By Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)
The dialogue on our street corners, in our homes, office spaces, market places, stores and schools is that of a standstill Presidential election. Opinions and views are divided; arguments on who is or what is right and what would happen are heated up. Everyone is tense and tend to look at the present political impasse from their respective political prism based on their political affiliations.
Concerns about the elections rerun or runoff are growing. People are worried on what is next. Ongoing rumours on the possibility of an interim government are not helping either. Times are tough for the ordinary Liberian who is unsure of from whence the next meal would emanate.
With ongoing stalemate in the electoral process, the propensity for violence becomes high as we continue to observe across the country especially with the attack on the house of an Associate Justice. We agree that any elections irregularity be addressed and condemn any form of violence, abuse and malpractices that are election related.
The need for constructive dialogue especially among young people cannot be overemphasized. We need to inform young people on the implication of the current political situation, to the economy, to going to school and to the provision of basic social amenities and most importantly to politically educate the first time voters who are unsure of what to make of this political standoff.
Informed young people do have a significant role to play, of informing other young people, as we seek a road map through this political labyrinth.
More than dialogue, we want peace. But to consolidate peace and not create opportunities to erode the sustainable peace that we have all worked very hard to enjoy, we need to maintain the momentum of things by moving swiftly to finalize the electoral process of electing the next Liberian President.
As we map or remap the way forward, there is a need to openly engage local communities through regular consultations on unfolding events on and what to expect. We need to put in place feedback mechanism so as to gauge the interests, fears and concerns of the masses. Young people should be broad in their approach to addressing political and peace dialogue and all government agencies should work towards restoring the people’s confidence in the democratic election process by ensuring we adhered to the time constituted for the transition of power to take effect.
At Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia Inc, we are committed to peace advocacy and to enhancing the participation of young people in the electoral process. Our present focus is to build mediation and dialogue as well conflict resolution capacity building programmes for young people, especially young women at all levels of the society. All voices count as we strive together to strengthen our democracy.
Until next week, when we hope and pray to find a political as well as legal solution to a smooth democratic transition of power from one president to the another, let peace be our guide, Peace above all else, Peace first and may Peace continue to prevail in our country.