EDITORIAL: Liberia @ 174: Showcasing poverty or Popularity?

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.





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