By Togba-Nah Tipoteh
With the wave of violent activities in Liberia, it is of highest importance to take urgent actions stop the violence now and prevent further violence. The 1989 to 2003 Civil War in Liberia that resulted in nearly 300,000 deaths and infrastructural damage, that remains un-rehabilitated, provides sufficient evidence to tell all of us that violence is not the way forward for the better.
The activities that led to the Civil War are taking place today, and they could lead to another Civil War if they are not stopped now. It is my patriotic duty to tell the truth publicly. I have not been wrong in this regard because I have spoken what I have learned from the people and this is why there is the useful expression: The Voice of God is the Voice of the People.
The only way to stop these violent activities is to use the Rule of Law, as based on the Constitution of Liberia. Certainly, there is one issue that Liberians generally are agreed upon, as heard in the expression: We want Peace; No more War. With the reality of this expression, the Liberian people can show commitment to peace by working together to bring Justice for All. Peace is not the absence of war! Only Justice brings Peace!
The people look up to the Government, especially their representatives, as found in the National Legislature, to hold the Executive and Judicial Branches of the Government accountable for the ushering in of a Justice for All System to get rid of the prevailing system of injustice. To the extent that the Legislators do not work for Justice, the people can take corrective actions by not re-electing them and electing persons with good records of working to bring Justice for All.
It is only possible to have good persons elected when the electoral process, supervised by the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia, is fair, meaning that it is based on the Rule of Law, through the Constitution of Liberia. Prior to the 2017 election, the Tipoteh versus Korkoya (Chairman of NEC) case on the unconstitutionality in NEC, with specific reference to the non-Liberian citizenship of Chairman Korkoya, was brought to the Supreme Court of Liberia. The Supreme Court said that it was not prepared to give a ruling on the case at that time. Up to now, the Court has not given a ruing on the case!
Later, the Supreme Court ruled, in the Liberty Party versus NEC case, that the evidence about irregularities in the Voters Registration Roll was insignificant and NEC could not be compelled to hold fresh elections; but NEC must proceed to cleaning up the Voters Registration Roll.
In any event, the Voters Registration Roll has not been cleaned up and elections have been held, as elections and a referendum are about to be held. Protests continue with attendant violence, not forgetting the political campaign violence, accompanied by the trucking of foreigners and Liberians from their places of residence to other places to register to vote.
Now, the prevalence of violence has attracted the attention of partners in ECOWAS and other countries represented in the Diplomatic Corps. The violence continues to have a negative impact on the volume of funds available for public expenditure. Inward remittances and the flow of local and foreign investment. Instead of recognizing injustice as the source of the negative societal impact, the blame game continues with the casting of blame on previous governments and opposition parties, labeled as enemies of progress.
However, the violence crisis in the midst of the public health pandemic, like any crisis, provides an opportunity for good people to work together, through the Rule of Law, as based on the Constitution of Liberia. This crisis provides an opportunity for the people to identify good people, on the basis of their records, in order to be able to vote them into public offenses to represent the people well by making decisions in the people’s interest. Whenever good persons are national decision-makers. Good results take place and people enjoy better living conditions.
Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh is the Founding Leader, Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) and Chairperson, Servants of Africa Fighting Epidemics (SAFE).