Addressing a joint press conference on behalf of the taskforce and Church of Liberia Thursday, at the Winners Chapel Church in Congo Town, Pastor David Benitoe of the Bethel Outreach Church stressed the need for UNMIL to remain in Liberia until after the 2017 elections. UNMIL is expected to draw down in June of this year.
Pastor Benitoe said Liberia has to test its own security for two to three years before the country can carry out such elections which he said are a major transition.
“It is dangerous for UNMIL to leave on the eve of one of our major transitions in Liberia,” Pastor Benitoe sounded.
According to him, UNMIL has been in Liberia for many years and so it should not leave in such a critical time to the 2017 elections. “We have no time to test our local security alone for the elections. Had UNMIL left three years ago, we would have had enough time to test and know the capability of local security to handle the elections,” he indicated.
According to him, the recent clash between two security institutions speaks volume of the unpreparedness of the local security to manage any major events like the pending elections, which are likely to be politically tense.
Pastor Benitoe, who said his group seriously condemns the clash, called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to empanel an investigation into the matter without fear or favor. He said anyone found liable should be punished.
At the same time, Pastor Benitoe said, the National Christian Taskforce has been taken aback by calls by some religious leaders for citizens to elect ‘God-fearing’ leaders during the 2017 elections.
He reminded Liberians not to honor such calls; instead, he suggested that candidates should be evaluated on the basis of their track records especially when it comes to the devastating Liberian civil war.
He said people should not grade politicians by what they have or their appearance, because, as he put it Biblically, “Nehemiah was not a pastor, but had intention for his people and so God chose him to lead”.
“Let’s evaluate people who never, one way or the other, formed part of the civil war and who did not form part of the discussion. These people, instead, rose up to help the nation during the turmoil,” Pastor Benitoe added.
The Bethel Outreach Pastor said God revealed to the group that evil activities have engulfed Liberia, and that Liberians should pray and use the pending elections to deliver the country from evil; something he said they (the Church) will no longer remain silent.
Meanwhile, Pastor Benitoe said the nationwide fast and prayer continues and the closing programs are expected to take place from January 28 to 30, 2016.
He explained that the fast and prayer, under the theme: “Positioned for a total takeover,” is being conducted quarterly, saying that Liberia cannot move forward without God.
“Liberia was birthed in the Church, by the Church and with the Church. Therefore, the Church is the mother of Liberia,” he maintained, adding that they have decided to speak against evil-be it in the government or private sector as well as in the Church.
Also at the press conference was Pastor Johnson Audu, National Resident Pastor of Winners Chapel International, among other religious leaders.