LIBERIA: GOODLUCK ASKS LIBERIAN POLITICIANS TO ABSTAIN FROM BITTERNESS
The Head of the West African Elders Forum(WAEF), former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has advised Liberians to embrace issue-based campaigns and eschew politics of bitterness because of its harmful effect on democracy, peace and sustainable growth.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia on Thursday, July 13, 2023, Mr. Jonathan said, ‘‘we are strongly convinced that abusive language, and insults have no place in progressive politics which is the hallmark of enlightenment and innovation in leadership.’’
‘‘As Africa’s first and oldest modern republic, having proclaimed its independence in 1847, Liberia is a civilised country whose historical relevance in self-governance remains the pride of the black man. We want to reassure all stakeholders that the burden and the credit for the success of the forthcoming election rests squarely on the shoulders of the people of the Republic of Liberia,’’ Mr. Jonathan pointed out.
On this note, WAEF commends the political parties that have signed the Peace Accord, popularly known as the Farmington River Declaration.
‘‘We encourage them to comply with the principles in the peace pledge and refrain from actions that promote violence or threaten the electoral process. We invite other political parties and contestants who have not signed the peace agreement to do the same, to ensure that the election holding in October is peaceful. As a means of boosting confidence in the exercise, we encourage role players in the election, especially the NEC and the security authorities, to regularly communicate their programmes and activities for the elections, in order to constantly reassure the citizens that the electoral processes are going according to plan. We note that sometimes, even with the best of intentions, lack of proactive and effective communication becomes a challenge at a time like this, because it could give room for doubts and misgivings in the minds of some people,’’ he asserted.
He then appealed to those who continue to selflessly support the electoral process in different capacities, including those who offer their private facilities for election duty, help in maintaining peace and order, or assist people with disabilities during elections, not to relent, stressing that it conveys a sense of pride and the height of patriotism to be able to serve one’s country in such invaluable manner.
‘‘WAEF wishes Liberia well as it prepares for the October 10, 2023 elections and will remain engaged with the country until the polls are peacefully and successfully concluded,’’ he added.
It can be recalled that WAEF deployed a three-day pre-election mediation mission from Tuesday July 11, 2023 to Thursday July 13, 2023 led by former Nigerian President Jonathan to Liberia, ahead of the country’s scheduled October 10, 2023 general elections.
Other members of the Mission include former Burkinabe Prime Minister and former President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), His Excellency Kadre Ouedraogo and WAEF Secretary and head of the Forum’s secretariat, Mrs. Ann Iyonu.
In the course of the visit, members of the Mission met with many stakeholders including His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, the leadership of both Houses of the National Legislature, Chief Justice and the Justices of the Supreme Court, Chairperson and the Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC), members of the Joint Security Council, Chairpersons and Secretary Generals of Registered Political Parties, some presidential candidates, representatives of Civil Society Orgnisations (CSOs), as well as members of the diplomatic community here in Monrovia.
First, the Mission congratulated the people of Liberia as they prepare to mark 176th anniversary of the nation’s independence and 20 years of peace, since the Accra Accord. WAEF wished that the country will maintain the momentum for peace to be able to subsequently mark Golden Jubilee of peace, a centenary and even 200 years and more of peace, in time to come.
The Mission also commended Liberians for navigating through 18 years of unbroken democratic rule; the forthcoming October 10, 2023 elections being the 4th since the end of the civil war.
‘‘Given this impetus, we are very hopeful that democracy has come to stay in Liberia. Democracy thrives in a peaceful environment and peace nurtures sustainable democracy. Both are inseparable. WAEF would like to note that peace endures on the back of commitment from patriotic citizens who are determined to build their nation with all their energy. It therefore behoves every citizen to make sacrifices in the interest of peace to enable the country attain its growth and development aspirations for the good of all Liberians,’’ the WAEF mentioned.
‘‘We sincerely thank the stakeholders that we met during this pre-election mission for sparing time to interact with us and share their views on the state of the nation’s preparedness and their expectations for the forthcoming elections,’’ the Mission averred.
‘’We note that we had very useful conversations and commend all the stakeholders for their sincerity, patriotism and expression of love for the country. We are impressed by the determination of all to work towards supporting the processes for a peaceful, transparent and credible elections. Even where concerns were raised, we are pleased with the willingness of concerned authorities to address whatever gaps or lapses that exist, before the elections,’’ the Mission pointed out.
WAEF, however, noted some complaints about alleged threats, personal attacks on opponents and hate speech, as the country approaches the campaign season for the 2023 elections.