"Liberia was supposed to be a beacon of hope for people of color. Its foundation was based on a promise to provide all Liberians political democracy, freedom of the press, economic prosperity, and equal protection under the law. Sadly, today, all of these things remain just a dream. But I must say to you fellow Liberians, all hope is not lost. We are a nation whose people have demonstrated time and time again the ability to weather the storm. "
Fellow Liberians, I am glad to be home. First of all, let me thank everyone who made it here this morning in spite of other engagements. To me, this is a brilliant demonstration of how deeply you care about the future of our country. You have suffered too long. But with the blessing of the almighty God bestowed on all of us, we are about to turn the corner for a better and more prosperous Liberia that benefits all Liberians.
Before I go further, I would like for you to join me in a moment of silence for over 250,000 Liberians who lost their lives as a result of our civil conflict. I believe every Liberian who is affected by our power struggle since 1980 deserves an apology.
Let me say to those families of the 250,000 people who died during our senseless civil war, as well as the families of the 13 men, who lost their lives at the hands of the military junta in 1980, and every Liberian who has suffered human rights abuses from the days of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, that this country is deeply sorry for the pain that drops upon your hearts every moment you think about the loss of your loved ones. Liberia and many of us who are blessed to be alive cannot repay you for your loss.
Liberia was supposed to be a beacon of hope for people of color. Its foundation was based on a promise to provide all Liberians political democracy, freedom of the press, economic prosperity, and equal protection under the law. Sadly, today, all of these things remain just a dream. But I must say to you fellow Liberians, all hope is not lost. We are a nation whose people have demonstrated time and time again the ability to weather the storm.
But now, the Liberian people are crying out for a change in the way things are done; they are tired of the business as usual mentality that has characterized our government. Liberians want change, and change quickly. I hear them loud and clear!
So, I have decided to come here to render my service to the country of my birth. I believe most of the challenging problems this country faces largely emanate from poor leadership. Our country has bled profusely for the last 15 years due to the lack of moral and patriotic responsibilities on the part of its sons and daughters. Realizing the existence of this vacuum, I believe we can bridge this long standing gap by rising to confront the challenges that our country faces.
We have, therefore, come to put in place the following: to rebuild and not to destroy; to reconcile our people and not divide them; to rekindle the Liberian value system not to tear it down; to bring back dignity to the once proud nation not make it a laughing stock in the eyes of other nations; to bring in real investors to our country not to rely on retail merchants; to decentralize our highest learning institutions not to centralize it ; to bring in Fulbright professors to our universities not to replace them with teaching assistants; to put Monrovia on par with other modern capitals in Africa not to level it to the ground.
Moreover, I have come to bring back our primary health care system and, once again, make JFK Hospital a leader on this continent not bring it to the status of a clinic; to empower Liberians not make them beggars; to provide venture capital for our market women not make them live day to day on their 2 cent profits; to restore water and electricity to the entire country not replace it with lanterns, candles and wells; to build our road system not to buy luxurious cars for our own pleasures; to empower our farmers with funds and agricultural implements not reduce them to receiving hand-outs; to make government accountable to the people and not to few individuals.
Finally, I have come to make Liberia once again a proud nation and prevent it from ever going through another horrible nightmare. This is the challenge of our time. I believe we can make a big difference, and now is the time to make real the strength of our commitment to Liberia . Some of us have lived in foreign capitals for too long representing Liberia ; we can only help this country by importing those systems that we have seen that have made those countries great and powerful and not leave those ideas at the airport and begin to do things differently in fulfillment of our personal desires.
Fellow Liberians, the power to make Liberia once again a proud nation is in your hands come this October. If you lose that opportunity, forever hold yourself responsible for sending Liberia into another period of backwardness. So, I urge each of you to go out and register to vote. It is a matter of moral obligation that you vote in this election to make an unequivocal change in the right direction.
Far too long we have all sat back and allowed our country to fall in the hands of the wrong people. We must use this election to give a resounding no to those who think that their own responsibility to the people of Liberia begins and ends with coming into Liberia to line their pockets, and rendered everyone else hopeless. We cannot afford to reward these people with state power. We must make this election the era of accountability. There is no better time to hold people accountable than during the election; the voters, who are the people of Liberia will render their own judgment on each of us vying to represent you.
I will continue to make my case to you the Liberian people to afford me the opportunity to be your next president. But I ask that you, the Liberian people, hold me accountable just as much as you are going to hold others accountable. I will not ask for a free pass to the people’s Executive Mansion . You must elect me on the merit of my case for change, and don’t vote for me just because of tribal lines. That’s not enough. The only thing that I will ask of you is to judge me fairly. In the end, I am confident that you will make the right choice and elect me as your next president.
I thank you again for coming. It is a beautiful day in Liberia . I am glad to be home with my people, the hard working men and women of Africa ’s first republic. Let us march on to higher heights. In God, we shall overcome our long struggle to achieve democratic freedom and shared prosperity. I thank you! I thank you! God bless the Liberian nation. God bless the Liberian people. Together, we will build a better tomorrow for all Liberians.