By Naneka A. Hoffman
The Angie Brooks International Center for Women Empowerment Leadership Development, International Peace and Security through its flagship program ‘Women Situation Room’ continues her peer-to-peer engagement with disadvantaged youth across the country.
Saturday, 11 November Peer- to- Peer-to-peer engagement with disadvantaged youth was intended to disabuse the minds of young people from electoral violence, ahead of the November 14, 2023, Presidential Runoff Election.
The exercise, which brought together over 1000 at-risk youth from the suburb of New Georgia, was held at the 88 Entertainment Center in New Georgia Estate, attended by several foreign guests, including the Sweden Ambassador, EU Ambassador, EU Observation Missions, respectively in Liberia.
The coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Center and initiator of the women’s situation room, Cllr. Dr. Yvette Cheeson-Wureh admonished disadvantaged youth not to get on the streets and engage in electoral violence.
She urged them not to be influenced by politicians to cause violence that has the propensity of ruining the peace of Liberia and returning the country to its dark days.
Cllr. Cheeson-Wureh said disadvantaged youth should listen to the results of the runoff after Tuesday and take it peacefully, further advising that if there will be dissatisfactions, they should be channeled thru the court.
“Listen to the results, take them and remain peaceful. If you are not satisfied, go to the court.” Cllr. Cheeson-Wureh said.
She maintains that the legal process remains the surest way in channeling dispute during and after election, as well as the best way to maintain the peace and security of Liberia.
“If something is going on at the polling place and you don’t like it, ask for the complaint form and fill it; take a photo of it and follow the legal procedure and help your political party [to] maintain the peace.”
For his part, former foreign minister, and chairperson of the board of directors of ABIC, Madam OluBankie King-Akerele, cautioned disadvantaged youth against destroying themselves by involving in electoral violence, because violence has the propensity to take the country back to bloody conflict.
Madam King-Akerele added that by doing so, the youth will destroy the future of Liberia and they are the future of Liberia.
“You are the future of the nation, we are older now and you are the ones to take our place. Therefore, do not destroy yourselves.
Respect the rule of law and do not get in violence and destroy others. Because we are who we are because others played their role.”
EU Ambassador to Liberia, Nona Deprez, said, the EU is here to support the conduct of peaceful elections in Liberia and to help disadvantaged youth.
Ambassador Deprez also urged Liberian electorates to conduct themselves peacefully and to call the WSR toll-free code 2023 to report election-related malpractice and violence.
Also speaking, Swedish Ambassador here, Urban Sjostrim noted that international observers have assessed the elections and found out that the process has been very good.
The Swedish diplomat urged disadvantaged youth to use every peaceful means to solve challenges, saying “Though there are challenges during elections, there are mechanisms in dealing with the problems, so there is no need for fighting and causing distortion.” Editing by Jonathan Browne