MONROVIA: “Senseless violence is being perpetrated by senseless persons who want to undermine the election conduct and results, and derail the country’s peace and security”. The strong observation was made by Bishop Kortu K. Brown when he spoke at two different spiritual activities in Brewerville on August 9 and 13 respectively.
During the Sunday worship service to launch the 25th anniversary activities of the local church, New Water in the Desert Assembly Apostolic Pentecostal Church, Bishop Brown lamented as “unfortunate and worrisome” the ongoing violent actions directed at political campaigns in recent times, emphasizing that the anti-peace activities were setting the “wrong tune” for peaceful and credible elections in October 2023. “If we do not pray hard”, he told his audience, “these elections could end up in chaos which could subject Liberians to another round of unnecessary and uncalled for suffering. We cannot allow that to happen”, he added.
The former president of the Interreligious Council of Liberia (IRCL) then called on the National Elections Commission (NEC), the Liberia National Police (LNP), Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders to investigate all reports of electoral violence and bring instigators and perpetrators to justice. He called on religious and civil society groups like the IRCL, elections monitoring networks, etc., to take focus on these troubling developments; investigate, name and shame instigators and recommend them for prosecution. “We must take firm action to stop electoral violence or electoral violence with its full potential and actors will undermine our peace and tranquility”, he added.
CDC and UP Back and Forth
The outspoken cleric urged Liberians political leaders to demonstrate that they love the country by bringing their supporters to book who they know are instigating violence in the name of showing support for their political parties. “CDC political party must go beyond just condemning the provocative action of some of its supporters carrying the photo of a rival political party leader on a casket. They are consciously aware of the consequences of such action but choose to do it to provoke tension in the country. They must be reprimanded to deter future occurrences”, he admonished.
Bishop Brown who is also former president of the Liberia Council of Churches, called on the Unity Party to exercise restraints and seek legal redress when they are aggrieved over any reported action of political violence. “You cannot threaten to resort to violence because of a reported violent action; instigating violence and/or responding to violence with violence will undermine a peaceful environment and create more confusion in the election and country. Let’s stop attacking one another physically because it doesn’t contribute to winning elections; it doesn’t contribute to a peaceful atmosphere”, he advised.
Campaign of Ideas
Bishop Brown called for a campaign of ideas instead of a campaign of physical attacks and denigration of one another. He urged political parties and their leaders to focus on explaining to the voters why they want to lead the country instead of engaging in unnecessary verbal and physical attacks on each other. “Stop tearing down each other’s posters, flyers or billboards! Stop the unnecessary aggressive partisan actions that undermine peaceful and credible elections. Liberia is greater than any party, person and/or electioneering process”, he urged. “Where are the political party platforms? he wondered, adding “we want to hear more of what political parties want to do, how they will do it, how they will raise the funds to do it.”
The Bishop of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church International then called on Liberians, especially our leaders, to take responsibility for the country’s well being. “You cannot instigate violence and carelessness towards your own country and then go to the radio everyday calling on ECOWAS, African Union, United Nations, United States, European Union, etc., to protect your peace and/or do things you should do yourself. We are tired of our leaders all day around calling on ECOWAS, ECOWAS, ECOWAS, for every small thing. Our leaders must take responsibility for protecting the country’s peace, the people’s safety and security; stand up against violence and run peaceful campaigns”.
Anticipated Election Results
“I don’t care what we do, only one person will win the election for President of the nation, one person for each county and one person for each district out of the 20 presidential candidates, 100 senatorial and 890 representative candidates respectively… This is the reality before us”, he urged, adding, “WAKE UP, my brothers and sisters. No amount of violence, threats and undermining can make anyone achieve that because God Himself is watching us. It will only lead to heightened calls for the establishment of the war and economic crimes court to include the prosecution of new perpetrators of violence in the country resulting from the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative election,” he said.