Prioritizes war-crimes court, peace-building
The United People’s Party (UPP) has released a manifesto it expects to use in running the affairs of the country if elected at the October polls. The party listed as its priority areas peace-building, national healing and reconciliation, maintenance of existing and construction of new roads and bridges. The party also named among its priority initiatives health care and human resource development programs, governance decentralization as well as agriculture and food production. UPP says it will focus on a war crimes court and the revision of the citizenship law, two key issues that continue to stir up debates in the country.
The party’s platform also captures rule of law and access to justice, national defense and public security, national economy and alleviation of abject poverty among many other salient issues of national importance. Under its three-track approach of peace-building, national healing and reconciliation aimed at maintaining social-political stability, UPP says it intends to bring Liberians together as one people living, working, playing, worshiping in a peaceful and harmonious environment. In a statement over the weekend, UPP says its peace-building agenda will focus on expanding and improving access to adequate and quality social-service delivery such as safe-drinking water, schools, health facilities, passable roads and bridges.
According to the party, the idea is to eliminate excessive disparity in access to the basic and essential service-delivery facilities in a way that reduces frustration, sense of helplessness and social tension in the society. For national healing, a UPP government also intends to encourage and support activities that celebrate and memorialize the history, culture and value of every ethnic group in the country to, “bring closure and atonement to the personal, family, community and national pain created by tragedies.” In its platform, UPP also says it intends to prioritize reconciliation to seek and create a conducive environment for contrition and repentance, hoping to prioritize palava hut scenario and the establishment of a war crimes court for “truth telling, confession, forgiveness, justice and reconciliation.”
“The UPP administration will seek revision of the Liberian citizenship law with the aim of bringing it in alignment with international standards and to reverse the brain drain as well as build domestic capacity,” it noted in the Manifesto released at the weekend. Establishment of a war crimes court to try those accused in the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report of bearing greater responsibilities of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in the civil war has been a major focus of national concentration that has brewed division of opinions. Some parties are lackluster in laying out a clear position on the issue, which voters could consider in choosing the next government.
Reading The 45 page 19-plank Manifesto prepared by party ideologues including former Senator Blamo Nelson, standard-bearer McDonald Wento said “the UPP is ready to change the country for the better, hoping to straighten what is bent and crooked, brighten what is now dark and dim, replace what is damaged with a new and shinning version.
“We are ready to build the new Liberia. Liberians are now on the move trying to put the past behind, looking into the future of possibilities and opportunities,” he read as word from the ticket. “The platform of the UPP is clear. One first priority program is peace-building, healing and reconciliation; the second priority is maintenance and building of roads and bridges; our third is healthcare, safe-drinking water and sanitation; the fourth is education, training and skills-development; the fifth is governance decentralization.”
Flanked by running mate John Bleah, standard-bearer Wento noted that pursuing these six priorities and other important national concerns will be simultaneous, stressing “the difference is where, when and how much emphasis and resources will be available and applied during implementation.”
The UPP, the party founded by the late Gabriel Baccus Matthews, who is credited for multi-party democracy in Liberia, is one of twenty parties wanting to take the mantle of leadership after outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.