US, EU Caution Liberia Against Jeopardizing Post-War Progress
Monrovia – Two of Liberia’s strongest allies have issued a word of caution in the wake of last weekend’s electoral violence in District 15, Montserrado County.
In a joint statement this week, the United States and the EU-Member States -France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) expressed concerns about recent incidents of violence after the by-elections in Montserrado County. “We condemn the violence that took place on Saturday, 17 August, between supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change and supporters of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties, including the reported violent attacks against the opposition candidate in the District #15 Representative by-election,” the statement warned.
“We emphasize the importance of upholding the rule of law and contributing to a climate of tolerance, mutual respect and peaceful debate.”Joint Statement from the United States and the EU-Member States
The statement from the two stakeholders said following the recent decision by the National Election Commission’s Hearing Officer to re-run the Montserrado County District #15 Representative by-election in 20 polling stations, it is urging Liberians, and in particular all political parties, both their leaders and their supporters, to ensure a peaceful completion of the electoral process, and to refrain from any inflammatory statements or acts of aggression, intimidation or violence. “We emphasize the importance of upholding the rule of law and contributing to a climate of tolerance, mutual respect and peaceful debate.”
The joint statement also called on Liberians, and in particular political leaders and citizens conveying messages in traditional and social media, to avoid using hate speech which could further enhance tensions and undermine the peace and stability of the country. “We urge the Liberian authorities to complete a swift and objective investigation to hold accountable those instigating or executing violence in this and previous incidents. In this regard, we welcome the statement by the President of the Republic of Liberia H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah on Sunday, 18 August, which rejected electoral violence and announced a thorough and expeditious investigation into the events which occurred on Saturday.”
The statement paid homage to statements and efforts of Liberian political and civil society actors to foster peace and stability in the country. “We also welcome the joint statement by the United Nations and the Office of the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia on 19 August, which also deplored the recent electoral violence.”
The statement said Liberia has gone a long way in consolidating democracy, peace and stability since the end of the conflict in 2003; and Liberians should not let any form of political or electoral violence jeopardize or reverse the progress made. “We express our confidence that the Liberian people will always protect their country’s hard-won peace and stability. We remain fully committed to continuing to support Liberia’s development and peace-building efforts.”