Monrovia - The National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE) has begun series of community forums for youthful representative candidates in the pending Presidential and Legislative Elections.
According to NAYMOTE, The forum, under the theme “Youth Voices: A Conversation on the Youth Votes 2017” is intended to provide opportunity for youthful candidates to explain, if elected, their plans for ensuring that citizens have access to safe drinking water, sanitation and electricity.
Several youthful representative candidates vying for seats in Montserrado County, speaking at the start of the event at the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) on Carey Street in Monrovia attributed the slow pace of Liberia’s development to massive corruption and the failure of government to implement key national policies.
Benjamin Wehye, opting to unseat Rep. Thomas Fallah of District #5, Samuel B. Jacobs of District #6, and Ms. Daintowon Paybayee vying to unseat Rep. Saah Joseph of District #13, accused the current batch of lawmakers of the 53rd Legislature of not exercising their oversight responsibilities to the fullest and vowed to be the voices of their people when elected come October, 2017.
“The issue of pollution is a challenge and the only way to solve that is to get the citizens themselves involved into the process. The laws are already there, and we will make sure that they are implemented.
The issue of electricity is in our oversight responsibility; and because the policies are already there, we are going to make sure that those facilities come down to your districts,” averred Daintowon Paybayee.
She noted that under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Government of Liberia apportioned US$200,000 to each county as county development fund, but citizens in the counties have not felt the impact of these huge budgetary allotments.
Benjamin Wehye, District 5, taking the stand, called on public corporation to improve customer service, adding that government losses huge revenue because of this menace.
“In this country, when you want electricity and water, I don’t need to ask you how long it will take even though you are prepared to pay for it. We live in a place where customer service has become a nightmare; to the extent that those who have the money and want to bring water and sewer in their homes will have to run after it for one year. Though we are still crying that we don’t have the money,” Wehye asserted.
He accused the lawmakers of not making appropriate budgetary allotment over the years, adding that those programs captured in the budget every year can become casualties before becoming priorities.
The Montserrado County District #6 Rep Aspirant also blamed the blamed backwardness of West African Anglophone countries to the lack of sufficient data to make informed policy decision and the prioritization of what he called political judgments over scientific research.
“For his part, Samuel B. Jacobs described electricity, road and water as major priority and noted until they are addressed, the country will remain stagnated.
“Every serious nation on earth will ensure that its citizens get access to safe drinking water."
"Despite the abundant water in Liberia, Liberia is still importing water. Plastic used for the water is imported despite Liberia being among the largest rubber producing country in the world,” Jacobs intoned.
NAYMOTE, giving the program’s overview, disclosed that young people, ages 18-35 years, constitute over 55% of the registered voters in Liberia, but the dividends of their participation in decision making and political processes are lacking.
It named unemployment, the lack of basic social services, multiple forms of inequalities and exclusion as factors contributing to the legal and illegal migration of young people for economic empowerment; and increasing their involvement in illegal activities in and outside the country.