UP, LP oppose intervention
Liberia’s ruling Unity Party (UP) and opposition Liberty Party (LP) are voicing disagreement against an expected intervention by the National Traditional Council and Church Council here on the ongoing political crisis that has stalled a presidential runoff that should have taken place on 7 November between UP and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
“I think what they are trying to do is to arm bush the process,” UP Chair for Mobilization and Recruitment Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe, says on an afternoon local radio talk show via mobile phone on Thursday, 9 November.
Mr. Snowe’s assertion against the announced mediation effort from Chiefs and the Church Council was backed by LP’s Darius Dillion, who was a studio guest on the afternoon talk show, saying he thinks intervention is done where there is conflict that hinges on the stability of the peace.
The UP is supporting LP’s legal challenge against the outcome of the 10 October presidential and representatives’ elections that resulted to the Supreme Court halting the National Elections Commission (NEC) from conducting a runoff between the UP and the CDC until it hears and decides LP’s case of alleged electoral fraud and irregularities.
But due to a political tension that is building here, Liberia’s Traditional Chiefs and Church Council announced this week that they would carry out a mediation process aimed at resolving the conflict due to fear of running the country into yet another political turmoil.
Rep. Snowe argues that had the Liberty Party been like other political institutions or other political actors, “their issue was to either go back and bring war or go in the street and demonstrate or cause violence” when they felt such [pain] at the political process.
“The Liberty Party being a civilized party; party of men and women of integrity like my party, has decided that unlike others in the past, that their path was in violence … sponsoring war, our path would be through the legal process,” Snowe argues.
He emphasizes that they will pursue the process legally, saying until they can reach a logical conclusion, they will not stand back on it.
Concerning the likelihood of dragging the electoral process to January 2018 during which a newly elected president is supposed to assume power, Mr. Snowe’s reaction is that there is provision in the Constitution for that, saying the UP does not subscribe to interim government.
He notes that the UP does not support the idea of an interim government and it does not subscribe to interim government, adding that it wants to make sure that the Constitution is fulfilled to the best of its ability.
“So we do not support interim government and we will not subscribe to interim government. But there are provisions in the Constitution if what is happening continues, there are provisions in the Constitution to accommodate this idea,” Mr. Snowe concludes.
As for LP’s Darius Dillion, he argues that intervention force is needed “When there’s disruption of the peace,” insisting that there is no disruption of the peace here at the moment.
Besides opposing the Chief’s intervention, the LP official says he takes “very unkindly” to the less than two minutes statement made by President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.
Mr. Dillion says he takes very unkindly when President Sirleaf says Liberia’s democracy is under assault and that the economy is under stress.
“No Madam President, no, our democracy, respecting the rule of law is a focus of enhancing democracy, it can’t be assaulting democracy. You see, in our disagreement there is no plan for disruption. No, our democracy is not under assault. And our economy, yes I agree with the President, our economy is stressed,” Dillion says.
He contends that the LP’s legal proceedings joined by UP and oppositions All Liberian Party (ALP) and Alternative National Congress (ANC) is not the reason Liberia’s economy is stressed.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne