President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says peace provides a conducive environment for development. She said if there is anything all Liberians agree on – it is the need to preserve the peace that enables us to be better reconcilers. She commended participating political parties for honoring the forum organized by the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia.
An Executive Mansion release said, President Sirleaf was speaking yesterday at the Monrovia City Hall where she opened the National Political Forum for Peaceful Elections.
The Liberian leader said more than half a century ago, precisely seventy-three years, Liberians experienced the transition from an outgoing elected president, Edwin J. Barclay to an incoming elected President – William V.S. Tubman after a peaceful free and fair elections.
She said on January 16, 2018, Liberians will have the opportunity of a similar experience, which will be the defining test of our nascent democracy. She added that this will be the trigger for continuation and strengthening of international partnerships. “As I travel around the country, I see wide acclaim and high expectations for this transition and I am pleased that I am a pivotal part of it, she told political leaders, civil society and the international community.
President Sirleaf recalled the opportunity of a number of telephone exchanges with leaders of political parties on Tuesday and expressed their hope to seeing them on Sunday at the 51st Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
She averred that this grand occasion will afford leaders of political parties, especially the standard bearers a unique opportunity to interact with regional and world leaders who now occupy the position in their respective countries they now aspire to here in Liberia.
She admonished these leaders will witness the signing by all political actors the Farmington River Declaration, committing yourselves to peaceful elections. She observed that it is an opportunity leaders of political parties should all embrace to add instant legitimacy to the elections and forge for them, individually, an image of statesmanship.
In separate remarks, the Chairman National Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief ZanzanKarwah, ECOWAS Envoy – Tunde Ajisomo, African Union, H.E. Ibrahim Kamara and United Nations Secretary General Special Representative, FaridZarif called on all political parties and their Standard Bearers to put Liberia first.
They noted that the greatest achievement in Liberia’s democracy will be a smooth democratic transition in 2018 where Liberia will be seen as example for others to follow. They maintained that peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections in October will be a defining moment for the country.
For his part, House Speaker, J. Emmanuel Nuquay said for the past 11 years Liberians have championed peaceful elections amid the number of elections conducted over the last 11 years because according to him peaceful elections are not a new phenomenon in Liberia. He maintained that peace is important but peaceful governance remains key in any democracy. He pledged the Legislature’s commitment to a peaceful transition in 2018.