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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid