What is usually said my most Liberian stakeholders whenever an agreement is breached by one of the signatories and is being called to order to explain why, she or he will say ‘His or Her Mouth Is Not Bible’, meaning that what was earlier done should not be considered as binding.
This scenario may compel leaders of the Economy Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who witnessed the signing of the Farmington River Declaration on June 4th, 2017 by over 20 political parties’ leaders committing themselves to a nonviolence election come October 10, 2017, may eventually hoke some of the political parties who will be noticed of playing a defiance role.
Local radio stations and newspapers are featuring politicians who are issuing ‘hit messages’ about their opponents, situation political pundits believe is going to the contrary of the commitment made by political parties in the presence of ECOWAS leaders at the 51st Ordinary Session of the organization held at the Farmington Hotel conference room on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
Some Liberians who spoke to the GNN-Liberia during the week expressed fear that the commitment made by political parties may not smoothly take root due to the behaviors of some of the players in the Liberian electoral process, noting, “We are worried that some political parties will not abide by the communique signed in the presence of ECOWAS leaders of upholding a nonviolence posture during these elections,” Nathaniel R. Copper, a professor at one of the colleges told our reporter.
“What some of these leaders of opposition political parties failed to realized is, attesting their signatures to a document to commit themselves of a nonviolence election is a taboo of their parties’ existence, any failure on their part, they should have themselves to blame. Liberians are not prepared for any war,” Herreta Sumo, a businesswoman speaking to our staff said.
Supporters of some of the political parties’ leaders are currently issuing defamatory statements on local radio against their opponents disregarding the thirteen counts resolution preventing election violence; peaceful political campaign activities, instead badmouthing those the perceived to be their political rivals.
At the same time, the electoral body of Liberia, the National Elections Commission (NEC) Inter-Party Consultative Committee, comprising 22 registered political parties, also pledged to support free, fair and non-violent elections in Liberia.
The parties presented their resolution to the NEC, United Nations Missions in Liberia (UNMIL), and other partners.
The parties that committed to peaceful elections included Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), All Liberian Coalition Party, (ALCOP), National Patriotic Party (NPP), United People’s Party (UPP), Vision Of Liberia Transformation (VOLT), True Whig Party (TWP), Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Alternative National Congress (ANC), All Liberian Party (ALP), Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Unity Party (UP), among others.
Also, African Union Representative Mr. Prosper Addo commended the political parties for their great work at the Inter-Party Consultative Committee (IPCC) and for coming up with a resolution that sets the base to support free and fair elections in the country.
He described their effort as very instrumental, especially since it is meant to maintain the peace Liberians are enjoying today.
“Peace is non-negotiable and at the same time violence is not an option, so we must reconcile and work together to ensure that peace reigns even before and after elections,” Mr. Addo said.
For his part, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of UNMIL, Farid Zarif, told the political parties’ representatives that their commitment to continue to dialogue must persevere.
He called on them to make use of the adequate space that is given them. “We need a transparent, free and fair election and everybody should raise the issue of peace.”
It may be recalled that on September 21-23, 2016 Liberian political parties met at an Inter-Party Consultative Committee meeting in Ganta and agreed on a strategy to ensure peaceful and credible elections in October 2017.
At the end of the meeting, they issued a resolution to pursue a common goal with a strong commitment to ensuring inclusive, transparent and credible elections.
The Ganta Declaration was supported by the NEC and United Nations Development Program’s election project with funding from the European Union and Sweden in cooperation with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) that receives financing from USAID.
Written By Joel Cholo Brooks