CSOs Condemn the Unprecedented Wave of Electoral Violence in Montserrado County
August 18, 2019: Four leading Civil Society Organizations in Liberia (Accountability Lab, Center for Transparency and Accountability, Institute for Research and Democratic Development and Naymote Partners for Democratic Development) are deeply concerned over the increased level of violence in the country and call on the Government of Liberia to sustain the peace; ensure respect for the rule of rule, human right, freedom of association, freedom of movement and freedom of speech as important ingredients within a democratic state.
The August 17, 2019 violent situation in Logan Town, District #15 in Montserrado County, the attack on Telia Urey and her team, the destruction of her vehicle without prompt response from the Liberian National Police is unacceptable, irresponsible, and counterproductive and undermine the rule of law, peace and stability of the nation.
Liberia although stable and peaceful, there is a strong possibility of reverting to conflict, if political leaders are not careful about their decisions and utterances; no matter which side of the political spectrum they find themselves.
The Montserrado County by-election has witnessed unprecedented insults, attacks, and violence with poor response from the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Justice which signal troubling time for the upcoming 2020 senatorial election and the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
We call on the President of Liberia, George M. Weah to take leadership of the nation and actions to sustain the peace. We are of the strong conviction that the statement from President Weah that “Urey will win the election only when George Weah does not exist and the labeling of Ms. Telia Urey as a Little Girl” might have served as an adequate incentive for triggering the ongoing electoral violence in Montserrado County.
We condemn statement from the Monrovia City Mayor and Chairman of the CDC Youth League, Jefferson Koijee threatening counter-protest saying “we will meet flesh and blood” and the statement of opposition leader Mr. Benoni Urey calling supporters of the ruling CDC Party as “Cockroaches”, these statements are counterproductive to peace and stability of the nation.
We call on the Liberian National Police to investigate and immediately release electoral violence reports including the violent situations at the Liberty Party headquarter, the district # 15, the destruction Unity Party Vehicle assigned to Mo Ali and Telia Urey vehicle, the allegation of abuse on Ms. Jackie Taylor, etc. and take remedial action to avert their occurrence.
We also call on political leaders to stop using disadvantaged youth to instigate violence and instead to rehabilitate them to contribute to the development of the nation. It is unacceptable that vulnerable youths are being used to perpetrate violence and ferment chaos in a fragile nation still trying to find its footing after years of conflict.
We call on the international community and partners, the ECOWAS, UN, EU, US Embassy, AU and friendly governments to engage the government of Liberia to ensure the peace is sustained and hold accountable anyone whose actions and/or utterances undermine the peace and stability of the nation.
Meanwhile, we strongly encourage the Liberian Government to continuously respect the constitutional rights of all Liberians. The onus is on the government to lead by example in maintaining and sustaining the peace, in part through exercising extreme caution and civility in dealing with every Liberian.
In view of the above, we wish to recommend the following:
- We call on the President, His Excellency George M. Weah to take leadership by addressing the nation, condemn the violence and assure the public of his government commitment to protecting the peace and rights of all Liberians;
- We believe that the violent actions against Telia Urey as candidate undermine the overall national effort to accentuate women’s political participation and representation in national politics and could demoralize women who hold ambition in entering politics;
- That Liberian National Police and other security forces remain professional, respect human rights and the rule of law, and refrain from the use of excessive force against unarmed Liberians.
- We encourage the government, political leaders and all stakeholders to continue to dialogue, reconcile and adhere to the democratic principle and norms of the society,
- We encourage members of the Liberian legislature to strongly provide their oversight responsibility for the security sectors, especially the Liberian National Police and the Ministry of Justice.
Executive Director – Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL)
Harold Marvin Aidoo, Sir.
Executive Director – Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD)
Eddie D. Jarwolo
Executive Director -Naymote Partners for Democratic Development
Country Director – Accountability Lab