27 political parties commit to violence-free election
By Lincoln G. Peters
Twenty-seven political parties in Liberia signed a commitment Tuesday, 4 April 2023 for a free, fair, transparent, and non-violent election this October 2023.
The document is named the Farmington River Declaration. The signing ceremony was held at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County.
The program was organized by the National Elections Commission and its partners. The signing ceremony was graced by several diplomats including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Liberia is headed to the pools this October, and elections violence has already begun with the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise.
Montserrado Country electoral district #10 appears to be the hot spot for election violence for now, given recent incidents between pro-government supporters and those backing opposition lawmaker Yekeh Kolubah.
Among the 27 political parties that have signed up for the Farmington Declaration are the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the main opposition Unity Party (UP).
Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai, UP leader and former Liberian Vice President spoke of the cardinal ingredients that must be considered to avoid a high probability of not having a violent-free election.
“Together with our international partners and mainly the government, we must ensure that these elections are CREDIBLE and in addition monitor the indicators that would lead to the election not being credible, free, fair, transparent and non-violent,” said Amb. Boakai.
“It is, therefore, of key importance that we emphasize and prevent the triggers of violence rather than just stating that we want violence-free elections,” Amb. Boakai cautioned.
Amb. Boakai extended thanks and appreciation to the United Nations, ECOWAS, all those International and Local Partners, and all Political Parties that have affixed their signatures to the Farmington Declaration.
He said it will reaffirm their commitment to non-violent, free, fair, and transparent elections in October of this year.
According to him, it was at that same venue, the Farmington Hotel, where they signed a commitment to a non-violent election in 2017.
“I am glad to report here that the 2017 Legislative and Presidential elections under the auspices of the Unity Party-led government were largely free of any major violent incident and one the most acclaimed transfer of power occurred.”