MONROVIA – The call for violence-free elections in Liberia resonates with both Liberians and numerous local and international non-governmental organizations. One such organization committed to spreading the message of peace is the YMCA Liberia.
By Henry Karmo [email protected]
On Thursday, September 21, 2023, the YMCA organized a peace sensitization program targeting a vital component of society in the borough of New-Kru Town: motorcyclists. The event, under the banner “Ride for Peace,” aimed to encourage motorcyclists to refrain from engaging in violence during the election period.
Young people often find themselves as victims manipulated by politicians to serve their agendas. They are frequently enticed into violence by politicians. Recognizing this fact, YMCA-Liberia deemed it crucial to engage with them and emphasize the benefits of peace while highlighting the risks of violence.
The participants were also advised not to allow themselves to be used by individuals to incite violence. Liberia is the only place they can truly call home, and they should fiercely protect it from the horrors of war and violence.
Liberia, like many African nations, boasts a substantial youthful population. Statistics reveal that young individuals make up two-thirds of Liberia’s populace, representing both an asset and a potential liability. The outcome of the elections significantly depends on the behavior and participation of young people throughout the election period.
Mr. E. Timotheus Kamaboakai, CEO of YMCA Liberia, emphasized the importance of this engagement and explained why they chose the borough of New Kru-Town. According to him, young people, especially motorcyclists, are the most vulnerable group in society, often falling victim to politicians who exploit them for violent purposes.
He noted that the event is part of the celebration of world peace and marks the 20th anniversary of peace in Liberia. “As we move closer to the elections, we found it necessary to bring together a crucial segment of our society—the commercial motorcyclists—who, for various reasons, have been unfairly stigmatized.”
Kamaboakai added, “This is not solely about elections; it’s also an opportunity to educate them on the importance of respecting traffic rules, law enforcement, and their respective communities.”
On Wednesday, August 16, 2023, the Young Men’s Christian Association of Liberia (YMCA) convened a national youth peace summit in Monrovia, gathering young representatives from all fifteen counties. The summit aimed to foster discussions among young participants about the significance of upholding democratic values and ensuring peaceful elections.
The summit operates under the umbrella of the YMCA Civil Peace Service program, with the Youth Peace Actors Summit serving as a platform for collective action among peace advocates. The initiative’s objective is to protect and promote peace in the lead-up to, during, and after elections.