“Let’s Remove the Stain on Our National Flag” – Gongloe Says In His Flag Day Message
Fellow Liberians, in keeping with our historical tradition, we will all be commemorating the 176th anniversary of our National Flag–the Lone Star—on the 24th of this month. Historians tell us that 29 days after our Declaration of Independence, the Lone Star was unfurled to symbolize the very first Republic on the African continent. The square blue field on the upper left corner of our Flag, we are further told, represents what European colonizers then referred to as the “Dark Continent.” And so, historically, with the advent of the Lone Star on the so-called Dark Continent, it, from the onset, had a herculean task of metaphorically enlightening Africa. Indisputably, being an icon of continental enlightenment is an onerous responsibility, because it entails setting good examples for others to follow; it involves being an exemplary role model.
It has been 176 years since out Flag was first hoisted to represent our desire and determination to govern ourselves and ensure our dignity as a people. In grade school, we all learned to pledge our allegiance—our loyalty—to the Liberian Flag. As patriotic citizens, we pledge our loyalty, not only to the Flag, but more importantly, “to the Country for which it stands.” In furtherance of our pledge, we also acknowledge that our country, that Liberia is “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and JUSTICE FOR ALL.”
Fellow Liberians, as we all commemorate the 176 anniversary of the first hoisting of our National Ensign 176 years ago, it is incumbent on each and every one of us, not only to renew our Pledge of Allegiance, but to also robustly remove all the blights that are tainting the symbol of our existence as a nation. As I have been reiterating to you in recent times, especially since I humbly accepted a petition by a cross-section of our compatriots on December 4, 2021 to firmly stand as a candidate for President of the Republic of Liberia, this year’s National Flag Day celebration is another pivotal moment of sober reflection for every Liberian everywhere around the world. Once again, let us all take a deep breath and reflect on the Lone Star, the symbol of our nation. This year’s National Flag Day celebration is unique in the annals of our nation’s history, because it is taking place exactly 46 days to the casting of ballots by registered voters in our highly anticipated General and Presidential elections.
I strongly believe that the aura of uniqueness surrounding our Flag Day celebration this year makes it imperative for one to be very candid about the status and stature of our National Ensign among the national flags of the global community. Fellow Liberians, in my opinion, a flag—every flag—is just like a mirror, because it tends to portray the exact image of the object in front of it. As we are all aware, a mirror is a brutally candid invention. In other words, if you elegantly dress up and stand in front of a mirror, the mirror will portray your immaculately attired image. On the other hand, if you later take off your very expensive attires and put on some dirty clothes, or if you strip off everything and stand nude in front of the very same mirror, the mirror will definitively portray your filthy or nude image.
And so, my fellow Liberians, as we all commemorate the 176 anniversary of our Flag, I’m very disheartened to inform that our National Ensign is no more as prestigious as it once was as the symbol of the first independent Republic in Africa. I regret to inform you that our National Flag has been severely stained by the prevailing blight of bad governance and pervasive corruption in the country. As we celebrate the 176th anniversary of our Flag–the Lone Star–which was meant to brighten the entire African continent, has instead lost its sparkles and pathetically become dim. As a result, rather than emitting its unique radiance as the symbol of the first African Republic to illuminate the path of good governance, our Flag has been tainted by the scourge of callous antipathy to the plight of our people.
My fellow compatriots, on this particular National Flag Day celebration, I will not mince words, because I want to be very candid in letting you know that there is a debilitating stain on our Flag that is severely impeding our forward movement as a people. After 176 years of existence as a nation state, when our country is persistently being declared as one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, there is a stain on our Flag, When the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization declares that at least 531,000 of our fellow citizens and foreign residents are ominously facing “acute food insecurity”, there is a stain on our Flag. When our country is consistently listed on the International Corruption Perception Index, currently occupying the unenviable 142 position on that notorious listing, there is a stain on our Flag.
When our current president, who is an international football icon, promises to build seven football stadiums and after miserably failing to build one, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) declares the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium—the only football stadium in the country unfit for international games, there is definitely a stain on our Flag. When our current president tells the nation that his government, in partnership with a Ghanaian aviation company, has established a so-called Lone Star airline, and we can’t see his Lone Star airline at our international airport, it obviously means that there is a stain on our Flag.
When our government promises to empower 250,000 street and out-of-school children, and year after year, there is no trace of any youth empowerment program, as our young people continue to catch hell, there is a stain on our Flag. My fellow compatriots, uncountable actions and inactions by our leaders over the years continue to tarnish the image of our flag; those improprieties, those shady deeds continue to stain the very symbol of our existence as a nation.
I, however, have good news for us all. The good news is that in spite of the ongoing hellish situation, despite the tormenting and taunting that we’re going through, that there is still a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel! I want to let you all know that even though it is challenging, but removing the proverbial stain on our National Flag is not an insurmountable task. Every generation has had the challenge to uphold the dignity and sanctity of our National Flag and now it’s our time to decisively face that challenge so that virtues can triumph obnoxious vices.
In the anticipated October 10, 2023 Election, if we overwhelmingly vote out those whose era has witnessed the disappearance of 16 billion Liberian dollars, the disappearance of twenty-five million United States dollars without any trace, the mysterious deaths of top internal auditing professionals and others, we will be removing the stain on our Flag. Let’s remove the stain on our Flag by decisively voting out all those who lied to us that they will empower our youth, that will empower our struggling market women and miserably failed on their promises.
Even if they bribe you now with a few bags of rice, with a few US dollars to get your vote, so they can inflict more suffering on us for another six years, vote them out. Let us remove the stain on our Flag by voting out those who wrongly believe that government is a place to steal, rather than a place to serve. Let’s remove the stain our Flag by voting out those that have been internationally sanctioned for their corrupt activities against the Liberian people, thus bringing disgrace to our country.
Finally, my fellow compatriots, let’s resoundingly remove the stain on our Flag by voting for a presidential candidate that has the character, the integrity to institute transformative change in our country for the ultimate upliftment of our people. Without any hesitation and with a deep sense of humility, I solemnly vow on this day to be your Servant-in-Chief and bring such Positive Change to our country. And so, if you want a leader that will spearhead removing the stain on our Flag by restoring the dignity of this country, I’m your candidate on October 10th. Join us, so that together, we can kick out egregious ineptitude, endemic corruption and begin to implement our 10-point Agenda for Liberia’s transformation and comprehensive national development.
Long Live the Lone Star. “O Long May it Float Over and Land and Seas.”
A Better Liberia Is Possible