President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the West African Community cannot contemplate the scenario of Liberia sliding back into instability and conflict.
President Akufo-Addo said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had, over the years, made a huge investment in promoting peace in Liberia and that there was the need to ensure that democracy was entrenched in Liberia.
The Ghanaian President, who was addressing the 98th Commencement Exercises of the University of Liberia in Monrovia on Wednesday, referred to the recent ruling by Liberia’s Supreme Court on their presidential election and stressed the need to ensure that Liberia would have its first peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected leader to another in 73 years.
“The work undertaken by that truly historic figure, the first elected female leader of an African nation, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in stabilizing the country, after a bitter and protracted civil war, has been very solid and commendable,” he said.
The President urged Liberia’s institutions, particularly the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission, to shepherd the country through a successful transition.
He added, however, that it was not enough to hold successful elections every four years or to be able to criticize the government and to have a choice of 100 radio stations.
Democracy, he said, should ensure that a good quality of life for the people.
“The structure of economies, bequeathed to us by colonialism, was dependent on the production and export of raw materials. Even though Liberia was not colonized, the structure of her economy remains very much the same as the others on the continent. Such economies cannot create opportunities, prosperity and wealth for our people,” he said, adding that the time was long overdue for Africa to transform the structure of African economies to serve better the needs of the African peoples.
“Too many of our peoples are still kept down by extreme poverty. The promise of prosperity that was to accompany freedom has not materialized for the mass of the African peoples, and has rather been replaced with widespread despondency across the continent. This is not what our forebears promised,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, therefore, urged the current generation of African youths to meet the challenges of today, and help banish the disgraceful spectre of young Africans, taking harrowing risks in trekking the Sahara desert or drowning in the Mediterranean, seeking greener pastures in Europe.
“Your generation has to ensure the fulfillment of the statement, made almost 70 years ago in 1949 to the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly by Joseph Boakye Danquah, the father of modern Ghanaian nationalism, that ‘the two things go together, economic freedom and political freedom. And we must have the two together in this very age, and in the shortest possible time”, President Akufo-Addo added.
President Akufo-Addo, therefore, called for a new paradigm of leadership on the continent― leaders who are committed to governing their peoples according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice; leaders who are looking past commodities to position their countries in the global marketplace.
He said African leaders should be determined to free their peoples from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and hand-outs; leaders who were bent on mobilizing Africa’s own immeasurable resources to resolve Africa’s problems; leaders who recognized the connectedness of their peoples and economies to those of their neighbours.”
This new generation of African leaders, the President added, “Should help bring dignity and prosperity to the continent and its longsuffering peoples.”
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)