By Gwendolyn S. Myers, executive director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia, Inc.
As the New Year begins, so begins a new era in Liberia. It is a year when we have to welcome a New President who would provide leadership to the people of Liberia for the next six years. For the first time in over 70 years, Liberia would transfer power from one democratically elected President to another.
Liberia is the first in many things; the first republic in Africa; first female democratically elected President in Africa; first and only African country to produce the World, African and European Best and Ballon d’Or winner (George Weah); and first in the world to vote an ex-football legend as President (Yes, George Weah), etc…
We need to continue this legacy by becoming one of the first countries in Africa to ensure gender parity in its cabinet of government ministers and meaningful involvement of young people.
Liberia has over the past twelve years experienced peace defining moments and we need to build on those moments as we consolidate the peace gains. As a matter of urgency and priority, the new government would have to address the issue of corruption as this is the single greatest obstacle to growth, economic and social development of any country.
We reiterate the need to invest in social human security and address the issue of unemployment, specifically among young people. When jobs are given not on qualifications, experience and competencies, it hinders development. Good governance not only promotes trust, it builds ability to meet the basic needs of people.
It would be understandable, if after twelve years of wait, expectations are high. Speed and managing these high expectations are of essence and we would like to encourage incoming Government not to disappoint the youths and manage these high expectations accordingly.
We have noticed some of the humility expressed by those who know the President-elect and we look forward to more. We request that he leads us by example and ensure those he calls to his cabinet implement responsible, conflict-sensitive practices, aligned with the principles of national peace and reconciliation.
Through Messengers of Peace (MOP) Liberia- Advocacy for Peace in Liberia program, young Liberians are showing willingness to be part of the solution to solving existing managerial characteristics. Messengers of Peace-Liberia will look to the new administration to demonstrate that investment in youth is a great investment in human social security which can help deliver a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future for all Liberians.
As part of ongoing enhancement of youth participation program, your government needs to ensure that all youth led and youth based non-government organizations benefit from the Peacebuilding fund which to date has played a valuable role in the meaningful involvement and active participation of young people in peacebuilding programs.
The need to move on the development aspects of peacebuilding in your government cannot be overemphasized; as the global pooled fund for peace has demonstrated that young people can play a role in governance, political and security programs.
We wish the new administration success and look forward to continued partnership with our key stakeholders.
The quest for peace continues next week and until then, let peace be first, peace above all else and may peace prevail.