At the opening ceremony of a three day seminar organized by the Center for the Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA) yesterday at the Miatta Conference hall, the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) Chairperson, Dr Christina Thorpe expressed dissatisfaction over youth activities in political rallies.
Speaking at the seminar which theme is ‘Political Participation and Engagement-Young People and Democracy in Post War Sierra Leone’ Dr Thorpe bitterly stated, “in the last rallies, I was disappointed in young people going around with pegapak in coke bottles, especially female young people.” Dr Thorpe stated this “is not the kind of leadership we are looking for…please stop it,” adding that candidates aspiring should not encourage pegapakers.
She explained that youth are very vital in the electoral process adding that 66% of the electorates are young people, “out of the 2,619,565 registered voters 1,776,376 are young people,” she said.
She maintained that youth constitute a large portion of the electorate at the same time would be actively engaged in the electoral process on different capacities: as polling agents, observers, party representatives and the like.
Dr Thorpe explained that as a result of their critical role in the elections which is round the corner, youth must loathe violence and act responsibly.
In his opening remarks, the CCYA National Coordinator, Ngolo Katta explained that the elections are pivotal for the development of the nation, adding that this is why it should be violent free.
He stated that the reason for the seminar which would take a dialogue form is to enhance and increase the information that young people have about the electoral process.
The dialogue, Mr Katta explained would put an end into the rumor-mongering which is a recipe for chaos.
After several statements by key stakeholders, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Dr Denis Bright explained that there is no need for youth to engage in violence, when he would not permit any member of his family to create chaos for his party to win so he can maintain his position as minister.
The youth minister warned youth, “don’t allow yourself to be sacrificed for other people’s war.”