CSO Council praises 2023 Farmington River Declaration …urges parties to be Truthful

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Following the signing of a peace accord, the 2023 Farmington River Declaration by 26 political parties, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has described the Declaration as a step in the right direction, but warned parties to the document to remain truthful.

The declaration, which is in line with a previous agreement signed during the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections, aims to prevent violence that tends to undermine the conduct of the ensuing October 10 Presidential and Legislative Elections. It is geared to ensuring a violent-free electoral process, with political actors being cognizant of the need to maintain a peaceful environment before, during, and after the 2023 Elections.

Before the latest signing, NCSCL, which is the apex body of all civil society organizations in the country, some three months ago called on electoral stakeholders of the country to protect the peace process and as such, it has expressed happiness over the signing process that occurred Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

The signing of the electoral peace pact comes on the heel of continuing violence at some biometric voter registration centers across Liberia, particular in Montserrado County and most definitely in Electoral District #10 between rival groups loyal to Representative Yekeh Kolubah, and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, Chairperson of the Council, in a statement lauded the country’s international partners for their support to help ensure free, fair and transparent elections in Liberia.

“The Farmington River Declaration is a step in the right direction. It’s a good thing to have political actors committing themselves to the democratic process. I think our international partners are doing extremely well to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. They must be commended for the continuous efforts and support to the rule of law,” Madam Pope-Kai asserted.

However, on the back of the signed agreement, the CSO Council head wants Liberia’s political actors to be clear and truthful to the Liberian people about their commitment.

“They should not just sign ceremoniously and for formality. They should sign with a willingness to live by it. This is a commitment and promise they have made to the Liberian people,” she urged.

“I also think that having one opposition political leader speak for all others was not right and it doesn’t demonstrate fairness in anyway. All political leaders should have been given the opportunity to deliver their position statements,” Madam Pope-Kai furthered.

She then reminded the government of carrying the biggest responsibility to ensure free, fair, credible and transparent elections.

“And this is a responsibility they must embrace with a strong political will and utmost commitment. Let me use this time to call on political parties to ensure that at least 30% of the candidates listing are women,” the NCSCL boss added.

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