CSO wants politicians, family members banned from leaving Liberia as a deterrent to potential “trouble makers”
Amidst the political impasse on the run-off presidential election, a pro-democracy civil society group has called on members of the international community to impose a travel ban on all political actors and their immediate family members until the impasse is resolved.
According to the National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE), the masses are usually the most victimized or bear the greatest brunt of any conflict as was the case during the 14-year civil crisis, while the affluent and powerful politicians who are mostly the instigators, and their families usually flee when things get worse.
“We want to strongly recommend that foreign governments deny visas to political leaders, their family members and supporters that would undermine the peace, and hold them accountable for any human rights violations that may occur as the result of their actions,” NAYMOTE Program Director, Aaron Weah-Weah, III said at a press conference yesterday.
“Banning these politicians and their family members from traveling,” Weah-Weah said, “will help to properly guide the course(s) of actions of these politicians in maintaining the peace, doing the right thing legally and engaging in dialogues.”
Weah-Weah added, “We call on the United States Government, the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, ECOWAS and all international partners to strengthen their engagements and support toward sustaining the democratic gains and peace in Liberia.”
The imposition of the travel ban will be a great help to abort the thinking of potential trouble makers.
He appealed to the country’s international partners to hold discussions with various political actors to reduce the potential rising tension, and encourage them to use the legal system and refrain from any utterances that will promote violence.
“We also want our young people to remain peaceful and respect the due process, because any conflict arising out of electoral violence would affect their lives and future, more in a negative way. We need to be very careful as young people, because we have always been victimized, and we are yet to recover from the damage we suffered from the previous conflicts,” Weah, Weah warned.
All political institutions and their leaders, the NAYMOTE official noted, must ensure that the country remains peaceful, show respect for the rule of law and democratic institutions as well as encourage partisans and supporters to refrain from all activities, attitudes and utterances that could generate violence and set back the democratic gains the country has made over the years.
He cautioned the Liberian media to be conflict-sensitive and demonstrate a high level of professionalism during this critical period in the country’s history.
“We realize that incitement of any form would destroy the country and undo the democratic gains made so far,” Weah-Weah warned.
NAYMOTE called on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to remain focused on maintaining the peace and work hard to stop the country from returning to the ugly past.
“The President needs to provide better leadership at this critical period of her legacy and ensure a smooth democratic transition. History will remember her in a negative way if she fails to ensure a smooth democratic transition,” Weah-Weah cautioned.
The CSO has meanwhile lauded the judicial engagements involving Liberty Party, the NEC and the Supreme Court for their roles in the political impasse.
Weah-Weah urged NEC to maintain a high level professionalism in the hearing of the case, by demonstrating impartiality, honesty, credibility and integrity. “This, we believe, will ensure justice for all, regardless of which institutions or individuals are represented.