As Liberia goes to the polls shortly in October 2023, there are several key factors from a broader perspective that need to be considered. Firstly, the atmosphere is very gloomy and tensed given the instances of disinformation, violent clashes, & violence inciteful messages that are being committed by the ruling party and their auxiliaries, oppositions political parties and politicians. These are earlier warnings and key drivers to violent conflict placing fear in the minds of voters which may largely promote voter apathy, pre-and post-elections violence. Many people are getting discouraged to participate in the coming 2023 electoral processes which is not good for Liberia’s democratic process. Learning from the past Liberia’s bloody civil conflict, each Liberian regardless of status, tribe, political affiliation, sex, etc. is required to avoid violent conflict and promote peaceful engagements during and after the 2023 elections to maintain Liberia’s democratic system.
From this backdrop, the Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) is currently engaged with several activities that seeks to promote peaceful elections and responsive governance intended to avert Liberia’s democracy from retrogressing.
On the 17th of March 2023, RHRAP organized a one-day County Level Dialogue Forum for residents of Bong County that brought together 30 participants who represented various community segments including representatives from political parties, Traditional, Community, and Religious Leaders, Women and Youth Groups, etc. The Theme of the Dialogue was “Stop All Violence Activities and Promote Peaceful Elections”. These representatives admonished themselves to return to their communities and institutions and engage in promoting peaceful engagements during and after Liberia’s electoral period. The RHRAP is using this medium to appeal to every Liberian to engage in the promotion of peaceful, democratic processes that will lead Liberia to successful peaceful elections come October 2023. At the same time, RHRAP is openly calling on the ruling party, which is the CDC lead government, the National Elections Commission (NEC), the Liberia National Police (LNP), etc. to uphold the rule of law practicing tolerance at the highest peak that will lead Liberia to a peaceful election. To Liberia’s international partners, RHRAP is admonishing you to highly consider funding grassroots Civil Society Organizations to engage in various activities that will promote peaceful, democratic, and participatory elections in October 2023. No doubt, as compared to previous presidential and general elections in Liberia, most CSOs are struggling for funding to enable them to engage the citizenry across the country at various levels that will support free, fair, peaceful, democratic, and participatory elections that will arrest Liberia’s democracy from retrogressing. This project is being funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and implemented by the Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP), which is headed by its Executive Director Lorma Baysah.