MONROVIA – The regional Secretary-General of the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), Komlan Messie has called on the Government of Liberia to create a vibrant environment for civil society to flourish and support its development effort, as well as fostering and pushing the agenda of ECOWAS.
“We want to take this opportunity to call on the government to open the civic space for its citizens to get involved because civil society organizations are complimenting the work of the authorities,” Mr. Messie said, at a one-day engagement workshop with the Liberian civil society organizations in Monrovia.
“They are not opposition, they are not political parties, they are civil society organizations. Neutral, they can talk politic but can’t take part in politic. They are not political parties to take power, but are there to help the authorities and help all of the organizations so that the agenda of ECOWAS is met, which is to have a peaceful ECOWAS that is economically integrated and wealthy.”
Mr. Messie also cautioned CSOs to stay out of politics, adding they could talk politics by flagging out issues affecting their communities and society, but should not act as political party in order to not bring their neutrality into question, something he say might jeopardize their work.
“A political party’s ultimate goals is not to take state power in a country but civil society groups are neutral, while their role is to advocate for social justice and against societal ills,” he cautioned.
The workshop, held in Monrovia on Wednesday was part of WACSOF’s regional engagement activities. In his presentation, Mr. Messie said the meeting was geared towards ensuring all CSOs in Liberia are well organized to match their areas of specializations to that of the WACSOF’s thematic areas to make it easier to engage the regional body, ECOWAS.
He drilled the CSOs representatives on the WACSOF’s on CSO thematic areas such as health, environment, agriculture and food security, media, anti-corruption, peace and security women and gender, among others.
He told reporters at the end of the meeting that he was impressed with the CSOs in Liberia for being very active, and called on them continue. He also called on all of the CSOs to register with WACSOF.
“We want WACSOF-Liberia to reflect the diversity of Liberia. If they find it difficult to do, WACSOF- Liberia will help them because Liberia needs to be covered completely, and we want the WACSOP Liberia to reflect the CSOs on the ground.”
He thanked the WACSOF representatives and the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) for the warm reception and organizing the forum successfully.
Also speaking, the Chairperson of NCSCL, Madam Loretta Pope-Kai thanked WACSOF for convening the forum with the CSOs in Liberia, and stressed that an integrated CSOs is very important to compliment ECOWAS’ integration program, which is making the regional group people centered.
During the meeting, participants were grouped according to their thematic groups to outline their expectations for a better engagement with ECOWAS.
Meanwhile, at the end of the meeting, WACSOF-Liberia elected a new country coordinating team members to steer the affairs of the forum.