Since the violent demonstrations by students’ vacation job workers on last Thursday and Friday, December 22 and 23, there have been countless condemnations. The level of destruction, looting and obstruction of free movement in Monrovia and its environs warranted such condemnations from all sectors of the Liberian society, including the Liberia Council of Churches.
While sermons/messages in the various churches focused on Christmas, some pastors and Bishops also chose to discuss last week’s disturbances in the wake of celebrations marking the birth anniversary of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As the students and others in the vacation job program continue to be condemned for their violent behavior, the attributing factors must be investigated.
If the government had targeted only 10, 000 students for the program, how come did the number swell to more than 50,000? If there were duplications of application forms distributed by the Monrovia City Corporation or MCC, who authorized such? How transparent were supervisors and field workers in the process, including the disbursement of the cash to the students? Why didn’t the MCC plan the vacation job program in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Federation of Liberian Youth, as well as Liberia National Students Union and school administrations? These are but a few questions the Ellen Administration must seek answers to as a way of determining the causes of two days of violence in Monrovia and its environs.
Diving into this investigation in consonance with the foregoing, reprimanding those whose actions may have led to such violent situation and revisiting the vacation program to ensure proper coordination and transparency would further assist the Government of Liberia in meeting its objective of creating jobs for the young people of Liberia.
While there may have been a number of challenges in the planning, organization and implementation of the vacation job scheme, the students must be told about their “rebel attitudes”. As much as they may have had their grievances due to the coordination challenges which characterized the program, it was only proper to seek redress through peaceful channels. But to engage in such unwholesome actions which paralyzed free movement and trade, was not representative of young people claiming to be future leaders of this country.
If this is the “generational change” being referred to in certain quarters of our society, this generation may as well continue until there is civil transformation in the young people of Liberia.