MONROVIA – “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]; “For the kingdom is the LORD’s, and He rules over the nations”. [Psalm 22:28]. This biblical passage marks the beginning of a statement from the former President of the Liberia Council of Churches of Liberia and Bishop for the New Water in the Desert, Dr. Kortu K. Brown, in which he welcomes the affirmation of the Farmington River Declaration signed by 26 political registered parties of Liberia.
Bishop Brown said as Liberians welcome the reaffirmation of the Farmington River Declaration, political parties have been called upon to now “go beyond the bitter partisanship that is contributing to undermining peace and security, and stand for the peace”.
The call was made by the Bishop Brown when he spoke at the Third Evening Service of Holy Week Commemoration at New Water in the Desert Assembly in Brewerville on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. “We welcome and commend the political parties including the Government of Liberia, National Elections Commission, ECOWAS and other members of the International Community, civil society, amongst others, for the courage to revert to the Farmington River agreement to secure reaffirmations for peace and security from political actors” Bishop Brown stated, and added that the signing of the FR commitment gives the country hope for peaceful elections on October 10, 2023
“The Farmington River’s reaffirmation gives a glimpse of hope for a peaceful Liberia,” Bishop Brown indicated, pointing out that now it is up to the political parties to stand up for the peace, to show that they are serious about the commitments they’ve made through the Farmington River declaration or else the ordinary people will soon see the two-facedness of their leaders and would conclude that they are not serious as they have always charged.
The Pentecostal cleric said that Liberia is faced with many national challenges that together we can meet. Yesterday [April 3, 2023] showed a glimpse of hope for national unity and cohesion, adding that, Liberian political leaders yesterday set aside their differences and met in one room to say that they care about the peace of their country; “to say that elections without security and stability is unsustainable”, he added.
Polarization of politics
“For too long our politics have been polarized, self-centered and resembling an effort to nowhere. Yesterday our leaders showed that Liberians can go beyond petit politics and embrace one another for the common good. Selfish politics have grounded the country and made it difficult to gather around any one theme for the common good”, he averred.
He warned that people must go beyond just been obsessed with party politics just like tribalism, sectionalism, bigotry, etc that undermines the common good and explore avenues, however, difficult it might be for the good of the country.
According to him, “Political parties are disintegrating in the country Bishop Brown argued due to the level of polarization of our politics.” Our political participation he said is not largely value-based for example, common themes, strategies, concerns, actions, etc. that required common support.
“It is just about getting power through getting a position or money which makes it impossible for real structural change to come to our communities and our nation, Bishop Brown asserted, stating, “That’s why we have so many parties without followers and worse, they are unable to integrate for the common good” and wondered why a small country like Liberia will have over 30 registered political parties while big countries like the United States have two main political parties,” Bishop Brown averred.
He accentuated, “We must fight for political cohesion to create strong political parties capable of affecting the national discourse and strategic engagement of our country,” noting, “One election after another, some political parties don’t ever make it to more than one percent of the total vote cast, yet they are still parading the political corridors participating in meetings and signing agreements in the name of political party.”
This, Bishop Brown thinks, is a waste of the people’s time, even the time of themselves maintaining that they should instead join other serious parties to help push the country forward.
Fear of a non-assertive NEC
In a related development, the New Water in the Desert prelate said the level of disruptions in some Voters Registration communities and unruly behaviors being exhibited by some of our political leaders demand that the National Elections Commission (NEC) is vigilant and key on upholding the election laws of the country if the Farmington River commitments must be realized.
Bishop Brown furthered that there has been scaring developments in Montserrado District #10, complaints about the destruction of voters’ registration cards in Bomi County, trucking of voters in Grand Cape Mount County, amongst others.
“These are all developments of deep consequential concerns”, the former President of the Liberia Council of Churches said, adding, “if we must have free, fair and transparent elections in October then we must also have an assertive NEC, a commission seized by the strong commitment to ensure that the elections are administered within the limits of the rule of law, etc.”
He warned that NEC cannot continue to tolerate disruptions, rudeness and other disturbances in the process.
Bishop Brown then called on President Weah to go one step forward and appoint a National Peace Ambassador to help wag peace against the hatred culture that’s prevailing in the country and to help contribute to a peaceful environment conducive to free, fair and transparent elections in the country. “Let’s build on the gains of the reaffirmation of the Farmington River declaration, President Weah”, the tough talking Bishop Brown concluded.