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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs