Three southeastern counties of Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee have been selected to host the country’s 169th Independence activities.
The events will be officially commemorated on July 26, 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has disclosed.
The three counties will bring the numbers to 14 all of the counties that have hosted the independence celebration since the ascendency of the Unity Party-led government in 2006.
The new team of clustered counties to host the celebration will become the second since Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu counties were combined to host the 2013 Independence ceremonies.
President Sirleaf made the disclosure at a special press conference held at the Presidential Palace in Greenville, Sinoe County. She called on authorities of those three counties and their citizens to begin early preparations so as to achieve the best results as expected.
“We now know that we are coming to the last few of these [July 26] celebrations outside Monrovia, which prior to our ascendency to power had hosted the occasions throughout our national existence,” President Sirleaf said.
The President noted that it was her administration that started the rotation of the independence celebrations that have seen some level of development in the various counties that had hosted the events.
She said it is the UP-led government that changed it all by taking the celebration to the people, adding, “And so, we have had it in all of the other counties, except four that are left. We are now headed next year for the next cluster that will include Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee.”
To the contrary, historical records reveal that it was the actually late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. who began the tradition to rotate the Independence Day celebrations to the various counties of the Republic of Liberia.
According to eminent Liberian historian, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, the National Independence Day celebration of 1972 was held in Sanniquellie, Nimba County where Dr. E. B. Kesselly served as national orator. In 1973 the celebration was held in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County with oration delivered by Ambassador James Freeman; while n 1974 the Yancy Peters Flah delivered the national oration at the celebration in Zewdru, Grand Gedeh County.
Dr. Dunn, who himself served as national orator at the Independence Day celebration of 2012, is in possession of copies of said orations from the Tolbert era.
President Sirleaf also noted that it was her administration that started the County Development Fund and all of those things that bring development to the people outside of the capital city.
The President said the preparations are not only about the government and the construction of some major facilities and support, but also to see some of the prominent and fortunate sons and daughters of those counties going back to carry out tangible development activities.
“We want to see some of those individuals do things like what we saw in Grand Kru with Senator Peter Coleman and Representative Numene Bartekwa,” she said.
Senator Coleman has a very modern hotel in the outskirts of Barclayville which helped to host many of the Ambassadors that graced this year’s celebration. Rep. Bartekwa also has a hotel and an entertainment center.
In Sinoe, Supt. Romeo Quaiah also has a modern residence that hosted Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr.
“These are the kinds of things that we would like to see our citizens get involve into. We want to encourage the citizens of the next three counties to start doing things in their respective places, because that is the spirit of the rotation,” she noted.
President Sirleaf further disclosed that River Cess County will be the last county to host the final Independence Celebrations, climaxing the tenure of her presidency.
“We want to give them more time, because there are lots of work to be done in the county. We want to see them transformed by the time we reach them in 2017,” President Sirleaf said.
One reflective thing about the River-Cess celebration is that it will be happening in a very politically tense period as the nation would be poised for general and presidential elections.
“That’s going to be a tough year too because of the political atmosphere that will be around, but we will be ready for it too,” the President said.