- 26 Oct
K E Y N O T E A D D R E S s Delivered By Honorable Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. Vice President of the Republic of Liberia at the NATIONAL PEACE FESTIVAL (Kukartornon) Hosted By the Liberia Crusaders for Peace
Monday, October 24, 2016
Liberia’s Cultural Ambassador Juli Endee & the Crusaders for Peace;
Officials of the Liberian Government Present;
Our Peace Ambassador, Reverend William R. Tolbert, III;
Our International Partners—UN, Carter Center, Musons Group; PBO, etc;
Representatives of the Various Partner Organizations;
Leaders of Political Parties;
Members of the Press;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good afternoon on this peaceful Monday!
It is such a fulfilling feeling to always receive the honor of taking on an assignment of this relevance and importance.
On a multiple of occasions, I have enjoyed the privilege of representing our President, Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at occasions of very identical nature and purpose.
A few times back I have deputized on her behalf at celebrations marking United Nations Peacekeepers Day. The honor has also been mine to grace and address your own acclaimed Organization—the Liberia Crusaders for Peace—particularly at its nationally revered Golden Image Awards Ceremonies.
It is always a pleasant engagement for me to be in your midst, as I am today, for the same purpose-celebrating strides we are making as a result of our collective effort that was markedly buttressed by our international supporters. And so I take today’s event to be yet another highly significant one, as PEACE is the foundation upon which every other aspect of national development must be erected.
I register my immense thanks to you, Peace Ambassador Reverend William Tolbert, III, and Cultural Ambassador Juli Endee as well as the fine assortment of peace advocates in the various partner groupings for this thoughtful move to raise the awareness of our people on the critical need for national harmony. This bespeaks a great sense of national duty on your part.
Yes indeed, KUKARTORNON! We are on! Faithfully and confidently accepting this fact goes to emboldening us in our quest for “Sustaining and Promoting Peace” in Liberia. This is a topic that should give any patriotic Liberia, as it does me, that great pride to discuss.
And that is why I am so deeply moved and excited to be here with you at the behest of Her Excellency, our President, today to briefly share with you some notes on the relationship of indispensability that PEACE holds onto the survivability and advancement of any nation.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
The reality for the need for a national drive for sustaining and promoting peace should be even much more felt by us as Liberians at this juncture. We find ourselves poised for the much anticipated presidential and general elections next year. We should know that the ensuing election pushes us as a people on the precipice of uncertainty. We can decide to make the best of it, further illuminating the image and serenity of our country, or set out to squander the opportunity it affords.
I am sure we all are aware that it is only us that can determine whether we lift this country up or, God forbid, let it down. With the look in your eyes, I am confident that we cannot afford the folly of falling for greed, selfishness and avarice that will go to undermine the hard-earned stability.
It is needless to remind ourselves that the bitter lessons and heavy sacrifices that our past inflicted upon us has left on our shoulders such a huge demand for tact and sobriety. The only right option is for us to tread the path that goes to reinforcing and expanding the peace we have relished for the past decade plus. That is the peace we reached thanks to the unreserved support of the international community.
We the people of Liberia cannot repeat enough how grateful and blessed we are for the sacrifices the world community-through international peace keepers—have made to save, stabilize, and propel our country, lifting her onto the path of true nationhood.
Sometime people doubt as to how great Liberians are. But think for a moment; see any country that comes out of nearly twenty protracted years of war, driving from the RIA–an hour and half driving time—to Monrovia without being armed robbed. Let’s even notice the fact that one can exchange the much coveted United States dollars on open streets without risking her or her very life at the hands of robbers.
It is even more germane to reecho here the admonition given by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf against indulgence in acts of violence as a means by which grievances are of conveyed. This Government should not be expected to preside over a drift back into the days of jungle justice and the survival of the fittest.
Today, responsibility for our peace and national security as reverted into our hands. We cannot afford to jettison the respect and honor we have earned thus far by allowing the greed for power to blind us to the need for sustaining our nation’s unity and harmony.
I know you all will join me in agreeing with the late Indian Legend Mahatma Gandhi when he averred that, “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”
True, it is not unusual for elections to be characterized by rancor and disagreement. There is room for that in the democratic space. But these must take place within certain confines. We should not forget for a second the need for respect for the rule of law and civility, for they serve as effective lubricant that smoothens the turn of the wheels of the electoral process.
As we all—aspirants–offer ourselves for national leadership in various capacities, let us—in all of our engagements and interactions—THINK LIBERIA, LOVE LIBERIA, so that we remain on course to BUILD LIBERIA. We must avoid the temptation of raising political contest to the level of a CONQUER or PERISH duel. Let us be mindful that no position–no matter how high or lucrative–is worth a drop of the blood of even a single Liberian, or will it be worth the breakage of any person’s property.
Let me close by extending to you all present here today, and to all Liberians and people of goodwill residing with us in this country, our best wishes for national unity, sustainable interpersonal cohesion, harmony, continuing religious tolerance, and a great sense of common national purpose.