Liberia, though, boasts of being the oldest African country with 174 years recorded in its historical existence; it, however, remains one of the poorest on the African Continent now in terms of infrastructures and human development.
According to World Population Review 2021, Liberia is among the poorest countries in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $867. Less than 20% of its population has access to electricity, and about 39% are undernourished. Its government also ranks among the most corrupt in the world, and spends relatively little on education as a share of GDP, and illiteracy is widespread. The country’s GDP has been lingering at 3.1% according to the African Development Bank’s projection in 2020.
Roads, public buildings and human development are underdeveloped and an average Liberian lives on less than $1.25 a day.
While the country is endowed with valuable natural resources and virgin scenes of tourist attraction, corruption, disloyalty, injustices, and other related human behaviors are undermining its growth; something Reverend G. Larque Vaye, senior clergyman of the of the Calvary Baptist Church, blames on all citizens and not public officials alone as being concluded deductively in the public space.
In what most members of his congregation call “Patriotic” sermons on July 25, 2021, Rev. Vaye flagged out lawless behavior including insults to public officials and tax evasion as collective behaviors that citizens, both ordinary and officials, are engaged in nowadays.
Without any distinction between Christians and non-Christians, the Baptist clergyman said Liberians without regard for authority as instructed by God are using the radio and social media to insult government officials without remorse. “We did not have this behavior before the war, but it is rampant today. Who are you, in fact, to stand and insult the leader of the country? You will be looking for your own trouble, but today, people have become so disrespectful to leaders and this is not right especially for the Christians. Christians should be law abiding and obedient to authority,” said Rev. Vaye.
In his sermon, themed, “The hard price of freedom,” the clergyman also said while government officials are stealing money and diverting to their personal use to the detriment of the country and its people, the citizens themselves are engaged in power theft.
Additionally, he said before Liberia’s war there was no bribe in schools. According to him, students used to read, spell well and whenever any student fails, he or she will sit for a makeup test and do the same test. “With this, if you will fail, it means you failed. There was no money or sex for grade in schools during our days, but today, money and sex are exchanged for grades, and the result today is clear. Students will leave college and cannot read or construct a fitting sentence. We are all responsible for what is happening to our country and must make some sacrifices by avoiding or giving up what is dear to us for the betterment of our country,” said the clergyman.
In historical perspectives, Rev. Vaye recalled how one-party rule led Liberia for 100 years and toppled in 1980 by military men under the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) on allegations of corruption, nepotism, economic marginalization and other ills. According to him, the same people who killed a President and 13 other officials for corruption and other ills returned to the same ills and the sitting head of state began killing his men who were with him in the coup d’etat.
He also recalled how war entered in Liberia in 1989 with different warring factions emerging and Liberians destroying themselves and their infrastructures for 14 years and yet corruption, nepotism and those vices could not end.
In the post-war era where much is expected to be done with all those long years of experience, the Baptist clergyman said “Corruption, nepotism, and tribalism are still with us today and there has been no change, all because we are still doing the same thing we killed others for and destroyed this country.”
Reverend Vaye, not leaving out the way forward, urged Liberians to begin accepting one another in love and exercise religious tolerance regardless of tribe, creed, or political affiliations. “Let us show love to one another and forgive each other for the wrongs. Without love and forgiveness to accept one another, we will go more than 174 years without progress as a nation,” Rev. Vaye concluded.