By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard- Taylor has stressed that without fear or favor Librarians must do all they can to ensure that the country remains on the path of coexistence.
“Let me say without fear or favor– that no matter the differences or no matter the circumstances- we must remain on the path of peaceful coexistence; Which must be both a personal and national commitment of all Liberians; at home and abroad
The VP made the statement when she delivered the keynote at the ceremony marking the 2022 National Kukatornon Peace Festival held at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex, Congo Town on Wednesday,17, 2022, organized by the Liberia Crusaders for peace and the Mano River Women.
VP Taylor said the program signifies the commitment made by the Liberian people more than 19 years ago to bring an end to the civil war; and to do all within the powers to promote sustainable peace and genuine reconciliation in Liberia; as stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on August 18, 2003 in Accra, Ghana.
“There will be no more war within and without our borders; for we know that wars do not settle issues of life; and the costs are too high for any nation and people to bear.
“That our collective Institutions will uphold the tenets of Good Governance; and utilize all other means at their disposal – short of WAR; in line with the rule of law; to discuss burning issues; in order to chart the road map for the forward movement of our nation”, said the Liberian Vice President.
Speaking further she hope that the government, will continue to do its best to uphold the rule of law; encourage dialogues with all segments of the society; and continue to work to sustain the peace; keeping in mind the words of Former UN Secretary General – Kofi Annan; who said and I quote:
“The will of the people must be the basis of governmental authority. That is the foundation of democracy. That is the foundation of good governance.”
Continuing, she acknowledged that as the country celebrate 19 years of Peaceful Coexistence and Democracy; it is important to consider the times and seasons that the nation is in, saying “As we each remember; the many years of internal conflict; which probably began with the decision of some of the Chiefs, many years ago, to sell their brothers into slavery; it has been a long journey indeed. But thankfully; after 175 years of existence; our Democratic Nation, the first in Africa, is alive and on the path to building a better nation for all Liberians.”
Touching on women, the Liberian first female Vice-President noted that the roles of the women are more necessary today than before. For with their sheer numbers across their region of being about 50% of the population – they can coordinate and pull their human and capital resources to elect more women to elected offices.
She emphasized that women should no longer be women Chairladies who rally support for all male elected positions and complain when they do not fulfill your expectations. It is time for women to support female candidates so they reach the constitutional mandate for equal rights for all.
“It is then and only then the dynamics of nations in our sub-region will change to reflect the inclusion of all for the peace and development of our nations”, the VP emphasized further during the occasion.
In furtherance she highlighted issues of concern, to include increased Women’s Political Participation (a necessary ingredient for inclusion and participation of 50% of the Population).The need to ensure that marginalized groupings are fully represented. The need to provide a safe space free from violence during the electoral process; especially for female contestants.
The need to ensure the reduction of SGBV across our Nation. The need to ensure that the electoral process is free, fair and transparent.The need to ensure that the Government and its partners continue to be engaged with solving the issues of concern and development of our people.
The need during this Bicentennial Celebration to put in measures to include all of Liberia’s tribes and groupings – including the Congos, the Americo Liberian, the Fulas, the Sarpo and any other tribe not included on the list of tribes of Liberia. The need to adjust the words of the National Motto to read – the Love Liberty brought us together, VP Taylor pointed out.
“Let me leave you with these 2 quotes of sobering words from one of Africa’s best Sons Kofi Annan, which should set our hearts at ease. He said and I quote:
“It is transparent and accountable institutions, not ‘strong men’ or strong leaders, that safeguard democracy and create the conditions for peace and prosperity.”
“Democracy is not just about elections, rather, democracy is first and foremost about laws and institutions that guarantee the rights of its citizens, and respects, even protects, religious freedom”