Evidence of Liberia’s continuing transition from the scars of war to socio-economic resuscitation abound. Among them are social problems that have taken their toll almost entirely on the country’s youthful popula tion after a long spell of fifteen years on the sidelines.
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After winning a hard fought runoff reelection victory in October/November 2011, President Ellen Sirleaf made some major promises to the Liberian people. The promises were all geared towards making the lives of most Liberians better.
The Constitution of Liberia in Article 3 designates the country as a “unitary sovereign state” with a two chamber legislature, an executive arm and a judiciary. These three branches are separate, though they are in theory structured to coordinate and check one another. Article 3 states verbatim, “Liberia is a unitary sovereign state divided into counties for administrative purposes.
Since the last five years, Liberia has not moved a step forward in its position as a country where journalists are partly-free, according to Freedom House. However, the period leading up to 2011 witnessed significant progress. “Liberia improved from Not-Free to Partly-Free to reflect the passage of West Africa’s first Freedom of Information Law and the decrease in physical attacks on journalists, reports the United States-based media rights advocacy group.
Ever since its first hoisting on April 26, 1847, the resplendent red, blue and white Liberian Flag, the Lone Star, has been the topic of inconclusive debates. Like the nation for which it stands, the red, white and blue ensign has aroused controversies about who were its designer, where was it sown and whether its symmetric resemblance to the Star Spangled Banner, the United States Flag, distorts the symbolism of ‘liberty, freedom and justice for all’ that the founders of the First Black Republic in Africa proudly espoused. Decades ago, the story was told and dramatized at elementary and high schools throughout Liberia that the Lone Star banner was the original work of Susana Lewis, Matilda Newport and Sarah Draper, among other pioneers, known as the Seven Seamstresses.
- Dissecting the ‘Road to Health’ Without doubt, one of the sectors urgently needing attention in Liberia is the health sector. Hospitals are still poorly equipped while they lack requisite drugs and trained healthcare providers. To complicate the matter, most Liberians are severely impoverished as over 64 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, with 1.3 million people living in extreme poverty, according to a World Food Program 2013 report. This makes medical care prohibitively expensive.