The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) turned twenty years of age on August 18, 2023. Several programs were held in Monrovia to commemorate the 20th Birth Anniversary of the CPA. These commemorative occasions had various local and global speakers, especially from countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who spoke of the peace that Liberia has enjoyed for twenty years and how this peace should be preserved.
The main problem with this commemoration is that it carries the wrong definition of peace. The Nobel Peace Laureate Mrs. Lehmah Gbowee and Senator Conmany Wesseh have the correct definition of peace, as heard in their respective statements to the effect that “Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of Justice”. Their statements are correct because only Justice brings Peace. Most unfortunately, the powers that be embrace the wrong definition of peace, resulting in the bad decision-making that leads to the repetition of violence that, at times, takes on the forms of coup d’etat and civil, as has been experienced in Liberia and many other ECOWAS countries, On the basis of this bad experience, the people of Liberia declare that they prefer Peace to War (Afrobarometer, 2020).
Witness what is happening in the ECOWAS countries under the wrong definition of peace. There are problems with coup d’etats in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, La Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger. There are signs of movement towards World War Three with the bad situation in Niger. Be aware of the profit motive being in operation over the the large uranium deposits in Niger and the divide of the United States of America (USA) and France on one side and Russia on the other side, as African countries line up behind their respective colonial masters. Already, Russia has deployed the Russian mercenary group, the Wagner group, in several African countries, including Niger.
Clearly, if the correct definition of peace were being applied, there would not be any violence in any ECOWAS country. This wrong definition of peace is leading the powers that be to believe that the pending General and Presidential Election in Liberia will be at once non-violent and fair. The election in Liberia is scheduled to be held on October 10, 2023. However, already. there are violence-oriented statements from the powers that be to the effect that there will be “first round victory”, as seen on their billboards and in the media, with the words “there will be no win for the opposition (FPA. Friday, August 18, 2023). Already, there have been violent pre-election clashes in Liberia with people getting injured badly and hospitalized.
The powers that be should be working towards the prevention of violence rather than making violence oriented statements like the calls for one round victory and no victory room for the opposition political parties. There can be no level playing field and fair elections when intimidating statements are made and violence occurs to scare opposition parties. ECOWAS allows these scare tactics to persist and then comes in when coup d’etats take place, pretending to want to remove the military junta, as is being observed in the Niger crisis. The ECOWAS pretension is not a serious move. ECOWAS must be engaged in prevention rather than pretention.
How can this pretention be turned into prevention to solve the violence problem and bring in fair election? The only way to get this prevention is for the people who love Liberia and other countries to continue working together to raise awareness, through the Rule of Law, among the people to motivate them to take actions to transform the prevailing unfair electoral system into the enduring fair electoral system. It is only through this transformation that persons with good records can get elected to bring in the system of Justice, the indispensable ingredient for Peace and Progress in Liberia and in other countries.
Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Signatory of the CPA