By Mahmud Tim Kargbo
Elections are a primal dogma of democracy. For periodic elections are held in any truly democratic country. And the Republic of Sierra Leone, come March 7, will conduct its 5th General Elections. Political savants and even the electorates view the forthcoming elections as an highly delicate exercise.
The opposition have pledged to win the General Elections in order to salve our nation from its economic mire. But the inexorable APC strongly believes that it needs another third term in office to mend our socioeconomic vault. So the political argument continue in the mass media. That is why we all hope for peace before, during and after the elections.
Notwithstanding, hearts beat in unusual patterns, headaches are developed by citizens, and the nation sits on tenterhooks when elections are set to be held. Fears of the citizens become visible in the eyes. This owes to the various disputes that erupt from elections in different parts of the country. The masses at the thick of such disputes are the youth of our nation. In this article, i shall try my very best to explicate some ways by which the youth can help maintain peace before, during and after the forthcoming elections.
Just before I canvass to how the youth can be instruments for maintaining peace, l will like to explain why we feel the youth can actually serve this purpose. If I talk of the youth of Sierra Leone as a nation, if I talk of the strength of the nation, the labour class of the nation and the power house of our nation.
What this means is that, any positive change in the form of development which should affect our nation should first be directed towards the youth, but this can only happen in countries where the political leaders are sincere about national development. Since our juveniles and oldies are dependent upon the youth for survival, any change towards the youth greatly affects the whole population. Now, i believe you have every reason to read the subsequent paragraphs which expound how the youth can serve as instruments for maintaining peace.
The youth as a tool for preaching peace is one sure way of promoting peace in the forthcoming elections. It is no misnomer to say that when the engines of war were sparked in Sierra Leone, the youth became the fuels used by such engines in their operations. There is a saying that, “If you want to keep your thing safe from thieves, then keep it with a thief”.
Crediting this popular adage as basis for my explanation, it is clear that if the youth who themselves are the source of generating violence and wars preach peace among themselves, then the tendency for any disputes arising from the elections becomes impossible or rare. The only way this can be achieved is if each and every one of us sees every passing minute as a moment of campaigning for peace anywhere we find ourselves. That is to say; the driver should use his car as an opportunity to preach peace, the radio presenter should use the airwaves for the same purpose, the poet should use his/her poems for that same purpose, and what have you.
Sierra Leone youth can also be seen as a tool for promoting oneness in such times. The source of peace is oneness. If the nation must stand in peace, then unity should be worked at. The major source of anarchy or wars in political circumstances is political differences. If the youth who are mostly seen holding high the banners of various political parties on the day of elections are educated to realise that the nation comes first in everything we do, they become tools for promoting oneness in the Sierra Leone.
This goes a long way to bridge the gap between various political party supporters in the nation as well as promoting peace during the elections. This particular role of the youth exerts so much pressure on the leadership of the nation since provisions must be made for public education on the said topic, prompting the youth on the need for oneness in such times as elections.
All the same, the youth can be seen as watchdogs over their communities. There should be carefully planned strategies by the Political Parties Registration Commission and the various security agencies to avert the eruption of any violence or war during this election, because there is a tendency for some unscrupulous people hiding among the lots to drag the name of the country into the mud.
It is therefore very important that the youth, the green leaves of the nation, find comfort and pleasure in placing their ears very close to the ground. As soon as any information that could be relevant to averting such problems as disputes pop up, the youth should be instrumental in reporting them to the appropriate authorities for further investigations and finding solutions.
The nation depends on the youth for progress, so if peace must prevail in the nation, then peace must prevail among the youth. These few ideas explained above are vital towards promoting peace before, during and after the forthcoming elections, which many tend to call “The Toughest Election Ever in Sierra Leone.” I hope after travelling through this article right from “Elections” down here, you have enough reasons to help uphold the peace we are currently enjoying, during and after the elections.
Sierra Leone is for you, for me and for us. Only you and I can make the country worth living in.