By: H. Richard Fallah
MONROVIA: The international community in a joint statement has urged political leaders in Liberia urged to be active peace messengers and promote issue-based campaigns amongst their supporters.
The statement issued over the weekend in Monrovia noted that politicians should refrain from incitement of followers toward violent action, especially violence against women in elections and politics and, to resolve any grievance through established legal mechanisms.
“We bring attention to inflammatory rhetoric which has the potential to instigate violence, as we also caution against the instrumentalization of the youth,” the statement read.
The International Community in Liberia called on the signatories of the Farmington River Declaration 2023 to abide by their commitment and promote the conditions for peaceful, transparent, and credible elections, prior, during and after elections.
According to Liberia`s partners, it is concerned by the recent reports of election violence, urging the authorities to investigate and hold those responsible to account, using the time to appeal to all Liberians to safeguard the hard-won peace gains.
“The International Community in Liberia commends the Liberian-led and Liberian-owned electoral process,” the statement maintained.
In their joint statement, the international partners said that they are mindful that the presidential and legislative elections will be the first to be primarily organized and administered by Liberia, since the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia in 2018.
The diplomats noted that it is therefore an important moment for Liberia to safeguard its peace and democracy and serve as an inspiration for Africa and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the International Community has at the same time, commended the National Elections Commission headed by Madame Davidetta Browne Lassana for the conduct what they described as a generally well-administered and transparent biometric voter registration and candidate nomination process.
The international community opined that the action of the NEC is a continuation of efforts to demonstrate its independence and impartiality, which is crucial for public confidence in the institution and the electoral process. They reaffirmed its unwavering support to the Government and people of Liberia in their efforts to consolidate peace and inclusive democracy.
The international partner’s statement is also in line with the United States of America embassy accredited near Monrovia which also reminded Liberians on the importance of keeping the peace.
In a special press statement issued August 17, 2023, the US embassy said, as the country goes to a very crucial election few weeks from now, politicians should condemn all violence and violent rhetoric, and keep their commitment to free, fair, and peaceful elections.
“When Liberians go to the polls in October, we remind all political parties to adhere to the Farmington River Declaration, to condemn all violence and violent rhetoric, and keep their commitment to free, fair, and peaceful elections,” the statement read.
According to the US, as Liberia celebrates 20 years of peace and democratic governance, which occurred due to the enormous sacrifices of ordinary Liberians, women, youth, civil society, and religious groups to end the brutal civil war, Liberians should be proud of this achievement.
U.S. Embassy near Monrovia further congratulated all Liberians on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement on August 18, 2003 promising that the United States will continue to be a strong partner to Liberia.
Also, United Nation Resident Coordinator in the West African country, Christine N. Umutoni, reflected on the enormous progress Liberians have made in the last years while experiencing peace.
“Over the years, this country, where I am proud to serve as UN Resident Coordinator, has made significant strides in its socio-economic development journey,” she noted.
The UN envoy maintained that Liberians have demonstrated tremendous resilience, battling the devastating impacts of Ebola and COVID-19, contending with growing inflation, mobilizing grassroots leadership and making slow but sure dents in tackling infant mortality.
Ms. Christine N. Umutoni: “After the civil war, which claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, a comprehensive peace agreement was signed in August 2003 in Accra, Ghana. Since then, Liberia has sustained a period of uninterrupted stability; transforming from one of the most volatile to one of the most peaceful nations in West Africa.”
After months of terrifying bloodshed involving many innocent people and the damage of hundreds of millions of United States Dollars’ worth of public and private properties, the three factions (LURD, MODEL and Taylor’s NPFL signed the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement on August 18, 2003.