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Minister Kemayah Assures Free, Fairs Elections In 2023

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MONROVIA: Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has assured the international community and partners that the forthcoming Presidential and legislative elections in October 2023 will be crucial to consolidating democracy as well as the sustenance of peace and national development in Liberia.

Minister Kemayah reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of President George Manneh Weah and the Government of Liberia to ensuring the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in October 2023 in Liberia.

The Dean of the Cabinet said there is absolutely no doubt in his mind, and indeed, everyone else, he believe, that the outcome of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible electoral process will further enhance the sustenance and consolidation of peace in Liberia, which is the foundation for a thriving democracy, and the pursuit of the national development agenda.

Foreign Minister Kemayah said certainly, an inclusive process will ensure the participation of all Liberians in the political and governance process of the country.

Foreign Minister Kemayah made these remarks on Monday, November 14, 2022 during an Ambassadorial-Level Meeting of the United Nations Peace-building Commission-Liberia Configuration.

Foreign Minister Kemayah, quoting Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr, said, as an initial step to funding the electoral process, the Government, in spite of the challenging fiscal situation, has actualized a net of US$18 million for the National Elections Commission through appropriation in the 2022 National Budget for the conduct of the October 2023 Elections.

“Finance and Development Planning Minister Tweah further revealed to me that for the 2023 budget; Thirty-three Million United States is being earmarked for the National Elections Commission for the elections.

Further quoting Minister Tweah, he said this will take the Government of Liberia’s total support for the 2023 elections to Fifty-one Million United States Dollars (US$51m).

He said with this support from the Government, the National Elections Commission is left with a gap of United States Ten Million Dollars (USD$10m) to be able to conduct the October 2023 elections.

“Our Partners will come in to cover this gap; he concluded. This therefore means that the total budget for the conduct of the elections is United States Sixty-one Million Dollars (USD$61m); out of which the Government of Liberia is contributing United States Fifty-one Million Dollars (USD$51m); and seeking a contribution of United States Ten Million Dollars (USD$10m) from our partners to close the gap.

The Government of Liberia therefore calls on the UN Peace-building Commission, Peace-building Fund and its Member States; the United Nations in general, and our international partners to see the urgent need to act in assisting to mobilize the gap of United States Ten Million Dollars (USD$10m) needed to ensure the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in October 2023.

“In furtherance of promoting the political participation of women, who constitute about 60% of our population, we have included provisions for a 30% gender quota through the revised New Elections Bill for senior political party leadership and candidate listings in elections. This Bill has been passed by the House and Senate.

“Furthermore, as His Excellency President Dr. Weah underscored during his address to the United Nations General Assembly, after many years of civil upheaval, Liberia is becoming a stronghold of peace and a safe haven for democracy. Pursuant to our desire to maintain this trend, the Government has taken actions in the last few years to build and strengthen democratic institutions such as the media and the Liberian Judiciary, including legislation that seeks to eradicate impediments that tended to suppress or hinder free speech”, Minister Kemayah noted.

In the same vein, Minister Kemayah said within the framework of the national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), which embodies the vision for peace and national stability, the Government has initiated programs to cater to the youthful population of more than 60%.

Minister Kemayah intoned that government remains firmly of the strongest conviction that, when empowered, the youths can be a positive force for good, growth, development and stability.

“With the support of our multilateral and bilateral partners, the national census, which is very crucial to Liberia’s development drive is now underway.

“The Government is continuing to demonstrate the political will and its commitment to the continued support of the Peace-building Commission (PBC), and our partners are very key for the attainment of our peace-building mechanisms, particularly, the successful conduct of the forthcoming October 2023 General and Presidential Elections.

“We are very pleased with the support, cooperation and collaboration we continue to receive from the Peace-building Commission, as we are keeping on an irreversible path to a peaceful, prosperous and stable Liberia. Certainly, our bilateral, development and multilateral Partners, and the United Nations Country Team, Civil Society and the Liberian People themselves have been dependable partners in this process. We continue to reiterate that in the midst of urgent competing priorities, the Government remains committed to keep making efforts to support peace building in the country, knowing that the Liberian people are the greatest beneficiaries of a peaceful country”, the Chief Diplomat mentioned.

He said as this journey appears to be challenging in terms of resource mobilization and expenditure, the government will continue to be grateful, and calls on the partners and friends to act now for more support and assistance to keep the peace-building exercise viable and effective.

“An urgent necessary imperative strong technical and logistical support for the National Elections Commission (NEC); strengthening of the national security institutions and apparatuses, support for the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in October 2023, and in particularly, inclusive participation for women, are very significant and strong priorities for the Government of Liberia. Hence, we wish to encourage the UN Peacebuilding Commission and its entire Membership and the Partners and Friends of Liberia; and the United Nations in general to step up to the much and urgent need to mobilize the gap of United States Ten Million Dollars (US$10m), and provide technical and logistical support and assistance to the National Elections Commission to complement the unflinching effort of the Government of Liberia to ensure the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in October 2023. This is a necessary imperative call to urgent action for the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, and the UN Peacebuilding Commission as a whole; as well as the Peacebuilding Fund, United Nations in general and the Partners and Friends of Liberia to ensure the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in October 2023; we wish to stress.

“We wish to thank the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for its support towards ensuring a peaceful electoral environment, and fostering greater participation of women and young people in the electoral and governance process. His Excellency President Dr. Weah has reiterated that it is incumbent upon all Liberians in the run-up to the elections to avoid violence, as the Government remains unwavering in its commitment to create the enabling environment and peaceful space before, during and after the elections.

“We also appreciate the Peace Building Fund (PBF) for the United States Two Million Dollars (US$2m)-UN Women and UNDP initiative; and for its approval of the United States Three Million Dollars (US$3m) project through UNDP, OHCHR and IOM, which further aims to strengthen the prevention of electoral violence, and demonstrate the Fund’s commitment towards ensuring a peaceful environment for the impending elections.

“With the support of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund, the United Nations in general, ECOWAS, Liberia’s Partners and Friends, Civil Society; the demonstrated commitment and tremendous strides of the Government of Liberia, we remain very much confident of the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in October 2023. We remain also confident and assured of a peaceful post-electoral country.

“Our overarching goal is that peace, security, stability and democracy will be further enhanced, consolidated and sustained; that the pursuit of our peacebuilding priorities will be further enhanced; and ultimately, the fulfillment of our national development aspirations”, Minister Kemayah said.

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