Amid delay here for the runoff presidential election as a result of legal battle between four political parties, including the governing Unity Party and the National Elections Commission, the United States Embassy near Monrovia stresses that disputes and litigation should be initiated and conducted in good faith by the claimants, the NEC, and if needed, the Supreme Court, in an expeditious manner to permit the timely conclusion of Liberia’s electoral process and a peaceful transition.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, 15 November the U.S. Embassy warns that efforts by any actors to impede the expressed will of Liberia’s people for personal ambition could risk goodwill and future investments in Liberia by international partners, noting that the Liberian people and the international community have worked too hard and invested too much to watch Liberia’s progress stall.
And this has been the apprehension of ordinary Liberians whose primary interest is to democratically elect a President that would govern the state peacefully to enable them go about their daily activities.
In the eyes of the party litigants, they are pursuing legal procedures to attain redress from the results of the October 10, 2017 Presidential and Representative Elections. They seem not to care how long it takes despite an impending transitional crisis if a new government is not elected before January 2018.
As a result of a prohibition sought by lead complainant, Liberty Party, the Supreme Court placed an indefinite suspension on the November 7th runoff presidential poll and all other political activities in the country, pending outcome of the ongoing investigation into complaints filed to the NEC, a situation that has created serious uncertainty and shocks in the economy characterized by fears and rumors.
Therefore, it is in this light that the U.S. Embassy urges Liberian political leaders to take their cue from the citizens who waited patiently to vote and did so with respect for their fellow citizens, regardless of political views, and act in good faith to expeditiously bring the court process to an end in order to proceed with the runoff election.
Acting in good faith means going straight to the issues at bar and avoiding unnecessary technicalities that could lead to elapse of the legal timeframe for such matter and delay the democratic and transitional processes with unanticipated consequences for the nation and its people.
In other words, some of the parties might not have any substantive claims to adduce at the hearing, but they would pretend to be moving in line with the law, buying time for other selfish interest at the detriment of the peace and stability of the state. Such politicking is not only deceiving, but destructive.
The U.S. Embassy’s statement expresses confidence in the integrity of the October elections, noting that no accredited Liberian, regional, or international observation group suggested that the cumulative anomalies observed reflect systemic issues sufficient to undermine the fundamental integrity of the electoral process, meaning claims of fraud and irregularities before the NEC are not sufficient to overturn the entire results of the first round of elections, though the agreed parties have rights under the law to seek redress but in a manner and faction that could eventually jeopardize the whole process and efforts made to get us to this stage.
We join the U.S. Embassy in calling on actors, including the claimants, NEC and the High Court to legally fast track the ongoing hearing in order to return us to the runoff election.