The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) denounces acts of violence between supporters of Unity Party and 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.
Furthermore, 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.
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 into the loss of life and the destruction of property with impunity. The ECC further reminds the LNP and the Ministry of Justice that it is under obligation to inform the public on 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 continued acts of provocation and violence during the remaining period of the electoral process has 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.
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 election day could be high.
To political actors:
- That all political parties and independent candidates educate their supporters on the need to adhere to the Farmington River Declaration.
To the LNP and Joint Security Task Force (JSTF):
- That the LNP and other members of the JSTF should increase its presence across the country to be positioned to respond to threats of the electoral violence during the remaining period of the elections.
- Sufficient funding and resources be given to the JSTF to ensure that the Liberian general elections on October 10 are free, fair, and peaceful.
The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is Liberia’s largest domestic election observation network with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections, and governance established since 2010. ECC members include the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Center for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (CECPAP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). The ECC election observation effort is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “The contents of this update are the responsibility of the ECC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.”