Liberia: Inter-Religious Council Says It is Probing Senator Who Issued Caution Over Credibility of Elections
Monrovia – The Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), through its President, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, says it has setup an inquiry committee to invite Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon for clarity on his recent comments that appear threatening to the country’s peace, stability and democratic process.
The IRCL is a conglomeration of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL).
Senator Dillon last week cautioned that President George Weah’s tenure would end abruptly should the ruling party attempt tampering with the results of the December 8, 2020 Midterm Senatorial Elections.
“George Weah and his gang will understand that we’re not taking this for joke. When the people wake up in the morning and go to express their right for their choice, it must be respected, any attempt, it would be the immediate end of the George Weah and the CDC administration from December this year” the Montserrado County lawmaker stated on Sky FM ‘50’50’ program.
He emphasized: “There are some people who’re not talking at all, they’re only waiting to speak on December 8, and you deprive them, you’ll know what kind of fire all of us can warm ourselves with.”
In a Facebook post Saturday, the Montserrado County Senator said while he has not officially been informed of a citation from the Inter-Religious Council and has a great deal of respect for religious leaders, Christians and Muslims, he is open to dialogue. “The elderly people say, “Do not refuse a call, but what is in the call.”! We’ll respectfully honor the invitation and emphatically state our position regarding this matter. We wish to call on our supporters to look to us and remain calm. Meanwhile, let the word go forth that our meekness, our demonstrated love for a thriving democracy and respect for the rule of law should never ever be misconstrue to mean weakness.”
“The elderly people say, “Do not refuse a call, but what is in the call.”! We’ll respectfully honor the invitation and emphatically state our position regarding this matter. We wish to call on our supporters to look to us and remain calm. Meanwhile, let the word go forth that our meekness, our demonstrated love for a thriving democracy and respect for the rule of law should never ever be misconstrue to mean weakness.”Senator Abraham Darius Dillon
Speaking in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa at his offices in Brewerville, outside Monrovia over the weekend, Bishop Brown claimed that the assertions attributed to the CPP’s lawmaker borders on a threat and allegation, and as such, the IRCL remains concerned about it.
He added that the move being made by the Council will also be helpful to other stakeholders in the democratic process of Liberia.
He maintained that ahead of the mid-term senatorial election in Liberia, the IRCL is making move to help reduce political tension across the country.
Bishop Brown indicated that Liberia has a tendency of growing wave of political tension during electioneering period, and therefore, the Council will not sit to witness a replica of another political violence which occurred during the representative by-election in district # 15, Montserrado in 2019.
“We are reaching out to him (Senator Dillon) and it doesn’t matter what means. What matter is that, the Inter-Religious Council wants to hold a conversation with Senator Dillon to understand what the truth is in what the media reported earlier on. The arrangements are on and we will meet with him very soon by God’s grace.”Rev. Kortu Brown, Inter Religious Council
“The media reported that Senator Dillon suggested that if the government was to change the results of the senatorial election that will be the end of the current administration. That report has inherently allegation; anything that borders on the stability of our country, the religious community is concerned. And so, we are trying to engage him to find out what he really meant”.
“We are reaching out to him (Senator Dillon) and it doesn’t matter what means. What matter is that, the Inter-Religious Council wants to hold a conversation with Senator Dillon to understand what the truth is in what the media reported earlier on. The arrangements are on and we will meet with him very soon by God’s grace.”
Why the summon
Bishop Brown disclosed that the inquiry committee was setup to ascertain the facts behind the assertions made by the Montserrado County lawmaker.
He maintained that the allegations made by Mr. Dillon are grave and circumstances that triggered said comments should also be established.
“We set up a listening inquiry headed by the First Vice President of the Liberia Council of Churches to find out whether what the media reported is true. It is important that we find out because, if Senator Dillon has information that some of us may not have, it’s good to share. We need to understand the circumstances surrounding the nucleus of the statement”.
When asked why the IRCL was not inviting other executives of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), including Chairman Mulbah Morlu for comments that appear to degrade or threaten Liberia’s peace, Bishop Brown stated that the Council will not go after anyone making allegations against an individual.
Sometimes ago, Mr. Morlu was heard in a leaked audio accusing his political leader, President George Manneh Weah, of having sex with females he appoints in government, soliciting monies from friendly nations on behalf of Liberia, and diverting said funds to the construction of his multi-million dollars properties.
Few days after the audio went viral on the social media, Mr. Morlu described the allegations as ‘liquor talk’.
Bishop Brown pointed out that the latest action taken by the IRCL should not be misconstrued by members of the public that the Council is being selective in its quest to help safeguard the country’s peace and democratic process.
He described Senator Dillon as a “credible person” whose assertions should not be swept under the carpet.
“The council is far from being bias; the fact that the comments were made by a credible person, it becomes incumbent upon us to find out whether the allegation made is a credible one and to see how we can work on that. This is not President Weah we are talking about. What the Chairman of CDC says about President Weah-that’s their party. We are talking about this country”.
“If the senator believes that the election could be rigged; who’s planning to rig them? Is the National Elections Commission aware or are they involved? Is there a real genuine plan or indication that this could happen?”
Focus on the issues
Meanwhile, Bishop Brown has urged those aspiring to become senators in the ensuing senatorial election and others to desist from making what he calls ‘reckless political statements’ that have the proclivity to stir up chaos or conflict in Liberia.
He said senatorial aspirants and other politicians should engage into “issues based” debates and refrain from making anti-peace comments to jeopardize Liberia’s hard-earned peace.
“The comments of those vying the senatorial race should be issues based. We have a problem with Liberia; one of the problems we have is that, Liberian politicians focus more on elections than even the issues confronting the people”.
“Whether you are from the ruling or opposition parties, we have to discipline our speeches in a way that it supports the peace and stability of the country because that’s what the ordinary people will benefit from. I am appealing to all aspirants to make sure that you measure your speech”.
Bishop Brown added: “Our politicians have to avoid making reckless political statements and that include using invectives or abusive languages against a sitting President. You don’t have to use insultive languages against the face of your country as a sign of disagreement. We should morally inspire our children. Focus on the issues and we should not personalize or degrade our politics”.
He made specific reference to Montserrado County Representative Yekeh Kolubah’s outburst against President Weah during a scuffle with the Deputy Director of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Marvin Sackor following a ‘traffic law enforcement drama’.
He noted that Liberia’s international partners invested a lot to ensure peace and stability in the country, and as such, politicians should desist from painting a bad picture of their country to the outside world by using invectives against one another.
At the same time, the renowned Liberian clergyman has underscored the need for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country ahead of the December 8 senatorial election.
According to him, the peaceful conduct of a credible poll on December 8 will help ensure lasting peace and stability in the nation.
“We insist all the time that the elections should be free, fair and credible. And that’s why we are concerned that five months to the election, it may not be free, fair and transparent. The IRCL will not support any election that is not free, fair and transparent”.
“We are appealing to the Government of Liberia and the National Elections Commission to make sure that elections are free and fair. The elections must be free and fair because free and fair elections are the factors for peace and stability in Liberia. Elections come and go; but the nation remains.
He, however, called on citizens to reflect and thank God for his guidance and protection despite the mountainous challenges confronting the nation and its people during this July 26 Independence Day celebration.