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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid