Dialogue Among Peace Messengers: Enhance Youth Participation: Vote Peace VI

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By Gwendolyn S. Myers, Executive Director, MOP-Liberia, Inc.

First of all, we would like to thank the different political parties youth wings and movements (LP, ANC, ALP, UPP and Boakai Youth Movement) for participating in the Peace Walk and Youth Peace Talk organized by Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP) in collaboration with United Nations Mission in Liberia with support from UNDP and UN Peacebuilding Fund at the launch of the “Enhancing Youth Participation in the 2017 Legislative and Presidential Electoral Process,” and the commemoration of the International Day of Peace. This kind of cooperative attribute is exactly what Liberia needs to consolidate and sustain peace.

It was gratifying to be graced by representatives from UNDP, UNMIL, UNFPA, UN Women, ECOWAS, Ministries of Youths & Sports, Justice, Information, Culture Affairs & Tourism, Rotary Club of Monrovia, National Civil Society Council and the media. Over six hundred students from thirty schools in Montserrado, Bomi, Bong and Margibi counties attended and listened keenly to the peace talk among members of the political parties.

Participants from the various organizations pledged to work together for peace. Their signatures are displayed with honor at the MOP head office in Central Monrovia.

In voting for peace we encourage every young person of voting age to vote for a President that would improve quality of life through investment in human security, ensure quality education, guarantee affordable and accessible quality health care, social protection for vulnerable citizens, and access to environmental friendly water and sanitation services as inscribed in the National Development Goal – in the UNDAF document  of 2013-2017 Poverty Reduction Strategy Priority 3 on the Human Development Agenda for transformation. We need not just good infrastructure but great ones and excellent road networks that would link our urban centers to rural areas.

Young people should vote for Representatives that would create transparency, accountability and promote responsive public institutions. The agenda for transformation depends on how we cast our votes and if there is ever a time when we can improve the quality of life of the Liberian people and promote a sustainable and equitable social, economic and secure nation where peace and the rule of law are upheld, this is the time.

In his message on the International Day of Peace, the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, said, “Peace is the right and the desire of all people. It is the foundation for progress and well-being — happy children, thriving communities, and peaceful, prosperous countries.” He went on to say that “No group interest, national ambition or political difference should be allowed to put peace at risk.”

It is on this premise that we launched the project on “Enhancing Youth Participation in the 2017 Legislative and Presidential Electoral Process.”

In the next two weeks leading up to the October 2017 elections, our moving Theater for Peace would be in Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, Grand Bassa, River Cess, Bong and Nimba counties. The slogan for Vote Peace is ‘One goal, one peace. #Peace, my democratic choice.’

Until next week when we hope to continue this dialogue among peace messengers, ‘Vote Peace-Part VII,’ let the words of Doe Zantamata resonate in your hearts: “No matter what surrounds you, keep your joy alive inside.” For the moment, it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.

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