(October 5, 2022) Monrovia, Liberia – Hundreds of Liberian youths have been rallied from across the country to promote issues-based elections and encourage political leaders to implement the youth agenda for the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
In Liberia, youth development issues remain at the bottom of the policy ladder and unattended to for the most part. The lack of investment and effective policies for youth development has increased unemployment among Liberian youth. This is further worsened by the lack of training and educational opportunities for the youth. The consequences have been a high rate of youth delinquency and vulnerability. And as a result of unemployment and lack of opportunities, the youth budge in Liberia which should be a demographic dividend for national development is now being feared to constitute a ticking timebomb if appropriate policy responses are not adopted and put placed. It has been observed that, rather than mobilizing and igniting the productive energy of the youth, political leaders instead use the youth as instruments of violence (or militants) against their opponents.
To promote Liberia’s youth agenda and develop the Youth Manifesto for 2023 Elections, Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, a leading civil society institution in Liberia is hosting a two-day symposium to assemble young leaders who are active in politics and civil society to jointly discuss and identify priority issues for youth development, political inclusion, representation, and leadership in Liberia.
The institution’s Executive Director, Eddie D. Jarwolo is also calling for the dissolution of militants’ politics in Liberia. He is calling on Liberia’s politicians to promote issues-based elections; “let’s campaign on issues that matter most to the people and run a clean political campaign” he said. He believes that the Symposium will be a better platform to educate young people on the importance of issues-based elections, engaging political leaders to campaign on issues that matter most to the young people of Liberia, and how to mitigate electoral violence towards 2023.
The issues identified during the symposium will form the basis for developing a youth agenda or manifesto for political leaders to consider in their manifestoes and policy statements as the heads to the 2023 General and Presidential Elections. Naymote will monitor the political campaign period to track how political leaders incorporate issues that concern the young people, particularly those listed in the youth agenda.
Naymote believes that young people, with their numbers, exuberance, and training can contribute to transformative change, new political thinking, and energy to provide better leadership based on the tenets of good governance and democracy.
The symposium will involve speeches, discussions from expert panels, working sessions, and plenary deliberations. The two-day national event will follow the 14 county symposiums: one in each of the 14 counties. Each county symposium will produce a “County Youth Agenda for 2023.” The grand event in Monrovia will also focus on the national and global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) issues of concern to young people in the country.
The opening session of the Symposium in Monrovia on October 10, 2022, will witness statements of support from the United Kingdom Ambassador, the South African Ambassador, USAID Mission Director, UNDP Country Representative, and the Program Officer for Democracy and Human Rights at the Embassy of Sweden. Panel discussions will be led by professional Liberians and the lead facilitator of the Symposium is Dr. Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei, Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Development, (CDD), West Africa.
At the end of the Symposium, the National Youth Agenda/Manifesto will be developed and read out at the symposium, resolution adopted and circulated after the proceedings with political parties, political institutions, and independent candidates to encourage them to integrate into their manifestos.