Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review Liberia’s Symbols, History, Sawyer Urges Liberians at National Vision Meeting

08/04/2010 - Sidiki Trawally

Dr. Sawyer addressing traditional chiefs and county officials in Gbarnga

GBARNGA, Bong County -

Source: FrontPage Africa

The Chairman of the Governance Commission of Liberia is calling for a review of Liberia’s national monuments and symbols including the Flag to strengthen their capacity in enhancing unity and national identity.

Addressing an assembly of traditional chiefs and county officials including superintendents at the ongoing broad-based stakeholders’ consultations on national visioning at the Gbarnga Administrative building Tuesday, Dr. Amos Sawyer suggested that Liberians should begin to take a hard look at the Liberian Seal and its motto which reads “the love of liberty brought us here.”

The GC Chairman argued that such a motto does not represent the majority of Liberians. He wants Liberians to understand they are and where they want to go as a people. “How we see ourselves is crucial to our national visioning process. We have to develop a mindset and take ownership of our national development agenda. That is the national psychology that will take us in the driver seat.”

The learned Professor also called for the re-examination of Liberia’s history to enable the citizens to begin building national unity. He advised Liberians to abandon the version of Liberian history that focus primarily on stories of conquest of settlers over natives and promote historical interpretation of Liberia as a mosaic.

The former interim President Sawyer, in his presentation insists the Liberian history is flawed. The GC Boss disclosed most of the stories history being taught in schools, etc focus mainly on wars, disputes; etc which he observes is not helping to strengthen their unity. “We must also address the Mandingo “outsider” myth of contemporary history,” he told the audience.

For example, Dr. Sawyer told the Chiefs and County officials from across the country that majority of Liberian children do not know who King Sao Bosso was. “All they hear is he was a warrior; he beheaded this person and that person. Our children don’t know, because history is not telling them the truth. What we need to know is King Sao Bosso was a Mandingo; a great leader who led a multi-community of ethnic groups in the country.”

He maintained the current national visioning for a long-term growth and development strategy for Liberia can be realized if all Liberians begin to think about genuine reconciliation among them. The GC Chairman expressively noted that one of the major socio-political goals of a new vision for Liberia is having a strong sense of patriotism.

He stressed the need for Liberians to develop a strong sense of citizenship, unity and cohesion. “We should consolidate institutions of good governance, reduce disparities and marginalization; and ensure equity through policies of “growth with development and strengthen commitment to moral, ethical and accountable governance as obligation of government, private sector and citizens,” said Dr. Sawyer.

The Chairman urged that in developing a new Liberian vision and mission, the people should transcend competing historical identities: “Americo-Liberian” or “Congo” versus “indigenous” or “native” and develop sense of common or shared identity. He also urged Liberians to change the mentality that Liberia is America’s Stepchild. “It’s not helping us.”

Also making presentation on the prospect of economic growth and development in Liberia, Deputy Planning Minister for Economic and Policy, Sebastian Muah asked the traditional chiefs to support the national visioning process. He underscored the need for a national vision and long-term plan for growth and development in Liberia.

Minister Muah emphasized that the national visioning scheme is not owned by the Unity Party led government but a national document that will profit all Liberians. “Whether President Sirleaf wins reelection or not, what we are doing today is to set the stage for future generation to be stronger.”

Minister Muah, speaking in simple Liberian English told the Chiefs that the current environment of sustained peace, visionary leadership and political stability presents a unique opportunity for Liberia to transform from a low income to a middle income status consistent with sub-Saharan African standards by 2030.

The Gbarnga meeting was part of Government’s effort to craft a long-term growth and development strategy for Liberia that will succeed the current strategy, the Lift Liberia Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), which concludes in June 2011. The effort will transcend administrations and require the strategy be pragmatic, comprehensive and inclusive to ensure that the gains in economic, social, and political opportunities are shared by the population.

The Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and the Governance Commission launched the process to develop a new vision for Liberia to replace the 1821 vision of “Christianizing and civilizing” Liberia.

The Chiefs were led to the meeting by Chief Zanzan Karwor, head of the national traditional chief council while Grand Bassa county Superintendent Julia Cassell headed an array of Superintendents. Both Chief Karwor and Supt. Cassell thanked the Ministry of Planning and the Governance Commission for promoting decentralization in Liberia. They assured the Government of their full participation in the national visioning process in all districts and towns across Liberia.

To be called “Liberia Rising 2030”, the idea is to solicit opinions on the concept of a new vision for Liberia and gather recommendations from stakeholders who have been challenged to take ownership of their country’s future.

The first in the series of the broad-based consultations was held Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at the Paynesville Townhall with the Civil Service Organizations and Religious community. Interest groups and professional organizations participated in the Thursday, July 29, 2010 session while the students and youth groups as well as the opposition political parties converged on Friday.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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