With less than three months until the country’s general elections in 2023, there have been numerous media allegations of what appear to be pre-election violence and hate speech exchanged by influential political figures in Liberia. The frequent name-calling of opposing parties by supporters of some candidates risks inciting unrest and undermining the calm and stability of our electoral process. The Farmington Declaration, urges all political parties to support and adhere to violence free and peaceful elections, was signed by political parties on April 04, 2023. However, the prevalence of hate speech raises questions about whether the tenets of the Declaration will be adhered to.
There have been reports of hate speech and fake news, some of which target women aspirants, in both online and mainstream media, including the Daily Observer.( https://shorturl.at/pCJMO) The number of registered political parties and coalitions in May 2023 agreed to the minimum 30% gender quota, promote peaceful participation and stop all forms of violence against women in the electoral process. The MOU requires political parties to set aside 30% of their available seats at the level of their various parties so that women may run for those seats. Despite this dedication, the ECC’s observation of political primaries revealed that only 1% of women who participated as candidates were declared winners in the general elections.