By Naneka Hoffman
Faith and Justice Network (FJN), a leading advocate for peace, justice, and democracy within the Mano River Basin, is calling on Liberian political parties, coalitions, alliances, and Independent Candidates to campaign across the country void of violence, as Liberians go to elections on October 10th.
Speaking on Monday, August 14, the Regional Executive Director for the Network, Rev. Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah, said as Liberia approaches this crucial moment in its democratic journey, it is of utmost importance that the electoral process remains free of violence and intimidation, emphasizing that tt is the collective responsibility of all political parties to uphold the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
Rev. Dr. Jallah adds that as the nation prepares to exercise its democratic rights, faith-based institutions in the country have a pivotal role to play in shaping discourses surrounding the elections. He says churches are spaces of moral guidance and reflection, which makes them ideal platforms to encourage respectful dialogue among political contenders and their supporters.
However, the Liberian prelate notes that Liberians have a right to express their political preferences through peaceful means and it is imperative that elections are conducted transparently and fairly.
He says it includes providing citizens with accurate and unbiased information, ensuring access to polling stations and preventing any form of voter suppression or intimidation.
The FJN executive director also underscores the significance of creating an environment where citizens can exercise their democratic rights without fear, coercion, or threat to their safety.
The Network urges candidates in the race and party leaders to prioritize respectful dialogue, constructive engagement, and adherence to ethical campaign practices, adding that engaging in acts of violence or promoting hatred not only undermines the democratic process but also damages the social fabric of the nation.
“We urge all politicians to rise above divisive tactics, personal attacks, and inflammatory political rhetoric. Instead, let’s focus on discussing the policies, strategies, and solutions that can address the pressing challenges facing Liberia. Engaging in respectful dialogue not only demonstrates your commitment to democratic principles but also inspires citizens to participate actively in the electoral process.”
Meanwhile, the FJN is calling upon stakeholders, including civil society organizations, media outlets, and international partners to collaborate in creating an environment conducive to peaceful elections.
Dr. Jallah wants Liberians to collectively denounce violence, hate speeches or misinformation that could mar the electoral process while assuring the FJN remains committed to the principles of peace, justice, and democracy.
“We believe that by embracing respectful dialogue and fostering a culture of political tolerance, Liberia can move closer to realizing its full potential as a united and prosperous nation.”
Faith and Justice Network is a non-political organization dedicated to promoting peace, justice, and democratic values in the Mano River Basin countries that include Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast.
Through advocacy, education, and community engagement, FJN strives to create a society where citizens’ rights are respected, and the rule of law prevails. Editing by Jonathan Browne