The founder and president of the Oasis Ministry, Rev. Foday E. Karpeh says the current generation of Liberia is faced with the responsibility of crafting a national framework for leadership to help the country achieve its development agenda.
Rev. Karpeh made the reflection recently, during the five-day Young Political Leadership School (YPLS) training, organized by Empower, Engage & Educate (NAYMOTE) advocacy group at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Monrovia.
The opening day was witnessed by Antonio Vigilante, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for UNMIL, Lena Nordstrom, Sweden’s Ambassador to Liberia, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Chairman of Governance Commission (GC) and the president of the Press Union of Liberia, Abdulai Kamara, among others.
Rev, Karpeh said, “It is time to turn the corner, break from the past, and chart a new course. We need connective leadership to collaborate, empower, and provide direction.”
The challenge is that those at the helm of power are mostly functioning in the same mode of previous generations, observed Rev. Karpeh.
“If power could develop people, Liberians would have been among the most privileged people, because we have had a one-party state, two party state, head of states, presidents, councils of states, democracy, and even autocracy.”
He added that Liberia’s advancement as a nation depends on the willingness to analyze the country’s problems realistically and to work hard to uplift the people.
It is the responsibility of the state to use the national platform, including incentives that come with it, to mobilize the people towards a common future, Rev. Karpeh said.
“Liberian politics has been a one-hearted system only for self with little or no future capacity, without any template and the lack of an identifiable template is the unfortunate consequence of the lack of leadership,” he said.
Benetta V. Davies, program officer of NAYMOTE said YPLS is the first of its kind in Liberia and is designed by NAYMOTE to groom a generation of transformational young political leaders to become sound decision makers.
“Over the past ten years, Liberia witnessed two successful and relatively peaceful elections, including senatorial elections. We are proud of the democratic gains that Liberia has made,” she said.
NAYMOTE also recognizes the challenges facing the sustainability of these gains and the threat to development and growth, she said.
The challenges limit understanding of the essence of politics and the electoral process, weak political parties, disorganized political campaigns, election violence, immeasurable campaign platforms and voters’ apathy, which is largely due to lack of trust in the political system, according to Ms. Davies.
Ms. Davies said NAYMOTE believes that when young people are empowered, they can contribute greatly towards good governance and democracy and serve as catalysts for national development.
During the five day YPLS event, the young people, representing eleven political parties, seven student council governments and civil society organizations will be trained to lead peaceful political campaigns, promote research based platforms and development. Participants will also gain competence in issues based voting, and how to make constructive use of the media to project the brand of their candidates as well as support the Liberia 2030 vision.