The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Weah Speaks Peace At Bicentennial Official Opening

President George Weah has underscored the importance of national peace and unity as critical pillars of national development and transformation.
Delivering a special statement on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the kickoff of the Bicentennial Celebration on the historic Providence Island, the President called on all citizens, irrespective of their social, political, and economic backgrounds to embrace the commemoration of Liberia’s 200 years of statehood towards strengthening national unity and peace.
The Bicentennial celebration is a yearlong event paying homage to Africa’s first republic which founding essentially began with the arrival of freed black slaves from the United States of America on what is now called Providence Island 200 years ago.
President Weah said, as Liberia observes 200 years of existence as one people from diversities, urged every Liberian to put aside their social political and economic differences to denounce what he called “all forms of combative acts, writings against each other.”
He reiterated the need to vigorously denounce every form of combative acts, writings and utterances which among other things, are intended to promote any kind of discrimination, intolerance or lack of justice.
The Chief Executive indicated that combative writings are counter-productive to the achievement of National Unity and Reconciliation.
“We must foster genuine national Unity and reconciliation as a nation. We must let go of the past, embrace the present within the context of our diversities, and give birth to the future with Unity, Peace, Reconciliation and Sustainable Development as our imperative agenda,” he appealed.
The Liberian leader used the occasion to rally all political party leaders and all national leaders to the official opening ceremony of the national bicentennial commemoration with an objective of seeking forgiveness and genuine reconciliation.
“In this public manner, and in a spirit of National Unity, I do hereby invite the leadership of all Political Parties and other National Leaders, to the Official Opening Ceremony of the 2022 National Bicentennial Commemoration, to be held on February 14, 2022, as we memorialize in peace, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation”.
“As President and Chief Executive of our sweet land of liberty, Liberia, I want to call on ALL LIBERIANS to champion the cause of national unity and to reconcile our differences for Liberia’s growth and development,” the President stated.
“Today is an important day in our history. We are here to commemorate what occurred here two hundred years ago. On January 7, 1822, a group of freed Black Americans from the United States arrived here on this island, after a difficult and hazardous journey across the Atlantic Ocean,” he asserted.
“Their joy was great after surviving that perilous passage, which they attributed to God’s Divine providence, and so they named this island Providence Island,” he stated.
“They had returned to the land of their ancestors following four centuries of enslavement and bondage. Forever yearning to live as a free people, they had now returned to the Africa of their roots. Twenty-five years later, on July 26, 1847, these settlers (as they came to be known) established the Republic of Liberia as the first independent Republic on the African continent.”
“As we recall that momentous day, we must also remember the indigenous population which was already here in 1822 and centuries before, comprising the seventeen ethnic groups of Liberia; as well as others who came afterwards, such as the Congos, and the Barbadians”.
“Today, as descendants of these diverse groups of people, we are all citizens of Liberia, with a common national identity. This commemoration must therefore bring us closer together, and strengthen our national unity, even as we recognize and celebrate our diversity,” he maintained.
“Their choice of topic for this occasion is appropriate, because during this Bicentennial year, we must redouble our efforts to promote unity amongst all Liberians, wherever they may reside, and encourage all to make meaningful contributions to the nation-building task of our country,” he emphasized.
“In Liberia, National Unity and Reconciliation is the cornerstone to all national development efforts, and is the basis for combating all forms of discrimination and exclusion. As a country which has emerged from a divided past and a recent civil war, it is our only option for survival and continuity as a nation,” President Weah stated.
“We must therefore continue to embrace the tenets of National Unity as we move forward together towards becoming a reconciled and democratic nation, whose citizens are at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and the world,” the Liberian leader said.
“Redefining Liberia’s identity and building a shared sense of nationalism should be at the center of reconciliation in Liberia. The model for genuine National Unity and Reconciliation should be inspired and founded on positive cultural values, citizenship building, good governance, economic empowerment, and the rule of law,” he noted.
“As we commemorate our National Bicentennial, let us recollect memories of all of our ancestors — their various ways of life, their respective histories and cultures, and the way they co-existed with each other as long-lost brothers and sisters returned to the Land to form a unique and united country”.
“As Liberians from diverse ethnic groups, religious beliefs and regions, we must continue to co-exist peacefully as one united Liberian Nation in accordance with our Constitution. We, as Liberians, can only promote National Unity and Reconciliation by living together in peace and harmony,” he asserted.
According to him, another major tool in promoting National Unity and Reconciliation is patriotism. “This indeed is the bedrock of our national foundation, because when there is love for one’s nation, such love will engender a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood and fraternity among us as citizens of Liberia, our common country”.
Meanwhile, this paper has established that most of the top-notch political party leaders were not seen at the kickoff of the bicentennial ceremony which among other things, brought together hundreds of citizens, foreign partners to the celebration of Pioneers Day on January 7, 2022.
Liberia’s Bicentennial is an important threshold in Liberian history. The yearlong event provides a historic opportunity to commemorate the founding of the Republic. It was January 7, 1822 that a small group of free Black Americans from the United States huddled on the Island then known DOZOA; the newcomers renamed as Providence Island.
The Island, along with land on the adjacent Cape Mesurado, had been acquired the previous December from the indigenous Chiefs by the American Colonization Society (ACS). For these Black Americans, the settlement was a relief. On January 7, 1822, the emigrants finally settled on Providence Island. Several months later, April 25, 1822, they moved to the mainland.

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