“Only Consolidated Global Efforts Can Curb Electoral Violence” -ATJL Founder Swen Asserts


As the October 10, 2023 presidential and legislative elections draw nearer, couple with the electoral violence incident that occurred over the weekend in Foya, Lofa County that led to the death of three (3) persons, the Alliance for Transitional Justice-Liberia (ATJL) Founder, Jeremiah S. Swen has disclosed that only consolidated global efforts can help to curb the huge wave of electoral violence that is gradually taken over the country. He noted that the recent height of electoral violence in Foya, between the Unity Party and Coalition for Democratic Change leading to the alleged death of three (3) Liberians harness the need for broader consolidated efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU), African Union (AU), United States of America (USA), as well as technical support from the United Nations (UN) to jointly develop and timely communicate the ‘Liberia Democratic Preservation Travel Restrict Act’ for political actors and public officials. The ATJL through its Founder has therefore released a preliminary comprehensive election monitoring tool named and styled ‘Liberia 2023 Electoral Violence Indicators and Strategy for Containment’. Accordingly, the report highlighted the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Unity Party (UP) (40% and 24% respectively), as key political institutions with high documented electoral violence, something it says has the propensity to ignite election related crisis. The report also labeled Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, as being an extreme engine of hate speech, threat of war, history of war and coup, thus, calling on the international development partners to timely develop, communicate and regulate travel restriction targeting all political actors and institutions that may directly or indirectly undermine the dignity, credibility and peace of the elections. According to him, it was observed that Alexander B. Cummings, of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), and Lusiness F. Kamara, of the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOR), have no report of political violence, but represent constituents with enthusiasms, couple with personal geopolitical quest which could provoke violence at anytime. “The report under its mild indicator highlighted Hon. Thomas Fallah of CDC as emerging trend of violence (political militancy), and projected extreme escalation due to his electoral bid that threaten the long established influence of former VP Boakia and the Unity Party in Lofa County,” he noted. The ATJL Founder asserted that ‘Under State Actors’ direct managerial leadership, it was established that the National Election Commission (NEC) through its Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, inability to fully and timely adhere to or apply the New Election Law (instilling of deterrent through fine); lack of transparency associated with Final Voter Roll, has contributed to the rapid decline of citizens’ distrust within the election management framework.  In addition, the report also stated that the Liberia National Police (LNP) lack of capacity and defective decentralization mechanism for conflict identification and containment lacks independence, stressing that the intentional and unintentional actions of political actions have the propensity to incite protest, unrest and chaos in the country. According to him, Hon. Yekel Koluba and Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee, were linked as key political actors with the highest propensity to incite extreme electoral violence (hate speeches, political militancy and extreme confrontation), something that was further unearthed as part of their history and influence in society.

Accordingly, the report which documented electoral violence from the official declaration of campaign, to September 15, 2023, covered the 15 political sub-divisions during its monitoring period. He emphasized that the ‘Liberia 2023 Electoral Violence Indicators and Strategy for Containment’, also addressed the increasing wave of violent against female candidates.  “These waves of treatment which derived from tribal, social and religious biases melted against women, have tremendously impacted their overall political participation, and the decline in the elevation of women’s sensitive agenda and empowerment,” the report stated. The ATJL believes that a unified, timely communicated and regulated framework project will help to strength international approach to prevent, and ensure accountability in keeping with the outburst of coups, and threats of sub-regional transnational crimes and religious extremism. Swen further asserted that the impact obtained from the united condemnation and demand for restitution of unauthorized withdrawal of designated development grants by the Liberian government, is welcoming, stating “the strategic policy approach ignited moral consciousness within the government which also serves as deterrence”. The ATJL Founder indicated that the unified actions of Liberia’s development partners in preserving 20 years of stability and uninterrupted peace, presents the country as a success story for both sub-regional crisis intervention, as well as the UN multi-dimensional post-conflict recovery and transitional framework. “Indeed, the guns are silent, but peace remains fragile and will get worsen if the current unprecedented rise of electoral violence and declining confidence within the NEC are not timely contained,” he lamented.The Alliance for Transitional Justice-Liberia is a central coordinating transitional justice institution comprised 16 national organizations, which include the Liberia Annual Conference-the United Methodist Church, Luther Church in Liberia, Liberia Legal Aid, Faith and Justice Network, Flomo Theatre, Inc., Defense for Children International–Liberia, among others. Graph 4: Political Parties and Independent Candidates Election Violence Indicators.

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