FDID-SL marking the African Youth Day
Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and Development-SL (FDID-SL) wishes this message could reach all our young people, all our youth and stay in their hearts and guide them in their political actions. DID-SL says youths should never allow a situation where they are used as tools of violence and they should reject leaders who want to come into power using force.
If all our young people thought and acted in this manner, there would be no violence in our politics. We say this because without the youths accepting to be used in violent acts, our old politicians would have no choice but to abandon violence because there would be no one to perpetrate it on their behalf. The Politicians are not capable, on their own, of perpetrating violence without involving young people. It is cruel to involve young people in violence. As FDID-SL has correctly observed, violence may lead to loss of life, and well-meaning youths should reject any attempts to get them into it.
They should also realise that the use of violence against anyone is something that puts them next to animals. If our youths take a positive attitude towards life and others, it would be very easy for us to establish a more humane, fair and just society in this country. We say this because at the centre of electoral violence are the youths who are used as party thugs and hired for all sorts of political violence and criminal activities for token sums, drug and alcohol.
It is the youths who participate actively in any bloodletting that takes place in our politics. Youth involvement in violence contributes to a substantial level the culture of political corruption that we are witnessing in our country. This violence erodes our people’s confidence in the electoral system and in our nascent democracy and the rule of law. And apart from these, the youths themselves are being destroyed in so many ways. Many are wounded and maimed for life.
Others have been killed in such violence. Instead of being engaged in productive ventures that would prepare them for future leadership and productive adult lives, they are rather engaging in destructive violent activities that could destroy them. Political violence erodes credibility in the rule of law and impacts negatively on the democratic process. Elections that are marred by violence cannot be said to be free and fair. Therefore, violence affects the credibility of our electoral system, the democratic system and the rule of law.
And unless serious work is done to deal with these problems, they could grow and assume monstrous proportions such as could derail not just the possibility of holding free and fair elections, but also our entire democratic process. Violence jolts our people’s confidence in the democratic process.
We must help our young people to understand that only through the disciplined and united efforts of our younger generation and all our people can Sierra Leone be made strong and prosperous. This country is for young people as well as for old people, but in the final analysis, it is for young people, the youths. And our hope is placed in them. Sierra Leone’s future belongs to them.
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