Desist From Premature Declaration of Victory -West African Elders Urge Runoff Contenders

MONROVIA: The West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Mission to Liberia has called on the incumbent Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah and the opposition Unity Party of former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to desist from premature declaration of results and celebration by supporters before the official announcement by NEC.  The West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Mission to Liberia has for caution and restraint as Liberians wait eagerly for the final results of the November 14 presidential run-off elections which is currently being collated by the country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC).

The Head of WAEF Mission and former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in a statement issued in Monrovia on Wednesday urged leaders of the two political parties to desist from premature declaration of results and celebration by their supporters ahead of the official announcement by NEC, urging calm between the two contenders And their followers.

The statement by the West African Elders Forum followed premature claims to victory by both parties ahead of the official announcement of the results of the Presidential election. The CDC and its supporters after the polling on Tuesday took to the streets celebrating victory that it claimed, and a day after supporters of the opposition Unity Party followed suit, amidst heightened tension between the two parties.

In the face of the prevailing political situation the WAEF Mission under the leadership of the former Nigerian President urged calm, and also charged the political leaders to direct their followers to leave the streets where they are already celebrating to avoid violent clashes.

The statement which was also signed by Kadre Desire Ouedrago, former Prime minister of Burkina Faso and WAEF deputy head of mission said, “We are deeply concerned by the recent reports of premature declaration of results and celebration by supporters of both political parties.”

The Mission considers this development as a distraction to the violence-free election the Farmington River Declaration intends to achieve. “We are therefore calling on the political leaders to direct their supporters to leave the streets to avoid violent clashes among the youths,” the statement said

“We urge political parties to caution their supporters to refrain from all acts that could incite violence and division among the people, especially now that the country is already at a critical stage in the electoral process.”

The WAEF Mission to Liberia however commended Liberians for their commitment to work for the success of the electoral process, in line with the wishes and aspirations of the Liberian people, and further said, “We equally commend Liberian youths for their active participation in the process and remind them that they are the main beneficiaries of a peaceful and prosperous Liberia. We count on them to continue to show restraint and avoid all acts of provocation capable of inciting electoral violence.

“The Forum wishes to commend NEC and the security agencies for their unwavering commitment and professionalism in exercising their mandate. Such a level of commitment and professionalism is needed now more than ever to further build trust, guarantee the integrity of the elections and consolidate democracy in Liberia,” the statement said.

The run-off poll held between incumbent President George Weah and main opposition leader Joseph Boakai is a fallout of the October 10 election, which could not produce an outright winner.

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