“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