US Gov’t Applauded for Support to Safeguard Liberia’s Election Process

— “The manner of the conduct of the upcoming elections would be very crucial to sustaining our peace and democracy,” Senator Lawrence says.

Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, the Campaign Chairperson of the opposition Unity Party, has expressed support for the US government’s plan to impose “sanctions” on any individuals whose activities undermine the credibility of the country's October 10 polls. 

The US government plan, according to Grand Bassa Senator, reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to promoting democracy and stability in Liberia, a country with a painful history of civil war and political unrest. 

“The support of the US Government to the upcoming elections in Liberia, as indicated by its Chargé d'Affaires Cathrine Rodriquez, is a manifestation of the historical and mutually beneficial relationship both countries have cultivated over the years and comes at a time when Liberia needs it so desperately,”  Lawrence said in a statement. 

As Liberia prepares to choose its next leader, Sen. Lawrence believes that international support for the country’s electoral process is crucial for maintaining a transparent and fair election, and overall democratic values.

The Senator, whose presidential candidate, Joseph Boakai, has made bold projections of winning the October polls in the first round, has accused the ruling party of President George Weah of causing panic and tension across the county based on counter-claims that they (incumbents) will win the elections in the first round. 

“The disturbing political rhetoric of the ruling CDC to win the October elections on first balloting despite its unpopularity, is increasingly causing panic and tension among ordinary Liberians who see the upcoming elections as an opportunity to redefine the leadership path of the country. 

“As a country that has had some of its darkest days traceable to electoral disputes, the manner of the conduct of the upcoming elections would be very crucial to sustaining our peace and democracy,”  the Senator added. 

Her position comes just a few days after Catherine Rodriguez, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, made it clear that the Biden administration would not tolerate any democratic backsliding, which would undermine the consolidating the country’s democratic gains. 

“The United States,” Rodriguez said, “is prepared to assist in efforts to keep these elections free, fair, and peaceful by holding accountable anyone responsible for engaging in activities to undermine the democratic election process in Liberia through additional measures such as sanctions.”

While Rodriguez did not dive into the sanction details, it is believed that  it would entail visa restrictions and possible financial penalties against those found guilty of election interference if the US decides to act on its threats.

The US and the wider international community have repeatedly said that they considered the October polls as a pivotal moment in safeguarding Liberia’s ‘peace and democracy.’

This election cycle, which is the fourth in the country’s postwar history, will be the first to be organized and administered in the absence of the United Nations mission force, which left the country in 2018.

Meanwhile, Lawrence  has further noted that the US Government deserves praise for its efforts in ensuring that the outcomes of the Octoer elections reflect nothing less than the popular will of the Liberian people.

The Senator further calls on the wider international community to prevent the possibility of “vote rigging during the elections”.

“I would like to urge President Weah and his officials to pay heed to the statement of the US Government and ensure that the upcoming elections are free, fair and transparent; reflecting only the will of the Liberian people,” Lawrence said.