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Editorial: All Liberians should sign the peace chorus

The United States Embassy near Monrovia issued a statement here on Thursday, August 18, reminding Liberian political parties currently campaigning across the country ahead for the October 10th Presidential and General Elections to adhere to the Farmington River Declaration by committing to free, fair and peaceful elections, and condemning all forms of violence and violent rhetoric.

The statement coincided with Liberia’s commemoration of 20 years of relative peace since the restoration of democratic rule in 2005 following 14 years of brutal civil war that left over 250,000 persons killed, including women and children, and hundreds of thousands others languishing in refugee camps across the region.

Twenty years after, the guns are still silent, giving citizens and residents the opportunity to resume normal life and economic activities, including active politics.

The U.S. Embassy’s Statement last Thursday comes on the heels of the fourth democratic elections in October exclusively being organized and conducted by Liberians themselves.

The call for free, fair non-violence elections was echoed days earlier by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Leonardo Santos Simão, who paid a two-day visit to Liberia last week and met with President George Manneh Weah, officials of the National Elections Commission, representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), youth and women groups.

Ambassador Simão pointed to the need for all candidates in the race to uphold their commitment to the Farmington River Declaration that sets the path to an inclusive, peaceful, and democratic process, underscoring that it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to educate their supporters on the rules of good conduct prior to, during and after the polls, in demonstrating responsible leadership.

The peace chorus is the song that should remain on the lips of every peace-loving Liberian as the country moves to elections, for without peace the nation will retrogress to vestiges of the past that we don’t want repeated.

The United States, the U.N. and ECOWAS are three key partners that stood by Liberia during her dark days, so pieces of advice coming from them in crucial moments of our electoral process should be heeded to keep the nation peaceful AND stable.

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Violet politics and rhetoric are counterproductive to democratic elections and so those found wanting in such practices should be called to book and condemned, as they have no place in the future Liberia we envisage.

Campaign rhetoric such as victory has already been won even before the actual polls should be discouraged by political parties and their leaders, as incendiary statements have the propensity to propel overly zealous partisans and supporters to resort to violence if the poll results do not go their way as expected.     

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