MONROVIA: In its continuous assessment of the ongoing electoral activities in the country, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged political actors in the country from making statements that will undermine the democratic process after it has observed with great concern the creeping tendency for some political leaders and activists to resort to the use of incendiary rhetoric that could stir violent emotions, incite disturbances and jeopardize the peace and stability of Liberia.
In a terse statement issued yesterday, Thursday, September 21, 2023, the regional body condemned in no uncertain terms such inflammatory statements that have the propensity to trigger violent confrontations.
“Political actors are urged to use dialogue and mediation to address grievances and legal channels to seek redress to such concerns. We continue to reiterate the importance of fostering an issues-based campaign devoid of vituperative language.
“We call on all state institutions with roles to play in the electoral process to continue to execute their mandates in neutrality, providing a level playing field for all stakeholders to exercise their constitutional rights with respect to the rule of law.
The statement reminded all actors that the provisions of the Farmington River Declaration are in force and cardinal to the conduct of all political actors to safeguard the electoral process.
“The ECOWAS Commission and its long-term observers currently in Liberia remain vigilant in assessing the political ecosystem in the run up to elections and affirms its continued support to a peaceful and successful presidential and general election”, the statement said.
Perhaps what may have triggered this statement from ECOWAS according to political pundits may be linked to recent statements attributed to some key political actors in the country who have been making reckless statements threatening violence should the outcome of the election go out of their expectation as they are sure of winning based on their expectation.
Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County a leading figure within the opposition UP/MDR recently said the opposition will not accept what he called a rigged election in favor of the ruling establishment and warned of violence if that happens.
In similar vein, Montserrado County District #10 representative Yekeh Kolubah has said he expects nothing less than a victory in the ensuing election against his opponent and threatened to “go in the bush”, another way of saying he will resort to violence and will not seek any other means to address his grievances.
Despite public condemnation, the two politicians have not summon the courage to apologize as they remain adamant to their proclamation.