…In Election Stalemate
N. Dweh Nimley
The Special Representatives of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and head of various UN Missions in West Africa has welcomed the legal trend taken by aggrieved political parties following the conduct of the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, head of UNOWAS, in a statement read last Friday at the United Nations Mission headquarters in Monrovia, said the UN is impressed with the peaceful nature of the Liberian electoral process, noting that compliance with the rule of law and due process is essential in strengthening the country’s fragile democracy.
Dr. Chambas stressed that legal challenges by aggrieved political parties should be legitimate and in good faith, adding that the will of the Liberian people must be respected as enshrined in Article I of Liberia’s constitution.
Last Friday, the full bench of the Supreme Court heard argument into a Bill of Exception filed by the Liberty Party. LP took exception to the ruling by the National Elections Commission into complaint of alleged electoral frauds and irregularities. The two political parties have challenged the results calling for a rerun of the elections.
Dr. Chambas endorsed the importance of complying with the constitutionally mandated date for the inauguration of the new government in January 2018. He said all parties and stakeholders should exercise restraint, uphold the rule of law and to conduct all activities with civility and in a non-violent manner.
Dr. Chambas, flanked by personnel from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Farid Zarif, UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Mahamat Saleh Annadif and UN Resident Coordinator for Cote d’ Ivoire Babacar Cisse, said peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections are prerequisite for peace consolidation and sustainable development in Liberia.
However, he assured Liberians of the international community’s assistance to the country’s development beyond the conclusion of the electoral process and UNMIL’s withdrawal.
The heads of the UN Missions also expressed the hope that upcoming elections in West Africa will consolidate democratic progress and bring about an increase in women’s participation in politics.