As Boakai, PYJ, Yekeh Repeatedly Beat War Drum: 20 Years Of Peace Threatened!
The Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP), Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, as well as the Founder of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Senator Prince Y. Johnson, and Montserrado County’s district #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah, have, in separate statements, threatened to jeopardize the peace and stability of the country by resisting the results of the October polls if they observe any attempt by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government to thwart the will of the people by stealing the election.
In his statement at the official launch of the 2023 campaign on September 17, 2023, Boakai said, “First and foremost, let me make it abundantly clear and assure you that any plans or attempts to thwart the will of the Liberian people by stealing these elections will be forcefully resisted by us…”
Senator Prince Johnson, in a press conference to appreciate the massive support at the launch of the UP rally, claimed that contrary to CDCians claiming one-round victory, the Unity Party (UP) will be the party winning the election on the first ballot. He insinuated that, in order to rig the election, the National Elections Commission (NEC), instead of providing 3,000 ballot papers to each polling place, which is the maximum voting number in each center, has increased it to 4,500 ballot papers. He, too, warned, “Any rigged election amounts to coup d’état against democracy.”
He said, “Before the October elections, Liberians are coming out under the banner ‘Don’t Try It’. Any attempt, the people’s power will be exercised like the Arab Spring. You’ll shoot your gun; you’ll kill us or you’ll die. No more fear. Liberians don’t have fear anymore.” Representative Kolubah has also insisted on going back to the “bushes” to seek redress if President Weah and his government makes any attempt to rig the election. He vividly stated that they do not have trust and confidence in the Judiciary and, therefore, any attempt to rig the election will revert the country back to its dark days.
These statements are being made just a few weeks to the conduct of the election, casting dark cloud over Liberia, as the UP appears not to be in the position to accept the results when the CDC is announced winner of the polls, claiming to win the election in one round.
Leaders of the CDC are yet to comment on their course of action if the UP is announced winner of the election; however, leaders of the UP have made it emphatic that they will result to forceful resistance, instead of using the legal means, if they observe electoral fraud.
In the 2017 general and presidential elections, the Liberty Party (LP), then headed by Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine, claimed electoral fraud in the first round of the presidential elections and demanded that the NEC rerun the first round of the election.
The LP however used the legal means to get redress, submitting its pieces of evidence to the National Elections Commission (NEC), which reviewed the case and adjudicated that there were irregularities in the election but they did not amount to fraud.
Not satisfied with the judgment, the LP took the case further to the NEC Board of Commissioners, which rendered the same judgment as the NEC. The LP took the final step by seeking redress at the Supreme Court, which mandated the NEC to halt the conduct of the run-off election, slated for November 7, 2017 until the case be adjudicated.
While at the court, the LP was then joined by the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the Unity Party (UP). However, the Supreme Court, in its ruling, acknowledged that the first round of the presidential and legislative elections were, to some extent, characterized by fraud, irregularities and disregard of the New Elections Law, but could not establish that such malpractices were on a scale that warrants a rerun of the entire elections as requested by the appellants. The court mandated the NEC to clean and publish the voter roll and continue with the conduct of the run-off election. The LP, as well as the UP, ALP and ANC accepted the ruling and maintained the peace.
However, the Unity Party has threatened otherwise in the 2023 election. The UP is being supported by several war actors in the October polls, including former rebel leaders Prince Johnson, Joshua Milton Blahyi alias General Butt Naked and Yekeh Kolubah, raising concerns about the origination of the national threat to peace and stability.
Political observers are beginning to wonder what is the motive behind the UP threat, emphasizing that the peace of the country is far above any political institution’s interest. “You cannot threaten to resist the results and at the same time refuse to use the legal means to obtain redress, except you have sinister motive. If the UP will not use the courts to seek redress, then it is better they be barred from contesting the elections in order to safeguard the peace,” a political observer and admirer of Nobel Laureat, Leymah Gbowee, told the Hot Pepper.
A female politician said the UP needs to come up with the yardstick that they will use to determine electoral fraud during the election, and explain to the international observers and partners why they will not use the courts for redress. “This is a national security threat,” she emphasized.
Meanwhile, observers are calling on the European Union (EU) mission in Liberia, United States embassy, ECOWAS and AU to take due note of the threats emanating from leaders of the Unity Party (UP) and put into place the required mechanisms to maintain the peace and stability that the world strived to return to the country. They also called on the joint security to invite for clarity anyone making reckless statements against the peace of the country.