– Says Scott, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Regional Affairs for West Africa
An official of the United States Department of State said the U.S. Government does not support any political party or candidate, whether in Liberia or any part of the world, during and after elections, but rather supports the development agenda of a country.
“We do not support any particular candidate or party, but preach for a free, fair and transparent electoral process, because we stand ready to work with whoever is elected,” the State Department official said.
A dispatch from the Embassy of Liberia in Washington, D.C., said Robert K. Scott, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Regional Affairs for West Africa, spoke of the country’s support for free, fair and peaceful elections so that all Liberian voters can elect new leaders (president and representatives) of their choice void of outside interference.
Scott’s call comes as Liberia’s presidential and representative elections scheduled for October 10 draws closer, where many persons have reportedly speculated of U.S. Government interference in the process.
Mr. Scott spoke at the diplomatic reception commemorating the 170th independence anniversary of Liberia in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 26.
He said the October presidential and representative elections will mark a historic moment in Liberia, “because Liberians will have the greatest opportunity to see peaceful transition of power from one living, sitting president to another, both elected by the people.”
The U.S. official said Liberia has made great progress in the face of challenging situations, following 14 years of civil war and two years out of the devastating effect of the Ebola virus disease. He added that the U.S. Government is fully invested in Liberia’s success, and therefore wants the country’s democracy to thrive.
Scott said the U.S. Government and Liberia signed a US$257 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in 2015, through which the Liberian government has made “extensive progress in implementing the compact, which focused on rehabilitating the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric project and support road to maintain infrastructure.”
He said the United States’ commitment to Liberia’s success, and Africa’s broader success, is shown by the U.S. support for the Young African Leaders Initiative.
Scott added that Africa’s youth are the single greatest resources that hold huge potential.
“As a steadfast and longtime friend of Liberia, the United States and the American people remain committed to partnering with Liberians to create a healthy, peaceful, and democratic future for the country,” he said.
The Charge’ d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Monrovia, Jeff Gongoer Dowana, said since the end of the civil crisis, Liberia has enjoyed nearly 14 years of uninterrupted peace and has been on a trajectory of progress and development. He therefore underscored the importance of U.S.-Liberia relationship dating back to Liberia’s founding in the early 1800s.
“As a manifestation of the significance of the relationship between the two countries,” Dowana said Liberia and the United States reaffirmed their friendship in a joint statement of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue, held at the U.S. State Department on January 10, this year.
He pointed to a number of areas of successful collaboration between Liberia and the U.S., particularly in the energy sector.
“Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the United States Government has provided strong support for the overall rehabilitation of Mount Coffee Hydro-power Plant, which is a milestone in the Liberian government’s effort to make the country electricity efficient,” Dowana said.
He also indicated that in alignment to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) II, Liberia strives to achieve food and nutrition security by investing in agriculture, specifically in sustainable farming systems, encouraging women in the trade to ensure gender parity in the sector as well as developing farm-to-market roads.
Dowana then lauded the signing of the Farmington Declaration of June 4, 2017 by 20 political parties in Liberia, committing themselves to violence-free elections in October and a peaceful transition.
In Washington, celebrations marking the 170th independence anniversary, held under the theme, “Sustaining the Peace,” included a day-long Cultural Extravaganza/Family Day, Intercessory Worship Service, and Diplomatic Reception.
The celebrations kicked off on Saturday, July 22, on the grounds of the embassy where hundreds of Liberians and friends gathered to showcase the country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. The Cultural Extravaganza/Family Day started with flags of the 15 counties, and the National Flag of Liberia, which Mr. Dowana took the lead.
The well-attended intercessory service, hosted July 23 by the Association of Liberian Christian Ministers of Washington, D.C., Metro Area, was held at the New Hope Worship Center in Laurel, MD. Apostle Edward Mouphouet, Founder and Pastor, Global Revival Missions Churches, was the keynote preacher. Apostle Mouphouet said change will come about in Liberia when Liberians embrace change.
”If the nation is to change, we have to change,” said Rev. Mouphouet, noting, “We have to change our perspective and how we do things.”
On Wednesday, July 26, the Diplomatic Reception, held at the residence of the Ambassador, was attended by Liberian and U.S. government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, the Liberian community, business and religious leaders, friends of Liberia and well-wishers.