UPP Wants NEC Curb Electoral Violence -Calls for Inter-Party Consultative Committee Meeting in Zwedru

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MONROVIA – In the wake of the violent mob attack on opposition leader Alexander Cummings and his delegation on July 30, 2020 in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County, the United People’s Party (UPP) is calling on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to immediately conduct a three-day inter-party political meeting in Zwedru City to restore hope and confidence in the multi-party democratic process in Liberia.

According to the UPP in an Open Letter to Liberia’s elections body, the NEC must invite political and civil society leaders of Grand Gedeh County, including chiefs and elders; the county Superintendent Council; the county Legislative Caucus; the county leaders of political parties; the Mayor and Council of Zwedru City; leaders of women and youth organizations in the county, along with religious leaders of the county), to assist NEC in the planning, coordination and hosting of the proposed special three-day sitting of the IPCC.

“Furthermore, the proposed Special Sitting of the IPCC shall provide an opportunity for leaders of political parties and civil society organizations, as well as personalities of Grand Gedeh to re-affirm their commitment to the maintenance of lawful behavior, and adherence to the tenants and principles of orderly political multiparty interactions, not only in Grand Gedeh County, but also across the country,” the UPP affirmed.

“We further propose that the National Elections Commission should request the Inter-religious Council of Liberia, the AU, ECOWAS Commission, along with the United Nations office in Liberia, to support and observe the conduct of the proposed Special Sitting of the IPCC in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County,” the UPP noted.

“We are convinced that the violence exhibited by residents of Zwedru, the severity of which necessitated intervention of the Armed Forces of Liberia, has engendered fear within the larger society and created doubt as to whether Grand Gedeh County, or any county for that matter, is safe for normal political activities,” the UPP stated, adding that the purpose of the proposed Special Sitting of the IPCC is to provide an opportunity for leaders of Grand Gedeh County to assure political parties of Liberia and the country at large, that the County is not a hostile environment for the conduct of multi-party politics, and freedom of expression, association and movement.

Horrific Flashback

 The UPP further stated, its National Executive Committee is of the belief that the National Elections Commission has taken note of the recent incident in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County, on Thursday, July 30, 2020; in which, without any apparent cause, angry residents assaulted the Political Leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) party, Hon. Alexander Cummings and his entourage, and chased them out of the city of Zwedru.

“Video clips of the incident appearing on social media showed intervention by the Armed Forces of Liberia to assist the Liberia National Police in containing a boisterous crowd that violently drove Hon. Cummings and his delegation not just from Zwedru, but from Grand Gedeh County,” the UPP said, noting that the violence displayed in Zwedru against the ANC Political Leader and his delegation, while they were engaged in normal political activities, constitutes a serious assault on the multi-party democratic process and on all political parties and individuals in Liberia, who are wishing to have a taste of freedom through the exercise of the right of free movement, association, expression of thought, and orderly assembly.

“We are convinced that the violence exhibited by residents of Zwedru, the severity of which necessitated intervention of the Armed Forces of Liberia, has engendered fear within the larger society and created doubt as to whether Grand Gedeh County, or any county for that matter, is safe for normal political activities,” the UPP lamented.

Meanwhile, the UPP says copies of its Open Letter to the NEC have been shared with members of the National Executive Committees of the IPCC, “in the hope that we will all see the need to cooperate with you–the National Elections Commission—in ensuring that efforts to reduce political tension and strengthen the multiparty process in Liberia are successful”.

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