A new social grouping, Action for Democracy and Development (ADD) aimed at stimulating new thinking for a new Liberia has been launched in Monrovia.
The group comprising some political activists of the eighties also promised to ensure a prosperous Liberia for all Liberians and those who reside within it.
Reading the Statement of Principle at the launching ceremony yesterday, the group’s spokesperson, Mr. Nathaniel Kwabo, in an apparent reference to Liberia said, “We are the first independent Republic on the continent of Africa. The founding fathers of Liberia are those who were here and those who seized the spark of liberty from the Americas and re-joined their compatriots to birth this great Republic.”
Mr. Kwabo added, “In the interest of preserving freedom and human dignity, Liberia was and remains a champion of African emancipation.”
Expanding further on Liberia’s origin, Mr. Kwabo said, “The founding of the Liberian State posed a multiplicity of tough choices and since independence, has continued to be confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges and missed opportunities. Like many other nations/states, we have endured a past characterized by good, bad, dangerous and in some cases tragic experiences. As a people, we have endured. We have persevered!”
“During some of the most difficult periods in the country’s history, our people made some strides. We overcame two politically difficult challenges changing the course of our country in a single generation; we fought a civil war; and as one of a few countries, have managed to keep the peace for more than a decade once we agreed to put an end to war. Then we crashed the glass ceiling of women political ascendency in Africa and set the pace for African women,” the ADD Spokesman stated.
In furtherance, Mr. Kwabo intimated, “In the most recent period, our people again stood together to combat the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. Of the three worst affected countries within the Mano River Union, Liberia was the first to free itself of the virus for a while; not just once but twice.”
He continued that it was out of that spirit of endurance that they must now find the courage to work together, to learn from each other and to build a new Liberia that speaks to their collective needs, aspirations and desires to build a new society; a society in which Liberians are one great humanity challenging themselves to reverse the difficult past and work for each other; a new politics that promotes civility and not hostility; and a new dispensation that rejects mediocrity and encourages excellence, dedication and discipline.
He said, “Recognizing this difficult past and the opportunity for national transformation, we have come together to form the Action for Democracy and Development.”
The ADD Spokesman continued, “We are Liberians of diverse backgrounds who share a common concern about the future of our country and are united in our determination to work together and with other Liberians to realize the full potential and endowment of our country and shape its future towards greater achievements and development.”
Accordingly, he stressed, “We will provide a credible platform that encourages the promotion of new thinking, and on which Liberians can express alternative views regarding the future of their country. We invite, encourage and welcome all Liberians, at home and abroad to join this endeavor.”
The ADD spokesman said the groups working together is sustained by five shared values which include justice, integrity, responsibility, participation and solidarity.
On Justice Mr. Kwabo said ADD believes in justice and the equality of all persons before the law.
“We believe that justice and equality are the foundation for the respect of human rights and dignity of all persons, irrespective of gender, race, religion, tribe, or any other difference based on origin, choice or preference. Our commitment to equality goes beyond mere espousal to ensuring that equality is institutionalized and consistently reflected in making and implementing every law or policy. We believe that justice without delay, fear or favour is indispensable to rule of law, democracy, peace, and social harmony. Ensuring that justice is done is therefore a critical path to genuine peace, national reconciliation and sustainable development,” he added.
Touching on the integrity value, Mr. Kwabo said the group adheres to and seeks fairness, probity, truth and accountability in every action or decision that affects others or relates to ourselves.
“We believe that promoting, recognizing and rewarding integrity is essential to combating corruption, and restoring confidence in public service as well as cultivating a positive national value system to guard actions and decisions in public and private lives,” the ADD statement noted.
Stressing the code value of responsibility Mr. Kwabo said, “We believe that every person or nation is ultimately responsible for his or her or its destiny and causative actions.”
He added, “We therefore promote and respect hard work and sacrifice as opposed to a culture of dependency or seeking easy and quick means to overcome challenges and achieve desired outcomes. We are committed to responsible citizenship, including individual and collective responsibility of Liberians to achieve good governance, and inclusive development.”
Relative to participation The ADD said, “The Liberian Constitution puts the people first, and so do we. Power belongs to the people. The true welfare of the people is and should therefore be the sole end of all social actions and movements.”
The statement continued, “We also believe that an effective means of knowing what the people want is by working with them and enabling their direct and meaningful participation in deciding policies and prioritizing programs.”
The group said meaningful popular participation entails decentralization and the involvement of locals in the making of decisions that directly affect them.
On the last code value which is solidarity, ADD said, “We believe in social solidarity that promotes mutual understanding and respect of various interests and groups in society.”
The group said solidarity goes beyond social safety nets to fostering collaboration, for example; between labour and student unions, youths and women groups, civil society organizations and others to discuss shared problems and identify possible solutions.