Preaching Peace Amidst War Drum Echoes -President Weah Urges Politicians to Stop Stoking Tension

MONROVIA : President George Weah has warned political actors against beating war drums, saying it is unhealthy for Liberians to bring tension unto themselves.

At the recent Kukatornon “We Are One” peace initiative event commemorating the observance of 20 years of peace, the President said, “The peace ours to maintain. Let’s tone down our speeches when we talk, let’s talk about peace”.

“We need to be Liberians. Liberians are peaceful people; what happened to us was a mistake, let it not happen again,” he said but further stressed, “We can’t continue to threaten someone, let’s not bring tension to ourselves.”

The Liberian Leader further used the occasion to caution that the presence of all political leaders is important, as it also contributes towards maintaining the peace.

He frowned at the absence of certain political leaders from the occasion, and all other occasions that are germane to the peace, growth and development of the country.

“What change today?” he wondered, noting that there used to be a cordial relationship between political parties, but according to him, everything has changed because of the wrong turn the political spectrum of the country has taken.

Meanwhile, the President guaranteed his government’s commitment to ensuring peaceful, credible and transparent elections comes October 10, 2023, and also vowed to respect the people’s decision.

“If it’s not me, I will still be in this community,” but said if the people decide to elect him, especially on a first-round victory, it is their will and decision and such should be respected.

He added, “We are peace makers and we are doing our best to have free, fair and transparent elections.”

He sees it unrealistic when opposition politicians are pessimistic of a one-round victory. According to the President, it is very possible for any candidate to win in the first round of the elections, and if the voters deem it necessary to do so for them, their will must be regarded as a genuine one.

In the President’s opinion, the opposition community’s (especially Unity Party) lack of trust in the National Elections Commission (NEC) is an attribute of dishonesty that questioned their victory at the presidency in two separate elections and under whose administration the NEC leadership at the time was appointed.

“If you don’t trust the system, how did you win two elections?” he wondered, stating further, “If we don’t trust them, then who will we trust?”

However, the President encouraged political parties to ensure the presence and participation of their observers throughout the process, in the midst of other international observers. “Send your observers to the process,” he said.

At the same time, President George Weah has hailed Ambassador Juli Endee and all other women of Liberia for their immeasurable contributions to the peace and stability of the country. “To our women, I want to thank you; you are powerful, strong Liberian women. Let’s maintain this time, this time is the best time.”

He further appreciated Liberians in general, and the international community for contributing to the maintenance of the peace in Liberia. The President said Liberians have a responsibility, considering that they have tasted war. “It’s our responsibility to promote peace.”

From his end, the Head of the European Union, Laurent Delahousse, said the last twenty years have seen a lot of changes, and as such, he doesn’t think Liberians want war.

According to him, Liberians are heading for a crucial process, so it is their responsibility to work for peace.

The outgoing EU Head said he is confident that the process will go well, the peace will be kept, candidates will accept the results and the country will yield more fruits.

Former President John Agyekun Kufuor’s expressed excitement for the honor, and for playing a significant role in the peace process of Liberia.

Amid the war, he stressed that there was a cardinal reason for peace, which he highlighted as a major achievement during his term as Chairman of ECOWAS.

Kuffour, who said the Accra Peace Accord was a joint effort by his colleagues at the time, admonished Liberians to ensure that they nourish the existing democracy and allow peace to reign.

Also, in a statement delivered on behalf of the former President of Nigeria, Abdulsalami Abubakar, he termed the event as an important period to remember the country’s past.

He said the effort of the international community will mean nothing if the pending elections result in an outcome that could lead to civil unrest.

He passionately appealed to Liberians to remain peaceful throughout these processes, and said the regional wish is that Liberia will not go the wrong way.

In furtherance, he suggested the need for a bigger audience to observe the peace, and include those he termed as the real trouble makers.

The 20 years of uninterrupted peace KUKATORNON “We Are One” initiative was held in commemoration of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the Liberia civil war on August 18, 2004, in Accra, Ghana.

This year’s edition was held by the Liberia Crusaders for Peace under the theme, Let’s sustain the peace”, at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Liberia, on Friday August 18, 2023.

Twenty years ago, on Christmas eve, December 24, 1989, Liberians and foreign residents listened to the most heart-breaking and disturbing news on the BBC, that Mr. Charles G. Taylor, leader of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), reported that he and his rebel group had entered Liberia by way of Nimba County, in a Town called Butuo, situated on the Ivorian Border with Liberia, to unseat former President Samuel Kanyon Doe and his NDPL Government. This news spread throughout the length and breadth of the country with fear and terror.

However, from that day on, the rebel war which fast spread in the entire country, resulted to the assassination of former President Samuel K. Doe by the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) at the Freeport of Monrovia, when the former President was in route to leave the Country. It is estimated that 250,000 people lost their lives; Liberians and non-Liberians, including ECOMOG soldiers of the West African Peacekeeping force and Peacekeepers from the United Nations; amongst others.

The war, which according to International Statistics cost the International Community US10 Billion, destroyed the properties of citizens and non- citizens, and damaged the Liberian economy.

However, after many attempts to resolve the civil crisis, several peace accords were held but to no avail.

Accordingly, on June 4, 2003, eighteen Registered Political Parties, Civil Societies and Interest Groups under the leadership of ECOWAS, AU, UN and the International Community when to Accra, Ghana in order to find a peaceful solution to the Liberian Civil Crisis.

Therefore, on August 18, 2003 in Accra, Ghana, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by the Eighteen Registered Political Parties, the defunct warring parties, Civil Societies, Interest Groups and attested by Representatives of the International Community, amongst others.

In so doing and in observance of the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the uninterrupted and successful Peace in Liberia, the Signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are celebrating Peace in collaboration with Kukatornon (We are One) of the Crusaders for Peace.

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