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ECOWAS equips local peace actors with dialogue and mediation skills to ensure peaceful elections in Liberia
Monrovia, 26 July 2017.The Mediation Facilitation Division of ECOWAS has enhanced the capacity and skills of local peace actors in the areas of dialogue and mediation in order to enable them intervene in electoral-relate disputes at the sub-national level in the upcoming Liberian elections.

In her remarks during the opening session of the two-day training workshop which took place on the 20th and 21st July 2017 in Monrovia, Liberia, the Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, noted that the training was part of ECOWAS’ composite strategic supports to the impending general elections scheduled to hold on the 10th of October 2017 in Liberia.

The Commissioner further noted that political transitions and the organisation of credible and peaceful elections in Africa have increasingly become highly contested and in some cases resulted into violence, killings and destruction of lives and property as a result of heightened volatile political environments often experienced before, during and after elections.

She recalled that Liberia in particular witnessed a devastating civil war from 1989 which only ended with the signing and implementation of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement in August 2003. The Commissioner also highlighted the significant role ECOWAS played throughout the civil war and in the post-war period, including the relentless efforts in not only facilitating the return to democratic governance but also ensuring that the country maintains its peace, security and stability that is necessary for sustainable economic growth and development.

She specifically stressed ECOWAS’ sustained mediation and preventive diplomacy engagements which culminated in the election of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the first female President on the continent of Africa in 2005, noting that as the two-term mandate of the incumbent president is coming to an end, ECOWAS strongly believes that a credible and peaceful elections will be significant to consolidating the flourishing democracy, peace and stability in Liberia.

‘A critical step in achieving this includes building and enhancing the capacity of important stakeholders such as Civil Society Organizations, faith-based and community peace actors for sustainable dialogue and mediation around electoral processes’, she said.

The ECOWAS Resident Representative in Liberia, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, expressed his confidence that the training has enhanced the skills, knowledge and capacity of the participants which will enable them play their expected roles in the impending elections as peace actors.

Furthermore, he admonished participants to contribute towards the historic feat of the first ever peaceful change of government from one regime to another in Liberia by resolving any electoral-related disputes that may emerge in the course of the electoral process.

The training serves as part of ECOWAS Mediation Facilitation Division’s ongoing efforts to promote peace and security in the region through preventive diplomacy.

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