africa.
As I see it, the relentless struggles by leaders of the various liberation movements across the Continent and the outcomes achieved thus far, in terms of the political independence of all the 54 countries of Africa could rightly be labeled as African Liberation 101. Now after more than six decades of the founding of the OAU/AU, it is imperative that the current batch of African leaders begin to re-imagine the socio-economic future of our Continent, or African Liberation 102. The incumbent and future generations of African leaders must now relentlessly focus on forging a united front and harnessing their energies for the total economic liberation of our Continent.
As an economist and a lawyer, I strongly believe that one of the viable paths to boosting the economic regeneration of our Continent is to remove all artificial obstacles, or bureaucratic red-tapes that tend to stymie Africa’s economic growth and retard comprehensive development as well as prosperity. On this 60th anniversary of African Liberation Day, I hereby call on all African leaders — from Monrovia to Mombasa; from Cape Town to Cairo — to collectively formulate forward-looking policies via the African Union, that will fast-track and boost intra-African trade. Boosting intra-African trade will not only reduce the aggregate trade deficits of our Great Continent, but will also radically improve our dire balance of payments situation and our respective foreign exchange reserve capacities. This is simply because vibrant intra-African trading will be comparatively cheaper than the current state of affairs, wherein every African country tends to be economically tied to its former colonial master, incurring hefty costs in economic transactions.
Fellow Liberians, as we observe African Liberation Day this Thursday, we must all search our souls and prick our respective conscience with some tough questions: Is this the Africa that our ancestors had anticipated and desired? After political liberation, what next? For us particularly as Liberians, we need to honestly take stock of our national stewardship. Are the actions and inactions of our current leaders positively contributing to sustaining and enhancing African liberation?
Fellow compatriots, as citizens of a country whose existence and longevity served as a source of inspiration for millions of Africans in Africa and all those in the Diaspora, we need to redouble our efforts in setting good examples for the rest of the Black Race and the entire global community to emulate. It is pathetic that the Lone Star, which was once “a Beacon of Hope”, has today become a valley of hopelessness, due to the prevailing pervasive corruption and bad governance in our country. As I see it, it will be extremely difficult for Liberia to continue playing any pivotal role in the socio-economic liberation of Africa when our current fleet of rulers are amply demonstrating that they’re patently incapable of liberating their own people from the cruel tentacles of poverty.
And so, fellow compatriots, on this auspicious occasion of our Great Continent, I humbly renew my appeal to everyone of you to join our Movement in liberating Liberia from the hands of greedy hustlers who will stop at nothing in licking their fingers all the way to their elbows. We must first of all, liberate Liberia so that together, we can join our brethren across the continent in the socio-economic liberation of Africa. To liberate Liberia from bad governance, pervasive corruption and their debilitating effects, we must gallantly look forward to a robust future, rather than continuing to look up to a corrupt present, or backward to a feeble past.
Fellow Liberians, without any modicum of hesitation, I can assure you all that the Liberian People’s Party and the pro-Gongloe movement best represent a robust, innovative future of our country. When I am elected President in the October 10, 2023 elections, Liberia as the oldest Republic on the Continent, shall take its rightful place within the comity of nations. As clearly indicated in our 10-Point Agenda, which includes a zero-tolerance for corruption, an impartial enforcement of the law and value-added, export-oriented agricultural policies, Liberia shall regain its lost status, so that our country can once again begin to play an assertive role in African affairs for the common good of Africans everywhere.
Happy African Liberation Day to all Africans around the globe.
A BETTER LIBERIA IS POSSIBLE.