The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) has strongly denounced acts of violence between supporters of the Unity Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change that occurred in District Number 1, Foya, Lofa County on September 29, 2023, that resulted in the reported death of two persons.
“The scale of the violence and its consequences are unprecedented in the county and it comes at a time when the political campaign across the country has been for the most part, peaceful,” said ECC boss, Oscar Broh.
ECC noted that there are conflicting accounts from the media of the cause of the violence and those who carried it out. “In view of these, the ECC calls on the Liberian National Police (LNP) to conduct a swift, impartial, transparent, and objective investigation of the incident and to hold the perpetrators to account in accordance with the Ministry of Justice mandate and in keeping with the due process of law. The perpetrators should include individuals who incited the violence and those who carried it out,” ECC noted.
The pro-democracy group noted that under Liberian law, those government agencies with the authority to investigate election-related offenses must give such action their due attention and are under obligation to prosecute offenders accordingly.
The ECC notes that elections are civil matters and they should not result in the loss of life and the destruction of property with impunity. The ECC further remindsthe LNP and the Ministry of Justice that it is under obligation to inform the public of the outcomes of its investigation in order to instill public confidence in the electoral process with barely a week to the conduct of the general election.
“In addition, the ECC wishes to use this medium to remind all political parties, independent candidates,and their supporters that continuous acts of provocationand violence during the remaining period of the electoral process have the potential to undermine the country’s fragile peace and security. Violence has no place in Liberian elections and the consolidation of Liberia’s emerging democracy depends on the peaceful conduct of these elections,” the group added.
This incident contravenes the spirit and intent of the Farmington River Declaration wherein political parties and presidential candidates vowed to refrain from all forms of violence during the electoral process.
The ECC fears that if election violence is not handled decisively now, the risk of electoral violence on and after the election could be high.