MONROVIA – The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has strongly condemned recent violent fracas in Foya, Lofa County, which led to the deaths of two individuals.
NCSCL is the umbrella organization for all civil society organizations in the country.
It can be recalled that on Friday, September 29, 2023, violence erupted between supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the main opposition Unity Party (UP) with both parties pointing accusing fingers at each other for being the orchestrator of the conflict.
The CDC has accused the UP of vandalizing newly erected streetlights and attempting to destroy newly constructed infrastructure believed to be owned by Montserrado County Electoral District #5 Representative Thomas Fallah, who is now a candidate in the race for Lofa County Electoral District #5.
On the flick side, the UP campaign’s spokesman, Mo Ali, said their September 29 activity in Foya was authorized by the NEC. During the event, UP supporters were reportedly attacked by CDC supporters in front of Hon. Fallah’s fence in Foya. Ali noted that CDC supporters threw stones and fired live bullets at UP partisans from Rep. Fallah’s fence.
CSO Council in a statement released at the weekend described the act as unlawful, worrisome, evil, uncivilized, and a clear violation of the Farmington River Declaration and Liberia 1986 constitution.
NCSCL called on political parties and ordinary Liberians to desist from acts of hooliganism that continue to threaten the peace and security of the country.
NCSCL further calls on the U.S. government to leave no stone unturned in its recent stance to place visa restrictions on would-be perpetrators of election violence in Liberia.
“The National Civil Society Council of Liberia is again, saddened to by the violent occurrence in Lofa that claimed two lives and left several other others brutally wounded. We see this as a clear disregard to the Farmington River Declaration, which all parties and candidates signed onto,” said the Council’s statement under the signature of its Chairperson Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.”
“In support of the US Embassy and ECOWAS positions, we are calling on the Liberian government through the Ministry of Justice to leave no stone unturned in impartially investigating the matter to bring the perpetrators to book,” added the Council.
At the same time, the CSO Council says it is deeply concerned about the delay by the National Election Commission (NEC) in releasing the Final Registration Roll (FRR) to political parties participating in the upcoming election. The council believes that the delay is raising credibility concerns and hopes that the NEC can act promptly to defer such concerns.
As the umbrella organization representing various civil society groups across Liberia, the Council noted that the transparency and integrity of electoral processes are crucial for peace, democracy, and national development.
Under the New Election Law of Liberia, the NEC is mandated to resolve all FRR-related issues provide the FRR to all political parties at least 30 days before the scheduled date of the election. This provision was enacted to ensure fair and open elections, allowing political parties the necessary time to verify and address any inaccuracies or discrepancies in the voter registration process; however, the Commission has fallen short on this.
Accordingly, NCSCL pointed out that delay in releasing the FRR poses a significant threat to the credibility of the upcoming election.
“It deprives political parties of the opportunity to conduct comprehensive checks to ensure the accuracy and inclusivity of voter registration data. Furthermore, this delay undermines the trust of political parties and the public in the electoral process, which is detrimental to the nascent democracy of Liberia,” the Council furthered.
“The NCSC-L urges the NEC to act swiftly and fulfill its legal obligation by immediately releasing the Final Registration Roll to all political parties. We emphasize the importance of upholding the principles of transparency, accuracy, and inclusivity to build confidence in the electoral process and safeguard the integrity of the upcoming election.”
“We call upon all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations, the media, and the international community, to support our demand for the immediate release of the Final Registration Roll. We must all work together to ensure that the electoral process in Liberia remains transparent, fair, and free from any forms of interference or manipulation.” It stated.
NCSC then reiterated its commitment to promoting democracy, peace, and good governance in Liberia. We remain steadfast in our role as a watchdog, safeguarding the rights and interests of the Liberian people.