Minneapolis, Minnesota- The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is commending the National Elections Commission (NEC), leaders of political parties, the government of Liberia and Liberians for the peaceful conduct of the recent special senatorial and by- elections in the country. ALJA is also, commending the recent constitutional referendum held in the country.
In a Press Release issued on Monday, December 21, the Association says the massive turnout of Liberians at various voting precincts to participate in the electoral process demonstrate their commitment to effecting changes in the political governance of their country through lawful and peaceful means.
ALJA says the outcomes of the recent elections would build upon gains Liberians have made over the years relative to the holding of elections that are free, fair, and transparent in the country. The Association commended the political maturity demonstrated by some of the losing candidates including Representative Thomas Fallah and former Foreign Minister Gbezongar Findley of the CDC who lost races in Montserrado and Grand Bassa Counties respectively and were magnanimous in defeat, conceding their losses before the NEC’s official declaration of the winners of those races.
The Association said in an election where 11 incumbent senators were voted out of office, Liberians sent a strong message that elected officials are not laws unto themselves; and they will be held accountable for aiding and abetting failed policies in the country that undermine the rule of law and Liberia’s economic, educational, and healthcare sectors.
Meanwhile, ALJA is urging President George Weah and the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) government to see the results of the elections, in which many of their candidates were defeated, as a repudiation of their failed policies by most Liberians. The Association called on President Weah and the CDC to effect the necessary changes in the government to alter the current downward trajectory of the country.
At the same time, ALJA is condemning the alleged acts of violence perpetrated against the leading senatorial aspirant in the Gbarpolu County Senatorial race, Madam Botoe Kanneh and members of her campaign team reportedly on the order of some government officials in the county.
According to news reports, Madam Kanneh, her brother Cllr Boakai Kanneh and other campaign staff were beaten and harassed while two of the women on her campaign team were allegedly raped while in police custody. The team was attempting to enter the town of Nomodatonau in District 3 where the National Elections Commission (NEC) ordered a rerun of the December 8th elections. The rerun was ordered after the Paramount chief in the area seized ballot boxes and other election materials
ALJA called on the Liberian government to institute an immediate investigation into the electoral violence in Gbarpolu County with the sole purpose of holding the alleged perpetrators accountable.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objectives of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.