By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s Vice President Madam Jewel Howard – Taylor has warned politicians here against unnecessarily raising the masses’ expectations through false campaign promises ahead of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
Speaking to a group of young people Thursday, 5 May 2022 at a day-long conference organized by the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC), Vice President Howard – Taylor warned politicians against making campaign promises about things that are not within their capacity to implement when elected.
“We should have to say the truth when we are on the campaign so we do not raise unnecessary expectations. Let’s stop that because at the end all those promises they will make about constructing road [they] will not be done because it’s the government that can do that, not an individual lawmaker,” said Vice President Howard – Taylor.
She argued that it costs one million United States dollars to construct a mile of road and it’s something that nobody should fool people that they will do when they are elected to public office. She said it’s only the government that can do such work.
According to VP Taylor, Liberians will have to decide or make the choice of the kind of leaders they need because true representation is important.
She told young people here that politicians will come with fake promises that they will build roads, construct clinics, and schools, among other things, when they know it’s not in their capacity to do so.
“One bag of rice cannot keep you for six years neither one month. People are taking decisions in other parts of the world like I watch in Ghana recently where citizens threaten to burn a car that had rice in it that was brought by [a] politician to be distributed,’’ VP Howard-Taylor explained.
She noted that young people have to decide what they want during electoral processes because when women wanted rape to be taken seriously, they threatened to not vote and their demand was addressed.
“Therefore, I believe the same thing can happen if you demand that you need better school for your children, have computer and ICT training, drinking water not hand pump because we passed that,” she said.
She encouraged the young people to determine what they want and with that people will do it.
Madam Howard – Taylor reminded the young people that politicians are coming back again in this election to lie and some of them will even forget their women wing after the election.
She also frowned on voter trucking, saying she did not at any time get involved in voter trucking because she believes it’s wrong.
“If you take people from Montserrado and carry them to Bong to vote for you, then you are not really elected by the people and you upset the vote in Bong County by getting somebody elected who the people do not want,” Madam Howard – Taylor argued.
“I will always speak what I believe and I will stand by it. When that person stands up to speak and the people start to get angry, they will say your shut up, after all, you people did not vote for me,” she noted.
According to her, it’s time that young people stop being used because being trucked and paid to vote is useless.
She said you will lose what you want at where you are living, and it will not change anything for the betterment of the country.
For her part, the Establishment Coordinator of ABIC Cllr. Chesson-Wureh thanked Vice President Howard – Taylor for the message and again cautioned the youth to decide their future and desist from conflict.
The Angie Brooks International Center organized the day-long conference with youth leaders from Civil Society Organizations and communities under the auspices of the flagship program, “Women Situation Room,’’ aimed at mobilizing youth for peaceful election in Liberia.
The forum is being held under the theme “Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Liberia through promoting women; leadership and participation in civic and political life and their strengthened role in conflict resolution.’’
It was held in partnership with ZOA-Liberia and with funding from the United Nation Peace building funds.
The discussion touched five thematic areas including, understanding the role of the youth in elections, understanding the mandate of the youth wing in political parties in peaceful elections, and understanding the role of youth leaders in the communities in peaceful elections.
The conversation also sought to address the underlying factors that make the youth easy perpetrators of violence before, during and after election and touched on the strategy to support youth to positively use their energies for peaceful election toward 2023, and how to increase youth’s peaceful participation in the upcoming election.