It is tempting and exhilarating to write on such a demanding debate that has and continues to attract national attention. My first encounter on the debate for generational change was with the man described as one of the proponents of generational change, Honorable Kofi Woods. In a relaxed and confident mood, Kofi hinted the need for generational preparation for generational takeover. In his opinion, the next five or six years could be possible for such takeover if this generation become cohesive, purposeful, responsible, and reliable.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has, in her many speeches and interviews, stressed the need for focus, discipline, vision and tenacity on the part of this generation to effect such change. She has, as a commitment to generational change, thrust responsibilities upon prepared young men of our nation. How they proceed and how they justify the confidence reposed in their abilities and integrity and the general support of members of this generation would determine preparedness or unpreparedness.
But how is generational change perceived by members of this generation. Radio talk shows revealed the thoughts of some members. Displayed attitudes demonstrate the thoughts of others. Some believe that the nation is tire of seeing older people in control and despite their generation limitations; young people should lead the nation. Others believe those entrusted with high profile positions in government by this administration-though young- do not represent the thoughts and aspirations of the younger generation and are thus consigned as protégés of the President. Many other youths are of the conviction that generational change is electing George Weah as President of the Republic of Liberia.
With these diverse thoughts and perceptions, the processes involved in generational change are undercut and create a stimulant for what Ngafuan would rather term intra-generational envies and fights. Neither Augustine Ngafuan, Amara Konneh, Christopher Neyor, Kofi Woods nor Robert Sirleaf measures up to what majority of the youths in this country would refer to as their generation being in control of important functions of national government and their possibly take over the leadership of Liberia. These, in their opinion, are elites and bought agents of this administration who oppose what this generation stands for. It may be astounding that some student leaders have taken radical paths to classify those youths believed to be members of the Unity Party who may be enjoying presidential confidence as agents’ provocateurs and should therefore be religiously ex-communicated from the generational hall of youth’s progress and achievements.
Intra generational conflicts have been in existence. Ngafuan, Neyor, Woods and others are not the first victims or targets of battle. Many youths in the eighties became a part of the Doe’s Government-not because they cherished the manner in which Doe came to power and the atrocious events that marked his ascension-but the cardinal reason of being the first youth to head this nation and essentially believing his failures would represent the failure of young people. Thus, the need to buttress this young man and help in steering the nation to development and democracy motivated their involvement. This explains why Emmanuel Bowier, Morris Dukuly, Alhaji Kromah, Christopher Neyor and the Late Elbert Dunn and others became prime in his administration.
Prior to the Doe’s Administration, the Late Tolbert initiated a policy for the integration of youths in the governance of the state. He referred to them as Precious Jewels and his emphasis was on preparation for generational takeover. Those youths, like Dempster, Garnett, Dukuly, Kromah (Alhaji), Ejoma Flimister and others were not considered a part of the generation of youths but of the aristocratic community which was engaged in suppression.
As they did to the Tolbert’s generation of youths, unfortunately, the generation of youths of the time did the same thing to the generation of youths of the Doe’s administration. First and foremost, they saw Doe not as a youth but a target for opposition, anti-sentiments, reprisals, betrayals, and devastating detractions and vicious propaganda.
That generation, at the time they should have firmly agglutinate for positive generational impacts, stood against their own and offered Doe no opportunity to achieve; but left him with only opportunities to become confused and brutal. In the mind of that generation, anyone who opposed President Doe was a hero. In the minds of those who existed during the Tolbert’s administration, those who opposed Tolbert were heroes. Some of those youths find themselves in the same position today as those who joined the Doe’s and Tolbert teams. The attitudes of the youths of the past have come to visit Dr. Bropleh, Woods, Ngafuan, Kesseley and Commany Wesseh among others.
The main center for opposition was the University of Liberia, Cuttington College, and Tubman High. The Liberian Student Union was vigorous in its position. The youths who were opportune found themselves abandoned by their kind. Many of those who pursued such trend are today the targets of opposition, envy, and anti-class description by today’s generation.
If this generation should take over, a revisit of thought processes, methods, strategies, considerations, mindless militancy, and blind conscripted loyalties must be sacredly worked on. There can be no generational change when there is a high presence of generational envies and the absence of role models to follow.
There are young people today who have become the pride of Liberia. These have demonstrated integrity, abilities to lead, and have helped to lift Liberia to what it is. In their own specific areas of expertise and responsibilities, they continue to lead with examples and efficiencies.
Christopher Neyor has contributed to the transformation of the energy industry in Liberia. He deserves his flower. He is an example of generational change and takeover. Robert Sirleaf has continued to make remarkable contributions to the infrastructural development of Liberia and empowerment of youths throughout the Republic. No son of a Liberian President has ever performed as he. He is an example of generational change and takeover. There are Augustine Ngafuan, Beyan Kesseley, Amara Konneh, T. Nelson Williams, Kofi Woods and many others. They are prepared and should be considered role models for this generation. If they are not appreciated, the next generation will not be appreciated. It’s like a vicious circle. Those youths who did not appreciate Doe, the first youthful President, find themselves unappreciated by the youths of today.
In other to be an achiever, we must learn to appreciate achievers. In other to lead, we must be willing to be led also. No dream can become true if the dreamer does not appreciate and accept his dreams. There cannot be national development if this generation rejects capacity development. When you fight with a blindfold, you give your opponent the advantage of a win.
When generational change is narrowed to an individual, it becomes dead when that person fails. We cannot dance and slide on a rough platform; but on one that is smooth and well-polished. This generation cannot make a change until it change its own perception of national governance and attitudes designed to undermine national government. This generation worst curse and unachievability lie in their impatience, unreasonable attitudes and violent disposition. Change and you can lead.