First-time voters in the pending 2023 legislative and presidential elections have been admonished to vote wisely as the decision they make will govern their lives for the following six years.
Panelists addressing the Swedish Institute Alumni Network Liberia (SIANL) First-Time Voters’ symposia said young voters have rights, roles and responsibilities to their country. The panelists told future voters to avoid violence and be mindful of deceitful politicians, which they described as ‘fly-by-night messiahs’.
The first-time voters were told that while it is the right to vote for leaders of their choice, they should vote with clear consciences and not for donated food and material things or based on emotional and other connections with candidates.
The different group of panelists who spoke at two separate symposia noted that voting wisely is among the many responsibilities young citizens have to their country. They urged the would-be first-time voters to peacefully participate in all electoral activities and to consider their votes as the power they have to change their country and their lives for the better.
As Liberia moves towards its fourth postwar democratic election next October, SIANL launched its First-Time Voters Initiative in Monrovia on December 2 in Paynesville. About 100 students and would-be voters from the Reunion Christian Academy and Jones Christian Academy formed part of the launch event and first symposium.
A second symposium held Friday (Dec 9) at the Fountain of Life High School in Johnsonville brought together more than 120 students from four high schools including Upstairs Christian Academy, Domfa Academy and Professional School, and Rancelia Christian School.
The panelists for the two events were drawn from the Swedish Embassy near Monrovia, the Liberian National Bar Association, Paramount Young Women Initiative (PYWI), the Carter Center, the media, as well as celebrities.
The initiative which runs up to October 2023 involves a series of symposia, especially for high school students, to provide voters education for voting-age youth. The initiative targets young people between the ages of 17 and 22 who are expected to register and vote for the first time in their lives during next year’s presidential and legislative elections.
Held under the theme: “The Role of First-Time Voters – As Liberia Heads To The 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections,” each symposium brought together students from various schools to know their roles, rights, and responsibilities as young voters in the country’s democratic space.
In their respective schools, participants are expected to educate their colleagues on the basic election and democratic matters presented during the symposia.
SAINL’s President Sam Samie Sumo lauded the panelists for showing to provide valuable education to the future leaders of the country and urged the young voters to use the information and knowledge gained to make the best decisions for their lives and country.
The SAINL is a registered professional non-governmental and non-political organization comprising Liberians who benefited from the Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals (SISGP), studied at various Swedish universities, and reside in and out of Liberia. The network aims to promote the Sweden-Liberia partnership through sustainable development.