MONROVIA : The Standard Bearer of the Liberia People’s Party (LPP) Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe has embarked on a peace caravan that has taken him to the headquarters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Weah; the former ruling Unity Party of former Vice President Boakai, and the Collaborating Political Parties of Alexander Cummings with a uniform message of peace; writes Bill Jarkloh.
Starting with the Unity Party at its Headquarters on Broad Street where he was received by Mr. Ben Fofana, a Vice Chairman of the party, Gongloe reminded the UP that opposition is not about enmity. He told the Unity Partisans, “We are not enemies, opposition is about trading with ideas of how to better the lives of the people.”
He had earlier visited the headquarters of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change where he told the CDCians that ‘we are one people,’ and reminded them that after the elections Liberia will remain Liberia and all contestants – winners or losers, will remain here as Liberians, adding, opposition in an election does not mean enmity.
At the Headquarters of the Collaborating Political Parties of Mr. Alexander Cummings where he was greeted with battle cries, the LPP standard-bearer told the CPP people that all of the contestants, whether they are in opposition or ruling party, are working to better the lives of the Liberian people.
“I am going around in the spirit of the Farmington River Declaration which engenders peace, noting however that peace is an action word we have to act upon. We need at the leadership level to know that we are opponents and not enemies,” he said.
Cllr. Gongloe maintained that all politicians have an obligation to keep Liberia peaceful, even after the elections, whether elected or not, pointing out that the outcome of the elections should not change the way politicians relate to each other, adding, “I think we should keep the Politics of Liberia at a friendly level.
A CPP official who responded to his comment said it is not easy to take power away from an African leader, saying however that participants should avoid emotions which bring about violence, recalling that it was politics and bad governance that brought about the civil war which claimed about 300, 000 lives in the country.
He then thanked Cllr. Gongloe for the visit, stating that political parties should avoid denigrating each other in their quest for political power.
Meanwhile, following his visits to the various political parties, Cllr. Gongloe in podcast on his personal page, commended all political parties including the CDC and the UP amongst others for showing a clear commitment to the Farmington River Declaration signed by registered political parties contesting the 2023 elections, saying his intention is to make more visits.
“It is important to know that election is about contestation of ideas and not a contemplation of physical fuses,” noting, “We do not want to create the impression that we are enemies on the path to the future of the country,” Cllr. Gongloe said.
“We are one group of citizens as they say in Kpelle, Kukatunon,” he averred, stressing that we do not need conflict to come and peacekeepers in this country. “Those of us in the contest must show maturity and look at the bigger picture that Liberia must remain peaceful and progressive; and we should work to make the country prosperous.”
The one-time Solicitor General and former Labor Minister in the past Unity Party regime called on partisans of the LPP not to entertain any temptation that will tend to be violent, and hoped that all political parties would call on their partisans to resist violence at all times.
“I am a friend of everyone in this country irrespective of what happens; particularly the ruling CDC. I do not expect any violent posture from the CDC because when the party was in opposition, I performed all legal services for them in the court and in the police stations,” the immediate past President of the Liberian Bar Association intimated.
He said he gave legal service to the CDC more than any lawyer would do in the country while the party was in opposition, adding, for that alone the leadership of the CDC should not be antagonistic to him, at least not visibly.
He related his experience when he met some CDCians and some opposition partisans in a heated argument that he thought could result to violence. “I called Mulbah Morlu when I saw the CDCIans and others engaged in an argument that could result to violence.
According to him, Mr. Morlu came to the Carey Street headquarters of one of the popular Hatai centers and demonstrated leadership. “I told them that here is the leader of CDC and I from opposition, I am an opposition and two of us are conversing and I expect you to do the same. I took two hundred dollars and gave it to them and the atmosphere became friendly,” Cllr Gongloe indicated.
“By two of us doing that, I thought that our participation in their conflict would be peaceful and tolerant which they followed,” noting that peace and tolerance of opposing views in the political process is required and not anger.
On who benefits from these processes, Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that it is left with the Liberian people. “Any political leader who tends to work for himself/herself does not understand the purpose of the electoral process because power is for the people and that it resides with them continuously. The people, Cllr. Gongloe explained, must be the beneficiaries of the process, adding, for that to happen, there must be free and fair elections.
Accordingly, he called on President George Weah and his government, the National Elections Commission, the Ministry of Justice, the Liberia National Police and everyone who has a part to play to do it well.
The Liberian Human Rights lawyer and advocate-turned politician commended all political parties including the CDC, the UP, the CPP amongst others for their tolerance towards the process, as he explained that this is not a time for acrimony like it was in the case when some thugs visited the Church of Senator Prince Johnson. He explained that when Prince Johnson and the CDC had the problem at the time the thugs visited his church, he called on stakeholders including the Liberia Council of Churches to intervene, which they did.
He then encouraged other political parties to initiate similar visitation that he conducted, imploring partisans of all candidates to resist temptations that will undermine the electoral process.