Home Politics Presidential Aspirants Face NEC Today …Peace & Non-Violent Elections Top Agenda

Presidential Aspirants Face NEC Today …Peace & Non-Violent Elections Top Agenda

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By: By: Varney Dukuly

MONROVIA: According to Collins English Dictionary, the word, election, “is a process in which people vote to choose a person or group of people to hold an official position.”

In the case of the Liberian Nation, others see election as a privilege and an opportunity for eligible citizens to choose from among multiple candidates via the ballot box for the next batch of public sector leaders including President, Vice President, and members of the country’s bicameral Legislature.

The successful conduct of the 10, October, 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia, observers say, depends largely on candidates and other stakeholders’ commitment to foster peace, stability, respect for, and adherence to the rule of law, as well as acts of nonviolence.

However, it appears that at the moment, there is nothing impressive or encouraging about the way some of Liberia’s key political leaders and their supporters are conducting themselves in the lead up to the crucial 2023 elections.

Analysts say the wave of violence as the country prepares for political campaign is alarming and needs urgent intervention by well-meaning Liberians and other stakeholders aimed at safeguarding the pending polls.

Now, “the National Elections Commission (NEC), in collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), and the United Nations (UN), will today, Wednesday, August 2, 2023, hold a briefing with presidential aspirants for the 2023 electoral process.”

In a press statement, NEC said, the briefing is a reaffirmation of its Board of Commissioners’ pledge and determination to apply all of the best practices to ensure a peaceful electoral process and further deepen the understanding of the aspirants about ongoing preparations for the elections.

The NEC and the Presidential aspirants’ dialogue is just enough, the statement stressed, to promote “inclusive, credible, peaceful, and non-violent elections.”

However, thoughts of politicians upholding the Farmington River Declaration, signed by various political parties and their leaders, aimed at promoting peaceful elections seem so distant right now.

The electoral body added that the engagement will address the issue that all aspirants, supporters, and voters must conduct themselves in a peaceful and non-violent manner before, during, and after the elections.

With less than three days to the opening of official campaign, the Commission said, its interaction with the aspirants will help to solicit their commitment to peaceful and violent electoral process.

For more than two decades, in August, Liberia has been celebrating the famous Accra Peace Agreement, that led to the end of the country’s brutal civil war in which an estimated 250,000 persons, predominately women and children were killed, and more than a million others internally and externally displaced.

Citizens here in Monrovia and across the country have waited for apology from succeeding Liberian governments including the current administration and some of the actors believed to be responsible for the atrocities and mayhems that characterized the civil war that began in December 1989 and ended in August, 2003.

Some political pundits say the August celebration of the Accra Peace Accord this year comes in the wake of a crucial electoral process which, if the necessary care is not taken, could reverse the enormous gains made towards consolidating the country’s hard-won peace and democracy.

As NEC pushes for peace among politicians in the ensuing Presidential and Legislative elections, other critics say there are no accounts of multiple acts of violence in the country in recent times, citing the latest violent attack against the standard bearer and political leader of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), who is also former President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawon Saye Gongloe, his wife and running mate at a recent anti-corruption rally held in Central Monrovia.

Others cited the 2019 Representative by-elections in electoral district #15, Montserrado County, during which the daughter of businessman turned politician, Benoni Urey, Telia Urey, nearly loss her precious life when she and her supporters were violently attacked by a mob and her vehicle was severely damaged.

They also referenced Montserrado County District #13 violence which was meted out against Cornelius Kruah Togbah, by a mob allegedly at the behest of some politicians and their foot soldiers as issues, among others, that need to be appropriately addressed as the country moves towards the 10, 0ctober, 2023 polls.

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