Dialogue Among Peace Messengers: Vote Peace-Part 3

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Liberian youths stand on the threshold of making history by influencing the outcome of this election.

The world is changing. As Liberians prepare for its next President and Parliamentarians, like other countries such as Iran, Rwanda, Kenya and others did, we need to ensure trust, balance and respect in the application of electoral rules, processes and procedures. The central theme of this election is peace and the quest for non-violence. Young people should stay away from mistrust, polarization and corrupt practices of vote selling.

Sustainable peace is the only viable option for Liberia. That is what we believe in at Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia and that is why we invest in the involvement and active participation of young people in the political arena as enshrined in the UNSCR#2250 and the New Deal Principles.

We are first to acknowledge the long way ahead of us. Many young people in Monrovia are dissatisfied with the economy, high level corruption, poor public series and a system rigged against them by politicians who would not invest in human security.

The use of young people, particularly in and out of school children to protest, demonstrate and advocate is not lost to us. We commend the peaceful nature of these activities and strongly condemn the use of violence as a tool to get votes. While we take this opportunity to encourage peaceful conduct of electoral activities, we abhor the use of young persons for violent electoral campaigns. Releasing young people to campaign for their representatives is not the best strategy, we need the participation of adults as well to work and walk with us as part of the peace team.

If we vote peace, the rest would follow and there would be no cause for strife. By exchanging ideas, dialoguing and seeking solutions that are vital for everyone, we believe we can build a brighter and peaceful future together.

The best hope for reducing election violence is to transform well written election manifestoes to consolidated tangible peace initiatives. Our politics must craft rules and institution that harness development to suit our societal values and cultures. It is time to ask our politicians, our political parties and political affiliations what they stand for. MOP-Liberia would closely follow up on electoral events and campaigns during these elections.

If statistics is anything to go by, Liberian youths stand on the threshold of making history by influencing the outcome of this election. The odds are stack up against other displays of people power. We must be the change that we want to see. Therefore, we must be brave and stand up for important things and issues. For sustainable peace and development; Vote peace.

A politically engaged youth is on the rise and young people have the loudest voice. As young people we cannot recast the past but we can shape the future and the outcomes of this election depend on fresh ideas and new approaches to peace. Don’t sell your votes and please vote based on conviction and according to the dictate of your conscience.

We take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to ECOWAS/EU/AU; through the ECOWAS EU funded Emergency Support to Preventive Diplomacy and Related Actions to ensure free, fair and peaceful Elections in Liberia, also UNV-Liberia, UNMIL, Coca-Cola, Rotary Club of Monrovia and several other partners as well individuals for the additional support provided to MOP-Liberia during the month-long 2017 Peace Summer Camp for nearly 70 youths from Montserrado and Margibi Counties Which ended 29th August, 2017 at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism(MICAT) in Monrovia. It was the second peace summer camp for young people in Liberia.

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 IV let the words of Doe Zantamata resonate in your hearts: “No matter what surrounds you. Keep your joy alive inside”.

For now, It is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.

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