President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the 2017 elections as a defining moment for Liberia, which will set the stage for Liberia to continue on the path of democracy; thus enabling the country to remain on the road to peace.
“We are looking forward to free, fair and transparent elections,” a press release issued by the Executive Mansion quotes President Sirleaf to have said, adding that these crucial elections would enable the next government to build upon the gains that have been achieved so far, “to which we have all contributed to the maintenance of peace.”
President Sirleaf made the statement on Thursday, 15 June when she received in audience here, Mr. Olof Skoog, the Chair of UN Peace Building Commission.Speaking further, President Sirleaf among other things expressed optimism that instruments before the National Legislature such as the Land Rights Bill, as well as the Domestic Violent Bill will be passed to further enhance Liberia’s democracy. She emphasizes that she is very pleased with the level of improvement taking place in various sectors of the country.
The Liberian leader applauded the United Nations Peace Building Programme for the critical support it has provided to build and strengthen Liberia’s democratic systems. She made specific mention of UN support to Liberia during the 2011 elections, which was the first following the devastating civil war in the country.
She pointed out that Liberia will be on a path that will not only ensure sustained peace but “growth, development and prosperity that we all want for our citizens.”
For his part, Mr. Olof Skoog, of the UN Peace Building Commission, Liberia extolled President Sirleaf for her leadership in handling the political impasse in The Gambia adding: “I am impressed with your leadership in The Gambia crises; Thank you for such preventive active diplomacy.”
The UN Envoy congratulated President Sirleaf for the effective manner in which she chaired the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. Mr. Skoog also toured Peace Building initiatives and interacted with top government officials, political parties, civil society and local community leaders engaged in the peace building projects here.
He however praised the Farmington River Declaration signed by political parties. “Am impressed with the Farmington River Declaration; There are lot of positive things to build on,” he emphasizes.
Mr. Skoog’s visit is geared toward gaining firsthand knowledge of peace building priorities in Liberia in the wake of the planned elections – as the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia scales down its security presence.
The PBC is an Inter-governmental Advisory body that supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflicts, mobilizing relevant actors and resources and proposing strategies for post-conflict recovery and peace-building, according to the press release.