Liberia: Peace concert on eve of election

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: outgoing Liberian leader

By Harrison Arubu

As Liberia go to polls second time since 1944 on Tuesday, a peace concert by Queen Juli Endee, a music artist, has been staged for a violence-free presidential and House of Representatives elections.

The elections billed to start on Tuesday is a milestone, marking the first transition of a democratically elected government to another.

Endee on Monday urged her fellow Liberians to shun violence during the elections.

“I am here to promote peace; that is what I do to continue to sustain the peace and we must maintain the peace.

“And it is important for us Liberians to respect the mandate of the international community because peace in Liberia is peace in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

“The West African countries have done very well for us. Now, it is our responsibility to maintain the peace that we have had over the years.

“We want a culture of peace, and denounce all forms of violence during and after the elections.”

Outgoing president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has spent a two-term of 12 years after assuming power to herald democratic rule in a war torn country.

Nigeria’s new ambassador to Liberia, Mr James Dimka, has also sued for peace as his host.

Dimka told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, that sustaining the prevailing peace in the country was critical to its full socio-economic and political recovery.

“My expectations are clear. We are praying there should be peace, before, during and after the elections in Liberia. No nation develops where there is rancour.

“Peace is cardinal, justice must prevail, transparency should be there. Once there is transparency; there is justice, people will be satisfied with the results of the elections. And that is what I expect should happen tomorrow.

“Those who win should remember that people voted them; those who lose should know that it is only one person that can win at a time.

“Once you know that people are involved, that if you win you are going to govern people, then you pray that there should be peace.’’

If there is no peace and there are no people, then you cannot be president, you cannot be governors.”

The envoy, who assumed duty on Monday, also stressed the need for Nigerians resident in the country to go about their normal duties and remain law abiding.

NAN reports that many Liberians are praying for a violence-free election and hoping for a new government that would improve the economy and maintain peace in the country.

Some of them told NAN of their prayers for peace from all the 20 presidential candidates, their parties and their supporters.

Liberia has been through turbulent times in recent years occasioned by two brutal civil wars that left the country in ruins.

Outgoing President Sirleaf, who has served out her constitutional two terms in office, is lauded for restoring order and sustaining peace in the country in her 12 years in office.

Sirleaf’s two-term Vice President, Mr Joseph Boakai; football icon, George Weah; prominent businessman, Mr Alexander Cummings and veteran opposition figure, Mr Charles Brumskine are among the 20 presidential candidates.

Also in the race is Prince Johnson, a former warlord and key player in the First Liberian Civil War between 1989 until 1997.

Ms MacDella Cooper, a philanthropist and founder of the MacDella Cooper Foundation, which is devoted to improving the lives of children and women in Liberia, is the only female presidential candidate.

Many political observers believe the election is a two-horse race between Vice President Boakai and Weah, who lost to Sirleaf in a run-off in the 2005 presidential polls.

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