Saturday, December 17, 2005

Liberia election body dismisses fraud claims.

Africa: Weah supporters are going to appeal to the Supreme Court which is good, if they can do it without causing violence again it would be great.

"We are taking an appeal to the Supreme court," said Matthias Oweja Jr, a lawyer for Weah's Congress for Democratic Change party. "We think the ruling was unfair and not in line with the laws of the country. We produced all our evidences and they told us they were insufficient." The polls were meant to draw a line under one of modern Africa's most brutal conflicts, a civil war that killed a quarter of a million people before ending in 2003 when warlord and President Charles Taylor went into exile. International observers have said the vote was generally free and fair but Weah's supporters have staged repeated protests, some of them violent, since poll results showed Johnson-Sirleaf had won almost 60 percent of the valid votes. The soccer millionaire, who has a strong following among young Liberians, told his supporters last Sunday "liberation is a noble cause" and said "we must fight to obtain it". Riot police with batons and plastic shields later surrounded his party headquarters after more than 1,000 of his young supporters blocked traffic, smashed car windows and pelted officers with rocks outside the compound. Former World Bank economist Johnson-Sirleaf has been recognised as president-elect by African leaders. The African Union repeated its endorsement of the result on Friday and voiced concern over "the unfolding events in Liberia, which, if unchecked, could undermine the beginning of democratic order ushered in by the peaceful, free and fair elections". Johnson-Sirleaf met U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday and said after the meeting she hoped Weah would support her new government. Rice urged all factions in the West African country, Africa's oldest independent republic which was founded in 1847 by freed American slaves, to work together to rebuild the country, whose infrastructure is still in ruins."

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