THE RACE HAS BEGUN in earnest in the Liberian Presidential and General Elections slated for October 10.
THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION (NEC) Sunday, July 30, 2017 officially declared campaign open and at the same time updated the public with the number of candidates participating in the elections.
STATISTICS RELEASED BY THE NEC shows that a total of 1,026 candidates, including 163 women are contesting the October 10 elections. There are 22 presidential candidates – only two are independent candidates. A total of 986 for running for the 73 district representative seats at the House of Representatives.
LONG BEFORE THE DECLARATION of campaign which is to start today until 11:59 on October 8, the battle began heating up with candidates throwing jabs at each other.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT IN such contests there are always vigorous and rigorous campaigns in the run-up to the elections, which understandably whip up some excitement in the electorate.
ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN IS not a new phenomenon in Liberia’s years of peace. This is a period in our political sphere that calls for our highest level of tolerance and civility.
WE WISH TO SEE FLAWLESS elections take place this coming October. We know Liberians can rise to the occasion when the need arises.
WE CANNOT DENY THE fact that there have been pockets of violence before, during and even after the results has been declared by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
VIOLENCE IN TIMES LIKE THESE often erupts from misunderstandings between supporters of various parties or candidates or disagreements with those presiding over elections.
TO CURB SUCH VIOLENCE, political parties participating in the elections have committed themselves to upholding peace and collectively ensuring that political activities would be held in a peaceful manner, with a promise to accept the election results.
BEYOND WHAT IS PENNED on paper, we look forward to political leaders having a grip on the emotions of their followers. But this can only happen when the message they take to the people during this campaign is often of peace, love for country and collective efforts for development.
TENSIONS ARE ALWAYS HIGH because we easily get carried away and let our emotions get the better part of us because our preferred candidate is losing out or an opponent is losing.
THAT IS WHY WE APPEAL TO ALL political parties and their candidates to approach this year's elections campaign with dignity. Please stick to issues instead of personal insults and the incitement of your followers to violence.
THIS IS THE TIME FOR LIBERIA to make the world believe that we have rewritten our history – from being a people of violence to a people who have come of age – not any longer in need of foreign troops policing us to maintain our own peace.
WE BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE opting to be leaders will uphold decency and will always remind themselves that we have come a long way in rebuilding the foundations of democracy in Liberia, yet our pillars remain fragile. 2017 Presidential and General Elections is a perfect opportunity to continue strengthening the pillars of our democracy.