Written By: Augustus Nimley
A two-day national political forum intended to bring together political leaders on peaceful election in 2017 was marred by poor attendance by the principal political leaders. Writes Augustus Nimley alias Media King
Out of the over 20 registered political parties and presidential aspirants only three presidential candidates attended the high-level meeting of political leaders.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Global News Network Liberia (GNN), the All Liberian Party of Benoni Urey’s Secretary General, David Kaimu said “Our political leaders have used of their valuable time. They do not have to come to these sorts of occasions to listen to talks and do not give inputs”.
When contacted, the Chairman of the Inter-Religious Council, the Right Reverend Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart expressed regrets about the absence of the principal leaders of political parties.
“The political leaders have various concerns for which they may not have attended the opening session. We as organizers are aware of their different concerns and are doing everything to address those concerns to get them on board”. This is a process, Bishop Hart pointed out.
In his opening and introductory remarks at the two-day high level meeting, Bishop Hart said actors in the 2017 election were invited to the forum to discuss and prepare a pathway to a peaceful, transparent, credible, inclusive, free and fair election which they as a Steering Committee cannot do all by themselves.
In remarks at the ceremony, the Chairman of National Traditional Council, Zanzan Karwa called on political leaders to put Liberia first. He further appealed to the political leaders to work together because… “Do not curse one another”, Chief Karwa advised.
For her part, the Chairperson of the National Civil Society, Frances Greaves, taking a reflection asked “…where do we want to go from here?” She said after experiencing the years of peace and tranquility “we are here to join our hearts and our hands as our national anthem says to defend our country course – so let our words from this day forward be words of peace, words of inclusion and words to continue to sustain our peace and security”.
The UN Secretary General Special Representative (SRSG), Farid Zarif said the crisis observed everyday on television around the world is persistently caused by the inability of different segments of society to talk to each other.
“The failure or refusal to communicate that leads to the creation of separate segment of that perception and viewpoints that will further separate us into compartment into siders of thinking that will prevent us from looking at areas where we can gather to serve a common cause – that while it is so important that today, we see all the most important public opinion makers, leaders of the society have come together in order to talk to one another in a share desire of finding ways to working together to serve this nation”, the UN diplomat said.
The SRSG further asserted, “it is absolutely impossible to find commonality on all issues but as long as we talk we will be able to increase the scope, the space to finding commonality on issue that will be of share interest to us and to the people that we commit ourselves to serve.”
The UN diplomat than assured that his organization and the international community will stand by Liberia throughout the rest of its path, and support Liberia’s efforts.
The African Union (AU) representative, Prosper N.N. Addo, for his part said the gathering was based on the desire for peace as a common denomination which we all owe as a duty to ourselves to commit.
He then requested that note be taken of the fact that challenges will always be present. “They cannot be rule out because we are all human and so where we have challenges to demonstrate that democracy is coming of age particularly in Liberia; we have to find peaceful ways of addressing those challenges. “one of the mechanism is dialogue”, the AU representative emphasized.
Proxying for ECOWAS Special Representative, Nathaniel Walker assured ECOWAS’ commitment of support to a peaceful election in Liberia.