Representatives of 22 political parties have pledged their commitment to work with officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the smooth conduct of the October presidential and legislative elections.
The parties made the commitment over the weekend at a stakeholders’ dialogue sponsored by the LNP ahead of the pending elections.
The LNP, according to a statement, is currently touring the country with its “Yes to Peace, No violence” campaign as a means of reducing possible tensions during the electioneering period.
A statement from the LNP said representatives of political parties also lauded the police for undertaking such an initiative, especially when the country is set to make a historic transition.
Participants therefore called on the police authorities to create an environment that will be feasible for all political actors during the election period. The parties’ representatives said to access the police will further reaffirm the confidence which the opposition political parties and other elections stakeholders have built in the security sector to hold violence-free elections.
The dialogue, which was characterized by frank exchanges, focused on how the October elections can be conducted void of violence.
Coalition for Democratic Change representative Mulbah Morlu described the event as ‘unprecedented’ and as such, his party will remain engaged with the police to see that the upcoming election is violence free.
Also, ruling Unity Party’s chairman for governmental affairs, Isaac Manner, embraced the move by the LNP and described it as “a good step for the country’s democracy.”
Mr. Manner called on his colleagues at the forum to remain engaged with the police and avoid acts that will hinder the transition process.
Other participants meanwhile reminded the police of their constitutional obligation to the country and its people, beginning with the protection of all, irrespective of party affiliation.
They argued that Liberia’s political crisis has been the result of state institutions being used at the disadvantage of others.
Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman underscored the importance of police-political parties’ relationship, especially during the crucial electioneering period.
Coleman said as part of LNP’s commitment to prevent potential crises during the elections, the LNP will assign three police officers to each of the certified political parties.
He said the assigned officers will serve as liaisons between the LNP and the party officials.
He told the gathering that the LNP was a state property, and as such, it will be accessible to all regardless of their status.
He informed leaders of political parties that the LNP as a security institution will do all it can to guard the process without fear or favor.
“As Chief of Police, my primary focus is to preside over an election that will be free of violence and intimidation,” IG Coleman assured.
He called on the parties to operate within the framework of the law by adhering to the election law.
Representatives from the embassies of Sweden, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Lebanon and the UNDP were in attendance. In separate remarks, they described the dialogue as “fruitful and healthy” for Liberia’s democracy, the statement reported.
Peace Ambassador William Tolbert lauded participants for committing themselves to hold peaceful elections.