Clergy Man: Vote against every warlord in 2023￼
By Lewis S. Teh
Ahead of Liberia’s 2023 presidential and legislative elections, a clergy and civil society leader has called on Liberians to vote against all those who led the civil war that wrecked the country for 14 years and also continue to abuse power.
Speaking recently in Sinkor during the launch of the series of the untold story of the Liberian Civil War, Rev. Dr. Tolbert Jallah, Acting National Chairperson of the Alliance for Transitional Justice in Liberia (ATJL), demanded full implementation of the 2009 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report.
“Today as we launch the untold story of [the] Liberian civil war, I’m urging every citizen to vote against those that led [the] war and continue to abuse power,” said Rev. Jallah.
A number of known warlords have been elected in past elections despite voters being cautioned here repeatedly. There are fears that the presence of ex – fighters in elected positions may strengthen their resolve to abscond justice.
The first Liberian civil war which occurred as a result of rebels’ invasion in 1989, claimed about 200,000 people and eventually led to brokering of peace by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations, but that peace was short-lived, and another round of hostilities broke out in 1999.
According to Rev. Jallah, ATJL had gathered to provoke and call the attention of national and international actors for the full implementation of the 2009 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, saying he stands against anything contrary to that.
“We call on you citizens of this country to reject those who have violated human rights and walking in the helm of power to vote against them in 2023,” he said.
“I personally on behalf of the technical advisory working group of the alliance will vote against anyone who has committed atrocities in this country and abused power. And I therefore challenge you to do likewise to those who abuse you. Vote against them come 2023,” he pleaded with Liberians.
“Don’t reward them with power because when you continue to do so they will continue to be law breakers, they will be immune and they will abuse their power,” Rev. Jallah added.
He called on Liberians to reject the ‘evil forces’ at the ballot box for their refusal to implement the TRC Report of 2009.
Rev. Jallah argued that it is time for the will of the good people to prevail, noting that Liberian voters should not give ex-war lords a second or third term mandate.
Mr. Adolphus W. Dupley, Alliance for Justice Liberia Vice Chairperson for Policy and Projects, said the group was birthed in February 2018, and by June 12, 2018, its name, vision, mission, and objective were adopted by five institutions.
Mr. Dupley narrated that the mission of the alliance is to build local resilience, ownership and provoke national and international actors to adhere and comprehensively implement the TRC Recommendation, establishing a special ordinary tribunal on war crimes, and provision of health and social services to war victims.
“Our vision [is] to build and sustain a society free of injuries and impunities, obtained through the legal prosecution of war and economic criminals, health and social services for war victims,” he said.
According to him, the strategic objective of the alliance is to fully and timely implement the TRC Report and use the same to achieve lasting healing, reconciliation and accountability to foster inclusive sustainable development.