NPA Boss Talks Challenges Facing Youth, Government Engagement

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“Partnering with government is not and can never be a sellout of the youth’s cause,” the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Bill Twehway said at the weekend when he discussed challenges facing young people and their engagement with government.

Speaking at the installation of the newly elected leadership of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) at the Monrovia City on Friday, January 25th, 2019, the NPA boss said throughout his political conscious years, he has observed that the  Federation  of Liberian Youth (FLY) has garnered  a  kind  of  reputation  that  is akin  to  a  “resistant”  organization, well  off  tangent  of  its  core mission.

Twehway said he has decided to share with the young people of Liberia through the members and leadership of FLY headed by its President Mr.  Amos Williams, his frank view that would geminate a new wave of approach in how FLY and young people of Liberia would cultivate a national spirit in arriving at a new paradigm, one that positions FLY as the contemporary premier youth umbrella organization to lead positive initiatives in Liberia.

“Your election  is indicative  of  the new democratic  spirit  that  has engulfed the country, as well as the resolve of the young people to peacefully choose their leaders. This new epoch in transitioning student leadership  is  a  radical  departure”. Said, the former Lawmaker of Montserrado County, amidst cheers from the youthful audience.

The NPA Boss reminded the FLY and Liberian youths about the ugly past of political history “Liberia has had a checkered political history. From a one  – party dominant state, a military junta state, a pariah state, an interim arrangement state, a pseudo democratic state, a transitional state and   a   democratic   state.   In   each   phase   of   the   state’s metamorphoses, the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) has been active”.

The Liberian politician, former lawmaker and administrator than reminded the Federation of   Liberian   Youth and the entire Liberian populace, that desire to transform Liberia; especially during the era of the one-party dominant rule, wherein the political ecosystem was very intolerant to dissenting views of majority of the people including the youths.

He said an experiment  aimed  at  addressing  the  youth  question  was midwived  in  1974,  through  the  Urban  Youth  Council  with  its activities concentrated largely in urban areas, where majority of the  young  people  did  not  domicile, but stressed that in an  attempt  to address the anomaly, an Act of Legislature in 1978 settled the legal question, when the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) was enacted into law, thus attaining a truly national character to represent the broader interest and concerns of Liberians on a national and if possible on an international platform.

The NPA Managing Director noted that interestingly, a youth  organization,  established  to  advocate  for the wellbeing of the young   people in  the country, has over the years transformed  itself  into  an   “opposition”  to  the every governments in Liberia; but observed that “ not the current FLY Leadership ”.  

 NPA Managing Director Twehway said transformation of FLY over the years has cause the youth community to fuel-led hatred   and extreme misrepresentations,provocations, anti-national development  programs, anti- government  and anti-officials,  as well as  the  rise   of  anti- government  groupings in the country.

“Liberian youths, since the 70s, have always been fascinated by big  dreams  of  the  future.  Dreams  about  a  better  Liberia  were often  negated  by  extreme contempt  for every  government. Negative  agitations by the young people against constituted governments, may have set the stage for the brutal, barbaric and unprecedented  overthrow  of  the  Tolbert  Regime,  vis-a-vis  the fourteen  (14)  years  of  civil  war  that  resulted  into  the  loss  of thousands  of  lives  and  unimaginable  destruction  of  properties. The reality that we all have now come to grapple with, is that poor and innocent citizens pay a very high price, owing to the manner and form activism has been directed and carried out”. The NPA boss noted.

Mr. Twehway said he has observed over  the  years,  the  Federation  of  Liberian  Youth (FLY) had sought to protect the agenda of a few “political elites,” and  had  professed  that  until  those  elites  had  obtained  state power, any regime other than the one produced by those elites, albeit  democratically  elected,  was  often  opposed, cautioning that such modus operandi  had  not  translated  into  viable  transformation  of  the organization,  let  alone  the  upliftment  of  the  young  people  for Liberia for over four decade of the existing of FLY.

“It is easily discernible that FLY had stuck with its god fathers even though  the  signs  were  visible  that  the  latter’s  activities  and conduct   were   incongruous   with   the   national   interest, and represented  an  existential  threat.  Yet,  FLY  was  prepared  to provide support at whatever cost necessary, and unmindful of the consequences”. Hon. Twehway said.

Speaking further, Mr. Twehway said the  political  ecosystem  that  had  existed  under  the  one-party dominant era  no longer exists in the contemporary body polity.   Therefore,  it  is  meaningless  to  maintain  that  “resistant” philosophy would still have any part to play in Liberia’s newest political dispensation that is now being guided by Liberia’s 24th President, Dr. George Manneh Weah, a leader who is strongly desire to bringing every Liberians under one opportunity regardless of age, gender, religion or political affiliation.

The semblance of youth empowerment  that we are witnessing  under  the  administration  of  His  Excellency  President George  Manneh  Weah  is  a  clear  manifestation  that  the  policy environment  is  different,  and  youth  development  programs  are taking center stage in government’s policy interventions, which is a far cry from the environment that FLY was thrust into”.

 

 

He said the Coalition For Democratic Change (CDC)  government  under the leadership of President Dr.George Manneh Weah has  manifested  the  “future leader” doctrine within a relatively in a short period of time as compared to the past where youths were incorporated in government  based on their connection and loyalty to a particular political god-father or political party.

The occasion keynote speaker, Bill Twehway noted that FLY’s call to action postulateshathe young people will constructively engage government and in a collaborative spirit,  advance the causes that the youth hold dearly. Projecting young peoples’ hopes to national leaders and development partners in the spirit of dialogue and constructive engagement is equally important, because it solves youth powerlessness which often leads to violence.

Mr. Twehway intoned that  “Partnering with government is not and can never be a sellout of the youth’s cause”,

He concluded that the CDC government is giving the young people a louder voice and an unprecedented seat at the decision-making table, while at the  same  time   making   appropriate policy interventions to addressing their wellbeing.

Malcolm W. Scott

Director, Public Affairs

National Port Authority

:Credit !- Dennis wood