-Pres. Sirleaf calls for all to remain Peaceful during Campaign period
This year’s presidential and representative elections will be the first to be solely organized and executed by Liberians since 1985; therefore, its success will definitely show how far of age Liberians have come. And it is in this vein that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the upcoming polls as a test of the political maturity of Liberians.
In a nationwide address on Monday, a day when the official campaigning exercises officially began, the President said “the 2017 elections will signal our irreversible course on the path of peace and democracy. This is the first general elections organized by us, conducted by us, and therefore all ours.”
The President’s address, which she delivered from her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia, was meant to encourage Liberians to remain peaceful throughout the election process. “This election will be a test to our maturity as political leaders and as a people who work to make the right choice,” she said.
The President committed her administration to do all in its power to ensure a peaceful environment within which political campaigns will be conducted. She also assured that the administration will mobilize the resources of the state to ensure that all phases of the electoral process, including the campaign phase, are successful and that the Liberian people can once again elect leaders of their choice. “I am convinced that after the elections, we will regroup as a proud and determined nation to proceed with the development of our country,” she noted.
“As the campaign develops, let us strive to focus our discussions on the bigger issues and challenges of our society. You must be clear on the kind of country we want for ourselves and posterity; and we must seek to inform and enlighten the electorate, treat each other with respect and clarify choices while sustaining our electoral environment free of violence and conflicts.”
On the first day of campaigning, there were reports of opponents tearing down posters of rival presidential candidates on 20th Street, Sinkor, outside Monrovia. There were also reports of taunting by sympathizers of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) representative aspirant Thomas Fallah of Montserrado County District #5 by some unidentified youth in the commercial district of Red-Light. Rep. Fallah is seeking a 3rd term after emerging victorious in 2005 and 2011 on the ticket of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
In an effort to ensure a violence-free election, the President said she hosted 20 of the 22 presidential candidates and other political leaders last Sunday, and they exchanged views on pertinent issues relative to the holding of a successful electoral process. The president, meanwhile, lauded the political actors who had earlier committed to the Farmington River Declaration to ensure a peaceful election. The Farmington River Declaration was signed by a majority of the political leaders on June 4 in the presence of ECOWAS Heads of State and representatives of the international community in Margibi County. “We hold them, as political leaders who seek the highest office of our land, to act with dignity and responsibility that benefits the office, to live up to their commitment to ensuring violence-free elections, and to seek mediation when differences pose a threat to the campaign process,” she noted.
She said she was particularly pleased that party leaders expressed their confidence in the NEC to conduct its functions and urged the National Elections Commission to continue to do all within its power to prepare adequately and operate efficiently and effectively during the campaign phase of the electoral process.
The President disclosed that she used the Sunday meeting to remind political players about the need to establish a hotline, as provided for in the Farmington River Declaration, to facilitate rapid communication and prompt preventive action on their part, the leadership of NEC, the national security forces and the Mediation Committee.