Authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) recently extended the nationwide tour promoting a message of nonviolence ahead of the October presidential and representative elections to three counties in western Liberia.
The campaign is part of the police community’s initiative to promote a peaceful transition which the LNP says is significant to Liberia’s peace and democracy.
The LNP held two meetings in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpolu counties during which residents there expressed excitement over the initiative.
The residents expressed gratitude to the LNP for being farsighted in promoting a non-violent approach as the country goes to polls in October.
They therefore called on the police to increase its presence in the three counties since they share borders with Sierra Leone.
“The provision of a peaceful, secure environment for all political actors and citizens during the elections will further enhance the confidence of the people in the electoral process,” spokespersons for the citizens said.
Bomi County Superintendent Samuel F. Browne and Mayor Hannah K. Stuatt of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County assured the LNP that residents of western Liberia will continue to promote a peaceful transition of power.
“We will work with the police to promote peaceful elections in October, and also encourage our people to shun violence by embracing peace,” the two officials said.
They called on the LNP’s central authority to provide logistics to officers assigned in those counties to effectively fight crime and prevent elections-related violence.
The head of the Elders Council of Grand Cape Mount County, Holeda Pusah, called for the involvement of all sectors of the country to help achieve our desired goal of conducting peaceful elections.
Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman has meanwhile encouraged residents of the three counties to resist anyone that will encourage violent activities.
Coleman said the survival of the Liberian state, rather than the personal interests of anyone, is what is important, adding that the country is on the verge of making history if the 2017 elections are held in a peaceful atmosphere.
The Liberian Police Chief said the LNP will remain neutral as they provide a well-controlled security environment for all political parties and actors in the upcoming elections.
“We have no interest towards any particular candidate in the upcoming elections, because our only interest is for the process to be held unhindered,” Coleman said.
He called on the youth to desist from attacking police officers who are peace makers, and encouraged them to work along with the officers to keep their communities safe from individuals who want to create chaos.
The IGP said as the police solicit the support of the people during and after the elections, it will not tolerate any misconduct on the part of police officers. He encouraged the communities to be proactive in reporting crimes.
Coleman said the LNP is reaching out to the public for the purpose of promoting peace during the upcoming elections. “The elections this year is very important for all of us, therefore, we cannot sit and allow troublemakers to have their free day,” he added.
The town hall meetings brought together county authorities, religious leaders, youth and civil society representatives, women’s groups and community-watch forums.