By: Laymah Kollie
Liberia -June 4,2023-: The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), a pro democracy group is alarming early signs of elections violence if care is not taken to ensure Justice for acts counterproductive to the tenants of democracy.
IREDD’s statement comes following the recent disruption of a Sunday worship service at Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson Christ Chapel of Faith Church in Paynesville by partisans of the National Patriotic Party (NPP).
It can be recalled on Sunday 21st of May 2023, young people believed to be partisans of the Coliation of Democratic Change (CDC) particularly members of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) gathered, chanted anti-war crimes court slogans, thus disrupting normal worship activities at the church. They were seen wearing Barrett’s and Jackets with emblems of the NPP and CDC. Since the incident, the LNP is yet to arrest or detain anyone despite available video footages revealing doers of the act.
The Movement for Democracy Reconstruction (MDR) in a press release dated 23rd May described the attack on the church of its Political Godfather Sen. Prince Y. Johnson
as calculated and well-organized Assassination attempt by authorities of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government. However, the CDC on Monday 22nd May distance itself from actions carry out by members of the party. The CDC in a release stated that violators didn’t attack the church through the order of the party.
But addressing a team of Journalists at its office on Monday, 4th June 2023, the Executive Director of IREDD Mr. Matthias Yeanay called on the Liberia National Police to investigate and prosecute violators of the incident; stressing, that their action portrays violence and poses threat to the pending elections.
IREDD’s boss believes that the actions of members of the CDC are early signs of chaos and elections violence; of which, if not regulated in the soonest possible time might cause another the country to yield into another civil crisis comes October.
“IREDD smells chaotic elections amid the conspicuous muteness of the Government of Liberia over growing politically motivated disruptions and unfolding lawlessness, just few months to the 2023 Elections. IREDD calls on the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police (LNP) to unconditionally ensure the respect for the rule of law irrespective of political affiliations. Liberia is a country of laws and not country of men; prompt punitive actions within the rule of law remains key and possible the only reliant for fostering peaceful coexistent in any country.”
He further cautioned citizens to openly speak out against incident of such in the country. At the same time admonishing the government of Liberia to act accordingly irrespective of political affiliation for a peaceful coexistence amongst all Liberians.
“Relative to these unwarranted disruptions and verbal attacks, IREDD herewith calls on all well-meaning citizens and resident of Liberia to openly speak out against these unhealthy occurrences that have the propensity to create untold multiplying unrest. Good democratic governance requires socioeconomic justice for all, therefore, the ruling party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) should ensure respect for the rule law, provide good and balanced leadership for all irrespective of affiliation, this will ascertain peaceful coexistence and promote democratic governance processes in Liberia; CDC affiliates must refrain from acts that are inimical to basic human rights and peaceful environment for Liberians and residents” he stressed.
IREDD Mathias however condemned the NPP supporters action in the strongest term; noting, that with less than five months to the general elections, said attack without prompt punitive action, has the propensity to provoke political conflicts and undermine a peaceful democratic process.
“The Institute for Research and Democratic Development IREDD) is constrained to join all well-meaning residents and citizens of Liberia to out rightly condemned in the strongest term the wave of unchecked lawlessness unfolding in our beloved country, Liberia. With less than five months to the October 10, 2023, General and Presidential Elections, we all are witnessing countless political upheavals and verbal attacks by players in the political space. These countless attacks without prompt punitive action have the propensity to provoke political conflicts and unmind a peaceful democratic process of Liberia” Yeanay said.
Meanwhile, the IREDD boss at the same time reminded political parties about the Farmington River Declaration 2023 that was signed on 4th April to uphold and maintain peace during and after the October 10 Elections. The ceremony held in Margibi County had in attendance national and international communities with 26 Coliation and Political Parties affixing their signatures to the peace document to include the CDC , Unity Party and others.
The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) is a research and policy advocacy organization that works with grassroots organizations and partners at the local and sub-national level. Their partnerships are geared towards creating linkages between local groups and their local authorities on the one hand with policy actors. Such catalytic partnerships provide greater leverage for the work of local actors, extends their programmatic reach and enhances their ability to influence local, sub-national and national policy actors.