Monrovia – Naymote has officially launched a social media campaign network that is intended to promote young people and marginalized groups’ participation and voices in Liberia electoral process.
The campaign is aimed at informing and mobilizing voters in hard-to-reach communities through mobile phone calls and text messages, as well as creating virtual opportunities for young people to discuss and feedback on the elections, the candidates, and the party’s manifestos.
Serving as the Chief launcher of the program, UNDP Country Director Mr. Cleophas Torori, said he fully supports the social media campaign, especially in the time of Liberia’s major political decision making.
“I do fully endorse the motto that has been selected for this campaign, ‘Liberia Decides’. We have a very unique election that is coming in the incoming months, where Liberians will be deciding.”
“Liberians will be making more choice, a choice whether to go forward or dealing again with the past which continues to cause setback.”
“It is a major decision for us, and we have an election that we all know is an open election and fully consistent with the Constitution,” he said.
The United Nation Development Program Representative added that 2017 is an opportunity for Liberians to register and vote into office leaders who would serve them, urging that the social media should be their partner.
“We have an opportunity to make a transition to a new administration, even though the current President will be completing her two terms, so it is a major decision for you. Therefore, this campaign has been launched at the right time and the right moment,” Torori added.
Cleophas Torori urged media institutions, government officials, and all well-meaning Liberians to show respect to each other, noting that it was the best way forward as we move to the elections.
“To ensure that the elections that we are going to are democratic, freedom to express and freedom of speech must be respected, and voters must be given a chance to exercise their choice,” he said.
Also speaking at the program, the special representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Jeremy D. Meadows, said social media was incredible powerful in information dissemination and as such Liberians should develop great interest in it as they go about the elections."
“As you begin this effort to foster broad participation in the political process, Liberia needs you to be principled users of social media.
"When it comes to information about voting, especially where and how to register and to vote, it is important to verify that what you are sharing is true and accurate."
"Those who spread false information could deprive citizens of their legitimate right to vote. Use your networks and what you know about the political process to stop the spread of rumors and falsehoods,” Meadows averred.
Further speaking, Meadows added that one of the best ways to promote peace in the country was to use words that would lead to peaceful dialogue.
“When it comes to candidates for public office, I encourage you to debate their record of service to their community and the quality of their ideas.
Treat everyone equally. Share ideas about how citizens can participate peacefully and productively in the political process. Choose words that will lead to peaceful dialogue not words that will inflame tempers.
Violence–free elections are possible if we respect the rights of others to express their opinions. Use the tools of social media to build a strong future where politicians are accountable to the Liberians people for maintaining peace” he said.
The USAID representative applauded Naymote for their meaningful contributions to the peace building process of Liberia, and used the occasion to call on all Liberians to show up for the registration and respect the rule of law.
“Thanks to Naymote for their roles in promoting opportunities for civic and voters education, these are your responsibilities as voters. Show up, know the rules of the game and respect authority and play a clean role to make sure that your peers are encourage to participate in this election” he added.
On behalf of the National Elections Commission, Director Senesee G. Freeman praised Naymote for the enormous contributions to the Liberians society in making sure that Liberians understood the electoral process of the country.
He urged the organization to continue their faithfulness in the peace building process of Liberia, adding that the organization work has immensely helped the elections commission in achieving its goal.
“I think this is a very fitting theme for these elections , because the year 2017 is decision time, and we at the NEC are very elated, because when we set up to design the strategies for civic and voter education.
One of our critical targets was first time voters and no organization that best fits and has the organizational and program capacity to mobilized young people across the land and birth of this country like Naymote.
I can say that without certainty, because I have followed their tract records since I have been working in elections and electoral processes since 2005.
And I know what Naymote is doing; they are growing from strength to strength. Every year there is a new idea and new program. We hope that they will continue to work with us provide the necessary voter education for our people,” Freeman added.