The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) say it has began the process of designing new strategies ahead of upcoming General and Presidential elections in Liberia, due to take place in October 2011. Although the elections are still more than a year away, the JPC believes in the need to start their planning well in advance. The strategies of the JPC include massive voter and civic education, monitoring of the electoral campaigns and ensuring that the elections are free and fair.
The JPC said the activities will also include the monitoring of campaign messages emanating from political parties and politicians, voter and civic education messages, and the monitoring of equal access to all Government facilitates during the elections period.
JPC’s National Director Councillor Augustine Toe said the organisation is also planning to stage a general campaign against electoral violence in line with the Nation Elections Commission (NEC) guidelines, and will include all leaders of political parties.
“We are planning ahead of the electoral process to be able to manage elections violence that might erupt during elections period,” said Councillor Toe. "We are not praying for violence but as peacebuilders we must prepare ourselves and find ways to stop any form of conflict,” he continued.
There are rumors in every corner of Monrovia that the 2011 General and Presidential elections will be violent because some political leaders are making their followers believe that the elections will be rigged if their party does not win.
The JPC boss said it was unthinkable for any politician or political party to believe that the 2011 General and Presidential elections will be rigged, with the process not even begun yet. “How can they think that way? How can a team captain feel that the referee will cheat his team when the game has not started?” Councillor Toe jokingly said.
The JPC boss exerted that peacebuilding organisations in the country need to start preparing themselves for the 2011 election because, according it is being perceived that the 2011 elections will be violent. “The politicians want to stir up conflict during the elections and we, as peacebuilders must start building the peace now instead of sitting and waiting till conflict to break up before we start finding solutions.”