Who’s the next Zogo? As Liberian Youths lurks in uncertainty, unemployment and poverty
The majority of people in Liberia today are youth, some of whom spend much of their time in ghettos, under the bridges, in the streets loading cars, in the grave yards using illicit drugs and at intellectual centers expressing their frustrations about government without a square meal a day.
‘The distinction between Zoe-gos, in the Liberian parlance ‘street criminals’, and unemployed youths; youths who are qualify but yet lack opportunities to get a job, these two groups are very difficult to distinguish however, they can be seen from Broad Street to Red Light market in a jobless and hopeless state.
However, that reality is not bothering the conscious of policy drivers and political actors in Liberia.
LISGIS (2013) report states that young people constitute 69% of Liberia’s population.
Revealing figures from such reputatable Liberian entity point to the fact that youths in Liberia are major key players: they’re players in the stability of Liberia’s peace, reconciliation, the Democratic process, national development, the justice system and the economy.
Realistically, the issue of youth being the key players in the Democratic space of Liberia haven’t been actualize since Liberia’s independence in 1847.
This article was written to unearh the multiplicity of problems young Liberian faced and the integrated approaches needed to solve them.
The question: who’s the next Zoe-go triggered the fact that anything is possible in Liberia, a good kid born in 2006 can turn out to be a zoe-go in 2021 or 2023.
This scenario speaks to the fact that illicit drugs and immorality have eaten the fabric of the Liberian society with passion.
From 1822 to 1944: historians said youths in Liberia were on the right track until the loss years; 1980-1990-1997-2003.
During those years young Liberians were used as a helpless toy in the mainstream of Liberian politics.
These youths were given illicit drugs, uncultured words and guns as a new form of education.
It didn’t stop there; politicians when ahead to tell the young generation that rice, violence, low self esteem, and gambling are the only answers to Liberia’s age old problems.
In Liberia today, young people know nothing else but to waste their precious time calling on talk shows insulting other politicians for fame; picking old things on dump sites, sleeping in grave yards, smoking weeds(marijuana), involving in orgy with men for money, homosexuality and crimes as a means of survival.
Yet, not content to just sit on the sidelines, Amb. Valentine Konoe decided to embrace the idea to expose the inability of national government to institute programme for young Liberians.
Having the penchant for focusing on extra-curricular activities outside of traditional hustle hours.
In his spare time, he manages his Facebook account.
Amb. Konoe also see and feel the poverty level among Liberian youths and likes to remind national government that the time has come to develop the minds of young people; taking into consideration ‘no one stumble into the future he/she doesn’t prepared for’.
If the minds of the young generation are not prepared, the future of this country called Liberia is doom for retrogressiveness.
When the options are between fun and a serious social episode like the case of Liberian youths, the choice seems clear. “government need to invest more into building the capacity of young Liberians”…
Konoe, wish the Liberian government had thought of it first.
In Liberia today: discussing young people has become a complex issue and a difficult conversation to have.
However, there are currently a wide range of disagreement on how to recontruct the already spoiled young generation.
Despite government numerous attempts to fixing the problem, the problems keep expanding from heat and largerly into hell fire.
For instance, the Liberian leader, George M. Weah was on record for dishing out monies to Zoe-goes and Zoe-gkee (name for famale criminals in Liberia) as a means to help clean themselve up.
The President action according to critics wasn’t part of the solution.
In addition, critics said Pres. Weah action was a sharp contradiction and a jocosity to the disadvantage youth communities.
Recent study conducted by the Public Opinion Scholars of Liberia unearth that 3,342 youngsters (40% female), aged between 15 and 23, are Zoe-gkees(female street criminals).
And yet government has done nothing to reduce the number instead officials of government are buying houses and cars from left to right while the young generation spoil beyond repair..
However, ‘there is no problem without a solution’, triggered by this: many youth in the political class have come to the realization that the Liberian legislature has a significant role to play in fixing the already spoiled young generation.
One of the main factor affecting youths in Liberia is the issue of illicit drug: out of the 69% youth in Liberia 49% are consumers of illicit drugs.
Who are those importers of illict drugs and what the Legislature can do to reduce the drug rate?….
The major importers of illicit drugs in Liberia are the Nigerians, Fulas, Sierra Leoneans and top government officials.
These group of people have become Liberia’s greatest nightmares.
To arrest the drug situation in Liberia: the Liberian Legislature need to pass legislations to make illicit drugs a non billable crime.
This action will directly affect and revamp the youthful population of Liberia and bring drug dealers to book.
It’s alleged that DHL is a major importer of illicit drugs in Liberia thus, a renow Liberian lawyer complained to Frontpage Africa about the situation in 2012.
It’s also alleged that officials of government are major suppliers and consumers of cocaine, itlian white, slade, marijuana and coaco.
One accusing finger was pointed at the Liberian Legislature by a ranking official of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2021.
The DEA officer accused one member of the Liberian legislature of being a drug dealer.
That Legislator is yet to be known.
In Liberia today: Secondary schools, Colleges and Universities have become a major trading ground for consumption of illicit drugs.
It’s alleged that the visibility of illicit drugs in various institutions have led many students to becoming gays, lesbians, drug dealers, and hajackers especially at night.
Charles Momo, a car loader and a drug addict explain to this writer that the proliferation of ghettos in Liberia have led to many criminal activities.
On the other hand, a ranking member of the Immigration Service revealed to this writer that illict drugs entered Liberia through its poor
Thus, illicit drugs have captured the entire Liberia, making Liberia’s capital ‘Monrovia’ the hub of crimes and indecent activities.
A female student of the J.J.Roberts, who refused to be name revealed to this writer that ‘majority of the rape cases in Liberia are related to illicit drugs and alcoholic beverages’.
To validate her accusation she said, “walk every ghettos in Liberia, who do u see?, walk to entertainment centers especially at night, who do you see? They are all younsters, check the police records on rape, which age dominate?”, “Young people dominate, this shows that young people in Liberia are the frontliners of drugs and crimes”.
“The young generation of Liberia have been captured by illicit drugs”, she said.
However, to arrest this drug situation in Liberia, Amb. Valentine Konoe believed: a non billable legislation, rehab centers and an educative programs are needed across Liberia.
That’s the sugar part of it: fighting illicit drugs in Liberia, needs holistic approaches: communities, religious leaders, market women, national government and community watch teams need to get involved sincerely.