**FILE** Multiple Liberian flags (Courtesy of blk24ga via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** Multiple Liberian flags (Courtesy of blk24ga via Wikimedia Commons)

Liberians will soon make their choice for president at a time when the small West African nation grapples with high unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, government corruption and a drug epidemic. 

Amid reports about violence, Liberians at home and abroad are encouraging their fellow country people to remain peaceful and, regardless of the outcome, prioritize Liberia’s well-being over allegiance to a particular candidate or political party.

“If Liberians want [its status as the oldest African republic] to have any meaning, then we have to demonstrate to ourselves and to the world that we can manage to stay true to the democratic process and hold elections peacefully,” said Putugah Takpaw Phenom, a Liberian artist-activist and co-founder of the . 

Since its inception more than a decade ago, Liberia Heals has garnered a reputation as a grassroots social movement dedicated to reconciliation, rehabilitation, and conflict resolution in Liberia鈥檚 post-civil war era. Its mission has taken on a deeper meaning during this election cycle, as Liberians increasingly worry about how to maintain stability. 

鈥淲hen we look at the atmosphere on ground presently, and observe the rhetoric on social media regarding this election, we can see that there is a lot of deep emotions and negativity and we want to make everyone know that collectively, it’s all our 鈥榖isnay鈥 to keep the peace during this election,鈥 Bro. Putugah said. 

Liberia Heals recently released a song titled 鈥淓lections, da erebody bisnay鈥 by August the Shepherd and Liberia Heals co-founder Jauz Everliving King. 

The song, produced by DJ One, starts with someone speaking in Bassa, one of Liberia鈥檚 16 indigenous languages. For the next three minutes, August the Shepherd and Jauz Everliving King encourage Liberians to unite around civic engagement and a peaceful electoral process. They do so over a beat very familiar to Liberians.  

The has been circulating on platforms throughout Liberia and in other places around the world where Liberians have formed communities. Bro. Putugah told The Informer about future releases and social media videos, each of which will feature someone speaking in other indigenous Liberian languages.听

Meanwhile, Bro. Putugah, Jauz Everliving King and others continue to engage Liberians on the continent and around the world around their message of peace. They鈥檝e since pivoted their attention to the Liberian government.

鈥淲e call on the Liberian government and state security to play its part in doing everything in its power to promote a message of peace and foster an atmosphere of safety,鈥 Bro. Putugah said, noting that Liberians should respect the democratic process and report grievances through legal channels. 

鈥淲e call on the National Elections Commission in particular to hear and address any valid concerns brought to its attention, so as to strengthen public confidence in its ability to conduct free and fair elections as an institution.鈥 

In the Post-Civil War Era, Liberians Appeal to a Higher Power

This year marks 20 years since the end of the Second Liberian Civil War. 

Since 2003, Liberia has weathered the Ebola epidemic and a bevy of quality-of-life issues. Many Liberians, political affiliation notwithstanding, said conditions haven鈥檛 improved with the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and more recently President George Manneh Weah. 

Weah, a Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) member who succeeded Sirleaf in 2017, is in the throes of a polarizing reelection battle. He has garnered the support of many Liberians, particularly Liberian music stars who’ve appeared on the .听

This election season, Weah faces 19 opponents, including former Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party, Liberian business magnate Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress, and Clarence Moniba of the Liberian National Union.听

On Oct. 10, they will compete in an election that will go into a second round if no candidate garners more than 50% of the vote. 

In recent weeks, there have been concerns about election fraud, and some skepticism about whether the National Election Commission, a nonpartisan entity, would facilitate a fair electoral process. Violence has even become a topic of discussion in the aftermath of a melee in Lofa County that . 

As explained by Liberians scattered throughout the Diaspora, Liberians on the ground are preparing for the possibility of election day violence. Many are stocking up on food and supplies while others have explored how to enter neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, dozens of Liberian clergy people in the U.S. continue to call on a higher power to protect Liberia during this precarious time. 

Since聽 Oct. 2, nearly 30 Liberians of various Christian denominations have fasted and gathered on a conference call line at least six times a day to pray for a peaceful election process. These activities will culminate in the Thanksgiving service on Sunday.听

In explaining the impetus for this movement, the Rev. Miatta Teasley cited Biblical scriptures where Hebrews united around a new leader in the aftermath of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Teasley even mentioned the book of Ezekiel, which she noted as conveying the importance of political leaders seeking spiritual wisdom. 

Nearly 20 years ago, Teasley arrived in the U.S. after losing her mother and aunt in the Liberian Civil War.听 She told The Informer that she narrowly escaped death on at least two occasions while trying to keep her children safe.

It’s an experience Teasley said she wishes no Liberian has in this day and age. 

“Liberians are hard to forgive and we don’t treat each other right, but if we change our ways, He will see,” said Teasley, a Capitol Heights, Maryland, resident and pastor at Little White Chapel by the Wayside in Silver Spring, Maryland.听

“We are fasting for Liberia, not a political party. We are praying for free and fair elections, and that no one will go against the winner and try to seize power by force,” Teasley continued. 

“If we are divided, we cannot stand together.”

Sam P.K. Collins has nearly 20 years of journalism experience, a significant portion of which he gained at The 老澳门开奖网 Informer. On any given day, he can be found piecing together a story, conducting...

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