Against the backdrop of UNMIL imminent departure, the country is once again pressure for peace. Rightly so, opinions are divided among the young people of Liberia, who are rather apprehensive of what the future holds post UNMIL; given the lack of a tangible education, training and empowerment programme.
Young people dialogue on the issue of corruption in high places, the lack of trust among elected leaders, others argue that our airport is rather embarrassing, electricity is still a far reach for the poor, water and sanitation for all remains a long distant goal. Another mentioned that the minimum wage is still too low for those fortunate to be employed and there is a high statutory rape. Much more is needed to be done.
This is our reality and our cross to carry. According to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, during the speech delivered at the closing programme of Rick’s Institute in Virginia, Montserrado County, “Keeping the promise of maintaining peace is an obligation of all Liberians”.
UNMIL’s imminent departure provides a new narrative for dialogue on the need to bridge gaps in gender parity and equality. Our reality is a tall order wrapped against an enormous history. The true grit of all security and peace systems would be tested as we finalize preparation for the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2017.
Young people need to confront the future with courage and commitment to sustainable peace and freedom. Freedom means no fear. And no fear means that we can go to sleep knowing our border frontiers are protected and the doors to our living rooms would not be knockdown by midnight marauders looking to satisfy their greed on the sweats and blood of citizens that our justice and security system is designed to protect.
As young people pressure for peace, we should be determined to make a difference for peace. We can start to do this by addressing our value gaps and habits. We can also do this by getting involved. The Country needs to take the rudder from UNMIL and bring the ship ashore. No one is interested in the storms ahead, but getting the ship ashore should be our priority. We would deceive ourselves if we remain blindsided to teething pains or trouble ahead.
There is an opportunity for young people to get involved in the next Presidential elections and support core issues around human social security. The pressure for peace is on all of us and the unique challenges following “UNMEXIT” should not and will not deter Liberians from ensuring its stability and security.
To promote peace and harmony in Liberia, we should examine the legacy that UNMIL would leave behind and learn from our past mistakes. I would leave this aspect to our experts.
The best silver lining and hope for development in Liberia is to grow the youth. We need stronger social and economic growth. Let me take this opportunity to encourage the engagement of young people in holiday programmes.
As part of efforts in place to promote peace and the implementation of the UNSCR #2250, Messengers of Peace-Liberia is organizing a month Peace Summer Camp in Monrovia for fifty young people from next week Monday 18 July to 12 August 2016.
Until next week, when we continue our dialogue among Peace Messengers-What young people say is their recipe for peace, it is Peace First, Peace above all else. May Peace prevail on earth!