More Condemnations


As the ruling CDC party supporters paraded Monrovia’s streets carrying casket with former Vice President Joseph Boakai’s picture, one local observer remarked, “CDC again oh..” further doing a reflection on the seen earlier this year of armed EPS presidential guards fully dressed in CDC paraphernalia at a pre-campaign rally in Monrovia.

Catholic Bishop Karnley, Opposition Candidates Cllr. Tiwan Gongloe and Simeon Freeman have also joined others in condemning the action of CDC supporters parading casket with Boakai’s Picture on Monrovia’s Streets

Despite the signing of the Farmington River Declaration which promotes nonviolent elections, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) kicked off the official start of campaigning, Saturday, August 5, 2023 on what is widely seen as a provocative note.

Supporters of Liberian President George Weah’s party paraded streets of Monrovia carrying shoulder-high casket plastered with photo of former Vice President Joseph Boakia, who is presidential candidate of the main opposition Unity Party in the upcoming October 10 election, triggering widespread condemnations from various quarters in the country.

First the UP over the weekend strongly condemned the action of CDC in a press statement. “The recent childish and violent action of the CDC on the first day of the campaign, involving a casket bearing a derisive portrait of a Statesman not only represents a clear violation of the nonviolent agreement but also confirms the Unity Party Alliance’s position that the CDC lacks maturity and has no clear message for its attempts at re-election.”

Unity Party further noted, “Violent actions have consistently characterized the activities of the CDC since its establishment, and the party has not implemented desirable policies for the benefit of the Liberian people during its six years in power,” the UP said in its statement signed by Secretary General, Amos Tweh.”

The UP, which is in alliance with the MDR whose political leader is Boakai’s running mate, Nimba County Senator Jeremiah Koung in the upcoming polls, accused the ruling CDC of engaging in violent provocation during the start of the 2023 Presidential and Legislative campaign. On April 4, 2023, the CDC along with more than 20 political parties signed the Farmington’s Declaration committing to a peaceful electoral process. We expect that the CDC will abide by the tenets of Farmington Declaration.”

The UP further stated, “The CDC government has not been accountable for its stewardship of the country over the past six years, opting instead for unprovoked actions that incite violence and undermine the elections. The Liberian electorate is seeking alternative policy prescriptions for the vexing issues they face.”

The weekend’s action of the CDC has also been condemned by two other opposition presidential candidates, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe of the Liberia People’s Party (LPP) and Mr. Simeon Freeman of the Movement for Progressive Change who consider the action as something that has the propensity to trigger violence as the campaign process begins.

Also, in an interview with ECOWAS Radio’s live phone-in breakfast show hosted by Raymond Zarbay yesterday morning, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cape Palmas, Andrew Karnley categorically condemned such move by the ruling CDC party.

Bishop Karnley called on all parties to respect the provisions spelled out in the Farmington River Declaration that all parties signed earlier this year, including the ruling CDC.

Meanwhile, the CDC Campaign Team later deplored the action of its supporters Parading Casket and said that, “The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has frowned on the action of some of its supporters who marched the streets toting a casket on Saturday during the official start of the period of political campaign for the Presidential and Legislative elections in October.”

Later, state radio ELBC reported that the CDC Standard-bearer, President Weah also condemned the action of his supporters.

“Stop carrying casket, I call on supporters of the regime to abandon and desist from repeating the said insane action,” the President was heard saying at a local church service near Monrovia on Sunday, August 6, 2023.

As the official campaign enters its second week, all eyes are set on the umpire of the national electoral process, the National Elections Commission (NEC) to see how effectively it will control the conduct of parties and independent candidates in the race to ensure full compliance with the campaign and others.

At the same time, as political campaign began across the country for the ensuing 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) says it is taken aback by attitude exhibited by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) with the portrayal of a casket bearing the photograph of another contender of the elections.

The Council in a statement released at the weekend pointed out that the action of the CDC to display the photo of Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the former ruling Unity Party is in sharp contravention of the Farmington Declaration signed onto by all parties.

It could be that 27 political parties including the CDC in April of this year signed a declaration, duped the “Farmington River Declaration” wherein they recommitted themselves to preventing electoral violence, impunity and injustice thus pledging that, where political conflicts occurred, they would address said conflicts through mediation or through legal means.

The parties also committed that their political campaign activities would be conducted in such a manner that would not only preserve, but also enhance and maintain the peace and unity of Liberia.

On the overall, the Farmington Declaration aims to prevent violence that tends to undermine the conduct of the ensuing October 10 Presidential and Legislative Elections. It is geared to ensuring a violent-free electoral process, with political actors being cognizant of the need to maintain a peaceful environment before, during, and after the 2023 Elections.

The signing of the electoral peace pact came on the heel of continued violence at some biometric voter registration centers across Liberia, particular in Montserrado County and most definitely in Electoral District #10 between rival groups loyal to Representative Yekeh Kolubah, and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Accordingly, the Council indicated that the action of the CDC has the propensity to spark serious tension that backtrack the gains made towards the holding of peaceful elections.

“The National Civil Society Council of Liberia is seriously taken aback by the manner and form in which the ruling establishment conducted its initial campaign activities across Monrovia yesterday. We see this as a clear violation of the Farmington Declaration that was signed by all parties including the CDC. We therefore take this time to call on the leadership of the party to desist form of campaign that has the propensity to create unnecessary political tension. Liberia is all that we have and we don’t want our country to creep into the dark days of the 14-year ugly past,” said the statement under the signature of Chairperson Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai

NCSCL, which is the apex body of all CSOs in the country, called on electoral stakeholders, mainly political parties and independent candidates, to approach the campaign with the construct of peace and nonviolence and ensure that the rights of women participating in the process are guaranteed and respected from start to finish.

The Council reminds political actors to desist from engaging into acts that undermine the peace and tranquility of the state, such as spewing hate messages against one another, inciting the youthful population to violence and bullying women political candidates.

“It will be considered a bad politics if political parties and/or independent candidates incite their foot soldiers to damage campaign paraphernalia of other candidates, issue comments and/or statements that are denigrating and meant to stair commotion in the process and engage into practices that tend to scare and coward women into submission,” the Council noted. 

“Furthermore, the Council is strongly calling on all traditional leaders across Liberia not to indulge into the use of tradition as an alibi to chase out women and non-society members from the campaign and electioneering processes, as doing so would amount to an infringement of the law that is punishable under Liberia’s jurisprudence. There must be a dichotomy between tradition and politics in a way that the tradition is not used to bully others, but to protect and defend the space for the free participation of all regardless of sex, gender and ideas. Tradition must be used as a strong supportive glue that ups the maximum feasible participation of everyone and not to mess up the game.”

“The National Civil Society Council of Liberia is aware; elections are not about enmity but a contestation of ideas over the handling of issues that matter to the electorates and the general welfare of the people and the country. As such, expressing how best to deal with the problems that have almost perennially bedeviled the country and its people should not be characterized by violent outbursts, dirty politics and shrewd machinations orchestrated with the intention of outmaneuvering those who sincerely play to the rules of the game,” added NCSCL.

Meanwhile, the CDC National Campaign Team in a press statement late Saturday evening also condemned the stressing that it was an “unacceptable work” of its youth league.

“The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee of the Coalition for Democratic Change re-commits itself to the conduct of an issue-based campaign that emphasizes the exceptional record of development and good governance of His Excellency President George M. Weah, while also stressing the importance of maintaining a peaceful democratic environment,” indicated the communication signed by the National Campaign Manager Commissioners Lenn Eugene Nagbe stated.

The statement noted that the action is unacceptable and does not represent the set of activities that have been envisioned to characterize this crucial democratic exercise.

“The committee believes that the unprecedented gains the Weah Administration has made over the years provide sufficient nuggets for a massive victory in the upcoming elections. The Committee therefore urges everyone working towards this goal to remain on message,” the CDC campaign team among other things added.



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