In July 1822, freed black slaves from America settled in Liberia. They were excited to be at a place where they had freedom to do whatever they wanted.
Soon, they decided to become an independent state; that would enable them to be recognized and carry out international engagements.
But little did they know that running an independent state was different from working in old folk home, factories, department stores and the rest.
On July 26, 1847, Liberia, became the first oldest independent republic to become an independent state.
July 26, 2021 it celebrated its 174th Independence Day. It was on this day Liberia, which means “land of the free,” gained its independence.
Surely, its meaning-‘land of the free’ actually suites the country. A place seen as refuge by ex-slaves who could not easily assimilate in the new American society.
Before then, In 1822, free African Americans settled in Liberia and hurriedly needed to be recognized as an independent nation. Perhaps the settlers were only focusing on their emancipation, and only needed place of freedom.
When they announced to the world and recognized first by Great Britain the ‘colonial masters’ or former slave masters; thereby United States was somehow under pressure to recognize them. The USA, maybe did not want to give them their blessings because, they, were not yet ripe to manage a state and giving them the go ahead could muddy the road in the future.
And now for sure, the USA was to some level right.
Now, it is 174 years and the question is Liberia showcasing Level of poverty or its popularity?
As the oldest independent country in Africa, yes, it is popular. It helped many countries to gain independence and fought for the liberation of other countries.
While doing all these, it forgot to improve its infrastructure, its human index capacity and advancement towards international standard.
Worse of it all, it showcases its popularity during the days of the cold war. In addition to that, the years of civil war increased significantly its level of ‘popularity’; but at a sad side anyway.
Ironically, some of those countries they helped to exhibit or showcase their popularity, are ahead in terms of development and the poverty rates are reducing.
But in Liberia, in the capital city, some structures such as zinc shacks, mud or dirt brick structures are still seen. In addition to that, technology wise, it is backward.
But on top of it all, its healthcare system is bad, judicial system is still struggling to be at its best, education, a huge challenge and infrastructure line, are all in bad shape.
Today, it is a shame and a complete disgrace that Liberia is still in the state of begging and is not giving.
With all this level of poverty showing , where many people go to bed without meal, does not speak good of this nation.
Maybe the United States coupled with the other slave masters were right at that time that it would be premature to grant independent status to Liberia. Probably, the young country was still ‘under training’ but unwilling to go for advance testing; which would have given them the greenlight to total independence.
It is fair to say that many of these backwardness can be attributed to past leadership. If previous leadership had mustered the courage to ensure that some basic things like healthcare system, judiciary , education and infrastructure are key priorities , this country would not be at this level.
This needs to start now from the current administration of President George Weah. We are not saying that all can be done under his leadership. But they can begin from somewhere; which will be of great significance.
At this age, it is about time for all to sit and see what needs to be done, match its popularity with development, rather than poverty and popularity.
We call on this administration and those that will come to make a difference in terms of improvement.
Liberia, let the next independence celebration try to showcase improvements in some of these areas rather than showcasing poverty.