(A repeat by public demand)
International partners, specifically ECOWAS and the United Nations are calling on the Government of Liberia to investigate reports of recent electoral violence in the country and hold those responsible to account.
“We bring attention to inflammatory rhetoric which has the potential to instigate violence. We therefore urge political leaders to be active peace messengers, promote issue-based campaigns, and refrain from incitement of followers toward violent action, especially violence against women in elections and politics and, to resolve any grievance through established legal mechanisms. We further caution against the instrumentalization of the youth”, a joint statement issued in Monrovia on 31 August read.
At the same time, the International Partners are calling on signatories of the Farmington River Declaration 2023, particularly political parties and their leaders to abide by their commitment and promote the conditions for peaceful, transparent, and credible elections, prior to, during, and after the polls.
We join ECOWAS and the United Nations in urging all Liberians, including the government to pay keen attention to this early warning call against violence in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections. We can do so with the help of the government by immediately bringing to book, those involved in instigating violence to disrupt the democratic process.
Whether they are from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change or the opposition bloc, those involved in such behavior need to be told in clear terms that violence has no place in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, so there should be no place for people bent on instigating violence in the ongoing campaign activities across the country.
We believe strongly that one way to stamp out violence is by promptly taking action rather than just sitting back and condemning. Unless someone is arrested, brought before the law and if found guilty, punish to deter would-be perpetrators, the beat will go on as usual, which is dangerous for peace and stability of the state.
All signatories of the Farmington River Declaration 2023 should demonstrate leadership they are craving for by abiding by their commitment to promote conditions for peaceful, transparent, and credible elections prior to, during, and after the polls.
There have been spates of violence across the country since official campaign for the October elections started, marred by injuries and deaths. These should not go with impunity. Someone has to be held responsible before the law. We cannot go to violence-driven elections and expect the outcome to be peaceful.
It would save this country a lot, given the wave of insecurity precipitated by military coups in the region by doing everything to keep the peace. Zealous party partisans should not be blinded by loyalty to engage in uncouth activities as if there is no tomorrow.
Therefore, we have an opportunity as Liberians to jealously safeguard our peace and democracy and serve as an inspiration for Africa and the rest of the world by heeding the call from international partners to stamp out violence from our elections.