— UN Resident Coordinator
United Nations Resident Coordinator to Liberia, Dr. Kingston Amaning has thrown the challenge to Liberians that the impending December 8 mid-term election will be a big test to their commitment to peace and respect for democracy.
Dr. Amaning, delivering the UN’s 75th anniversary message on-behalf of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, on October 24 in Monrovia said the commitment to peace of every Liberian including the government will be witnessed on December 8, 2020. He said as Liberia approaches the period of elections, he is optimistic that the commitment of the people of Liberia to peace and democracy is paramount. “As we can see all over West Africa in recent times, Liberia should count on the UN and its partners for all the support they need to maintain peace and security,” he said.
As the day for the election fast approaches, the political environment in Monrovia especially has become volatile with the ruling party and the main opposition, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), clashing in words and, in some instances, physically. The CPP has complained most of the time that its candidate, Abraham Darius Dillon, had been attacked on many occasions by people believed to be loyal to the ruling party. They have backed their allegation that the candidate of the CDC in the election, Montserrado District #5 Representative Thomas Fallah, has always moved freely in places and divided money among voters without an attack, but when Dillon is attending a political rally, he is attacked with stones and other weapons.
Amid this fragility, Dr. Amaning said he is confident that together everyone can rise up to the challenge, for everyone knows that without peace and stability the collective efforts towards prosperity and the welfare of the people of Liberia will be compromised.
He encouraged President Weah to do more to serve better, repeatedly cautioning Liberians to do more to maintain peace and security as well as give democracy a chance.
Dr. Amaning pledged the UN and other partners’ support in maintaining the peace and security of the country during and after the pending midterm elections.
He noted that because of the government’s openness, the accessibility of the President and his administration, the UN has been able to effectively undertake its responsibility across Liberia. “We can advise, promote, and encourage, even advise on the most complex and delicate issues without fear or favor.”
At the same time, President George M. Weah has re-affirmed the government of Liberia’s commitment towards maintaining World Peace and the protection of human rights, stressing that it is the only way through which peace, stability, and development are possible.
He also lauded the President and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for the high quality of collaboration and cooperation between the government and the UN in supporting sustainable peace in Liberia.
He added that as Liberia joins other countries around the world to celebrate the Seventy-Fifth (75th) anniversary of the UN, it is important to note that the country was one of the first 50 countries that signed the Charter in San Francisco, and is proud to be a success story of what the UN stands for.
“We can proudly say, the world is safer today and more prosperous because of the UN,” President Weah declared.
He indicated that the world has changed and everyone must adjust to continue to achieve the objectives of the San Francisco Charter. He said over the decades of its existence, the UN has scored remarkable progress around the world, particularly in the peace and security pillar.
The presence of UN Peacekeeping missions, including UNMIL, for example, has brought about the rule of law and order from intractable conflict situations. According to him, it remains the beacon of fundamental human rights for all, including freedom of speech, gender equality, and women empowerment.
On the issue of violence, President George Weah, whose security forces, mainly the Liberia National Police, has been noted for brutal acts against citizens, said it is important to remember that the real enemy is COVID-19 and not ourselves and our people, and therefore it is essential to refrain from any act of violence and embrace peace because it is only through peace and stability that development for our people and countries is possible.
“Our government remains committed to the UN in securing world peace and upholding basic human rights for all.” Even though President Weah made the commitment and recognized the importance of human rights as a cardinal pillar, he, however, has reneged on bringing justice and reparations for war victims he promised while in opposition.
President Weah said the UN body has led and continues to lead during the health emergency. “With UN assistance, Liberia combatted Ebola and is now withstanding COVID- 19, a deadly disease that is not going away.”
COVID-19 has immensely overwhelmed healthcare systems around the world including those of developed nations. Its attendant economic crisis continues to have an adverse impact on many nations around the world, something he said Liberia is of no exception.
He, however, noted that the government is working with various partners including the UN to seemingly spare some of the most negative effects of the crisis so far.
He thanked Dr. Kingsley Opoku Amaning, UN Resident Coordinator and Staff for the working relationship between the UN and the Government of Liberia.