MONROVIA – The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has chided the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Hot Pepper Newspaper, Mr. Philipbert S. Browne for his latest Facebook post, in which he predicted that there will be blood on the streets due to the outcome of the ensuing 2023Presidential and Legislative Elections.
In execution of Article 77(b) of the Liberian Constitution, eligible Liberian voters will go to the poll to on October 10 elect a President/Vice President, 73 Representatives and 15 Senators with the two former steering the affairs of the state for the next six years, and while the latter for nine years. In those elections, President Weah, standard bearer of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) will contest against 18 opposition candidates for the presidency.
With the elections just five more days away, the veteran Liberian journalist took to his Facebook to post what is termed as a terrifying write out, in which he insinuated that it would difficult for the loser(s) to accept the outcome of the poll and that could bomb the country into serious chaos with blood spilled in the streets.
Journalist Browne wrote on his official Facebook timeline: “THERE WILL BE BLOOD ON OUR STREETS; Parents should purchase dry goods, water and medications before October 10th elections. Regardless, no one will accept the polls results.”
The post has since received widespread condemnations from different spheres of the public on social media and some quarters of the Liberian society, with the CSO Council, which is the umbrella organization for all civil society organizations in the country, being the first to release an official statement on it.
NCSCL in the statement signed by its Chairperson, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, pointed that the post from such a renowned media manager does not only instill fears in the minds of Liberians, but also has the propensity to undermine voters’ turnout on Elections Day due to fear.
The Council indicated that such comment, which comes on the heel of continuing electoral violence across the country, especially the Foya scenario in Lofa County, poses serious threat of instability and security.
“No matter whatever interpretation Mr. Browne has to his post, we see it as counterproductive to the holding of a free and peaceful election that we all yarn for. The Council is taken aback by the latest post from Journalist Browne, which he infers that the outcome of the ensuing elections would be greeted by violence because the parties won’t accept the result. This is scaring because many see Mr. as an insider who is consigned with privileged information,” said the Council.
“With the post coming from a well-knowledgeable and informed personality, some Liberians, due to fear, might just decide to stay at home on Elections Day to observe the day’s situation. And what we get in the end is low voters’ turnout, which is not satisfying for our democracy that should encourage popular participation.”
“Mr. Browne must be mindful of what he posts on social media or write in his newspaper pages because he has many followers due to his high profile and long stay in the Liberian media. Whatever he writes or puts out in the public comes with different public reactions due to the different understandings that come with it. And so we encourage Mr. Browne to be a bit more conflict sensitive in his public utterances and writings,” added NCSCL.