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Liberian, Kenyan political leaders might face election and post-election violence prosecution

WASHINGTON, DC––

Five members of the United States Congress reached an accord to focus on the election violence taking place in developing countries, mainly countries in sub-Sahara Africa.

The idea surfaced from a top member of Congress with vast interest in developments shaping Africa. Particularly, the victimization of poor and innocent persons at the hands of political actors.

The United States and international organizations have long held that election and post-election violence are unacceptable in places like Liberia, Kenya, and other African countries.

As Liberians return to the polls on November 7 for a runoff presidential vote, a spokesperson for the group says leaders of political institutions and political parties, as well as their principal lieutenants in Liberia, will be held fully accountable for election violence, especially those that are U.S. citizens.

Judges at the ICC

Reflecting on the recent unfortunate action of a young Liberian lady who allegedly murdered a baby and her 5 years old son in Wilmington, Delaware based on her fear of being deported to her native country, Liberia, from where she fled due to political violence and social unrest, the prominent US lawmakers say all national, regional and international instruments will be used to bring any and all political leaders and their key supporters to justice, when acts of violence that impact lives and properties occur during and immediately following the presidential election in Liberia.

The lawmakers, who elected to keep their work and action on this decision private and anonymous for now, blamed rogue and power-hungry African politicians for chaos in several countries on the continent.

The spokesperson for the lawmakers say by holding political leaders and their principal lieutenants responsible under all international legal framework will put an end to the craziness for power and greed on the continent.  He said, “We are watching all political actors in Liberia and Kenya as well as listening to their comments, rhetoric, and insinuations intended to incite violence and chaos.”

Photo: Liberia’s presidential candidates and political leaders, left to right, Weah, Boakai, Johnson, Cummings, Mills Jones, Brumskine, and Urey.

“The people who commit crimes are usually young men and women with no clear direction and maturity. Others are uneducated, illiterate and normally unemployed citizens.  While the actions of these people are condemnable and require prosecution, going after those in whose name these barbaric activities occur, or on whose orders such action take place, is the best option.  And we will hold them accountable as well as ensure they are prosecuted,” he added.

Electoral violence, usually committed along tribal and partisan lines, has been commonplace in sub-Sahara Africa, and Liberia has been singled out as a nation where political actors feel entitled to endless impunity while their actions have led to the deaths of many people and the destruction of properties.

 

 

Liberia experienced a brutal civil war that killed more than 250,000 people as well as destroyed political, economic and social institutions, including infrastructure and agricultural activities.

Photo: Left to right: President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, VP William Ruto, opposition vice running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, and presidential candidate Raila Odinga. The face-off soon in the second phase of a disputed presidential election cast out as fraudulent by the High Court in Kenya.

“We believe all electoral grievances and complains should be handled through legal means even though we are cognizant of the flaws in the country’s judicial system.  But that is the best option. Killing people and destroying properties are not the option anybody would desire,” he added.

Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and former soccer star George Manneh Weah will face off in a presidential runoff on November 7, 2017, in which the Liberian people will elect a replacement for outgoing president Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has ruled Liberia since 2006.

The ICC has dealt with election and post-election before, especially with regards to atrocities permitted through such activities.

Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto has been going back and forth before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He and his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of instigating and financing deadly tribal violence in Kenya after that country’s disputed 2007 election.  However, Kenyatta was luckily cleared due to the lack of evidence against his involvement.

A security analyst told Globe Afrique that these new measures are completely necessary and anyone who thinks they can instigate violence under the cover of darkness should think twice because there are instruments in place to detect whatever goes on.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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