three lives have been tragically lost in recent clashes in Liberia between rival supporters of the country’s leading political parties, just days before the upcoming elections, as reported by the United Nations (UN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
These unfortunate confrontations unfolded in the northwestern region of Lofa County and involved the Unity Party, led by former vice president Joseph Boakai, and the Coalition for Democratic Change, headed by President George Weah, a former international football star who transitioned into politics and has been in office since 2018.
The UN and ECOWAS jointly issued a statement on Saturday, urging the leaders of both political parties to strongly admonish their supporters to refrain from any form of provocation or violence. Ensuring a fair and peaceful electoral process is paramount for Liberia, a nation scarred by successive civil wars between 1989 and 2003, resulting in the loss of over 250,000 lives.
In an effort to maintain stability and promote a peaceful democratic transition, Liberia’s major political parties made a commitment in April 2023 to resolve any electoral disputes through legal channels rather than resorting to violence. Both ECOWAS and the UN have called upon the country’s law enforcement agencies to swiftly restore order, conduct impartial investigations, make their findings public, and ensure the prosecution of those responsible for the violence.
The United States embassy has also voiced its condemnation of these clashes, which have put the nation on edge. Notably, both political factions have traded accusations, blaming each other for the unfortunate confrontations. With over 2.4 million registered voters, Liberia braces itself for the crucial presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for October 10.