Editor: President George Manneh Weah is blaming parents for the increased wave of at-risk youths across Liberia, commonly known here as “zogoes.”
The President says failure of Liberian parents to take care of their responsibility (children) has contributed to increasing of at-risk youths in the country despite government efforts.
But while parents do have a share in the increase of wayward youths that have permeated our society, we believe strongly that government too has contributed by its failure to halt trafficking and widespread abuse of substances, which is largely responsible for having our streets flooded with at-risk youth that has become a serious social problem.
President Weah failed to mention the weakness of the security forces particularly the Police and the Liberia National Drug Enforcement Agency in vigorously clearing our communities and streets of ghettoes that serve as breeding grounds for at-risk youths and criminals.
When the drug law of our country is so weak to an extent that traffickers of narcotics into our country that are arrested can get bail for less than US$100 then we, collectively as a people, are exposing our youth to harmful practices that would eventually destroy their future and leaves the society vulnerable, as it is now.
We wonder where was President Weah when at-risk youths terrorized worshipers returning from a Church crusade in the Borough of New Kru Town last year and left over 40 persons dead in a stampede, majority of them women, children and the elderly without the State making any arrest?
The government’s direct failure to act despite the presence of a Police depot right in the borough gave at-risk youths license to create more havoc against peaceful and innocent citizens. And then President Weah is blaming parents for all of this!
Sadly again, the President and the ruling Congress for Democratic Change exploited at-risk youths for political gains, dishing out to them 5,000 Liberian dollars each during the 2020 Special Senatorial Election and National Referendum. What message was he sending out to them?
When the government fails to create jobs, provide social and rehabilitation programs for the youth that practically ran the campaign for the election of Mr. Weah and his ruling CDC, leaving them in frustration, what else would they turn to other than drugs or substance abuse to ease their disappointment?
Rather than blaming parents, President Weah should rally the entire nation, including schools, churches, mosques, and civil society to lead the campaign to rescue our future leaders if the government does mean well, and is not embarking on another political gimmick ahead of the 2023 elections.