Youths’ Ties with GoL Not Sellout – NPA MD Speaks at FLY Induction; Calls for Sensible Youth Advocacy
Grimly determined politicians, particularly opposition politicians, often find young Liberians ideally vulnerable section of the population and as intellectual pawns by and through they effectuate their propaganda wars towards capturing national attention and at times political power. This tendency which has spanned for decades is not showing any signs of dissipating. Even with the country’s first administration headed by the youngest president in many decades, Liberia’s young people appear divided and are in wrangles with each other. But an official of the government who was also youth and student leader is not unaware of this fact—that students and young people of Liberia have long been cannon fodders for politicians and it is time to break the veil. In fact, suggesting that youth can remain engaged with Government for their own growth and that, contrary to the manipulative intellectual stratagem that draws a wedge between young people and national leaders, NPA Managing Director Bill Twehway says doing so does not mean youths are a sellout. The Analyst reports.
The National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway says the young of Liberia and their organizations formed to contribute to national development and the welfare of youth should think outside of the box, work with government and not keep themselves pawn of opposition mentalities.
The NPA MD told youth leaders that being in partnership with government does not take away their perennial advocacy role or prevents their organizations from being critical of government.
“The fact of the matter is that, it redirects the positive energies to optimize gain for the young people, because channels for redress are readily available,” he said.
Speaking as Guest Speaker at the induction of the newly elected leadership of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) Friday, January 25, Bill Twehway said: “In further call to action, the government plays a mentorship role so that the aspirations of the young people can be realized. Partnering with government is not and can never be a sellout of the youth’s cause, as detractors may want you to believe.”
He observed that FLY’s past real success has been a history of struggle, wrapped in conﬂict and agitations, while serving the interest of few political elites and leaving its membership base – the young people, behind.”
Mr. Twehway said while this narrative may seem to create a bleak picture of FLY, on contrary it is a call to action for the organization to rediscover its true potential and role in society.
“I foresee a vibrant future for FLY to accomplish its goals because it now has a platform wherein the current leadership of the state headed by President Dr. George Manneh Weah and the CDC government sees the organization not as an adversary and agent provocateur, but as a partner in the agenda for prosperity and development.”
He called on the new leadership of FLY to rebrand and assume its own identity rather than existing in other people’s shadow as was the case in the past.
He said FLY has the power to inspire the nation politically, socially and economically by its sheer numerical strength as well as the qualitative decisions it makes and the prudent actions it takes.
“For instance,” he said, “FLY can partner with government in promoting excellence in schools, scholarship and employment opportunities, and also putting up a united front against all forms of exploitations against the young people.”
The NPA boss said this further guarantees a brighter future for the young people of this country.
He asserted: “I also wish to admonish you that whatever future you decide for FLY, let it be a future that puts Liberia first, betters the lives of the young people, makes you realize your full potentials and renounces violence as a means of settling disputes or seeking redress. Make the best of this given opportunity and God Almighty will be the pillar of your strength. Once more, congratulations.”
Twehway recalled that Liberian youths, since the 70s, have always been fascinated by big dreams of the future, noting that dreams about a better Liberia were often negated by extreme contempt for every government.
According to the NPA MD, 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.
He said: “Indeed FLY, as well as other youth organizations, became an instrument that was used to ﬁght government. Such ﬁght, albeit externally induced and orchestrated, was never about the interest of the young people whose business FLY was created, but politicians who desperately wanted FLY serve their parochial self- interest.”
“Over the years,” he further asserted, “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. This modus operandi had not translated into viable transformation of the organization, let alone the upliftment of the young people for over four (4) decades yearning for quality education, youth empowerment and job opportunities.”
Over the years, he said, 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.
He noted: “Interestingly, a youth organization, established to advocate for the wellbeing of the young people in the country, had transformed itself into an anti-thesis or ‘opposition’ to the government. The case of the anti-thesis is where our youth community fuelled hatred and extreme misrepresentations, provocations, anti-national development programs, anti- government and anti-officials, as well as the rise of anti- government groupings. That which empowers the minority and disempowers the majority of citizens.”
He called on the youth of Liberia to acknowledge many important development initiatives undertaken by President George Manneh Weah and the CDC government, providing more opportunities in the governance architecture of the state for some of your members in the shortest possible time.
“What this reality demonstrates is that those young people, most of whom voices were not heard and which were the bases for unleashing the anti-thesis venom, are now pretty seated at the decision making table of the country,” he said. See full text of Mr. Bill Twehway’s Speech on page 6 of this edition.