Better Future Foundation (BFF), in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation, of the University of Liberia and its partners have been participating in peace and reconciliation activities in observance of Liberia’s 54th National Unification Day, with a call on the youth to “Serve as Catalysts for Unification, Peace and Democracy” in the governance process of the country.
The President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Charles Coffey, in his address, called on Liberians to rise above their ethnic, political and other differences and embrace unity in diversity.
He admonished members of the Youth Beyond Barriers (YBB), and a gathering of high schools and university students in Monrovia to eschew acts and practices which have the tendency to undermine the peace, stability, and development of the country.
While acknowledging that there were lapses in the governance of Liberia since its establishment and independence as a sovereign state, the current generation of Liberians has the challenge to work towards alleviating some of the lapses if the country is to move towards genuine national reconciliation, said Coffey.
“ It is our time to be united and focused and to engage in meaningful ventures. Let us stop casting blames on each other and use our history and diversity to create a sustainable vibrant society,” the PUL President urged.
Reflecting on the significance of National Unification Day, Rev. Jasper Ndabolor,said the ultimate desire of President William V.S Tubman, whose administration crafted the unification and integration policy, was to unite Liberians from all strata of the society.
“During his presidency William Tubman brought about so many policies to integrate the natives with the settlers from the Western plantations. Tubman’s open door and unification policies among others were all intended to unite and foster cooperation, peace and reconciliation and open the country to foreign investments,” said Rev. Ndabolor.
Prior to the launch of the unification and integration policies, indigenous Liberians who resided in the rural parts of the country were excluded by the then settler ruling elites from the governance of the country and made to pay taxes to the central government that brought them no benefits, Dr. Ndabolor recalled.
“Forced labor was imposed on the indigenous people in rural areas. Government officials maltreated them. At times, those who were unable to pay customs duties and taxes were made to sit in the sun for hours bound in ropes,” he said.
Dr. Ndabolor underscored the need for Liberians to promote the unification and integration policy for socio-economic growth and prosperity and told the gathering that over the years, Liberians have been at loggerheads as a result of propaganda and not politics. “Politics enables us to move forward but propaganda tears us apart,” Dr. Ndabolor warned.
On the best way forward for Liberia’s peace and progress, Rev. Ndabolor said Liberians must hold on to God who will enable them to foster genuine healing and national unity, saying, “The Bible has been a major instrument in promoting peace since the days of our forefathers.”
A senior electrical consultant, Mr. Henry S. York stressed the need for Liberians to consider themselves as one family with a common destiny.
“When other people succeed, we should not envy them but rather support them in the development of the country. He said Liberians must support those who succeed and avoid spreading gossips and falsehoods against each other based on envy and other pecuniary gains,” Elder York indicated.
According to him, “Liberia is not a poor country because a poor country cannot attract so many investors. The country is rich with natural resources that need to be properly managed and used prudently for the common good of all and for the peace and stability of the country.”