25 February 2013

Liberia: Youth Exploitation Is Dangerous


A very bad practice is again creeping in our society, involving the mobilization of young people by people in government and politicians to get at perceived enemies or to popularize selfish intentions. Our young people are being given few dollars rather than skills to go in the streets to pull down one personality and hail another.

The most recent act involved protest by placard totting youths before the Ministry of Finance on Broad Street, calling for the resignation of Minister Amara Konneh followed by another group of young people the next day in Montserrado County District #8, calling on Representative Acarous Gray to step down because he has allegedly failed the district.

We have also observed young people, including student groups singing praises to a cabinet minister after public criticism of his performance even in the glare of his or her lapses simply because few dollars were thrown around in return for false glorification.

The practice has reminded of the era of our civil crises when power-greed politicians drugged and armed our young people to go and fight in the name of so-called freedom and revolution when the underlining motives of the sponsors were power to get an opportunity to pillage state resources.

This attitude is a disservice to the youth, who most often are referred to as our future leaders. If such behavior is the style of leadership we expect them to exhibit tomorrow, it is unfortunate, because this amounts to leading the entire country to doom.

Public officials should be men and women enough to face one another on policy issues instead of using the hands of our young people to take the coal from the fire or to fan off criticisms by the people against their work.

Our youths deserve better than this, and anyone bent on taking advantage of their lack of skills and opportunity for jobs to manipulate their destiny should rethink urgently because such ploy could boomerang with devastating consequences. The onus is on those in leadership now to set examples and leave behind legacies that would propel the next generation to nobler heights in the building of a better Liberia.

Both Representative Gray and Minister Konneh are yet to state clearly whether or not, they were involved in sponsoring protesting youths against each other for whatever reasons, which is bad leadership.

After more than 14 years of devastating civil war, it is about time that we teach our young people moral rectitude, quality education and responsible leadership rather than exploit their ignorance, poverty and immaturity through manipulations and direct abuse for selfish motives.

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