By Gwendolyn S. Myers, Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia, Inc.
In any democracy, majority carries the day. Peace Messengers await the outcome of the vote counts and the results of possible run-off elections. We are unhappy and concern about ongoing dialogue and threats within the country. There are processes and procedures to contest elections results and one of the channels does not include threats.
We encourage all protesters to seek redress through established mechanisms rather than go on the streets carrying placards. We also encourage our king makers to respect the will of the people and create room for a seamless transition from one democratically elected government to other.
In these changing times, countries are battling more elections related issues and Liberia is not an exception. With cyber security and electoral fraud being high, conducting fair, free and transparent elections comes to the forefront. These elections had the most young people and women participating. With first time voters entering into the elections, generational challenges become prevalent. Therefore, it is important to combat emerging challenges like civic education, voters’ rights
Young people who crave for popular leadership must and should be the vote for change and leaders who want to tap into power must be ready to be coached into the new style of leadership. The millennials that are rapidly entering into the workforce would like to see the unemployment rate go down; we need to see a huge investment in social human security as well as continued leadership development.
It is no longer fashionable for young people to follow the leaders; young people around the world are now taking up positions of leadership as demonstrated in Canada, France and recently in Austria. We need succession planning in new leadership dispensation.
As we prepare for the possible run-off election in November 2017, Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia would continue its enhanced youth participation project – made possible by funds from UNDP and the Peace Building Funds. We would continue to mobilize the youth, inform them and communicate their choices in the next possible election. It is the right of every young registered voter to decide who our next President should be and we need to exercise those rights.
Many young people worry about what would happen if, due to one reason or the other, their preferred presidential candidate does not win the elections – given the current political rhetoric from some youth groups in the country.
Our next training workshop on Mediation and Dialogue in Gbarnga provides answers to some of the concerns among young Liberians. Young people may also wish to read their party political manifesto and the Ganta Agreement; and they may also talk to volunteer peace mediators in their respective counties.
We reiterate our strong condemnation to any form of violence that would pose a serious challenge to peace and development, and impair the enjoyment of human rights and dignity.
Until next week, when we come to you with yet another piece on Dialogue Among Peace Messenger- A Meaningful Elections: Be the Vote, Part 2, it is Peace First, Peace above all else, may peace prevail in our time.