The National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, known as traditional leaders, is appealing to political actors and their supporters to allow peace and stability to reign, rather than thinking of winning the run-off at all costs and resorting to making inflammatory statements or comments.
For some time now, the airwaves have been flooded with incendiary comments, mainly on sectional and tribal politics, gradually tearing apart some counties, and even the country’s population in general, especially during this run-off period.
But the Council’s spokesman, Matthew Smith, told the media yesterday in Monrovia that the peace and stability of Liberia is more important than anyone winning the elections by all means, because without freedom of movement, there can never be growth and development of any country, and Liberia is no exception.
He said traditional leaders are the custodians of peace and heritage of the country, therefore their comments on issues of national concern should draw public attention, as they do not want the peace of the country to be derailed by any one or group of people just for state power
Smith stated, among many things, that politicians should be mindful before, during, and after the run-off with their utterances, which have the propensity to incite violence, which will be unfortunate, as sacrifices were made to restore peace to Liberia after the course of the bloody civil war.
He pointed out that at any moment, the head of the council, Zanzan Karwor, and team, shall tour the country from county to county, admonishing the population to be peaceful during the run-off, considering the crucial nature of the two-horse race, after most contestants dropped along the wayside.
The traditional rulers’ appeal to politicians comes at the time when there is heightening tension in the country, ahead of the Tuesday, November 14, run-off between the Coalition for Democratic Change and the Unity Party, as none of the 20 presidential and independent candidates accumulated the 50 percent plus one vote required by law to win outrightly in the first round.
During the first round of the election, there were numerous instances of electoral violence, which led to the loss of human lives and destruction of private and public properties, amongst supporters of the various political parties, mainly the CDC and UP.
Among those counties that bear the brunt of these incidents are Montserrado, Bong, Lofa, and Nimba Counties, where deaths, injuries and destruction of properties, as well as obstructing government functions at some polling centers on elections day, by either temporary or full-time staffers of the National Elections Commission, occurred.
At the moment, because of sectional or tribal politics being preached, instead of issue-related topics, tension is said to be brewing in Nimba County between the two major tribes, Gio and Mano, in supporting any of the contenders of the run-off.