Liberia: Naymote Questions ‘Bicentennial Celebration amid Poverty’ (Flashback: Daily Observer Newspaper – 01/13/2022)

The administration of President George Weag has been warned that the ongoing bicentennial celebration is being held within an environment of high inequality, unemployment, political corruption, and mass poverty among the people of Liberia.

The bicentennial, which the government has invested a lot in since last year, kicked-off on Jan. 7 at Providence Island and in the coming weeks, the celebration will continue with a lot more parties.

The bicentennial celebrates  the arrival of the first group of freed African-Americans to Liberia, marking the beginning of the establishment of a modern state in Liberia.

But for Liberia’s leading democratic advancement institution, the Naymote, it is worrying that after two hundred years of nation-building and state-building, Liberia is yet to establish a functional state that promotes and protects human rights, and provides effective human and physical security for its people.

“Naymote joins President George M. Weah in calling for national unity and reconciliation as we commemorate this bicentennial anniversary.  But we implore President Weah to lead by examples, by walking the talk and ensure that state institutions are empowered enough to fight those vices— such as corruption, discrimination, inequality, and human rights abuses —that undermine national unity and prosperity,”  the organization said in a release. 

Naymote also implores the government to accelerate the implementation of the Local Government Act of 2018 and enact the Revenue Sharing Bill. Both pieces of legislation are crucial to advancing socio-economic development and ending the politics of centralization that have kept the rural communities marginalized and underdeveloped over the last two centuries. 

“National unity will depend on recognizing the contributions of all Liberians to the establishment, growth, and development of Liberia over the last two centuries,” Naymote.  “It is therefore imperative to design programs that promote a common national identity and unite Liberians of all social backgrounds. We, therefore, call on the Government of Liberia to fast-track legislation and constitutional reforms that grant Liberian citizenship to individuals of Liberian descent who have previously acquired citizenship of other countries, and to adopt a policy that grants visas to descendants of free black Americans.”

According to Naymote, restoring the citizenship of individuals of Liberian descent and giving special incentives to African-Americans to travel to Liberia will renew Liberia’s commitment to its founding objectives as a home of liberty and equality for all descendants of free black Americans as well as provide opportunities for economic growth and development.

Daily Observer Newspaper Publication – 01/13/2022

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