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GeneralLiberia news

” You have no choice but to do it right”

-UN Resident Coordinator mandate LNBA, NEC to ensure transparent elections

By Lincoln G. Peters

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine N. Umutoni has urged the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), National Election Commission (NEC), and Judiciary Branch of government to execute free, fair, and transparent elections here saying, they have “no choice but to do it right.”

Delivering the keynote address at the LNBA annual General Assembly held in Monrovia at the EJS Ministerial Complex in Congo Town under the theme: ” Beyond Rhetoric and Impunity: Law, Governance and 2023 Elections-The Basis for Democratic Necessity in Liberia” Ms. Umutoni, observed that the coming elections can either advance or push the country backward democratically.

She warned that the October 10 presidential and legislative elections are a defining moment and retest for Liberia’s democracy as it represents the will of the people.

She explained that if the country gets the process right it will prove Liberia’s democratic maturity to the outside world.

“In my opinion, the country has no choice, but to do it right. To achieve this, Election must be transparent, inclusive, and accountable and there must exist equitable opportunity to compete,” she added.

The UN Resident Coordinator argued that political participation is a legal right, which includes the right to nominate, and elect representatives to hold public office in accordance with the principle of equal opportunity to participate in public and private meetings and the right to form and join political parties.

Ms. Umutoni said the LNBA and NEC should ensure that there is an environment of peaceful, free, fair, and transparent elections.

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She told the LNBA that such commitment also includes people trusting the legal system that is credible enough to support any plan that may arise.

She furthered that the LNBA has a major role to play as a stakeholder in setting the political agenda and discourse of Liberia during this 2023 Presidential and legislative elections.

The theme for this annual General Assembly, ” Beyond Rhetoric and Impunity: Law, Governance and the 2023 Elections-the basis for Democratic necessity in Liberia” is really the call for an election based on the law and tenants of governance and promoting the situation where there is no impunity and will go beyond rhetoric.

Ms. Umutoni also cautioned lawyers to engage in non-partisan activities and commit to maintaining electoral integrity. This said mentioned that lawyers must ensure that electoral disputes are resolved in accordance with the rule of law and in a peaceful manner.

The UN envoy disclosed that on Tuesday, April 4, political parties will be signing the Farmington Declaration committing to peaceful elections and which entails the resolution of electoral disputes through the legal system.

” Therefore, we hope that the signature of the Farmington Declaration is not a signature on paper but that it’s in the DNA of every political party and politician to abide by this declaration and for those in the legal system to take people to account for what they have signed for. Liberians have made several Democratic gains, election plus other political process remain pivotal to politics of the country governance” she noted.

Ms. Umutoni said that the foundation of the right to participation is shifted by the notion that every citizen should be involved in decision-making, which pleases her interest.

” Everyone should participate in Election and decision-making to defend his or her interest, to help create a society which is the fulfillment of her interest and desire. The freedom to vote and contest Elections and the freedom to assembly are major political expressions” she concluded.

Officially declaring the ceremony opened, LNBA National President Cllr. Sylvester D. Rennie said that they have gathered to ensure that there is peace and stability in Liberia during and after Election with the deliberation they are having.

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