Peace Ambassador Tolbert Wants Liberians Change for Success
Peace Ambassador Reverend William R. Tolbert, III has reminded Liberians that the country was on the verge of becoming self-sufficient in rice production just before the 1980 military coup, according to a press release yesterday.
Ambassador Tolbert was speaking at a Social Justice and Church Engagement Forum under the auspices of the Faith and Justice Network–Liberia Program.
He told the forum, which brought more than twenty-five senior church leaders together, that the late Chief Tamba Taylor had millions of acres of rice under cultivation in Lofa County but did not have the capacity for storage after harvest.
“So he entered into an arrangement with former President William R. Tolbert who had a storage facility in Upper Bong County where seed rice would be stored for the next farming season,” he said.
Speaking on the topic, “Living Faith, Seeking Justice, & Pursuing Peace,” Ambassador Tolbert said, “We preach God’s word by how we live,” and cited the example of Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his only son and Paul who changed after the Damascus Road experience when he encountered the Lord Jesus Christ.
“If we want hope we have to change,” he said. “We are far from where we need to be as Liberians to become self-sufficient in rice production.”
He further indicated “We traded the purest grade of iron ore, our latex (rubber) and other mineral resources for used cars and used tires. We have become “a nation of ‘dokafleh’ (used clothes). We used to be a proud people but we have settled for second best.”
He then asked, “Why was President Tolbert assassinated and 13 ministers publicly executed? The reason given was uncontrollable corruption. However, today corruption has become a vampire.”
Ambassador Tolbert said, “Our Christian faith needs to be alive and active. We must change our minds and attitudes if we must get the Liberia we want.”
Earlier, Bishop Emeritus of the Lutheran Church in Liberia Sumoward E. Harris admonished fellow church leaders to constructively engage the government in a proactive manner. “If we only criticize them in the media, we will close the door to meaningful dialogue with those in government,” he said.
Senior Church leaders expressed concern on the prevailing issues of economic hardship, unemployment, drug abuse among the youth, security, and the procurement of loans and contracts among others. The church leaders also acknowledged that the Church needs to speak with one voice.
The senior church leaders then agreed to work together on burning issues of national concern. A working committee was set up to proactively engage the government. Those on the committee include the General Secretary of the Liberia Council of Churches, The General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals of Liberia, the District Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church of Liberia, the General Overseer of the Restoration Baptist Ministries, and the Faith and Justice Network, the release signed by Rev. Daniel B. McGee said.