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Upholding the January 2018 inauguration deadline

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At the 31st High-Level Meeting of Heads of U.N. Missions in West Africa held in Monrovia, on December 1, 2017 the Heads of Missions, among other issues, stressed the importance of complying with the constitutionally-mandated date for the inauguration of an elected government here in January 2018.

They expressed hope that the electoral process would be concluded expeditiously, while emphasizing that the current legal challenges against results of the October 10 polls should be legitimate and in good faith. Perhaps most significantly, the West African Heads of Missions also emphasized that the will of the Liberian people must be respected, and underscored the need for all parties and stakeholders to exercise restraint, uphold the rule of law, and conduct all activities with civility and in a non-violent manner, even in their public discourse.

The 31st High-Level Meeting was attended by the Special Representatives of the U.N. Secretary-General and Heads of U.N. missions in Liberia(UNMIL), Mr. Farid Zarif, in Mali (MINUSMA), Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif; and Wset Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas. The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Cote d’ Ivoire, Mr. Babacar Cisse` was also in attendance.

We join the regional Heads of Missions in reiterating the need to remain on the current path that would lead us to conducting democratic election and subsequently inaugurating an elected President on the second Tuesday, January 2018 in accordance with the Constitution of Liberia. We believe strongly this is important to achieving national peace, reconciliation and economic development.

It behooves peace-loving Liberians to conduct all activities with civility and non-violently, including public discourses in order to maintain the current peace in the country. How we conduct ourselves towards an eventual runoff presidential election and inauguration would go a long way in not only keeping the peace, but strengthening our democracy as a nation.

We must heed the call of the international community and our foreign partners on the need to uphold the peace and move ahead with the democratic process, which hinges on all other else. This does not in any way suggest we should compromise the rule of law. No! The rule of law is the only pendulum on which a pluralist society balances.

Like the Heads of Missions underlined in their statement, peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections are a prerequisite for peace consolidation and sustainable development in Liberia, stressing that the destiny of Liberia remains the responsibility of all Liberians.

This is why we believe it is important that all hands remain on deck to ensure that a peaceful political transition is achieved in the country, for we have a lot to lose as a nation if this were not achieved as expeditiously anticipated. Liberian electorate anxiously awaits the runoff election to choose a president to govern this country in the next six years.

It is our prayers that we will continue to remain within the confines of the law from the Supreme Court to the National Elections Commission and eventually, the ballot box to elect a president to be inaugurated in January 2018. This is the wish of ordinary Liberians.

Consequently, we commend the West African Heads of Missions for their meeting in Monrovia and calling on all stakeholders to work towards meeting the January 2018 deadline for the inauguration of an elected President to lead our nation. We have a duty not only to ourselves, but posterity to act accordingly.

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