By Mark Neywon Mengonfia email@example.com
MONROVIA-Some citizens of Lakpazee and Jallah Town communities have pledged their support towards preserving the over a decade of peace Liberians enjoying.
Their commitments were made during a two day ‘Open Space Theater’ organized by West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) with support from United Nation Agency for International Development (USAID) and Catholic Relief Services(CRS).
Open Space Theater is a program being operated by WANEP Liberia with funding from CRS with the intention of having open discussions with residents of selected communities which are considered hot spots when it comes to violence.
Delphine Morris, WANEP program coordinator told the gathering at the two days separate events that before the December 8,2020 Senatorial and by-elections in Liberia, they saw the need to reach out to Liberians mainly young people with messages of peace.
She informed them that since the elections came and gone, it was again important for them as an institution to do a follow up on those various communities with a post-election peace discussion.
“If you do not have peace at home, you can not have peace in your community and the country, “Madam Morris.
She encouraged the participants to, at all times, seek dialogue in place of violence. The women’s group preaching peace, advocating for women’s rights and speaking against gender-based violence including rape said the ongoing process will help put them in a better position to know what the outcome will be after 2023 general and Presidential elections.
At the two days events, the group was seen with placard with inscriptions such as,” No development without peace. Dialogue is the best way to resolve conflict. Stop gender based violence” and many other peace messages.
The two days gathering was marked by provisions of peace messages dancing competition.
Speaking at the start of the event, Nyemonh Kumeh, Lakpazee community chairperson discouraged citizens of his community against violence.
According to Chairperson Kumah, there is no need for War or being disordered as a country and people noting that’ peace is the way forward.’
Boima Zoduah an Imman who lives in the Lakpazee community, thanked the Institution for taking such program their community.
According to him, the messages of peace should be preached to places of worship [ Churches and Mosques].
At the same time, residents of the Jallah Town community called for more of such engagements to have their young people mind disabused from violence.
Jallah Town youth chairperson Francis Gargbo said there are some youth who were drugs users, but said after the training conducted by WANEP, some of those young people have been transformed.
He was quick to note that there are still many of the young people who are going wayward due to the in take of harmful substances; a situation he blamed on peer pressure.
He used the opportunity to make an SOS call to WANEP and other well-meaning institutions to come to the aid of the young people o his community by providing training opportunities which in his mind will help to direct their lives.
Prescllia M. Gbor, a marketer on behalf of the Jallah Town community rendered apologies for their recent action of violence which led to the blocking of roads.
She said,” some of us are business people and when there is no current [electricity] we are out of business. But we are sorry for blocking the road the last time.”
Victory Weah, a member of the CDC and Stephen K. Kokah who affiliates with the CPP in their separate statements, called on their supporters in Jallah Town and across Liberia to not use violence to remedy situations.
Madam Weah said; ” we are here to talk about peace. Let’s bring peace to the nation and follow the footsteps of our leader who has been talking about peace, a man who once served as peace ambassador.”
“As you are aware, CPP does not support violence, but peace and not violence. We are all striving to see our country peaceful” Stephen K. Kokah said.