Episcopal Church of Liberia Bishop Jonathan B. B. Hart, in his capacity as president of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, has warned representatives of political parties in the country to desist from statements that have the undertone of inciting violence.
Bishop Hart said current trends of rhetoric emanating from some parties’ representatives are shocking, with the propensity to undermine the country’s peace.
For that reason, he called on politicians to refrain from hate speeches and personality attacks and make their runoff campaign issues-based to avoid instilling fear among voters during and after the November 7 election.
Bishop Hart made the statement on Sunday during a special press conference held at the Lutheran Compound on 13th Street in Sinkor.
“Right now, the country is at a crucial juncture in her democracy, therefore, political parties and their leaders must reaffirm their commitments to the Ganta and Farmington Declarations that called for peaceful elections,” the Bishop said.
He said in the period of feeling disenchanted, Liberians and their political actors should use the law to seek redress, but not to use the media to incite hate messages that would instill fear in the minds of the voters.
Bishop Hart said that rather than embarking on hate campaigns, politicians or their political parties need to focus on priorities of interest to the electorates to win them over.
He added: “Election is not about hate speeches or attacking other people’s character, but it is meant to strengthen democracy, and that democracy prevents violence and promotes peace. With peace, comes security and stability, which brings about sustainable development and prosperity. Therefore, we will not sit and watch politicians destroy this country through hate messages for their own benefits.”
The Episcopal Bishop called on the youth to look at the country’s past dark years so as not to allow politicians to use them for their own gains.
“It is about time that the youth resist thuggery and any form of violence, before, during and after the elections, but to look into the future with hope and optimism,” he said.
Bishop Hart has meanwhile called on authorities of the National Elections Commission to urgently investigate complaints that arise from the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections currently before the body ahead of the November 7 runoff.