US Calls for Free Elections in Liberia

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The United States Congress this week passed a resolution calling for free, fair and peaceful elections in Liberia come the October polls. The resolution was introduced by Senator Christopher Andrew Coons of Delaware and Senator Cory Anthony Booker from New Jersey.

According to a dispatch from Washington, the resolution states that the United States and Liberia share broad and deep bilateral ties over the course of nearly 200 years of relation.

Acknowledging the beginning of the most revered friendly ties between the two countries, Congress said the United States established diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1864 and called for the holding of peaceful elections in Liberia as many organizations, including those within the country and nations across the world, are looking forward to a new age, particularly so the democratic governance transition of an incumbent president to one elected in an election.

The resolution made reference to the hundreds of thousands of Liberians who died in the civil wars (from 1989 to 2003) and said today the United States is home to an estimated 80,000 people of Liberian ancestry.

The two interconnected Liberian civil wars took place from 1989 to 1996, before the 1997 special election that brought into power jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, and his subsequent exile in 2003.

The resolution said the people and Government of the United States have a deep and abiding interest in Liberia’s democratic stability and post-conflict development and recounted the United States’ assistance to Liberia since the end of its second civil war in 2003; US support to post-conflict recovery; and a subsequent sustained transition toward broad-based economic growth, improved access to high-quality education, health system strengthening, and enhanced socioeconomic welfare for Liberia.

It stated also that the “professionalization of the country’s military and civilian security forces, efforts to foster the capacities, accountability, and transparency of government institutions, and the consolidation of participatory democracy” are additional positive contributions the US has made to the recovery of Liberia.
About the reintroduction of democratic rule in the country, the resolution noted that in 2005, and again in 2011, the citizens of Liberia elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as their President, making her the first woman to be elected president of an African nation. President Sirleaf was awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 5, 2007, for defending and advancing the democratic rights of her fellow citizens in the face of house arrest, foreign exile, death threats, and imprisonment, and the Noble Peace Prize on October 7, 2011, for contributing to the nonviolent struggle for the security and rights of women.

The resolution noted that the Government of Liberia has contributed to efforts to foster peace, stability, democratization, as well as regional economic growth, development, and integration in West Africa, as demonstrated by President Sirleaf’s role in mediating a peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia in January 2017 and her broader leadership as the 2016– 2017 Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States.

It has been 73 years now since a peaceful transfer of state power from one elected president to another took place, and that was when President Edwin J. Barclay turned over the gavel of authority to President-elect William V. S. Tubman.
As Liberia is holding presidential and legislative elections on October 10, which will be the country’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944, Congress resolved that the United States upholds its commitment to maintain and to foster the enduring relationship between the people and the Governments of the United States and Liberia.

The dispatch commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for efforts to consolidate post-conflict peace-building and democratic gains as well as promote social and economic development and foster ties with the international community, and for her work to advance international gender equality.

The US Congress urged the Government and people of Liberia and all of the country’s political parties to ensure that there are free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections in October 2017 and beyond. “We admonish that all parties adhere to the objectives set out in the Ganta and Farmington River Declarations and promote and ensure peaceful conduct of candidates, their supporters, and other citizens of the country generally.”

The US Congress appealed to all parties and independent candidates to “ensure that there are robust civic education and electoral campaign outreach to often politically marginalized groups, including women, urban youth, and rural communities; and raise awareness of and express zero tolerance for violence against women, gender discrimination, or social bias of any nature in the electoral process.”

The US Congress “supports efforts by the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to assist in election preparations and calls on Liberian citizens to fully participate in the general elections and to pursue legal avenues to resolve any disputes over the results.” It also encourages Liberian civil society organizations to intensify civic and voter education, particularly among women, youth, and rural communities, and in local languages; condemns any external interference in the elections, “including any communication or action by convicted war criminal and former armed faction leader Charles Taylor to influence the elections from prison.”

It states that the US Congress encourages President Donald Trump to appoint an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs to bolster diplomatic engagement with the Government of Liberia, electoral stakeholders, and civil society and robustly engage with other sub-Saharan African countries and governments.

The US Congress also called the United States Government and international partners, especially election-focused non-governmental organizations, to continue to support successful elections and Liberia’s anticipated historic democratic post-electoral transition of executive power; and welcomes the visit of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the United States Congress for her final address as President of Liberia.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Liberia’s Uncle Sam, provider of goodies and protector of her territorial integrity, has said it loud and clear: free and fair elections. Counselor Korkoya of NEC, be warned that a seventy year jail sentence isn’t any joke, young man!

  2. The U.S was a major partner in the rebuilding of post WW2 Europe and Japan. By comparison, the rebuilding of Liberia, is not a big problem for Uncle Sam. Liberia needs U.S assistance, to put the Liberian Economy on the right footing. Let’s do away with the Liberian Dollar for now and

  3. NB.Let’s do away with the Liberian Dollar for now. Circulate the U.S Dollars only; as we did before under U.S guardian;
    until our Liberian Economy is in the right orders; Then we can reintroduce/reinstate the “LIBERTY” aka the Liberian Dollar. After WW2, the U.S. Dollars was openly circulated in Western Europe and Japan; until their shattered ECONOMIES got on the right FOOTINGS. As it is now, a Liberian Dollar isn’t even worth the paper it’s printed on. Printing MONEY with nothing tangible to back up it’s values, will not solve Liberia’s Economic Problems. It takes a lot MORE. The Liberian Economy needs to be diversified. As the World create more and more middle class, there will be more and more Coaco and Coffee consumers. Liberia’s soil is ideal for Coaco and Coffee. Let’s aggressively tap into the Coaco and Coffee Markets. Palm Oil will alway be in high demand. Oil Palm grows just about anywhere in Liberia. Let’s do away with absentee LAND LORDS. Empower our regional CITIZENS to be producers and owners of their PRODUCTIVITIES. By so doing, we can create reasonable number of middle class Citizens; for a prosperous Liberia. Let’s strengthen our special bond to Uncle Sam. We need the rich U.S market for our Fine Liberian Coaco and Coffee and many other products.

  4. Free and fair elections Will be the condition for any U.S. aid. Voters and election commission must be on the watch!

  5. Henry Freeman is dead wrong. United States is not seeking deduction of sovereignty
    in Liberia. United States narrated terrible times the country has gone through and for
    this reasons, called for civility, honesty, accountability, due process of Laws, transparency,
    and particularly called on Jerome Korkoya, NEC Commissioner and staff to cleanly remain
    cleaned in their handling of the October 10, 2017 elections. United States did not ask for
    any down grade of the Liberian functionaries but to upgrade them. And you know that
    national currency is the chief of all functionaries of an independent and democratic nation.

    United States has never been unaware of what took place, including installing Ellen
    Jophnson-Sirleaf on the Liberian people. In the midst of massive destruction of the human
    beings, social and economic collapse of the country to the extent of a “failed country”,
    United States saw it fit to honor Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as if she was sent person to
    decimate Liberia. What really fried in the face of Liberians was the fact that the Truth and
    Reconciliation Commission they established on Liberia, in its Findings ruled that Mrs. Ellen
    Johnson-Sirleaf was barred from holding public office for 30 to 35 years. Yet, why they
    allowed Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to be elected President?

    Now again, she is being accused of trying to manipulate the elections by giving instructions
    to the American Jerome Korkoya and staff at the NEC to handle the elections her way. Yes,
    United States is calling for free, credible, democratic and peaceful elections whereas Mrs.
    Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is maneuvering means for the elections to go her way and no one,
    including United States of America is not saying anything. What do we as a nation expects?

    • Black people, Liberia included need to take their future into their own hands. Liberians/Africans are their own worst enemy because we do all the worst things. Please stop blaming America or white people for our nonsense. We need to do a better job governing our country and develop the darn place for everybody to have an opportunity to pursue their dreams. We need to change our narrow mindset, and think about what we can do for our country, instead of stealing the resources for ourselves and leave the country looking like a primitive bastion. If we can’t buy a MRI for our hospital but we buy expensive SUVs to drive around, that’s not the kind of mindset that will develop a modern Liberian society. In summary, we need to change our way of thinking…

  6. Just how they the U.S. called for free and fair elections in Kenya, and jubilated over the result of the very election which was fraudulent and rigged according to the Kenyan Supreme Court! Don´t mind these jokers! They only seek their own interests. Instead of THE PEOPLE´S CHOICE been the determinant as to who becpmes President, it should be the choice of thos jokers who are mere brokers of deceit and selfishness!

  7. The United States has also indicated that it will get involved in Liberia’s election. In other words, has no canvass choice in the Liberian people’s election activities. Liberia’s own priorities. The silent majority therefore will not allow this few hours incumbent to cause alarm any more second, by allowing a Chad shenanigan as solidarity from any nation or center under disguise to overturn or digest pallet disruption in process as was done during interim leadership while the war was still at intervals. We will capture the few tyrants (violence) as they come to save millions in the Liberian population.
    Gone to 57%. Let the Liberian nation know.
    DO NOT REPLY

  8. The United States of America is involved to the extend as an observer just like any other nation or organization now in Liberia observing this Liberian election. Many are spying, while the Liberian themselves are counting.
    A factual actual checking. Let the nation know.
    Do not reply.

  9. Those who advocate misusing the Liberian dollars may have looted Liberian money during the war, Liberian dollars in the past to exchange to other currencies of the world and may not be able to get them back. Now play-crying to one way usage of the United States Dollars in Liberia. Americans need their money themselves. So you better send U.S. Dollars back as soon as possible when to get them especially free from relatives in the United States. U.S. has no more unaccounted free money. If you need to see the economic impact of the Liberian Dollars, you need to work to produce and use Liberian made products wisely. We cannot continuously depend on the United Sates Dollars and flatter ourselves with uncle Sam talk and tricks. The present United States process under its new leader is straight trade. Liberia is now part of WTO. There is no ” monkey work baboon draw” in the United States of America as was in Liberia before and during crisis. We have our own Liberian leafs. If you are a Liberian and do not have Liberian money, find it by working for it. Liberian money will be the only currency in the trade-end, no matter what you may call it, say or write about it. WORK = FORCE X DISTANCE.
    In tack with the silent majority. Liberians will know. Exercise your freedom of choice.
    Do not Reply.

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