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Editorial-Violence-Free Elections, Please

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Beyond Tuesday’s elections, Liberians must continue to live together in peace, unity and love. Casting a ballot is just an event, but the way we will respond during and after the final votes are counted will determine crucially whether peace will be sustained or Liberia will degenerate along factional lines again.

It is Important that the October 11 elections be transparent, free, fair and peaceful in order that all Liberians can continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy, which include peace, affordable healthcare, quality education, electricity and pipe borne water, paved roads, lucrative investments and jobs, security and economic growth, among others.

Voting for a specific candidate is simply an expression of a conviction that he or she is capable to provide better leadership for the country; it doesn’t mean that person must win at all cost. The fact of the matter is another group of citizens or qualified voters may hold contrary view with equally strong conviction that their candidate is better. But at the end of it all, the majority view expressed at the ballot box will determine who our next leader becomes.

Any candidate that is announced winner by the National Elections Commission automatically becomes President of the Republic of Liberia, not a political party though he or she remains standard bearer of the winning party.

In order to succeed he or she would need the support of all citizens, not only partisans. That is why it is important that as voters, we must put Liberia above any candidate because an elected President is powerless without a State or people to lead.

Equally important as well the National Elections Commission should execute its duties in a manner that would create no room for suspicion, which could give rise to disenchantment.  By this time it is hoped that all polling materials have been dispatched to all polling centers throughout the country and properly secured.

We vehemently reject a repeat of the scenario of 23 August National Referendum when ballot boxes were left in the care of aggrieved poll workers with no security and logistics. Such attitude creates room for suspicion that ballots could be tempered with if left unmanned.

This time around, it is also our hope that adequate logistics and security have been put in place to ensure that the process becomes successful. Liberia needs conflict-free elections so badly to move ahead with peace and development.

Presidential candidates and political party leaders have their respective roles to play in making sure the elections are violence-free. They can do so by encouraging their partisans and supporters to act orderly at the polls, specifically refraining from antagonizing their opponents.

So many resources have been invested in this process that it behooves every Liberian and our international partners to make sure it succeeds. This is why we hail ECOWAS, the UN, AU, the United States Government and other friendly governments here for standing by Liberia during these critical moments. Truly, a friend in need is a friend in deed.

The moment has come. The world is watching to see whether Liberians can prove skeptics wrong by going to the polls on Tuesday morning to cast their votes peacefully so that Liberia will emerge victorious rather than victim of electoral violence.

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