By: Robert Kpadeh
Liberia will clock twelve years of durable peace and stability tomorrow, August, 18, 2015—meaning twelve years, since the country returned from years of senseless carnage, devastation and savagery to the fresh dawn of peace, civility and stability.
As we gallantly usher into the day, I pen this little piece to congratulate fellow citizens on the attainment of twelve years of peace and stability, a milestone achievement we must collectively protect and never permit ourselves to gamble.
As we celebrate twelve years of peace, stability and civility, I would like to entreat and admonish fellow citizens that despite our hurts, pains dissatisfactions and political disagreements , we must do all to uphold our hard earned peace, for the maintenance of this peace underpins everything we hope and yearn for as a nation and people.
You all will recall, that it was on August, 18, 2003, the what seemed impossible but would later become a dream come through, the heart-warming Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was historically signed in Accra, Ghana by relevant Liberian political and war actors thus engendering the compelling and embracing cessation of a decade plus unwarranted and untold bloodletting.
The war decimated thousands of innocent Liberians and ruined the infrastructure of the nation to tatters—we are still striving to resuscitate from the horrible devastation inflated on the country as the nightmares continue to loom and plague us.
The famous signing of the Accra Peace Accord actually came after fifteen years of horror and calamity callously waged on us by our selves. Liberians crudely slaughtered one another in cold blood and ludicrously destroyed millions of dollars worth of infrastructure in a horde of dreaded and fierce gun battles across the country.
It is reported that over 250,000 people were painfully murdered by drugged combatants during the disgusting and horrific period of the crisis while thousands survived with terrible bullet wounds and others hands and legs amputated leaving them to grapple with physical disabilities and life-long trauma.
Despite the harsh differences, anguish and deep seated grudges, Liberians mustered the will and courage with the intervention of international partners led by the United Nations to meet face-to-face in Accra, Ghana and chat a course of peace. It was indeed a tall-order for the parties to agree firstly to a cease fire and subsequently reached a peace deal to unconditionally discontinue the decimation of innocent citizens.
The talks undesirably prolonged and Liberians became more despair, frustrated, doubtful and dejected back home.
In fact, many Liberians lost hope and heralded the notion that peace for their country was mere illusion and Liberia was on the brinks of perils and imminent extermination.
However, notwithstanding, Liberians across the peace table in Accra finally garnered the courage and faithfully agreed to discontinue terrorizing their own country and obnoxiously murdering and maiming their own people to the dismay of the international community.
The United Nations and other international partners as well as the host, Ghana all became frustrated and fatigued with the unreasonable posturing of Liberians at the peace summit—everyone taking hard ground, beating chests and grandstanding while 81 millimeter rockets from rebel controlled position landed on Liberians by the hours. Monrovia became a fearsome ghost town as no one knew his/her fate in the next hour that would come.
I am reliably told that at one of the sessions at the peace summit, a group of Liberian women courageously appeared and stripped themselves naked before actors at the table as a way of protesting and detesting the unnecessary delay to reach a final peace agreement while innocent Liberians were being killed and maimed back home.
That emotional spectacle, I am told became a game changer in the talks as the warlords and politicians began to show flexibility and reasonability that smoothed the way to a lasting peace the nation currently enjoys.
They reached a genuine deal named and styled; the “Comprehensive Peace Accord or the CPA”. We are immensely pleased that this deal has worked for twelve consecutive years now.
In a formal program held in 2013 to mark and celebrate eleven years of peace, several prominent speakers attributed the decade of peace to the steadfast resilience, courage and faith of the Liberian people. They stated that it is the Liberian people who have said a resounding ‘NO!’ to war and have resolved never to study arm crisis any more but rather stay the course of peace and democracy.
It is worth mentioning however, that Liberians have since chosen the democratic path as a way of changing government and not by the barrels of the gun.
Since the signing of the CPA which started with an Interim Government that successfully managed the Country for two years and led the nation through a successful transition that witnessed the holding of credible democratic elections in 2005 followed by a second free and fair democratic election in 2011 that was peacefully and professionally conducted.
Additionally, several bi-elections have been held under cloud of peace and civility as well as the conduct of the 2014 critical Senatorial election that was successfully conducted to the satisfaction of the international community.
As I commend the Liberian people for this milestone achievement which has significantly redefined the country in the eyes of the global community, I extend profound appreciation to fellow citizens and all who stood and continue to stand by us in helping to achieve this twelve years of peace and stability—we certainly remain a grateful nation.
We all know that things are tough; that the socio-economic condition of the Liberian people is unjust and unbearable, but we must never allow ourselves to reverse to the days of doom.
I entreat and admonish all to resist and denounce anybody who attempts to undermine and shatter this enviable twelve years of peace. We must not and never tolerate anybody who devilishly endeavors to jeopardize this peace as doing so; would certainly undermines the gains we have made as a nation and people.
For it will be preposterous, shameful and demeaning of our image if we allow ourselves to relapse in another round of senseless bloodbath only to please the selfish political desire of certain ridiculous elements who only means to power is by instigating conflict and violence. We have endured enough!
Finally, we cannot celebrate twelve years of peace without paying somber tribute to all of our compatriots and foreign doctors that died on our soil during the raging and ravaging outbreak of the killer Ebola virus. For me, the deadly Ebola outbreak that decimated well over four thousand of our citizens was certainly another war waged on the country by an unknown enemy—this enemy came defiantly determined and crudely ready to annihilate the entire nation. The tragedy of the deadly Ebola virus will forever remain fresh on the minds of this generation.
I extend condolences to the bereaved families of all that sadly succumbed to the diabolical hands of this killer virus, and as we celebrate twelve years of peace, I encourage all of us to remain collective and resilient; for we defeated the marauding Ebola virus by our firm spirit of resilience and collectivism. To the entire World that came to our call and stood by us when our country was in perils, I say THANK YOU!!
Congratulation on twelve years of peace and long live Liberia!!