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No place for electoral violence

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THE GOVERNMENT OF the United States thru Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, last week sounded a caveat to African countries preparing for elections, including Liberia to respect the rule of law by allowing citizens to engage in political dialogue and support their choice of candidates, parties, and platforms.

MR. POMPEO SAID in a statement issued over the weekend thru the United States Embassy in Monrovia that the conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world.

SPECIFICALLY, THE UNITED States has vowed to closely watch actions of individuals who interfere in democratic process on the Continent and will not hesitate to consider consequences, including visa restrictions for people that would be responsible for election-related violence anywhere in Africa.

THIS CAVEAT FROM Liberia’s traditional partner America, comes just at a time Liberians are gearing up for midterm senatorial elections on December 8, 2020. The December poll is to elect 15 senators to join 15 incumbent at the Capitol to complete the 30-member Liberian Senate before the next presidential election in 2023.

BUT AHEAD OF the poll, political rallies, mainly by the opposition have been disrupted repeatedly by violence, with fingers-pointing and threats of violent reaction.

ALTHOUGH SECRETARY POMPEO’S warning was not specifically directed at Liberia, but this country being a historical friend of America should listen and act accordingly. Liberia cannot afford to dwindle in violent or fraudulent elections because we should be torchbearer for young democracies on the Continent.

AS SECRETARY POMPEO emphasized, it is important that all sides have equal opportunity to participate peacefully in the democratic process void of repression and intimidation. This has not been the case at recent rallies held across the country, particularly in Monrovia and parts adjacent by opposition candidates, including Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the Collaborating Political Parties.

WE RECALL THE incident of CPP leader Alexander Cummings’ visit to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County along with opposition Lawmaker Yekeh Kolubah months ago, where they were violently chased out of the county by machete-brandishing thugs expressing loyalty to President George Manneh Weah.

OUTCOME OF A government investigating into the violence is still pending despite a joint statement issued by Foreign Missions in Monrovia, calling for speedy probe.

EVERY LIBERIAN SHOULD endeavor to keep our elections and democracy peaceful and participatory. Whether a candidate comes from the opposition CPP, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change or is an Independent, he or she has right to campaign and seek votes in counties, communities, towns and villages without fear of being chased away with machetes and stones.

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