Reducing the age eligibility (from 30 to 18 years) of becoming a senator in Liberia.

Reducing the age eligibility (from 30 to 18 years) of becoming a senator in Liberia.

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Amb. Robert F. Sieh started this petition to The Government of Liberia and

December 8,2020 will another election for the house of senate (upper).  As we take the time to make a decision on who will be leading our counties for the next 9 years, we should remind ourselves of the role that young people are playing to secure these victories for civil and civic rights. Young people are leading on critical issues for our democracy, including on the protection and expansion of voting rights and national development.

Young people in the Liberia and in many other African countries on this planet are young enough to hold a rifle and be sent to war, are young enough to campaign during election, are young enough to be use as thug for politicians (the older once)   but are too young to fight, campaign for what they believe in, to express their opinion and be heard, to be listened to and not simply heard? They should « learn from experienced people first, then when they’re older implement what they learned »? We bet you will not find a more convenient way to maintain a status quo everywhere than this excuse used to justify the lack of policies towards more youth-empowerment in our countries.

In Liberia young people are being more and more vocal when it comes to expressing their opinion, emboldened by new technologies and innovations allowing us all to connect with others around the globe. And finally, after decades of young people being silenced and seen just as simple teenagers, we are starting to be heard, as movements around the globe show that as the years pass, we get more and more public support from every layer of civil society.

It is young people stepping up at the national, county, district and local levels, getting organized, and taking action that often secure crucial democratic victories that are later enshrined into national law. Today, we have numerous examples of this youth power and leadership in motion – whether it is the Young Political Leadership School educating youths on democracy.

Are we finally witnessing an interest from the corporate, political, and nonprofit world for young people? An interest that goes beyond the classic over-worked under-payed intern, or the incapable-of-doing-a­nything-else-than-st­udying teen? Is it even more so that heads of state around the globe are elected at a younger age?

Truth is, young people around the world have been told for too long that they were too young to take matters into their hands(to lead), and try and change the world. We have been told too many times that we were idealists, not ready to get our hands in the mud to bring the change we wanted to see. We have been told too many times that we were not experienced enough to lead our nation, when we have been rejected from every opportunity to get some experience from the same figures that told us we need to get that experience first. We have been told too many times that our age was a limit to what we could accomplish.

Now, it’s time to say that we are young enough to achieve the change we want to accomplish for our country. If we are young enough to be impacted by policies that have an impact on us, then we are young enough to bring our propositions to the arena. If we are young enough to be rape without the government giving us justice, then we are young enough to fight against that. If we are young enough to represent a threat to the establishment that would like us to remain silent, then we are young enough to overthrow that establishment. If we are young enough to be damage by drugs, than we are young enough to put an end to it. If we are young enough to vote for senators that corrupt our nation, than we are young enough to be voted for as senator that will bring positive change.

We are young enough to develop, build, and carry our own projects to their success. We are young enough to learn from more experienced people, and also to teach more experienced people about our own experiences. This is not a one-way road, and that’s when this understanding is built between people that we get the most out of a conversation.

Our message to Legislature:

We are asking you to protect our rights by granting us equal participation in the senate, this is done by removing the age eligibility before becoming a senator. Young people are now the largest eligible voting population and unnecessary obstacles to be voted into the senate put democracy out of reach for far too many. The National Legislature must ensure all Liberians (18+) have not only the right to vote but access to be voted for as well.

The LEGISLATURE must now allow the youth to be voted into our senate. This is done by removing the age eligibility of becoming a senator. Removing barriers to the eligibility age to the senator is strongly linked to higher output of responsible senators and our democracy is best when all feel equal participation to exercise their right to vote or be voted for. However, too many young people still face obstacles to exercising their constitutional right to equal participation. It is crucial that young people have a voice in government and the chance to secure a more equitable future. The current system for young people entering into the senate leaves millions of younger potential young leader outside of the political system, with young people of disability disproportionately impacted.

Young people of today are far better equipped-intellectually, physically, and emotionally- to make the type of decision involved in voting and understanding on voting and national government  than were past generations of youth. The contrast is clear in the situation of education, because of the numerous impact of modern technology, we the youth are extremely well informed on all the crucial issues of our time, international, regional, and domestic, national and local.

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