Home Politics Ahead of October Polls: Weah Warns Against “Militancy” …Says It Quickly Spillover To Violence

Ahead of October Polls: Weah Warns Against “Militancy” …Says It Quickly Spillover To Violence

by newsmanager

President George Manneh Weah has urged all stakeholders who have a vested interest in the October, 2023 presidential and legislative elections in Liberia to avoid incendiary language and what he calls “a growing culture of militancy, which can have the propensity to quickly spill over into violence.”

Speaking on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at program marking the signing of the Farmington River Peace pact by Liberian political parties ahead of the crucial presidential and legislative elections in October, Weah declared: “These vices must be discouraged by all of us. In this regard, the media and civil society have a crucial role to play, and I am glad that they are represented here today, because they are very important partners in this process.”

Weah, a former Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations (UN), added: “Rhetoric that whips up old divisions and puts tribes and regions against one another, must be discouraged. We, as political leaders, must have a duty and responsibility to prevail on all of the members within the ranks of our various institutions to desist from actions that could lead to violence.”

Weah: “While we all support different causes and interests, there is one cause that must bring everyone of us together, in spite of our differences, and that is the cause of maintaining the peace of our Nation. I am not only referring to the parties and stakeholders in this room. Liberians everywhere have an obligation to ensure that we do not reverse the gains that have been made. And so today, as we sign the 2023 Farmington River Declaration, I call upon all political leaders in this room to ensure that our supporters, and the wider electorate who follow us, will also adhere to the spirit of this Agreement that we have signed before God and the whole World, as we jointly work to fulfill the promises that we have made therein.”

According to the former global soccer legend turned politician, Liberians will be going to the polls in October of this year to participate in Presidential and Legislative Elections to choose their leaders.

He told the occasion that “These elections present a significant opportunity not only to consolidate Liberia’s democratic gains, but to entrench and build upon them.”

The signing ceremony was graced by an array of local and foreign dignitaries including Madam Clar Marie Weah, First Lady of the Republic of Liberia; Chief/Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia; Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia; The Speaker, President Pro-Tempore, and Members of the 54th Legislature; Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia; The Dean and Members of the Cabinet; The Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps; The Chairperson and Members of the Board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission.

Others were Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission; Madam Giovannie Biha, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, and the Officer-In-Charge of the United Nations in West Africa and the Sahel; The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations In Liberia; The Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Liberia; Heads of International Organizations in Liberia; The Chairman and Members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia; Officials and Members of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia; Political Leaders and Other Officials of Political Parties; Heads of Civil Society Organizations; Representatives and Members of Women and Youth Organizations among others.

The Liberian leader asserted that the October polls also “present an opportunity to strengthen a deepening political culture that has at its core: the principles of freedom, justice, and equality, and the respect of human rights, including the rights of women and children. They will also provide the occasion for the Government of Liberia to continue to demonstrate its unreserved commitment to the protection of the rights of all citizens, as enshrined in our Constitution.”

Weah further narrated that the Presidential and Legislative Elections of October 2023 will be the first to be primarily organized and administered by Liberia, since the drawdown of United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL), saying “although since the incumbency of my Administration in 2018, the National Elections Commission has successfully conducted By-elections and a Referendum that were recognized by all stakeholders as peaceful, free, fair, and transparent.”

“It is therefore incumbent on all political stakeholders, including the ruling party, as well as the opposition parties, civil society, the media, and in fact ALL Liberians, to recognize the centrality of peace during these elections, and work collectively to deliver a credible, inclusive, and peaceful process,” President Weah told the gathering.

“History has taught us that the risk of post-conflict countries to regress to war is extremely high. By any account, therefore, Liberia is a post-conflict success story. Today’s signing ceremony is truly another milestone achievement to be admired and celebrated. It marks a symbolic celebration of twenty (20) years of uninterrupted peace since the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2003, most of them under the supervision of what was once the largest United Nations peacekeeping force, comprising of fifteen (15) thousand soldiers and administrators,” the Liberian leader indicated.

Weah: “We have now enjoyed five (5) years of sustained and unbroken peace since I assumed the Office of President of Liberia on January 22, 2018. The transformation is stark: Liberia is now contributing troops as part of United Nations peacekeeping forces in several countries in Africa, instead of requiring peacekeepers to maintain peace in our country. We have all, for the most part, worked positively to consolidate the peace in Liberia. But while we have now turned the corner on our recent dark history, it is imperative that we reject and condemn those who would seek to take us back to those dark days.”

“I am proud of what we have achieved as a nation, and equally happy that we have maximized the external support we have received on our journey to this level,” he declared.

According to incumbent President Weah who is seeking another six-year constitutional term, “ These upcoming elections, when peacefully and credibly held, will be a manifestation of the strengthening and showcasing of our democratic credentials, as well as our resilience and relentless commitment to upholding the tenets of democracy. It is about the building of trust and confidence in our political culture.”

He commended all political leaders and “our respective political parties” for resolving to sign this second Farmington River Declaration, which signifies our commitment and readiness to pursue the path of a peaceful, free, fair, transparent, inclusive and credible democratic elections, come October 10 this year, that will elevate our standard as a democratic nation. With a guaranteed and successful democratic exercise, we will further demonstrate our readiness for sustained peace, security, stability and development. This signing is a gesture which further indicates that we political leaders are sending a strong signal to our partisans, supporters, well-wishers, and followers, and also to the entire World, of our unflinching commitment and preparedness to conduct peaceful, free, fair, transparent, inclusive and credible democratic Presidential and Legislative elections on October 10 this year, and to accept the will of the Liberian People as will be expressed through the ballot box.

“Above all, this Peace Pledge is about demonstrating the patriotism and statesmanship needed by us as political leaders to speak Peace to the Nation, and place our beloved nation-state, Mama Liberia, ahead of our personal ambitions. With our collective determination to preserve Liberia’s peace and unity, I am certain that the peace and non-violence Pledge that we, as political leaders, are making in writing and signing today, will serve as a testament of our firm commitment to national stability, security, peace and development,” he emphasized.

Weah: “Not only do I look to all of us political leaders gathered here today to live up to the aspirations set out in the Farmington River Declaration 2023, to which we are about to commit ourselves, but I also call upon all our political parties, supporters and the wider
electorate to follow our lead and support us in the fulfillment of the promises made today to the People of Liberia and the World, especially the pledge to prevent violence in our elections.”

He recalled that in June, 2017, a few months before the Presidential and Legislative Elections which were held in Liberia that year, twenty (20) of Liberia’s twenty-two (22) registered political
parties met in the Farmington River Hotel in Margibi County and signed a document which was named as the “Farmington River Declaration”.

“In this document”, Weah further recalled, “we committed ourselves to an orderly and peaceful elections process in October 2017. We agreed, individually and collectively, to prevent electoral violence, impunity, and injustice; and pledged before the ECOWAS Heads of State, who were present in Liberia at the time attending the 51st Summit of that Organization, that if ever and whenever such conflicts occurred, we would address them through mediation or through legal means. I am proud to say, as the leader of a political party which participated in that election, and who eventually won it, that every party that signed the Farmington River Declaration in 2017 kept true to their word, and the elections were conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner, without violence; and, moreover, all differences were processed and resolved through the justice system in Liberia, under the rule of law.”

Related Posts

Leave a Comment