As we approach the crucial October 10, 2023, National Elections in Liberia, it is imperative to underscore the importance of ensuring a free, fair, and peaceful electoral process. These elections are a vital step towards shaping the future of Liberia, and they should not be marred by intimidation, violence, or any acts that undermine the peace and security of the nation.
Recent reports of election-related incidents in Lofa County and other parts of the country are concerning. While the overall election process has been relatively peaceful, even minor incidents have the potential to escalate and disrupt the democratic process. It is disheartening that the heads of the leading political parties, the Unity Party (UP) and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), have not taken a strong public stance against these acts and actively called on their supporters to maintain civility and respect for the democratic process.
The statistics on election-related violence in Liberia and the broader West African region are worrisome. Election violence not only affects the immediate democratic process but also has long-term repercussions on the stability and peace of the entire region. The West African sub-region has a history of being fragile in terms of peace and security, and Liberia, as a member state, plays a significant role in maintaining stability in this part of the continent.
Liberians should be able to exercise their democratic rights without fear of intimidation or coercion. Any form of intimidation or scare tactics directly undermines the electoral process and the core democratic principles upon which Liberia’s governance is built. The leaders of political parties must advocate for peaceful conduct among their supporters and emphasize the importance of upholding the democratic values that Liberia cherishes.
In this critical juncture, we call upon the heads of the leading political parties, the UP and the CDC, to take a strong stand against any form of violence, intimidation, or electoral malpractice. It is their responsibility to guide their supporters in fostering a peaceful and inclusive electoral environment. The success of the election and its aftermath will be a reflection of their commitment to democracy and national unity.
Additionally, we urge international electoral observers to carry out their duties impartially and professionally. Their role is crucial in providing an objective assessment of the electoral process and ensuring transparency. Observers must avoid inciting any group and focus on upholding the integrity of the democratic process.
In conclusion, the October 10, 2023, Liberian National Elections are a pivotal moment for the country and the West African sub-region. We must collectively work towards a fair, peaceful, and transparent electoral process, where Liberians can freely cast their votes without any fear or intimidation. Let us remember that the future of Liberia and the region hinges on a democratic process that is rooted in peace, unity, and respect for democratic values.
CEO, Global Inclusive Development Advisors