MONROVIA, Montserrado – Lewis Brown, Liberia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, says Liberians no longer need to fear but to keep hoping for the better.
Brown’s statement comes in the wake of the Supreme Court final ruling on November 6 into a writ of prohibition filed by the Liberty Party for the National Elections Commission to hold off on holding a runoff election between the Unity Party and Coalition for Democratic Change until fraud claims are investigated.
Addressing a news conference recently at the Monrovia City Hall, Brown, who returned to Liberia recently from the United States, said despite the volleys of negative predictions which preceded his arrival, he was pleased to be greeted by quiet streets and peaceful homes.
“It was especially heartwarming to observe and listen to both the opposition and the ruling parties which are still locked in the contest for political power,” he said.
“As an important part of the process of consolidating our peace and democracy, we pause in dutiful obedience to the instructions of the court.”
He recalled that in 2003, Liberians witnessed their country and its institutions collapse under the weight of self-destruction but said after 14 years, the people are reforming their institutions, however imperfect. Liberians now want a future, not in a neighboring country, but here at home, he said.
“Despite the country myriad differences and the challenges Liberians look to face, their traveling together on this post-conflict journey of nation-building is proving to be successful,” he asserted.
He said Liberians, including the young and old, educated and uneducated, are now too deeply engaged in the forward march of their country to be turned back, excluded, or denied.
“There ought to be no doubt that the winner of Liberia’s presidential election will inherit not just a better country but also a freer, more expressive and hopeful people who are determined as they have earned the right to be, to jealously protect their hard-won peace, freedom, democracy, and progress,” he continued.
“Whoever wins the presidential election, Liberia cannot and will not go back,” Brown emphasized.
He said indeed Liberians will continue to respect their leaders and institutions as they should, but “Liberians can no longer fear their leaders or institutions.”
“We have further come a long way from a restricted public space for the expressions of ideas to the unhindered expressions of views not because the opinions expressed are necessarily right but because we enjoy the right to express them publicly without previous restraints or the looming threat of reprisals,” he added.
Brown previously held the position of information minister before taking up the assignment as Liberia’s permanent representative to the UN. It was not clear whether his press conference was a government-sanctioned event.
Featured photo by Zeze Evans Ballah