By Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)
Liberia is at a crossroad when the electorates have to decide between two parties and two untested Presidential candidates. While the judiciary and the electoral processes may have been tested, the general electorate, particularly young electorates who are first time voters have not. Sadly, we observe the initial zeal and momentum among young people has been lost. They are confused, unenthusiastic or feel outside of the process.
Opinions are divided among the general populace on how to select as our next democratically elected President. There are some groups of people who would like to see a change of baton, there are other groups who would like to see continuity, there are those who would like to vote according to the dictates of their conscience and there those who are the undecided voters.
Fears and doubts on the outcome of the runoff are palpable. Times are hard and conducting a Presidential runoff election during a festive period might not ensure a peaceful outcome. But the election runoff date is set, so we should now work hard to support the legitimacy of our electoral institutions — despite its imperfections. We believe the youth hold the key to this successful and peaceful election season.
Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia is dedicated to ensuring tranquility in our communities through empowering youth to truly be the messengers of peace. That is why this week we are conducting a hands-on training in Dialogue, Mediation and Peacebuilding for 25 young people representing all 15 counties in Gbarnga, Bong County.
With technical support received from Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) and Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) coupled with funding support from UNDP & UN Peacebuilding Fund, MOP-Liberia would transfer skills, knowledge and core values to other young people.
The time has come for young people to have the power not only to choose their leaders democratically but also participate actively in the process. For this, youth should not only be seen as encouraging each other but must inspire each other to attain greater heights. Hopefully, in this way, we will elect a leader that is peace orientated and one who will invest heavily in peace through an increase investment in human security.
Peace must be based on intrapersonal relationship and we must drive home the message, by beating the peace drum loud enough, until there is no possible refuge from its application. This is the beat we have begun through this work we are committed to doing.
It has been a life touching training program on Dialogue and Mediation taking place in Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia. We have begun to see changes in the participants and we are excited for the multiplier effects of the training program in the counties. Even though the training sessions have been intense, our participants have been fast learners- already facilitating difficult topics. They are also innovative, sharing cultural shows and food fair from the counties — even holding a surprise award ceremony for their Executive Director.
Until next week, when we bring to you another dialogue among peace messengers, it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time. #Peacemydemocraticchoice