– For tearing down campaign posters
Less than three days after authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) declared campaign officially opened, unidentified individuals have reportedly torn down posters of Vice President Joseph Boakai and his running mate Emmanuel Nuquay on 24th Street, Sinkor and other places around Monrovia.
Also torn down were posters of opposition Liberty Party leader Charles Walker Brumskine and his running mate Harrison Karnwea.
On walls along 24th Street in Sinkor are scores of logos of political parties and their candidates’ photos on display. Posters include leaders of the Coalition for Democratic Change Senator George Weah and running mate Jewel Howard Taylor. Posters bearing the images of Weah and Taylor were also partly damaged.
Though it was discovered that the 24th Street posters of All Liberian Party’s (ALP) Benoni Urey and his running mate were unscathed; however, at some areas they were also reportedly removed.
The Daily Observer was told that the removal or tearing of posters of political leaders was due to the euphoria surrounding the beginning of the political campaign process, a time when many partisans express their excitement by doing the wrong thing.
Though there are no laws governing the tearing of campaign posters, sources at the Liberia National Police (LNP) told this newspaper that anyone caught could face prosecution for tampering with and damaging other people’s property.
“We encourage all partisans to be mindful of acts that have the propensity to draw out negative responses that could lead to problems in this election period,” a police source said.
Residents in the area could neither confirm nor deny reports that the action was deliberate, but said campaign period is one that has many faces.
“People vote for people close to their hearts so no one should worry or make any fuss about someone removing or tearing someone’s picture,” a resident told the Daily Observer.
The act has been committed against the backdrop of pieces of advice from the government and foreign partners for Liberians to ensure a peaceful campaign period leading to the elections.
When UP Chairman Wilmot Paye was contacted about the unfolding event, he said: “Ok, we will continue to raise it peacefully.” Also contacted was Henry Boyd Flomo, NEC’s communications director, who said vandalizing posters of political parties is prohibited and illegal.
For the past few days, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and international partners, including the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS and U.S. Embassy officials have cautioned Liberians to preserve the country’s peace by avoiding any activity that will spark up violence in the ongoing campaign and pending elections.
At the recent opening of the fourth semester of the Young Political Leadership School on July 31, US Ambassador Christine Elder admonished the youth to conduct themselves peacefully during and after the coming elections.
The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General, Farid Zarif, the African Union Liaison Office in Monrovia and ECOWAS also cautioned Liberians not to do anything to undermine the ongoing process.
Meanwhile, on the first day of official campaigning, ALP political leader Benoni Urey was heard on the ‘Costa Show’ calling for campaigns to be peaceful and the need for Liberians to choose the best candidate for the presidency.