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As Liberians elect new president, sole female candidate cautions against violence

MacDella Cooper, the only female candidate in Tuesday’s presidential election in Liberia, on Monday joined hundreds of peace advocates at a concert for a violence-free poll.

A News Agency of Nigeria team covering the election reports that the concert ended a three-month prayer and fasting camp by women from across the country.

Speaking to NAN, Ms. Cooper stressed the need for all contestants and their supporters to put the interest of the nation above self and respect the outcome of the exercise.

“We are celebrating the sustainability of our peace over the past 12 years, and its continuation for the next 100 years, we hope.

“We had 14 year-long civil war, we sustained 12 years of peace, and in order to develop this nation and build opportunities for our people – the youth, women, fathers, we have to sustain peace.

“So peace is critical to the next phase of our country. It is critical that we go to the polls and vote and leave the polls with peace in mind.

“When the results come out for all the candidates, especially myself, we should have to accept the results, and not use violence as a way of solving our problems, but to get to the legal authorities to dispute any concerns that we may have.’’

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Imam of Liberia, Ali Krayee, urged the people to put the message of peace into practice before, during and after the elections.

“Today, we all say we want peace, but peace should not be a mere utterance; peace should be what we think, what we love in our hearts, peace should be what we live; peace should be manifested in the way we interact with one another.

“But there can be no genuine peace in our society without righteousness. As long as a society keeps itself distant from God, that society will not know peace.

“So, we ask all of our people to maintain the peace, no matter the circumstances; no matter the cost. We have to do everything that is required to make this nation peaceful.’’

NAN reports that for the first time in 70 years, Tuesday’s elections will see the transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another.

The incumbent President and Nobel Prize winner, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is stepping down after serving out her constitutional two terms of six years each.

She has led Liberia’s transition from a devastating 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

The peace concert featured dance and music performances by various artists, comedy and prayers for a violence-free elections in Liberia.

(NAN)

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