Sen. Zargo Urges Calm in Tense Political Climate

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Lofa Senator Stephen Zargo, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, Intelligence, and Veteran Affairs, has warned politicians to desist from making inflammatory statements that could undermine the peace of the country during the 2017 election period.

Zargo’s statement comes in the wake of heated discussion of the Code of Conduct Act, which has not sat well with many candidates.

Some of these candidates have begun to issue threats, with the latest coming from J. Mills Jones, former executive governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and current political leader of the Movement for Economic Empowerment.

Zargo said as Liberians approach the October 2017 elections, the political climate in the country is already becoming tense.

He noted that in the absence of an incumbent factor, other presidential candidates see it as an opportunity to win the election, adding “these politicians need to be mindful with their speeches during and after the 2017 electoral process.”

It is a warning the senator said he has sounded in the past, especially as the several top officials were being arrested in the ongoing Global Witness saga.

“It is a fact that some candidates would not hesitate to use unorthodox means aimed at achieving their goal,” Zargo said.

Zargo cautioned political actors to be mindful of their actions and utterances, noting, “Anything they say or do has the propensity to influence their supporters, which may subsequently have an adverse effect on the country’s much-cherished and hard-earned peace.”

He also urged security bodies in Liberia to be vigilant and prepare to handle all potential electoral violence.

Jones, at a press conference last week, insisted that he would contest the October presidential election even though the Code of Conduct suggests that he would be barred due to him not stepping down from his tenured appointed position three years before the elections.

“We will resist the Code of Conduct and do not care whether it was approved by the court of Pontius Pilate,” Jones said.

He said Liberians did not approve the Code of Conduct and as such, it cannot stop him from contesting the elections.

“We’ve done nothing wrong in this country for which we have been targeted by some officials of government,” Jones said.

Jones explained that from the day he started his financial inclusion policy at the Central Bank of Liberia, he has been a target for some government officials who felt that he did not meet their political plan.

The former CBL boss said Liberians are not to be treated as fourth class citizens in their own country, noting “we are all Liberians and need to enjoy our country equally.”

Featured photo by David Stanley

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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