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Editorial: Parties must uphold Farmington Declaration

Liberian politicians or political leaders representing some 27 political parties signed a commitment here Tuesday, 4 April to ensure free, fair, transparent and violent-freed elections as the country goes to presidential and general elections on October 10. They did so under the watch of key stakeholders and foreign partners, including the regional bloc, ECOWAS.

This is a welcome step, but it is not the first time. In the 2017 elections that saw the election of President George Manneh Weah, parties similarly penned the Farmington Agreement, named so after the hotel where the pact was signed in Margibi County, outside the capital, Monrovia.

The document was very helpful in keeping parties peaceful and law-abiding during the last elections, instead, channeling their grievances thru the court system. We pay special homage to one of Liberia’s reverend political leader and astute lawyer, the late Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, founder of the opposition Liberty Party who, after the poll results, chose the legal means in seeking redress to his grievances. 

We challenge political leaders who signed the second Farmington Declaration to uphold the legacy of the late Cllr. Brumskine by rejecting violence as they go to the polls six months from now.

Recent violence in Montserrado County electoral district#10 between incumbent Representative Yekeh Kolubah from the opposition and machete-wielding youths believed to have come from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and other incidences elsewhere in the country, are already writings on the wall that should draw immediate attention of political leaders, stakeholders and government.

Act of violently trooping supporters from the ruling party into the district to register in the ongoing biometric voter’s registration, with the primary objective to unseat the incumbent lawmaker in the pending elections was unnecessary, and should be condemned by all law-abiding and peace-loving citizens, including political leaders!

We encourage rival parties in these coming elections to campaign for their candidates in districts and counties across the country, after they are qualified by the National Elections Commission to enable them win, instead of trooping people with cutlasses to terrorize peaceful citizens and force businesses to shut down, as was experienced in district #10. Such attitude instigates violence that political leaders seek to avoid by signing the Farmington Pact.

It behooves political leaders to educate their supporters and partisans that violence has no place in our democracy and should not be encouraged by any side whether opposition or ruling party.

At the same time, we hail the leader of the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) and standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, who took his reservations against the National Elections Commission on the ongoing BVR exercise before the Supreme Court of Liberia for redress, instead of choosing violence. The Supreme Court has heard both parties and reserved ruling in Mr. Cummings’ petition.

This is the spirit of the Farmington Declaration that all parties should uphold, as we go to elections. Mr. Cummings and the late LP leader Cllr. Brumskine should be hailed as true torchbearers of peace and the rule of law that leaders in our country profess to subscribe to.  

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