Mano River Youth Parliament – Liberia’s Chapter Calls on Regional, Continental Bodies to Intervene In Guinea, Ivory Coast Post Elections’ Violence

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Monrovia – Amid the tensions and violence that have marred the elections of neighboring Guinea and the Ivory Coast, the Liberia’s Chapter of the Mano River Union Youth Parliament (MRUYP-LC) has called on the Mano River Union (MRU), ECOWAS and the African Union, along with the international community to intervene to stop the violence and the bloodshed.

In a statement read by the Speaker of the MRUYP-LC, Mohammed A. Massaley, the group expressed concern about the troubling humanitarian situation in the Ivory Coast as a result of the violence and called on the government to take the lead in providing shelter and food for people fleeing the conflict.

Said the group: “We are also concerned about the troubling violent and humanitarian situation in the Ivory Coast which follows what appears to be a controversial election. We have received reliable reports from our bordering counties structures about the appalling conditions of Ivorian Citizens who have crossed over to Liberia. We call on the government of Liberia under international humanitarian protocols to provide the necessary support and temporary shelters to our neighboring brothers and sisters.”

According to international media report, at least 30 people have died in clashes leading the Ivorian election held on October 31, 2020, reviving fears for many Ivorians of a repeat of the West African nation’s 2010-2011 post-election crisis when 3,000 people were killed.

President Alassane Ouattara, 78, had said he would step aside after his second term to make way for a new generation, but the sudden death of his chosen successor led him to step in and run for a third term.

The Ivorian leader says a constitutional court ruling approved his third term, allowing him to reset the country’s two-term presidential limit after a 2016 reform.

Opposition leader Henri Konan Bedie, an old Ouattara adversary, called for an active boycott and a campaign of civil disobedience to halt or disrupt the election.

Bedie, 86, and other opposition leaders accused the electoral commission and the constitutional court of favoring the government, making a fair vote impossible.

The weeks before the election saw clashes, mainly between local ethnic groups close to the opposition and Dioula communities seen as loyal to the president, himself a Muslim from the north.

The country’s political feuds are often linked with ethnic identities and regional loyalties.

As a result, thousands have fled the country and now seeking refuge in most parts of Liberia including Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland Counties.

The MRUYP-LC said the circumvention of term limits is one major factor that seriously weakens Africans’ democracy and governance in Africa.

“And this evading term limits in Africa carries far – reaching consequences for the continent’s governance, security, and development,” he group condemns.

Further in the statement, the group catalogued that Africa has seen a reversal in term norms since 2015, and since that time, 13 countries have evaded or overseen further weakening of term limits restrictions that had been in place.

According to group, Africa as a continent, has 34 presidential elections scheduled between 2019 and 2021, and in roughly one – third of these elections, the issue of leaders challenging term limits has been central.

“The often controversial means by which these leaders are extending their terms undermines the legitimacy that these electoral processes are intended to generate. Thereby resulting to protestations, brutalization and deaths of ordinary citizens,” the group said.

Following a new constitution passed in a ‘controversial’ 2020 referendum which allows President Alpha Conde to run for third term in 2020 and theoretically a fourth term in 2026, the group said it foresees a high possibility of violence and security threat.

Additionally, it noted that the “adoption of a new constitution in 2016 enabled President Alassane Ouattarra to contest for the third term in 2020 and theoretically fourth term in 2025.”

The lack of effective term limits has resulted in Africa having 10 leaders who have ruled for over twenty years and two dynasties that have been in power for more than fifty years, the group intoned.

On Liberia, the group said “Our country goes to major mid-term elections in December so we call on all parties to take heed from these neighboring countries and avoid all forms of violence.”

It warned that owing to these unhealthy developments, Africa might be the next epic center for civil conflicts in the next ten years if nothing is done to resolve this crucial matter. 

“We are, therefore, loudly calling on the leadership of the Mano River Union (MRU), the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the entire international community to quickly intervene in order to restore peace and stability, good governance and development within the continent.”

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