L/r: ALCOP Vice Chair Cheman F. Jackitay, Mrs. Mauren Johnson Hutchison, Chair, Voices of the Elders, R.L., Dr. D. Evelyn S. Kandakai, Former Minister of Education/Chair NUD Committee, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Eminent Citizen, Hon. Andy Kwamie, Deputy Minister of Sport/ Proxy for President Boakai, H.E. Beng’yala Augustine Gang, Ambassador, Cameroon/Doyen, Diplomatic Corps, BFF CEO Augustine S. Arkoi, Cllr. Asatu Bah Kenneth, Founder/CEO, People Uniting for Peace in Liberia, Hon. Clarence Banks, Chair, Committee on Peace, Religion and National Reconciliation, House of Representatives, Alhaji Salleh Abbas Kanneh, Executive, National Muslim Council of Liberia, Hon. Civicus S. Barsi-Giah, Liaison Officer, to Former President George Weah, Musical Icon, Korte Doebor Barzie, CKA Kobazzie & Peterson Fayah, Chair, Transitional Justice Working Group

CSOs, Partners Present National Unification Hero-Peace Awards ….As Cameroonian Diplomatic Envoy Warns Liberia, Africa’s Youth On AI’s Threat to Peace, Domestic & Global Job Markets

The Cameroonian Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia, Beng ‘Yela Augustine GANG, who is also Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps has underscored the need for unity between and among Liberia and other African nations.

According to Ambassador Gang, “unity convinces us to achieve the greatest by standing shoulder-to-shoulder.”

“As I said before, it means going at it alone can be very difficult, but together we can push mountains,” the diplomat stressed.

Speaking recently at program marking the celebration of Liberia’s 60th National Unification Day in the auditorium of the Capitol Hill main campus of the University of Liberia in Monrovia, Ambassador GANG, indicated that “by standing shoulder- to- shoulder, Liberians and all Africans, share in each other’s burdens. And in sharing in each other’s burdens, we also share in each other’s good fortunes.”

Ambassador GANG stressed that “the Better Future Foundation and collaborating CSOs-Partners for Democracy and Good Governance (PdG) should be a key element in this kind of fight, because it is made up of people who have perceived that they can influence the youth of Liberia and Africa towards betterment, towards the future, and in a founded way, because they can raise the necessary wherewithal to carry out these noble objectives.”

I therefore encourage institutions like the Better Future Foundation and the CSOs-Partners for Democracy and Good Governance to help orient the youth in Liberia, and Africa to aspire for global job competitiveness in the sphere of advanced technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI).

He also underscored the need for Liberia’s youth to respect their nation’s rich culture.

.E. Ambassador of Cameroon/Doyen, Diplomatic Corps, Presenting National Unification Hero- Peace Awards on behalf of BFF, CSOs-Partners for Democracy & Good Governance to All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), Musical Icon Korte Dorbor Barzee, CKA Kobazzie & Former President George M. Weah, Represented by Hon. Civicus S. Barsi-Giah

He maintains that “without respect for your own culture as Liberians and Africans, we are going nowhere in terms of socioeconomic growth and development.”

According to the Cameroonian Ambassador, “learning some other person’s culture is very good, but it is very hard to achieve excellence in another person’s culture, because it is always going to be one step ahead of you”.

Ambassador GANG: “If you want to sing his reggae, the Jamaican is going to sing better reggae than you. If you want to sing the blues, maybe the Americans are going to sing better blues. Coming to Africa, if you want to sing the popular music in Cameroon, which is Makosa, the Cameroon Makosa singer is going to be better than you. But if you choose to sing something in the Bassa language, or to beat the drums, or mele sasa in the Bassa way, or like our honoree on stage today, Mr. Kortee Dorbor Bazzie, CKA ‘Gobazzie-The Lorma Boy’, you are likely to stand out as the icon”.

“So, these are the areas for which I think the leaderships of Liberia, and other African Nations and groups like the Better Future Foundation should orient the youth.

“Are we an agricultural country? Are we an industrial country? Are we a mining country? If we are an agricultural country, then please don’t look at us and stand here year- after- year and speak of concern for your country,” the Envoy stressed.

Ambassador GANG: “Did you plant a pineapple? Did you plant a pear tree in all your life? Did you ever plant something and see it grow?

“Because we are importing food. We are selling gold and we are importing rice. We are selling diamonds and we are importing chicken feet from other countries.

“We are not producing gold to develop the chicken and the poultry and so on. These are the questions which intellectuals should ask themselves. If we are an agricultural country, what is going to be the foundation of our industry?” “It is agri-industry,” he stressed.

He cautions Africans, with Liberians being of no exception, to “Plant much, transform much, consume much, and sell much.” So those are the fundamental issues that I want to take the opportunity to speak about on a day like this Liberia’s National Unification Day celebration,” Ambassador Gang asserted.

“And linked to agriculture, is the business. If you want to run the country, it is not enough to challenge, criticize, insult, jealous of those who come from elsewhere and do the business,” he indicated.

“It is because there is a vacuum and we have an expression in French which says, la nature a horreur du vide. It means that “nature hates vacuum”.

He narrated that if there is a vacuum, external air immediately will come in to fill that vacuum.

“If somebody comes here and finds that the pineapple market is full because of production by you, he’s not going to invest in pineapple,” the envoy stressed.

According to the Ambassador, “the youth are essential to development. The youth must be imbued with courage. They must be and inside the economy and what I like about education, higher education, secondary education, is the binding nature of education.”

Ambassador GANG: “I have friends who are my brothers today because we went to a boarding school. They were from different countries and I can’t tell you what they do for me. Some are doctors. They cure me when I think I’m going to die. Some are my friends. They give me money when my account is short. Everybody has a short account.” He has a shortage in his account once in a while, so, we help each other mutually.”

And so, he emphasized that “the youth must be made aware of where the BFF, PdG and such organizations must tell you about the modern job constraints.”

“When you hear about AI, artificial intelligence, how does it affect you? How does it affect your job? When you hear about robotics, how does that affect you? How does it affect your jobs? So don’t sit there and blame from Madam Ellen (Johnson Sirleaf) to President (George Manneh) Weah to now President (Joseph Nyuma) Boakai about not giving you jobs.”

The Astute Cameroonian diplomat further explained that “Those jobs are never going to increase from the bottom.”

Ambassador GANG: “Let me tell you a very sad and bitter truth. They can’t employ all of us. It’s impossible because even in the developed countries, jobs in gas stations are being given out to machines. Where you come, there is nobody selling gas. That’s about five jobs lost. Cars are being painted in the workshop by machines, robotics. That’s about 10 jobs lost. The car spare parts are being welded by iron machines. That’s about 50 jobs lost. There is no turning back. Cars are being made to drive without drivers. Those are taxi jobs going.”

“So let’s not sit in this world and dream about something which is fast and it’s not going to happen, and hate and blame and insult and criticize ourselves and our leaders,” he asserted.

However, he clarified: “I’m not saying that they are angels. They can do certain things because they are supposed to create the environment and give the impetus to the youth to move forward in this direction.”

“But be aware that even in the developing countries, there is an increasing shortage of jobs because the business people are trying to pay less to the workers in order that they can make more money, and so they are putting robotics into play,” he further asserted.

During the 60th Liberia National Unification Day celebration, the former President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, and two other distinguished groups, including The All Liberia Coalition Party (ALP) and music Icon KOBAZZIE, were given their respective flowers for their respective roles in the maintenance of peace and democracy in the Liberian Nation.

Speaking at the honoring ceremony which coincided with the 60th National Unification program held on may 13, 2024 at the UL, former President Weah, via a proxy, renewed his call for Liberians to maintain the peace and tranquility in the country and to embrace each other as brothers and sister with common destiny.

For his part, music icon, Korte Dorboe Bazie, CKA Kobazzie, praised BFF and partners for the honor bestowed on him, describing the CSOs Award as the most prestigious of all awards he has ever received.

Receiving the award on behalf of the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), Hon. Cheman F. Jackitay, Vice President for Operations, expressed profound appreciation to the Civil Society community of Liberia for their effective observation, and monitoring of the 2023 Legislative and Presidential Elections, to ensure that all political stakeholders are held accountable for their actions consistent with the Elections Guidelines of the National Elections Commission (NEC), and the Constitution of the Republic. According to the ALCOP Executive, the National Unification Hero Peace Awards initiated by the CSOs will not only serve as a motivation for good conduct, but an accountability checkpoint for all political parties and their allies to exhibit peaceful and lawful conduct during campaigns and at the polls.

Mr. Siokin Civicus Barsi-Giah, a Liaison in the Office of former President Weah who served as a proxy of the Former President, praised the Better Future Foundation, BFF, and its collaborating partners that celebrated the 13, May, 2024, National Unification Day.

During the occasion, former President George Weah, along with Mr. Korte Dorbor Barzie, a rising Liberian musical star, known by his famous stage name, ‘Kobarzie’ and the All Liberia Coalition Party (ALCOP), a registered political party in Liberia, were honored by the Better Future Foundation and its civil society collaborating partners.

According to the Citation of the 3rd Awardee – in the Individual Category, read on behalf of the organizers by the Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-kai, Ex-President George Manneh Weah is undoubtedly the most well-known Liberian of our time.

Weah, a global soccer lengend, shot to public limelight during his exploits in the field of football  and reached climax when he bagged three prestigious soccer awards in one year: Best African Player, Best European Player and Best World Player.

After hanging up his football boots, Weah, who once served as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador as well as Liberia’s Peace Ambassador  delved into national politics and first campaigned and won to become Senator of Montserrado County.

Prior to this huge political gain, Mr. Weah briefly served Liberians as the National Peace Ambassador of Liberia.

Then, he contested for the coveted Liberian Presidency, won, and subsequently became the 25th President of the Republic of Liberia, for the first six-year constitutional term, beginning January 2018 and ending January 2024.

As the incumbent President of the Republic and Standard Bearer of the former ruling Coalition, President Weah threw in his towel to contest for re-election in the 2023 Presidential and legislative Elections in Liberia.

The general electoral atmosphere was tense as the opposition gave a ‘tough fight.’

Then, in the middle of magisterial ballot counting, President Weah courageously broke media airwaves and congratulated the main opposition leader, then, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, the Standard Bearer and Political Leader of the now ruling Unity Party for a successful campaign and winning the historic and crucial elections.

“Now therefore, in recognition of the above referenced facts, likewise appreciation for your patriotic act of conceding defeat to opposition party, and using reconciliatory language and message of peace that pre-empted any agitation among the country’s voting populace, thus averting possibility of violence that could have disrupted the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia, the National Unification Hero | Heroine Awards Committee now hereby awards you – former President George Manneh Weah, the National Unification Hero Award 2024, in the Individual Category, “with all the rights and privileges appertaining to.”

The awards were formally presented to the three distinguished recipients by the Cameroonian Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia, H.E.  Beng ‘Yela Augustine GANG, on behalf of the CSOs-PdG led organizers of the National Unification Day program Committee, Co-chaired by the former Minister of Education, Dr. D. Evelyn S. Kandakai and veteran Liberian Educator and former President of Stella Maris Polytechnic University,   Sister Mary Laurene Browne, OSF.

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