Politics

Nobel Laureate Gbowee Seizes Her Moment – Liberia’s Independence Day Orator Speaks Urgent Truth to Power – FrontPageAfrica

At 172, Liberia has come of age and Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, the newest orator for what’s inarguably the most important platform for anybody to converse fact to power, did not disappoint. The timing and the message hit closed to house for a nation on the receiving end of a recurring cycle of impunity and in Gbowee’s personal phrases, “a don’t care attitude” toward progress”.


Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]


Monrovia – President George Weah’s bold endorsement of Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee because the orator of the 172nd Independence Anniversary comes at a important time for the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, a celebration whose followers have, for greater than a yr now, exhibited a thin skin toward criticisms of a legendary determine and a authorities driving a tidal wave of unfolding realities drawing hanging similarities to the previous government it as soon as took to activity for failing to handle the plight of these at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Gbowee confirmed up Friday, preceded with a fame for not holding again or mincing her words – when it comes to the burning issues of the day.

No Holds Barred Persona

“How can we be stronger together when individuals who were poor yesterday are now living in mansions and driving cars that cost enough to fund good schools for our children? • How can we be stronger together when women are still dying in the hundreds during the process of giving birth? • How can we be stronger together when there is a serious war on the bodies of women without any legal recourse in many instances? • How can we be stronger together when there is a prevalence of selective justice? • How can we be stronger together when political appointment is based not on competence but party affiliation? • How can we be stronger together when our educational system is a huge challenge? How can we be stronger together when we can’t feed ourselves? • How can we be stronger together when interests are never national but individual?”

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Independence Day Orator, 2019

In 2012, she took former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, with whom she shared the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to activity over corruption and nepotism.
The Nobel Laureate declared in October 2012 that the nepotism of Sirleaf’s government was symbolized completely by the high positions occupied by Sirleaf’s three sons. Robert was head of the state oil company and a senior economic advisor; Fumba, head of the Nationwide Safety Agency; and Charles, deputy governor of the Central Financial institution.

Gbowee also took Sirleaf to process for not doing enough to handle poverty in Liberia. “In her first term she developed infrastructure. But what good is infrastructure if people don’t have enough to eat? The gap between the rich and poor is growing. You are either rich or dirt poor, there’s no middle class.”

Gbowee stated on the time that she couldn’t sit by idly and hold quiet. “I’ve been through a process of really thinking and reflecting and saying to myself ‘you’re as bad as being an accomplice for things that are happening in the country if you don’t speak up,’” she informed the BBC. “And when tomorrow history is judging us all let it be known that we spoke up and we didn’t just sit down.”

On the 172nd Independence Anniversary Friday, the Nobel Laureate had no intentions of sitting down idly; holding no punches and taking over all specters of the Liberian society she categorized as – the Ruling Place, the Opposition and people sitting on the fence with no Place – every, she stated coming with rhetoric and hate messages much worse than these heard in the course of the dark days of the civil struggle.

Using the broom as a sign of symbolism to hit residence her point, the Nobel Laureate stated: “A common symbol of unity in this country is the broom. Please allow me to invite three guests that I brought to join me on stage to help me illustrate this point. Let’s study the broom for a moment. A broom isn’t a broom before its tied together. Before being bound together, a broom is a collection of straws scattered with no defined purpose. The scattered straws remind me of the current state of three groups- the No Position, the Opposition and the Ruling Position.”

“When the three groups come collectively, united by the twine of our widespread values: transparency, fact, equality and love for country, we flip an unproductive state of affairs, an unproductive nation around. When the three groups come collectively in service of our nation, we may have true peace. Allow us to keep in mind that peace shouldn’t be the absence of struggle, but the presence of the circumstances that provides each individual a function. Peace is all we now have standing between our nation’s improvement or sliding back.

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Independence Day Orator, 2019

Madam Gbowee described those with no position as the most important group with the mentality of the smallest minority. “No Positions are the ones that suffer the most in our society. Their children are the key recipients of the messy education system. They are the ones who suffer the poor health care system. Justice for most No Positions is nonexistent. They live in abject poverty and can barely afford a meal a day. They are the everyday Esau’s: their political alliances and choices are never developmental driven but driven by stomach infrastructure. They fail repeatedly to look at the plans or even ask for plans from politicians. Rather, they take cash, t- shirts and bags of rice. I agree things are tough. Life is hard. People are hungry. But if we fail to ask the hard questions when we have the power, why are we surprised when we elect SGGs: “Steal, Grab and Go”. No Position has the “government must” and “that the people’s thing attitude”, they usually refuse to become involved constructively and creatively in nationwide points, together with issues affecting their day by day lives.”

Political observers say, President Weah deserves some credit score for embracing a rare voice of purpose to converse fact on such an essential stage, in distinction to the federal government’s first yr in power when it settled for one among its own, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah as orator.

Breaking down the Opposition, the Nobel Laureate lamented that relying on which period we discover ourselves; the group of recycled politicians or wannabe politicians typically claim to have all the answers for our national issues, including peace and reconciliation. “Opposition suffers from a extreme case of amnesia. They refuse to acknowledge that they too have contributed to our national crisis. Opposition is usually so desperate for energy that they’re prepared to align with murderers, criminals, con artists and just about anyone to obtain their objectives. One fascinating factor concerning the opposition is that their enemies of yesterday can easily be associates of at the moment and critics of yesterday can shortly turn out to be reward singers of at this time.

The Opposition, in most situations, operates from a spot of intense irrationality with no room for widespread ground. The opposition is suspicious of each and any interaction with the ruling place, labeling anyone that interacts with the ruling place a “sell out” or a regime collaborator.”

Consequently, she stated it makes it troublesome for politicians to work together across the divide and increases the level of deception and two-facedness in our day by day political interplay. “The Opposition in many instances perpetuates “Us versus Them” rhetoric, growing the division in our nation via their phrases and actions. There isn’t a area for collaboration and partnership to clear up the individuals’s issues.”

Throwing jabs on the powers of the day she labeled as Ruling Place, Gbowee slammed those that assume power with “Da Our Time” angle, winner takes all of it.

Stated the Nobel Laureate: “The Ruling Position has a severe sense of entitlement, believing they have the right to a certain position and lifestyle. They have no room for criticism and anyone who holds views contrary to the agreed upon view is seen as the enemy. The Ruling Position expects blind loyalty; which turns the story of the “Emperor with no clothes” into a reality.”

Madam Gbowee continued: “Leaders are fed a diet of unnecessary praises and lies by members of the Ruling Position. All for one purpose: jobs. Jobs that they are in most cases not qualified for. Political appointments within the Ruling Position have absolutely nothing to do with qualifications but rather a person’s ability to sing the political anthem of the day. “Pressure” in one case or “Gbeyama” in another case. The Ruling Place provides rewards not on the idea on excellence but on the idea of who can denigrate their opponent probably the most on social media and other platforms.”

Pointed Jab at the Three Positions

This category she says, creates a culture amongst younger those that competence and schooling usually are not essential instruments for ascending to any position.

Defined Gbowee: “The Ruling Position often has misplaced priorities. Their development agenda is nicely written on paper but implementation is basically their private projects. The Ruling Position, like the Opposition, also suffers from a severe case of amnesia, forgetting their actions and reactions when they were opposition. For generations, we have lived in this vicious cycle of Opposition and Ruling Position. When Opposition becomes Ruling Position, too often they adopt the same practices that they used to critique.
When the roles shift, the situation remains the same or are exacerbated.”
The unhappy reality, according to this yr’s Independence Day Orator is that those on the bottom of the financial ladder continue to feel the pinch of the frailties of all three positions. Whereas Ruling Position and Opposition continue to argue about who is true, our country is gripped by many vices.
Our younger individuals are feeling hopeless. Drug habit has taken over Liberia. Schooling is perceived as a multitude by each side of the divide. While Ruling Position and Opposition go at one another’s throats, our youngsters’s futures are being mortgaged, natural assets are bought to those who haven’t any improvement agenda for the Republic of Liberia. Whereas these groups argue about ideology, Liberian ladies are raped, abused, maimed with no form of justice. Our nation continues to lag behind our neighbors whereas these teams conflict. Fellow Liberians, the great thing about these three teams is that they’re not static and no matter their positions, all of them have to share a standard area.”

The top end result she averred is the area referred to as Liberia. “Friends, I was once told that the meaning of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome. We cannot continue to conduct business in this county as we have done since 1847; 172 years and we are still searching for what it is that brings us together. If I may take you back to the questions that were asked of me during my listening tour, I honestly did not attempt to respond to any of these questions or comments.”

The orator stated it will be significant for the three groups of Liberians to discover a widespread area for the betterment of Liberia. “When the three groups come together, united by the cord of our common values: transparency, truth, equality and love for country, we turn an unproductive situation, an unproductive nation around. When the three groups come together in service of our nation, we will have true peace. Let us remember that peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of the conditions that gives each person a purpose. Peace is all we have standing between our country’s development or sliding back. To have peace, to really have sustainable peace, as it is said in our national anthem, we must unite together through our common values and collective efforts. For we are truly stronger together.”

In utilizing her area and platform to converse fact to energy, Gbowee says she sought not simply to prevail on the government of the day, her private opinion, but slightly to spark a conversation about shared values and the way we will build a future where collectively we’re stronger. “As hard and controversial as each of these questions and concerns may seem, these are legitimate concerns and I must state that not one was spoken out of spite but out of hope that things would be better. What I heard in these concerns is the reality that for Liberians to be stronger together, we need to address health issues, teenage pregnancy, teen prostitution, drug addiction and many more. We need affordable and accessible health care for mothers and babies. I heard that we need to address education.”

Harsh Circumstances; Harsh Realities

Gbowee’s speech got here amid mounting considerations over the extravagant show and celebration the government of the day put up with visiting Presidents from Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria available.

Barely 24 hours earlier, the Various Nationwide Congress (ANC), of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, rejected an invitation from President Weah to attend, citing the huge spending related to the celebration.
The ANC stated it couldn’t accept an invitation to dine and wine with the President on the 172ndIndependence Anniversary luncheon when the nation goes by means of extraordinarily challenging economic occasions and the government renting government automobiles from Guinea and government motorbikes rented from Ghana.

Gbowee hit comparable theme Friday when she urged the government to tackle the tough financial circumstances because households can barely find food to pay their youngsters’s faculty charges or buy primary necessities.

The Independence Day orator stated it is for Liberians to sit individually and collectively and do some critical soul looking on where we would like to go as a nation. “For us to be stronger together, we must agree on a set of collective values that we will live by and teach to the next generation. Values that will guide our national politics as well as our everyday life.”
Direct Jabs at President Weah

In her most pointed goal Friday, the orator took President Weah to process for the restricted variety of ladies in his cabinet. “It is not acceptable for us to have only two women in cabinet. I, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Nobel Laureate challenge any Liberian to tell me that the men in this country are smarter than the women, hence the men should be given prominence in jobs and elected position. I believe that it is high time that the women who fought through tears and blood from the founding of this country to the bringing of peace to this nation should be given positions of leadership based on their competence.”

As a self-declared feminist in chief, Madam Gbowee referred to as out the President to stroll the speak. “It’s time to stop the old boy’s network.”
On corruption, the orator challenged the President and the legislature to transcend lip service. “You must walk your talk. You cannot preach against corruption and then not declare your assets and keep it locked up. Show us what you came with so that in a few years when you’ve got two houses, we can know that you already had those resources in the bank. Second, truth. Truth has evaded us in this country. We lie to gain prominence, to gain positions of authority. Let us stop lying. Truth will bring unity. From generation to generation, our leaders have been fooled by religious and traditional leaders. Bishops have become partisans. Pastors and Imams have become praise singers. Traditional leaders repeatedly twist our cultural practices to please a powerful few, giving unmerited traditional titles.”

At 172, Liberia has come of age and the newest orator for what is inarguably the most important platform for anybody to converse fact to power, didn’t disappoint. The timing and the message hit closed to residence for a nation on the receiving finish of a recurring cycle of impunity and in Gbowee’s personal words, “a don’t care attitude” in the direction of progress”.

However, political observers say, President Weah deserves some credit score for embracing a rare voice of purpose to converse fact on such an essential stage, in contrast to the federal government’s first yr in power when it settled for certainly one of its own, Finance and Financial Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah as orator. But like many earlier than her, Gbowee is little question hoping that her message is in sync with the powers that be, whilst some post-speech observers took to social media Friday to recommend that President Weah, who doesn’t take sort to criticisms, might not receive the content of what was stated with a grain of salt, and could reprimand his aides for permitting such a fiery voice to tackle this yr’s Independence Day Oration. What many would probably agree on nevertheless, is that the message hit closed to house for many; and the messenger, on point.

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