A renowned Liberian broadcast journalist has voiced his outrage and disappointment at Liberians’ inability to learn from the past and continue to exhibit characteristics that brought the 14 years of mass destruction in the country.
Journalist Ledgerwood Rennie, who is the Deputy Director General of the state-run Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), said that the country is not progressing because it is experiencing a high level of indiscipline and dishonesty amongst its people both at the lowest and highest level of the societal ladder.
Journalist Rennie made these comments when he served as the commencement speaker at the graduation exercises of the Monrovia College and Industrial Training School.
The graduation ceremony was held last Friday at the Monrovia City Hall and attended by many government officials and business executives as well as parents and well-wishers of the graduates.
He spoke to the graduates on the theme: “The Need for Inculcating the Culture of Respect and Integrity in Our Society for a Solid Youth Education.
Mr. Rennie, who is also a Professor of Mass Commmunication at the University of Liberia (UL), said, “As I stand here to deliver this commencement address my heart bleeds for Liberia. This is because of the increasing level of indiscipline that is seemingly taking over the way we conduct ourselves as a nation and people.”
This high level of indiscipline, fueled by an equally matched level of dishonesty, is slowing, retarding the nation’s progress which, “Just few years ago, was being hailed by our international friends and partners.
“Today, these very friends and partners who have since come to assist us in our monumental task of rebuilding our country after years killing ourselves and destroying our land are beginning to get weary with the way things are turning out.”
The veteran broadcaster intimated that Liberians are showing signs of leading themselves again down to that slippery slope of self-destruction. “We cannot fool ourselves thinking that with the silence of the guns and ten years of sustained peace, we have brought back ourselves to being a disciplined people and an honest society. The fact is that the contrary is the truth.”
If the war has left nothing that is so glaring in our daily life, whether at the family, community, local or national levels, it is a dishonest society and an indiscipline people, Mr. Rennie declared.
“We demonstrate these vices every day of our lives.”
He furthered, “It is not just staggering, it is alarming and worrisome; and if not checked, could lead to catastrophic consequences, not mainly for the older generation of the populace, of whom are the minority and have lived the glorious days of Liberia, but for us and I dare say you the younger generation, who are now poised to inherit the future of our country.”
He said no amount of denial, lip-service or glossy approach to addressing the level of indiscipline and dishonesty that have become a way of life will save Liberia from further stagnation, decadence and snail growth and development we continue to experience.
“For me this is the problem with Liberia and with us as a people,” he said.
Every Liberian may be yearning for a better Liberia, and some are honestly laboring for a better Liberia, but majority are undermining the collective growth and improvement of the society and people, he declared. “[We are petuating this] perhaps sub-consciously or even consciously, through our entrenched individual, community and institutional acts of indiscipline and dishonesty.”
This, he said, is being done by applauding and rewarding outright acts of indiscipline and dishonesty. Liberians salute the perpetrators, calling them rights activists and advocates.
“Some of us brand these perpetrators as tough-talking, self-proclaimed, loud-mouth political and social pundits who bring very little value to the national platform when they dissent, other than openly insulting national political and social leaders when they differ; or rather inciting the mass majority of our gullible population against the status-quo,” he said.
The commencement speaker noted that national Opinion Leaders, for selfish social and political gain, willfully take to our airwaves with half-truths, outright lies, scorn and innuendoes vilifying national public servants from the highest office to the lowest about their stewardship.
“This is bad for our fledgling democracy and sets a bad foundation for open dissent which must be part of our national order. Dissent in a civilized society is characterized by a culture of rationality and respect for one another regardless of the views or opinion held. However, for us it is the opposite.
Liberians are also fond of hailing national leaders who abuse the public trust and/or coffers, calling them rich people and bestowing honor upon them, especially in our religious institutions or social organizations. This too is disgusting and demeaning! It has to stop.
National Leaders also demonstrate little respect for the offices and people they represent through actions, in-actions and utterances. “They insult each other, plot against each other, and quarrel amongst and between themselves, many at times for no tangible reasons. How then can a divided team be a winning team?” he asked.
The height of indiscipline and dishonesty at all levels of our society are reaching new [levels], and I dare say record-breaking proportions! No respect for our Leaders! No respect amongst ourselves.