Ahead of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, the President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) has said that to sustain the peace which Liberians enjoy today, the National Elections Commission (NEC) must ensure that Liberians are well informed about the electoral process and system.
Cllr. Moses Paegar said if citizens are not enlightened about the electoral process and system, they become susceptible to engage in post-election violence.
“Confusion erupts when people are not enlightened about the process and system of how elections are being conducted,” Cllr. Paegar said.
“The people must understand the democratic process that whenever the majority has spoken, so be it; and therefore, all should abide by the voices and wishes of the majority.
“If you didn’t win the elections, you have to wait for another time; don’t plunge the country into violence or hijack the process. These are things that the NEC needs to address before they conduct the 2017 elections.”
Cllr. Paegar’s advice comes ahead of the bar’s annual convention scheduled this month in Ganta, Nimba County.
According to him, because of the 2017 elections, the barristers chose the theme, “Rule of Law: Economic Integration and Democratic Governance.”
“With the 2017 elections hanging,” Cllr. Paegar said, “we believe that lawyers who will attend the Ganta convention would acquire knowledge and skill to educate people, especially their clients, about how to conduct themselves during the elections to ensure that the country’s peace is sustained for all, and not to slip into violence.”
Although the NBA is non-political, Cllr. Paegar said, “We combine legal voice when we discuss the rule of law, economic integration and democratic governance. We are preparing the people’s minds that these discussions are essential and are prerequisites to the conduct of a peaceful and non-violent exercise.
“This is why we have invited our legal colleagues from the sub-region to provide their expertise on those topics. They are going to provide us with knowledge on trade barriers, customs and currency issues as a way of stimulating the deliberation and how to conduct free, fair and transparent elections.”
Meanwhile, Paegar said Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has been selected to serve as keynote speaker at the upcoming Ganta convention.
Established in 1907, the LNBA for the first time broke ground on Saturday for the construction of its headquarters.