ECOWAS assures Liberia of closer partnership for credible, peaceful elections
The Representative of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia, Ms. Josephine Nkrumah, has assured Liberians that the regional body will continue its enduring partnership with all stakeholders to secure free, fair, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections.
She has consequently urged the youth to bear in mind that as the major stakeholders of the current and future of the country, it was incumbent on them to guard against being used by some politicians to jeopardise the unity and peace of the country.
Ms Nkrumah gave the assurance at the opening of the Second Edition of the National Youth and Students Summit at the Ministerial Complex in Monrovia on Tuesday.
Organised by the Catholic Relief Services, the two-day programme was on the theme “Promoting Dialogue, Participation and Inclusion in the 2023 National Elections.” Other partners are USAID, Federation of Liberian Youth and the Liberia National Students’ Union.
On September 10, 2023, ECOWAS deployed 15 Long Term Observers (LTOs) for the October 10 elections in Liberia. It was headed by Mr. Serigne Mamadou Ka, Acting Head of the Electoral Assistance Division and comprises experts in election administration, gender and civil society, constitutional law, security, and the media.
The LTO Mission that has been deployed to all 15 counties will be in Liberia until 15th October 2023 and will observe the electoral processes and also serve as an early warning mechanism for preventive diplomacy.
ECOWAS will reinforce the work of the LTO Mission with 80 Short Term Observers from 3RD October. They are drawn from the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, ECOWAS Parliament, and Community Court of Justice, member States’ foreign ministries, electoral management bodies, as well as civil society organisations.
The combined observation Mission will be led by Prof Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria
Touching on the negative effects of misinformation, disinformation and fake news, Ms Nkrumah advised the youth to always ponder deeply about the kind of comments, statements and messages that characterised their communication both on social media and traditional communication mediums.
“Let your words sow peace. Whenever you take your phone, tablet or computers to type a message or forward pictures, videos and messages, ask yourself, will this inure to the benefit of the progressive Liberia you yearn for.” She asked.
She said some of the seemingly daily innocuous actions taken by individual Liberian youth would have great repercussions on the country and whether it would be good or bad was in their hands.
Ms Nkrumah commended the youth groups for organising such a programme that attracted youth from the across the country, and explained that this was an indication of their determination to secure a peaceful and harmonious country that would be able to tap the rich natural resources for accelerated development.
Lack of Conflict
She explained that peace was not only the lack of conflict but the assurance of the well-being of the people and that this kind of peace would only emanate from the kind of choices the people especially the youth would make.
She advised the youth to bear in mind that throughout all the processes, the common denominator must be Liberia and that the love for the country and passion for a better Liberia should drive their actions.
“But I am so happy that in the last few months that I have been in Liberia, I hear the voice of the youth. I see the amazing work that they do not just in the public space but also in the private space as they forge their own path to be empowered.” Ms Nkrumah noted.
She indicated that she has been encouraged by the rate at which the youth have taken up serious national tasks of making thoughtful declarations, drafting youth manifestos that speak to their aspirations as well as how they have been engaging their peers in the pursuit of peace.
The youth in the country make up 70 per cent of the total population so when they speak it represent the voice of Liberia “and so let your voice be a voice for good and let you’re your force be a force for good” she urged the youth.