MONROVIA – President George Weah Monday said a genuine national unity and reconciliation is the foundation upon which citizens must build a new Liberia – and that must become an imperative agenda of all current and future national development policies.
The projects and programs, according to the Liberian leader, emanating from these policies should focus on eliminating all forms of discrimination and exclusion in the country.
“This is our only option for survival and continuity as a holistic and inclusive body politic, even as we strive to recover from the devastation and division that characterized our recent civil conflict,” the Liberian leader added.
“We must focus on promoting unity amongst all Liberians, wherever they may reside, and encourage all to make meaningful contributions to the nation-building tasks of our country.”
President Weah was speaking at the occasion marking the official launch of the Bicentennial commemoration of the founding of what is now today called Liberia dating from 1822-2022.
He said redefining Liberia’s identity and building a shared sense of nationalism should be at the center of continued reconciliation in the country. “The model for genuine national unity and reconciliation in Liberia is inspired and founded on positive cultural values, citizenship building, good governance, economic empowerment, and the rule of law,” he added.
“Let us therefore continue to embrace the tenets of National Unity as we move forward – together – towards becoming a reconciled and democratic nation, whose citizens are at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and the world.”
‘Liberians must co-exist’
Recognizing ethnic groups, religious beliefs and regions, President Weah said Liberians should continue to co-exist peacefully as one united nation in accordance with the Constitution. “We, as Liberians, can only promote National Unity and Reconciliation by living together in peace and harmony,” President Weah added.
President Weah added that Liberians can also promote National Unity and Reconciliation through exercising tolerance by accepting each other’s way of life.
Another major tool in promoting national unity and reconciliation is patriotism, according to President Weah, identifying it as the bedrock of the country’s national foundation.
“Because when there is love for one’s nation, such love will engender a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood and fraternity among us as citizens of Liberia, our common country,” he added.
He called on Liberians to denounce and combat acts, writings and utterances which, which according to him, are intended to promote any kind of discrimination, intolerance or lack of justice, all of which are counter-productive to the achievement of national Unity and reconciliation.
In fostering genuine national unity and reconciliation, President Weah said Liberians must let go of the past, embrace the present within the context of their diversities, and give birth to the future with unity, peace, reconciliation and sustainable development as the country’s imperative agenda.
“I want to call on all Liberians to champion the cause of national unity and to reconcile our differences for Liberia’s growth and development. Let us reinforce and strengthen the common heritage that unites all of us, both the descendants of the indigenous people and the descendants of the settlers. We are One People, with One Destiny,” he said.
“Whatever our differences, we are Liberians first! As Liberia is the only country that we have, we must do all in our powers to keep it safe, not only for our citizens and foreign residents, but for all who would visit us as friends of Liberia, for work, for play, for business, for investment, and for learning.”
Fighting discrimination, intolerance
The Liberian leader also called on his kinsmen to unite in fighting discrimination in every phase and form of socio-economic cohabitation and collaborations as Liberians both at home and in the diaspora. “Let us fight intolerance and impatience with one another. Let us fight hatred and malice.”
“These are all negative vices that detract from our higher purpose of oneness and national coherence. Because there is so much more that unites us than that which may tend to divide us, let us celebrate the complexities of our rich diversities, and live in peace, unity, and harmony as our brother’ and sisters’ keepers.”
Living beyond Bicentennial
Embarking on another journey for the next two hundred years, the Liberian leader called on citizens to think beyond Monday’s Bicentennial celebrations and also think about the generations that will succeed in the years to come, and the beautiful ones who are not yet born.
“Beyond the Bicentennial celebrations, what are those things that we must do to ensure that Liberia is a better place when we leave it, than when we met it?”
“The answer to these questions must include, but not be limited to, a recognition of the following challenges, and a call to action to resolve them.”
“Let us begin with Climate Change which is a threat to our very existence, and therefore we must join the rest of the world to save our planet.”
Monday’s program was graced by foreign dignataries, including Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio, Yemi Osinbajo, vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and a United States of America delegation, among others.