…. As ECOWAS calls for restraint, urging stakeholders to wait for NEC to announce official results
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S Ambassador to the UN, has strongly warned that the Biden administration would not tolerate any actions that undermine the election process.
Greenfield, who served in Liberia from 2008 to 2012, warns in repetition of what senior U.S officials have been saying since the October 10 elections process, which produced a runoff election.
“The United States will continue to promote accountability and will call out anyone who undermines the electoral process through fraud, violence, or intimidation,” said Greenfield in a brief statement yesterday.
“At each step of this election, Liberians from all walks of life have expressed their desire for Liberia – one of the oldest continuous republics in the world – to become a beacon of peaceful citizen-centered democratic governance in the region,” she added.
The U.S, Greenfield said, remains committed to helping the people of Liberia achieve this goal as it commends Liberians for their dedication to exercising their right to vote broadly and peacefully. “Once again, the Liberian people reaffirmed their commitment to democracy in yesterday’s runoff election. We commend their dedication to exercising their right to vote broadly and peacefully,” Greenfield added.
The U.S envoy's remarks came just as ECOWAS was calling on the two parties in the runoff to remain calm while awaiting the official results from the electoral body.
The ECOWAS position was fueled by deep concern over provocative statements and alleged plans by political actors to prematurely declare victory, saying it was important for political actors to exercise restraint during a critical period.
“We appeal to all stakeholders to respect the democratic process and allow the NEC to fulfill its mandate. Premature declarations can be detrimental to the stability of Liberia,” said Professor Attahiru Jega, Head of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia, and Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security at the ECOWAS Commission. The duo added that any individuals or groups found responsible for actions that could lead to violence and undermine the county's hard-earned peace and stability would be held accountable.
The ECOWAS Mission urged all parties to abide by the spirit of national unity and adhere to commitments outlined in the Revised Farmington River Declaration,” the duo added. “The Mission emphasized the need for all candidates, their political alliances, and supporters to exercise restraint and wait for the official results.”
The ECOWAS statement was issued after the hierarchies of the ruling Coalition of Coalition for Democratic Change and opposition Unity Party began claiming victory as the electoral body announced results.
Even the official page of the Presidency had early shared electoral data from the ruling party “war room” claiming victory but swiftly deleted the post, even though the damage had already been done.
Jefferson T. Koijee, the Secretary-General of the ruling Party, in the night hours after voting had ended on Nov. 14, was seen on the streets parading with supporters celebrating victory, which led Rep. Yekeh Kulubah of Montserrado County District 10 to follow suit the next day as well.
Both parties also had media houses with ties to declare victory, creating a tense situation among many Liberians.