Foreign Minister Kemayah Assures UN Envoy of Credible Elections in Liberia - As the Special Representative of Secretary-General Pays courtesy Call
Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has assured the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr. Leonardo Santos Simao, that the forthcoming Presidential and Legislative elections will be free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive, and credible.
Foreign Minister Kemayah reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah and the Government of Liberia to ensuring the conduct of transparent and peaceful elections on October 10, 2023, in Liberia.
The Chief Liberian Diplomat made these remarks on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, when Mr. Leonardo Santos Simao paid a courtesy call on him at his Foreign Ministry Office on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Leonardo Santos Simao’s visit is part of his regional familiarization tour following his appointment as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel. He will meet with national authorities, the United Nations country team, and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
His meeting with the Liberian Foreign Minister was focused on peaceful elections, democracy, women's and youth political participation, as well as the conduct of free, fair, and transparent elections.
The Dean of the Liberian Cabinet said there is absolutely no doubt in his mind, and indeed, for everyone else, he believed "the writing is on the wall" that the outcome of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive, and credible electoral process will go in favor of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Minister Kemayah stated that His Excellency President Weah is prepared to run for reelection in light of the outstanding work he has done. He also noted that the Liberian people are determined to give President Weah a resounding one-round victory at the polls. "Only a student that is not prepared for an exam will want to burn down the school, but President Weah is ready to face his opponents at the polls,", Minister Kemayah noted.
The Liberian Foreign Minister said President Weah has repeatedly emphasized and assured peaceful elections, stating that President Weah is an Icon of peace, which he acted upon during the civil war by becoming a Peace Ambassador for UNICEF and even accepted to serve in the former government of President Sirleaf as a Peace Ambassador when he was in opposition. Minister Kemayah said that there can be no doubt that President Weah will assure free, fair, transparent, inclusive, and credible elections based on his credentials as a man of peace.
Minister Kemayah said these elections will further enhance the sustenance and consolidation of peace in Liberia, which is the foundation for a thriving democracy, and the pursuit of the national development agenda.
Foreign Minister Kemayah, quoting Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., said that as an initial step to funding the electoral process, the Government, in spite of the challenging fiscal situation, has given the National Elections Commission the appropriated funding in the National Budget to conduct the October 2023 Elections, stating that the government of Liberia has given the NEC the needed fund for the election and is only left with US$4.6 million, which is allocated for the second round of the election if need be.
On the issue of women's empowerment, Minister Kemayah mentioned that women's empowerment and equal political participation in President Weah’s Government are reflected at the highest level, disclosing that women constitute 65% of assistant ministers, managing directors, deputy ministers, and ministers in government, including a female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
Speaking earlier, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Madam Christine N. Umutoni, who escorted the team to the Foreign Ministry, introduced the delegation to Minister Kemayah.
For his part, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Leonardo Santos Simao, used the occasion to congratulate the Liberian Government on the 20th anniversary of the Accra Peace Accord, which, twenty years ago, brought new promise and progress to the country, adding that "We should not take peace for granted." I am glad that the candidates in this year’s elections have signed the Farmington Agreement, which they have committed themselves to for a peaceful election." The UN diplomat assured the Liberian government of UN support, stating that the Secretary General was very concerned about developments in Liberia with regards to the elections. He, however, expressed delight over the level of progress the government has made in maintaining peace.
The UN Envoy called on political leaders to guide the youth in these election processes, adding that they need to do that publicly because this political competition needs to be healthy.
Mr. Simao said they are here to facilitate the gathering of relevant and useful information on the electoral process, noting that the mission will interact during their stay in Liberia with the National Elections Commission (NEC), political parties, civil society organizations, and youth.