By Precious D. Freeman
The Girls Alliance for Future Leadership (GAFL), stressed that election matters, and peaceful elections are the main pillars of democracy.
Addressing the press in Monrovia yesterday, the Advocacy Officer, Kadiatu Bah, said that free, fair, and transparent elections are the hallmarks of a wholesome functioning democracy.
“Liberia is at that crossroads again. Democracies are fragile, but they are protected by the resilience of independent institutions of the State that uphold the rule of law without fear or favor,” she said.
She indicated that Liberia’s role model, the United States, could have descended into chaos and disintegration in 2020, had those institutions not lived up to expectations.
She explained that on October 10, 2023, Liberians from all walks of life will be going to the polls to elect their leaders in accordance with the Constitution.
She added that this 2023 election is the fourth since the end of the civil war in 2003.
According to her, the elections of 2005, 2011, and 2017, were historic for a country that endured over two decades of war.
“All the three elections were conducted without any major violent incident, it is however necessary to note that there was a huge presence of the international community, with the United Nations, African Union, and the ECOWAS managing the peace and security of the State,” she added.
Madam Bah continued that the international observers and partners, both multi-lateral and bi-lateral, considered the elections as free, fair, transparent, and incredible.
“The 2023 election is the first that is totally, holistically, and absolutely managed by Liberians. There is a lot at stake when we investigate the history of national elections that were managed by Liberians,” she indicated.
The GAFL Advocacy Officer explained that as young people, while most of their parents were likely toddlers, history informs them that the 1985 Presidential and General Elections in the country created the environment for the civil war of the 1990s that crumbled the State and caused the deaths of an important estimated 250 thousand Liberians.
However, Girls Alliance is calling for a violence free election, especially the government of Liberia and the three branches of government, to ensure that the 2023 elections are free of intimidation, harassment, and violence.
“We are calling on National Security, the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Liberia National Police, National Security Agency, and the Liberian Judiciary, to enforce and uphold the rule of law without discrimination, because the peaceful outcome of this election rests on your shoulders,” she said.
GAFL Advocacy Officer is also calling on the youths to reject violence and not to be tools for any politician who wants to instigate violence.
“We are also calling on the National Election Commission and its international partners to be transparent and proactive in dealing with any appearance of irregularities, no matter who is involved,” she said.
GAFL also called on the media, especially the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), local and foreign media establishments, reporters, and correspondents, to counter misinformation by proactive dissemination of facts.
Meanwhile, GAFL condemned the recent violence from Lofa County between supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Unity Party (UP), adding that they hope for speedy investigation in order for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
GAFL is a teen based female organization working in rights advocacy for women and girls, with their motto: “Today’s girls, Tomorrow’s Leaders,” and their mission is empowering female teens for leadership in both the public and private sectors.