By Kruah Thompson
Pro-democracy organization NAYMOTE in partnership with OSIWA and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) launches cohort eight (8) of the young political leadership school of Africa here.
The program is under the theme: “Inspiring young leaders with integrity and character to improve democracy and good governance in Africa.”
NAYMOTE executive director Eddie Jarwolo notes that in 2017 Liberia held a very critical election that resulted in the very first peaceful transition from one democratically elected leadership to another in many years, so the pro-democracy organization seeks to change the mindset of young people to hold electoral integrity and mitigate electoral violence.
He says NAYMOTE embarks on establishing the young political leadership school of Africa in Liberia to address and mitigate electoral violence.
Director Jarwolo explains the young political leadership school of Africa has been training young people to fight corruption, bad governance, and disrespect for the rule of law.
He encourages young people to improve themselves as they gear up for a new generation of leaders.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, describes the leadership school as important for the growth of the country’s democracy in reforming the minds of young people towards setting important examples.
Mrs. Taylor emphasizes that what’s more important is for young people to begin to take control of their destiny and work it to what they want it to be.
She encourages participants of the training to take the exercise with their entire heart, stressing that it is their responsibility as national leaders and as young people whose future is right before them to begin to change.
“We’re looking for capable, educated, visionary change agents and I believe you are a part of that category of African leaders or else, you wouldn’t be here this morning”, the Vice President notes.
She hopes the process will change the minds and attitudes of young people for the betterment of their communities and the nation at large, saying “When things change inside of you, [they] automatically start to change around you.”
She reminds the youth that once they are partaking in the training, they will be responsible for decisions taken there, adding “If the effect is good or bad you will be the one to face it because that choice determines the future of your children.”
At the same time the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohammed J. Jalloh, serving as keynote speaker shares his experience as an advocate in his country and how he eventually ascended to becoming Vice President of Sierra Leone.
Dr. Jallah explained that his life and experience tell a story of complex challenges in building a democratic state and society in Africa. “I have witnessed the rise and fall as well as the attempted rise of Africa.”
With his limited experience, he says leadership skill, style, and imagination are shaped by prevailing reality, adding that if there is any sector or category of society that has good governance and democracy, it is the young people of Africa.
He says young people are usually victims of monetization in politics, which he terms as “Money politics”, noting that even today to get young people to work for an organization in their communities or to decide to be electoral agents, to campaign from door to door at least to encourage people to vote, “they want to be paid for it.”
Dr. Jalloh continues that because of this most of the literature today about electoral violence includes young people, pointing that politicians organize young people send them out to disturb or disrupt election processes because of money.
He underscores that young people should have the responsibility to promote democracy, human rights, good governance and ensure that civic engagement is a cardinal point for them.
At the end of the ceremony, the chairperson for the national commission on disability of Liberia, Madam Daintowon Domah Pay-baye lauds Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and her counterpart from Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohammed J. Jalloh for gracing the program, including the participants for being part of the training, while hoping that they serve as instruments of change in society. Editing by Jonathan Browne