Liberia: YES Conducts Youth Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law Summit

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MONROVIA – The Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), an accredited non-for-profit, passionate, and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization on Thursday, 4th April 2019, conducted the second edition of its Youth Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law Summit. 

The event took place on the Monrovia campus of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU) under the theme “Becoming Anti-Corruption Champion and Rule of Law Activist”.  It brought together 77 undergraduate students of AMEZU their Dean of Students Affairs, Revered Susie B. Kanneh, Executive Secretary of the Criminal Justice College, Josiah Wamah and the President of the Student Union Government, Chester M. Dennis.

Speakers at the event included: Randall Makor of the USAID funded Legal Professional Development and Anti-Corruption Program (LPAC) who spoke on the topic: “Corruption from the Perspective of Liberia’s Extractive Sector and the New Land Rights Act” while Tiah F.M. Dagbe, II, a third year student and LPAC’s scholar of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law presented on “Rule of Law as a Tool to conflict Prevention”.  The National Coordinator of Liberia CSOs Anit-Corruption Coalition, James Koryor, also spoke on the theme: “Building Integrity and Preventing Corruption among Liberian Youth”.

Randall Makor outlined the roots causes and effects of corruption while cautioning the participants at the Summit to reexamine and reevaluate themselves by beginning to take individual action to combat corruption instead of waiting for someone from somewhere to minimize corruption in Liberia.

Makor explained how corruption occurs in the extractive sector.  He made mentioned of the Moore Stephens audit report on the concession agreements including the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) reports.   He proffered recommendations in curbing corruption in the extractive sector and encouraged the students to read the reports in order to get knowledge on trending issues and engage in various advocacy frameworks to change the status quo.

The youthful speaker also provided an in-depth analysis on the new Land Rights Act in relation to land ownership and existence loophole for corruption.  Makor advised students to read the new Land Rights Act and begin to raise issues and solving some of the most pressing and critical issues.

Presenting on “Rule of Law as a Tool to Conflict Prevention”, Tiah F.M. Dagbe, II provided a working definition of the rule of law and conflict prevention.  He stated that without adherence to the rule of law no one with live in peace and harmony because everyone will be law unto themselves.  

Dagbe recounted the direct link between rule of law and conflict prevention.  He stressed the need for respect of the rule of law at all times and pleaded with the young Liberians to avoid the widespread of mob justice and unlawful practices.

“Citizens must be taught their rights and responsibilities across every sector of the country and everyone should know that no one is above the law irrespective of your status, creed and connection.  This is a country of law, so everybody should make use of the judicial system in spite of the challenges and pitfalls.  Together, we can work to ensure that justice is done to all.” The third year student of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law noted.

James Koryor, National Coordinator of the Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition emphasized the need to join forces and unite against rampant corruption in the public and private sectors.  He stated that for far too long, young people have played lip service to the fight against corruption without sincere commitment.  

Koryor used the summit to admonish young Liberians to collectively, realistically and holistically join the fight against corrupt practices by raising their voices, lending their talents and building their integrity that would make development flourish.  He encouraged Liberians to do the right thing even when no one is watching.

“We must learn to stand for something despite the challenges of today.  The time has come for us as young Liberians to wake up, shake up and stand up to tackle the menace of corruption.  We must begin to build integrity through our everyday action of doing what is right even if it would seem unacceptable and consider as a norm by our colleagues”, Koryor said. 

Earlier speaking, the Dean of Students Affairs, Revered Susie B. Kanneh, expressed profound gratitude to YES for selecting AMEZU to conducts the Youth Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law Summit.  Revered Kanneh indicated that the urgent need to broaden and enlighten more young Liberians most especially undergraduate students who she termed as today’s leaders and tomorrow’s decision makers, innovators and problem solvers.

In brief remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Criminal Justice College commended YES and urged students to join the fight against corrupt practices that have engulfed every sector of the Liberian society.  The Executive Secretary admonished students of the Criminal Justice College to take the lead in minimizing corruption at all levels.

For his part, Chester M. Dennis, President of the Student Union Government of AMEZU pointed out that young people who constitutes over half of Liberia’s population can utilize their energy, enthusiasm and innovation to end corruption and create zero tolerant for corruption in every institution of learning.

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