Monrovia – Liberia’s outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in a touching farewell address to the nation, declared that the country had become one of Africa’s enviable democracies.
Johnson-Sirleaf said the country had punctured the expectations of doubting Thomases, who thought way back in 2006 when she took office, that its new found peace and democratic resurgence would not last.
She attributed the success story largely to the resilience of the Liberian people and the support of the international community.
NAN presents her full address below:
Twelve years ago, on the 26th of January, 2006, I had the privilege to address you, the people of Liberia, for the first time as your president.
We were a nation exhausted from three decades of conflict. We were starting from zero, with the complete destruction of our national infrastructure, a collapsed economy, and a State incapable of providing services to its people.
Our collective faith and resolve were put to test, as they have been many times over in our 170 years of independence.
But the heavy burden my government inherited, and the painful past which we carried together, were no match for you, my dear friends. Never did you lose hope in yourselves, pride in our nation, or the determination to persevere.
It was your energy that lifted me up each day, motivated me, gave me the drive to exhaust all possibilities for the benefit of our beloved Liberia. As I speak my last words to you as president, they are simply to say – Thank you for the honor to serve.
Back in 2006, many doubted us -not certain if Liberia’s democratic resurgence would last, that our new-found peace would hold. And yet, look around you, two peaceful and credible successive national elections, and now, an historic transfer of power from one elected leader to another.
Our democracy is irrevocable. It binds every future leader of this country to the will of the people.
Liberia today reflects the changing face of the Continent, where rule of law, human rights, good governance, and accountability are demanded by its citizens. This is Africa’s future, and Liberia is one of its enviable democracies.
Dear fellow Liberians, the world has changed a great deal over the past decade. Across the globe, governments and nations are turning inward, in search of resolutions to their domestic challenges. For a country like Liberia, this means that we need to be more self-reliant. Each of us has to take on more responsibility for the development of our country.
We had a contentious, highly-charged political year. I know that. But now, we must put the disunity behind us. Liberia has but one president, and one government. We must dedicate ourselves to ensuring its success.
My parting wish is that you will support your new government. Respond to its call for action, and civility, and hold it accountable. My hope is that you cherish our democracy, participate in it, respect and support its institutions, work together to address the challenges and take pride in our success.
I wish to offer thanks to our international partners – the donors, investors, NGO workers, humanitarians, and friends. I leave my presidency in awe of your generosity. In a world with so many great needs, you chose Liberia.
We have learned and innovated together, and these gains will go on to benefit our next generation.
We bow our heads to our sisterly African nations, particularly those in West Africa, who granted us refuge during our days of turmoil, helped us to regain our peace, and supported us in the path towards democracy. We can now boast of unprecedented regional solidarity.
I wish to recognize Liberia’s essential partner, the government and people of the United States of America who have been with us through our historic journey, and stood by us in our difficult moments. There are many other bilateral partners – China, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Kuwait and the United Kingdom, to name a few. Please know that Liberia’s success is also shared by you.
My thanks to civil society, the judiciary, the fourth estate, religious and traditional leaders, through your work, and your prayer, you have strengthened our democracy, and always reminded us of our responsibility to live a life of purpose, and in service to others.
And finally, I wish to express my deep gratitude to all who have served in my government, the political appointees, civil servants, the security services, teachers, healthcare workers and others.
You should be immensely proud of what you have contributed to our great nation. You leave behind functioning institutions, a plan of transition, and trained professionals. The foundation has been laid for the next administration.
God bless our president-elect, vice-president elect, and all elected leaders!
God bless the people of Liberia!
God bless our great nation!