Liberia: Angie Brooks leads a series of lectures

Ahead of the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, it seems the focus is not just on the outcome of the polls, but on how the process unfolds peacefully given the wave of drug addiction and violence that has marred campaigns in the past. , a sign , according to some women and young people, has the growing influence of threats on the 2023 elections.

Therefore, as part of the Title Project: Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Liberia through the Promotion of Women’s Leadership and Participation in Civic and Political Life and their Enhanced Role in Conflict Resolution, a flagship program of the “Women Situation Room (WSR)” initiated by Angie Brooks International The Center for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in partnership with ZOA-Liberia with support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund Peace organized a two-day mediation dialogue in Gbarnga, Bong County, from July 29-30, 2022.

The initiative brought together chiefs, women and youth leaders from 20 communities, 10 from urban and rural Montserrado County while 10 from Bong County converged on the program to explore issues including substance abuse, violence politics as a national emergency; and understanding elections and civic responsibility, aiming to develop strategies to address issues of importance to the interests of the country.

Among the communities that participated in the program were PHP, West Point, Clara Town, King Gray, New Kru Town, Todee, Bentol, District #8, Crozierville, Garnesville, Gbarnga, Belefanai, Palala, Suakoko, Totota, Folobia, Gbartala, Salala, Cutton and Wainsue

In her opening remarks, the Angie Brooks International Center Facility Coordinator, Cllr Yvette Chesson-Wureh, told the gathering that the platform was organized to listen to the plight of women and young people, including local and community leaders made up of representatives of 4,000 Liberians. She warned that if nothing is done to address the problem, the country is in trouble.

A discussion of the two-day event through several presentations highlighted that illicit drug sales across the country are supported by senior government officials, indicating that whenever a drug dealer is arrested the next day, the no one is released.

They also said that market women are involved in transporting drugs for drug dealers and lamented that the threat has entered schools, according to Youth President and President Boakai Kawah and Comfort Peters of District No. ° 8.

According to participants, the problems are not unique to one community. They further explained that political violence always happens because a party thinks a particular community is its stronghold as such no other party should campaign. Name voter trucking, vote buying by politicians, among others, as issues that cause election violence.

Presenting their case, they recommended that the Angie Brooks Center (ABIC) work with the government of Liberia to ensure that the passage of the drug law is not chargeable, that ABIC launch an awareness campaign drug and civic education in all participating communities and train and deploy observers during elections. In addition, they stressed the need for the construction of a vocational training and rehabilitation center for victims of illicit drugs.

Responding to the recommendations of women and youth during the program, Cllr Chesson-Wureh encouraged participants to share the knowledge gained from the program and mentioned that ABIC is interested in launching entrepreneurial training for women and youth to enable them to do business that will impact their livelihoods and community and create jobs.

“The training you receive is not for yourself but for you to spread to others. It is not what you get but what you scatter,” she said and added that the women’s situation room will train observers, saying the better informed you are, the better you can secure your country’s democracy.

While thanking participants for attending what she called a comprehensive examination of election violence, addiction, and understanding elections and civic responsibility, Dr. Chesson-Wureh noted that the ABIC will review all contributions and secure a mechanism to move the country forward.

Evangelist Reverend Judy Stryker, a psychological counselor and certified social worker, also provided her expertise. in the program are those who will bring transformation to the nation. We will strengthen the series of discussions on the issue, she added.

Rev. Stryker was followed by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Frances Johnson Allison, who encouraged participating communities to register and vote when the time comes. She told the chiefs and other community leaders present at the event to treat their residents the same. “People have the right to use public facilities, don’t deny them. We need to move this nation forward.”

NEC may have some constraints to operate properly due to lack of sufficient funds. Voter education is important and if you don’t vote you are not good citizens. Don’t say you won’t vote because of the bad behavior of others. Do not put a political obstacle in front of your country; if you do this you have jeopardized the future of the country, the former NEC boss said in an additional comment.

Angela C. Hale