United Methodist Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr., is calling on fellow Liberians to shun violence as they prepare to vote in the country’s presidential run-off election.
“We cannot as a nation afford to experience any form of violence that would threaten our co-existence as a people,” Quire said.
The run-off election between Vice President Joseph Boakai of the governing Unity Party and George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change had been scheduled for Nov. 7.
But on Nov. 6, the Supreme Court of Liberia halted all National Elections Commission activities leading to the run-off election pending the adjudication of the complaints of irregularities of the Oct. 10 presidential and legislative elections.
Days after the Oct. 10 elections, the Liberty Party of Charles Brumskine filed a complaint of irregularities with the commission. When the commission failed to hear the case, the Liberty Party went to Supreme Court seeking for a writ of prohibition, which was granted on Nov. 6. Both Brumskine and Weah are United Methodists.
Quire, who is attending the United Methodist Council of Bishops meeting in the U.S., said the Supreme Court has decided that the complaints of the Liberty Party be investigated by the National Elections Commission.
"While we're waiting for the National Elections Commission to call the aggrieved parties, we want to call on all Liberians wherever they are to remain calm so that the commission can conduct the hearing,” said Quire.
He called on the commission to take the issue very seriously and hear the aggrieved parties as soon as possible. “There is no need for over-anxiety. We need to still be civil. We are people of law,” the bishop said.
Earlier, the bishop expressed gratitude for the way Liberians conducted themselves during the first round of the presidential and legislative elections and escribed all who participated earlier as “winners for helping to preserve the peace and unity of Liberia.”
Quire challenged both parties in the second round of the presidential election to speak to their partisans and sympathizers to avoid threats and every form of violence during the voting and afterward.
“Liberia is the only country we have and know, so let’s protect and cherish our beloved country,” he said.
The bishop also called on United Methodists throughout Liberia and elsewhere to pray for the country as the run-off election looms. He reiterated that Liberia cannot afford to lapse into civil war.
“We have made considerable progress in our lives since the (second civil) war ended in 2003 and we cannot allow this election to destroy the gains that we have made,” the bishop warned.
He promised to do all within his power as leader of The United Methodist Church in Liberia to work for the peaceful co-existence of all Liberians.
He urged all to accept the result of the election, saying “whoever is elected as president among the two contending candidates will be the leader that God wants for Liberia.”
Before leaving for the Council of Bishops meeting, Quire urged all United Methodists in Liberia to go to the polls and vote for the leader of their choice.
“Your vote and prayer is all you can contribute to uphold the peace of Liberia,” he concluded.
Swen is a communicator in Liberia. Heather Hahn of United Methodist News Service contributed to this report. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.