MONROVIA: One of the major stakeholders in the Liberian peace process who served as the country’s first National Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Commission manager, Dr. Moses C.T. Jarbo, is calling on all stakeholders in the political process to adhere to the Farmington Declaration by eschewing electoral violence during and after the crucial October 10 presidential and legislative elections.
According to Dr. Jarbo, who spoke in an exclusive interview with The Analyst Newspaper over the weekend, politicians from all sides of the aisle must ensure that the people enjoy the benefits of the hard-won fruits of peace and security, noting that the protection and maintenance of peace is everybody’s business.
The career psychosocial expert, whose stint with the NCDDRR saw the disarmament of more than 100,000 combatants from the three active warring parties at the time, said Liberian politicians must never forget what the country went through to achieve the level of peace and security that is enjoyed by all today. He frowned on those politicians who continue to threaten the peace because they want to attain state power at all cost.
“Where is the nationalistic attitude which should be calling for Liberia and Liberians first? But all what you hear is politicians tearing each other down and no real political agenda of how to develop and empower Liberians to take over this country.
“This country has enjoyed the support of our friends, especially the United States of America and the international community, yet we have learned nothing but wanting to be president and members of Parliament at all cost. There is this evil thought, that the way to the presidency is by threats and calling for the passive destruction of the country. How stupid can anyone get?” Dr. Jarbo wondered.
Speaking further on the August 11, 2023 campaign incident that sparked violence between supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Dr. Jarbo called on everyone to exercise restraint and allow the democratic process to take its natural course.
Elections, he said, are events that must happen intermittently according to constitutional dictates. “But the protection and maintenance of the peace and security of this country is an everyday business, which we all must ensure. We cannot afford to go back to the dark days. Political parties and political actors must understand that it is the Liberian people who will finally decide on those that will govern them. No amount of violence should short circuit the democratic process.
“We have less than 60 days to go to the ballot box. Our people must have confidence in the process. The world is watching us. This is a critical time for our developing democracy because we are managing our own elections for the first time after the end of the civil war. We cannot afford to make those mistakes that darkened our past,” Dr. Jarbo cautioned.
The former peacekeeping and disarmament practitioner further called on civil society actors including the media, the clergy and imams of the country to use their various platforms and preach messages of peace and reconciliation as Liberians prepare to go to the polls.
“Despite our respective political cleavages, we all belong to a religious institution. Our churches and mosques should use their pulpits to speak on peace and reconciliation to the hearts of the people. The media too must continue to play its cardinal watchdog role in exposing those tendencies that tend to undermine our hard-earned peace,” Dr. Jarbo averred.