News / Africa

Liberians Observe 163 Years of Independence Monday

Information Minister Cletus Sieh says after nearly six years of improvement, Liberians are thankful for electing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Multimedia

Audio
  • Liberia Information Minister Cletus Sieh spoke with Butty

  • Charles Brumskine of the opposition Liberty Party spoke with Butty

  • Liberians in the U.S. Saturday celebrated their country's 163rd independence anniversary

James Butty

Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic, is celebrating 163 years of independence Monday.

Information Minister Cletus Sieh told VOA that, after five years of significant improvement, Liberians are thankful for electing President Sirleaf.

Map of Liberia
Map of Liberia

“When Madam Sirleaf was campaigning, she promised the Liberian people that, if she got elected, she would redeem our nation. Our nation, that had been considered as a failed state, will, (has) now been accepted by the comity of nations. Now, as Liberians today, we can go to any part of the world and walk majestically knowing that we are Liberians,” he said.

Sieh also recounted other achievements during the five-year reign of President Sirleaf.

“Another significant thing is that our debt of over $4.6 billion, again because of the leadership provided by this God-sent woman, has been reduced. That is another milestone. Our roads have been rehabilitated; there is some electricity; we are not fully there yet; there is some pipe-born water, and now the health, as well as the educational system. And so, these developments are some things that we need to look at and say, ‘Thank God that we made the right decision to have Madam Sirleaf in office,’” Sieh said.

Brumskine of the opposition Liberty Party noted some of the development projects completed by the government in time for the 163rd independence anniversary.

President Sirleaf with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
President Sirleaf with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

But, he said the Sirleaf government must do more to sustain the country’s fragile peace.

“Liberians, from all walks of life, are grateful to God today that we are able to celebrate our 163rd independence anniversary. We’re all happy, but we have a salient question and that is whether we are making progress toward sustaining this fragile peace. We need to do more in terms of reconciling our people, reforming our institutions and the way we do business in Liberia,” Brumskine said.

He said there are some Liberians who feel left out of the 163rd independence anniversary celebration.

“For example, you have the commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who still have not been paid, although they completed their work about a year ago. You have teachers that are protesting on the streets because they have not been paid for over four months. And, the celebration is, for some, not much of a celebration,” Brumskine said.

In Washington, D.C., thousands of Diaspora Liberians and friends of Liberia marked the 163rd independence anniversary Saturday on the grounds of the Liberian Embassy.

Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Milton Nathaniel Barnes, said the huge crowd was a direct result of his embassy’s aggressive approach to the Liberian Diaspora.

“We’ve, over the last two years, very aggressively engaged the Diaspora to become involved in impacting positive things in Liberia,” Barnes said.

Patrick Nimely Sie-Tuon of the U.S.-based Liberia Human Rights Campaign said there were some reasons to be concerned about Liberia’s seeming stability.

“In Liberia, there is an appearance of stability, but there are some concerns that could disrupt that stability. Those concerns include the continuing corruption in the government and the refusal of the Liberian government under Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to implement the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) report,” Tuon said.

As Liberia commemorates 163 years of independence, the question still remains - from whom did the country get its independence?

A group of 19th Century African-Americans settled in Liberia around the early 1800s under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, a private organization of notable white Americans, but not a U.S. government enterprise.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid