Liberia Transitions From Negative to Positive Peace

We invite all Liberians, our ECOWAS brothers and sisters, and our friends in the international community to join us in marking Liberia’s transition from negative peace to positive peace. We thank member states of the international community for the billions of dollars that have been contributed to Liberia over the years; and we especially extend our heartfelt gratitude to our brothers and sisters of ECOWAS, who not only provided material and financial support to us over the years, but also suffered the loss of lives of many of their sons and daughters to achieve peace in our country. Now every Liberian can take pride in the fact that today we can disagree, without resorting to violence; as a people governed by the tenets of democracy, we seek to resolve our differences in accordance with the rule of law.

At the conclusion of the 1985 Presidential and General Elections, the erstwhile Liberia Action Party, along with other political parties, felt that the elections results were fraudulent. Certain individuals among them resorted to armed violence, as a means of addressing their grievance, which ultimately resulted into a Civil War that spanned over a period of 14 years, leaving about 250,000 Liberians dead, many more injured and/or displaced, and our country completely destroyed. At the conclusion of the 2011 Presidential and General Elections, the Congress for Democratic Change felt that the elections results were fraudulent.

As a means of addressing their grievance, they engaged in demonstrations, which resulted into the death of at least one Liberian—one too many. However, following the announcement of the results of the first round of the 2017 Presidential and Representatives Elections, the All Liberia Party (ALP), Liberty Party (LP), and Unity Party (UP) felt that not only were the results of the elections fraudulent, but that the elections were also characterized by gross irregularities and violation of the Constitution and Elections Law of Liberia. The leadership of the four political parties (the “Political Parties”), however, made the decision that our grievances would be addressed through the channel provided by law.

At this point, credit must be given to the African Union, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Alpha Conde, President of the sisterly Republic of Guinea; and, the ECOWAS, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Faure Gnassingbe, President of the sisterly Republic of Togo, whose support for the democratic process in Liberia has earned our eternal gratitude.

It is a great time for our country, as Liberians witness a democratic transition, in accordance with the rule of law. This is history making, unfolding right before our eyes. Never before in living memory have the results of fraudulent elections been challenged through the rule of law. One may, therefore, argue that our democracy is being tested, but it is certainly not under assault. We are, notwithstanding, aware that a few of our compatriots may be apprehensive about the course that we are taking, because heretofore change in our country had been synonymous with violence, destruction, and death. But we assure our fellow Liberians, our ECOWAS brothers and sisters, and the international community, that the change Liberia pursues today is peaceful and lawful.

We would also like to assure all Liberians, our ECOWAS brothers and sisters, and the international community, that the Political Parties are doing everything legally and practicably possible to have the case that is currently pending before the NEC expeditiously determined. But we ask all to understand that the Political Parties are not the only parties to the action of the alleged “Violation of the Constitution and Elections Law of Liberia, Massive Election Frauds, and Gross Irregularities”; the NEC is also a party, the Defendant—a legal anomaly, where the NEC is both a party to the litigation and the judge. It is, therefore, almost impossible for the Political Parties to proceed expeditiously with the hearing of the matter, when the NEC is obstructing every judicious move on the part of the Political Parties.

For example, LP filed its Complaint on October 23, 2017; the NEC, in appreciation of LP’s constitutional right to “due process” should have halted the run-off process until LP’s case was determined. But the NEC resolved that it would proceed with the run-off in utter disregard of the constitutional right of LP. LP then wrote the NEC on October 24, 2017, specifically requesting the NEC to call off the run-off, pending the determination of its case. The NEC refused, leaving LP with no choice but to seek a Writ of Prohibition from the Supreme Court of Liberia. The proceeding before the Supreme Court, which was provoked by the unlawful action of the NEC, extended the duration for determining the case by about five days.

Then UP filed a Motion to Intervene in the LP case; LP interposed no objection to UP’s Motion. But surprisingly, the NEC denied UP its right of intervention. UP had to appeal to the Board of Commissioners to have its right restored. That caused another delay in handling the matter. UP subpoenaed certain documents to facilitate the presentation of its side of the case; documents that are in the possession of the NEC. The NEC refused to grant the subpoena. UP appealed the decision of the NEC’s Hearing Officer to the Board of Commissioners on November 7, 2017. Although the Board of Commissioners heard arguments of the appeal, up to November 14, 2017, the Board of Commissioners had refused to rule on the UP’s appeal. This has left UP with no choice but to file a Bill of information with the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The list of the NEC’s attempt to deprive the Political Parties of due process of law goes on and on. It should also be understood that if the Political Parties were to exercise their right of seeking an interlocutory ruling for every breach of the law that is being committed by the NEC, wittingly or unwittingly, the process would last much longer.

There are some who have been made to believe that if a newly elected President is not inaugurated on the third Monday of January 2018, the Liberian “sky will fall,” or that an interim government would have to be formed. Nothing could be further from the truth! Although we are committed to ensuring that the legal process is concluded long before January 15, 2018, if for any reason—the continuous breaches by the NEC or otherwise—the judicial process is not timely concluded, there will be no break in constitutional continuity in our country. The succession provision of the Constitution of Liberia is clear and unambiguous; the government of Liberia will continue to function and our Republic will live on, stronger and healthier than ever. Together, we would have achieved a democratic transition, availing ourselves of the rule of law—a salient tenet of democracy.

And so, to our fellow Liberians, we say, rest assured, we are in this together! Our country has come of age—finally we can disagree and not kill each other and destroy our country. This is a very proud time for all Liberians.

By : All Liberia Party (ALP), Liberty Party (LP), and Unity Party (UP)

Skip to toolbar