Since the September 29, 2023 protest in Lofa, Liberians have been expressing fear of returning to their ugly past.
The protest led to the death of two citizens of that county as the joint security has been mandated to investigate and bring perpetrators to book.
With just a few days to the much-anticipated October 10, 2023 elections, Liberians who experienced nearly 14 years of civil unrest in Liberia and those who were too young to know what happened have been cautioning political parties and their supporters to use the rightful means in case of any election mixed felling.
Old man Boima Quah said, “I want the elections to be smooth without conflict.”
Old man Boima who has experienced civil unrest said, “We the people of Liberia are tired of toting load. We don’t want to go here and there that is why we want the election to be free and fair.”
He has voted for many presidents beginning with the late William R. Tubman.
Pa Boima whose hair and eyebrows have all turned gray said, “We know what happened during Charles Taylor’s time. This caused some of us to leave from bush to bush and it is because of that we are asking that the upcoming elections be free and fair.”
He said, “Our brothers and our old people, nobody should make conflict with anyone.”
Gbendy Boima, is the Acting Paramount Chief of the Gola Konneh District, one of the well-respected chiefs in the region.
In a message to citizens of the county and Liberians in general, Chief Boima said, “ I am asking all citizens of Grand Cape Mount County to vote wisely because we do not want confusion. Without Liberia, we have nowhere to go.”
He said there were no winners in the war that fought for 14 years; there weren’t winners but only brought death and destruction in Liberia.
“The election that is coming, we are worried because most of our people do not have visas or passports to leave the country, they have nowhere to go,” the titled man said.
According to him, when Liberians go to the polls and the result does not go their way, “Do not bring confusion, let us go back to the table because any decision you take will have an impact on your children.”
Giving his experience of war, Pa Boima referenced the Rice Riot in 1979 which dragged on and later led to the death of a sitting president in 1080. “But from that time up to the present, rice price remained constant; in fact,it has skyrocketed than before.”
He said those in the diaspora should also help in maintaining the peace because if there is no peace in the country, their relatives back home will also feel the pinch of any unrest.
Young people are often considered the perpetrators of violence. Most of them easily allow themselves to be used by politicians with the recent being the Foya, Lofa County fracas which claimed the lives of two young persons.
However, some youth in Grand Cape Mount who spoke with this reporter see violence as anti-development.
Selle Tarawali said, “We expect the upcoming elections to be peaceful.”
Tawarali committed himself to peaceful conduct during the elections and called on others to do the same.
“We as young people must prioritize the interest of Liberia and stay away from unnecessary violence because the years of violence in the country did not offer us anything but only brought civil war setback of our country,” Tarawail said.
Mohammed Kelleh Jr. who lives in Grand Cape Mount County District One said election results from the October polls should accepted by everyone.
“I am telling my mothers, my fathers, brothers and friends and people of Gola Konneh and the entire country at large that we all should remain peaceful. We should not do anything contrary that will bring another war in our country.
He believes that the gradual development that the country has seen could be lost if Liberians do the contrary.
Recently, over 250 young individuals gathered at the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town from September 20 to 22, 2023 at a peace summit.
The three-day engagement was aimed at strengthening relationships and fostering peaceful collaboration among the youth, students, and political party youth leaders toward a peaceful election in Liberia.