United People's Party Foresees 2003 Election Postponement

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 22, 2003

One of Liberia's 18 registered political parties, the United People's Party (UPP) says it does not see the possibility of the holding of the 2003 General and Presidential elections if the ongoing fighting between the Liberian government and LURD continues.

The UPP said the elections can only be possible if the ongoing fighting stops and a cease-fire is upheld between the opposing parties.

UPP Chairman Wesley Johnson told journalists that as the nation stands now with the escalation of fighting in parts of the country, he does not see the possibility of elections taking place.

Quizzed to comment on what the party thinks could be done at the expiration of the tenure of the NPP government, Mr. Johnson said he really could not say as to whether he would support the idea of an interim government or not as some Liberians have suggested, judging from experiences faced by the country in the past with transitional leaderships.

Mr. Johnson who was speaking to journalists shortly after he addressed the Sharpolu Intellectual Forum organized by the Seventh Day Adventist High School in Paynesville, said what he is in support of is for the Liberian people to decide the issue.

He said he was optimistic that something will happen at the expiration of the NPP led government as it relates to the legitimacy of the incumbent government.

On the issue of a stabilization force, the UPP Chairman said the party is in strong support of the deployment of an international force no matter how such a force will be called.

He said what is of concern to the UPP is the function of such a force, stressing that no matter what the force maybe called, but it should be allowed to do those things that will make Liberians move freely, disarm all forces etc.

On the issue of conscripting young people into the military, Mr. Johnson said such was evil and should not take place at all. He said the UPP strongly condemns such a move and wants those involved to stop.

Earlier during his remarks to the students, the UPP Chairman admonished them to devote their time to acquiring good and sound education to meet the challenges of life.

Addressing the students on their role in the 2003 elections, Mr. Johnson urged Liberians to use their education for the development of the country and their fellow men rather then to destroy.

For his part, Mr. Romeo D. N. Gbartea an instructor of the school who launched the forum, said was named in honor of Mr. Emmanuel Sharpolu a former head of ADRA. He described the deceased as a humanitarian and a professor.

The occasion was graced by administrators and students of the school, ADRA Acting head among others.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.