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Feature article: Reasons Why Liberian Youths Should Register & Vote Tiawan Saye Gongloe President

 By S.Karweaye

Years ago, Liberian universities had a long tradition of politically active students. The University of Liberia (UL) campuses are often seen as hotbeds of political engagement, with moderate & controversial speakers and radical student leaders routinely kicking up loud protests in the name of the suffering masses. Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe was birthed, shaped, refined, and baptized with the fire and fury of the era. 

But today, except for the Student Unification Party (SUP), Liberian students and youths in general, have been coerced, castrated, cowed, compromised, and corrupted by the politics of looting and killing. Sadly, in March of 2023, the Weah-led government through  UL administration banned student politics at the UL campuses after the University Capitol Hill campus was a scene of bloody clashes when thugs connected to Montserrado County District 8 Representative Acarou M. Gray accompanied the lawmaker on the University campus to “face up to campus-based student political party, the Vanguard Student Unification Party (SUP). Political activism is dying and might be unmourned. Death of youth activism is responsible in large part for the abysmal turnout of youths – the hallmark of Liberian elections.

Since the civil war came to an end, Liberia’s presidency has bounced between Mr. George Weahi’s party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), and its rival Unity Party (UP). The CDCs candidate for president this year is incumbent Mr. George Weah, who has literally started campaigning illegally by installing billboards with his pictures all over the country. And the UP has put forward former Vice President Joseph Boakai, who has run for president once before. In this context, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe has successfully marketed himself as new blood. He is a Christian running on the ticket of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), a party that plays an important role in the struggle for social justice and democracy in Liberia.

Cllr. Gongloe is the candidate that the two major candidates are not taking seriously, but as time has gone on, it has proved a fatal error on their part. He has been carrying his message of A Better Liberia Is Possible all over the country and it has been resonating with both old and young people. For an outsider, Cllr. Gongloe has a long track record in Liberian politics. He is a founding member of LPP, was Solicitor General of Liberia, Minister of Labor, and President of the Liberia National Bar Association. And in 2010, he resigned from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government for policy differences. Still, in every county he has traveled to, Liberians have been energized by his promises to clean up corruption and transform the country for the betterment of all Liberians. 

Wisdom dictates that you should be the one to shape your future. From 2005 to 2017 and from 2017 to the present, the Unity Party and the Congress of Democratic Change have ruled and ruined your lives and don’t understand the youth perspective. They’re confused about your interests and future. If you fail to vote, you’re yielding the ultimate power to the cabal and oligarchy of fools to make decisions about the leaders and laws that will shred your life, tear our nation and suffocate our society for decades to come. You can be sure that those decisions won’t be congruent with your psyche and perspective.

How many times and for how many years have you been told that you’re the leaders of tomorrow that never come and will never come? Or Market women’s children are in power, and folks are jealous even though every fabric of the society is broken? Consider how long – you have been sidelined, marginalized, impoverished, made invisible, inconsequential, stereotyped as lazy, dumb, useless, hopeless, and good for nothing. Remember how many years you have been without employment. Think how many times you have wished you could choose who will represent your interests, and who will fight for you and make you part of the political equation in governance. Remember, how you have been left behind other youths in the world in all areas of life. 

Voting gives you the power to make important life choices and decisions. Since the return of Liberia to democracy in 2006, the electoral process has been plagued by the tendency to monetise. Liberia has been battling with the hard luck of having responsible leaders. Say NO to Trucking.  You get to decide what you like and don’t like in government- 2023 is the chance of a lifetime to reclaim and restore your life. Think about some countries that don’t have democratic political institutions like North Korea or Cuba, North Korea, etc. In these countries, citizens are denied the right to vote and be voted for. They are denied the right to have their voice heard. They are denied the option to shape their government and their future. Count yourself lucky that you live in a country that operates on democratic principles after patriots like D. Tweh, Albert Porte, Michael Francis, Togba Nah Tipoteh, Amos Sawyer, G. Bacuss Matthew, Taiwan Gongloe, and others fought for such. You don’t want to try or tarnish the right and privileges. What you don’t use, you lose!

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If you don’t vote, you could end up with a potted plant elected president, or even worse than Mr. George Weah. If you chose not to vote, you automatically waive your right to complain. Voting demonstrates your good faith attempt to get the political outcome you desire and gives you every right to complain if things don’t go your way on key ballot measures. If you don’t vote, shut it and shut up!

Democracy doesn’t work without citizen participation. Don’t pray for good leaders while you refuse to vote. We must revitalize our democracy and show the recycled crooks, thieves and murderers masquerading as politicians their games are over by casting your votes. Don’t waive your right to vote. Get your voter registration card. ! Follow the news. And when Election Day comes around, cast your ballot – vote Cllr. Taiwan Gongloe for President! 

In 2023, youths must take advantage of their right to vote. Create a future that aligns with your fundamental beliefs, priorities, and programs, and set a precedent for the future. Your future is now… Let’s go there!

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