Gravely alarmed over the spiraling wave of electoral violence that continues to engulf the country, especially the recent incidences of violence in Bomi, Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties, the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL) strongly recommends to friendly nations including the United States, European Union, among others, to place a travel ban on all political leaders who promote violence in the name of elections and politics.
Addressing the issue of electoral/political violence, voters’ trucking and electoral fraud, during an Executive Committee meeting convened September 15, 2020, the IRCL strongly condemned all acts of electoral/political violence including the unfortunate developments reported in District 16/St. Paul Bridge, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties over the weekend.
According to an IRCL press statement signed by the President of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, Rev. Kortu Brown, the Council enjoined the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police to investigate these reported acts of violence and intolerance and bring the perpetrators to justice if peace and stability should continue to be maintained in Liberia.
“We call on all Liberians to say NO TO VIOLENCE! The Council appeals to friendly nations including the United States, European Union, etc. to place a travel ban on all political leaders who promote violence in the name of elections and politics,” the IRCL implored.
The Council also condemned all violations of the country’s election laws and regulations like hate speech, physical aggression including the use of cutlasses in political disputes, intimidation of journalists and campaigning before the statutory period, and urged the National Election Commission to be assertive in the discharge of its duties and to enforce all election laws with penalty impose on all violators as required by the laws of Liberia.
Regarding the tending electoral anomaly of trucking voters or persons interested in participating in the ongoing voter Roll Update (VRU), the Council said it realized that Liberia’s electoral process has been characterized by trucking of voters from one constituency to another.
“Unfortunately, trucking of persons is being reported in several counties including Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, as well as other counties bordering Liberia’s neighbors in northern and eastern regions of the country. This act of wooing votes through financial inducements to involuntarily vote and/or campaign for particular candidates undermines our democracy and stability of our nation. Therefore, the council condemns this act in very strong terms and asks all stakeholders and citizens to desist from this unpatriotic action. The IRCL calls on the National Elections Commission to apply the necessary component of the election laws to curb this unwholesome practice and prevent the holding of elections that do not represent the true aspirations of the people within a given electoral constituency or district,” the IRCL noted.
With regards, the registration of underage voters, the IRCL noted reports of underage children being registered to participate in the December 8th, 2020 Senatorial election.
“As we are aware, the voting age in Liberia is 18 years and above; any person registering below 18 years is ineligible and such action is considered as a fraud and a criminal act. This should be taken seriously by the authorities and community leaders. Those individuals should be exposed and brought to justice,” IRCL stated.
Meanwhile, the Council has commended the President and the Government of the Republic of Liberia for declaring rape as a national emergency and issuing a Proclamation setting out the preliminary plan of actions in addressing rape and related sexual/gender based abuses in the country.
“We urge the Government to enforce the rape laws so as to serve as deterrence to would be rapists. We ask all Liberians to be respectful Citizens and law abiding people,” the IRCL cautioned, urging the people of Liberia to respect national leadership because Leadership comes from God the Almighty; therefore, all leaders should be honored and respected.
“Our leaders are not to be insulted and disrespected as is becoming the norm in the country. Let us stop unnecessarily threatening one another! Let the Ministry of Justice speedily investigate and report all acts of electoral violence in order to protect our peace and security,” the IRCL proclaimed.