The Inspector General (IG) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Gregory Coleman has assured citizens of the southeastern region of Liberia of police protection during and after the pending presidential and representative elections in October.
He has urged them to approach the elections with a spirit of peace and unity.
IGP Coleman informed the citizens that the transition process, if managed well and without violence, will signify to the international community that Liberians are now prepared to manage their own affairs, and further attract the international community to invest in the country.
Coleman mentioned that the security body of the elections will include the Liberia National Police and other security agencies in the country that are concerned about the peaceful conduct of the elections.
According to a an LNP press statement, the Inspector General informed citizens of Maryland, Grand Kru, and Grand Gedeh that the LNP and other members of the elections security body are interested in promoting and securing an environment that will further increase the confidence of the people in the security sector.
Coleman said dialogue with citizens on the LNP’s “Yes to peace and no violence” campaign is meant to reach out to citizens across the country.
“We have been traveling across the country promoting a peaceful conduct of the pending elections for the safety of us all, and the development of our country. Such an initiative on our part must not be considered as a sign of weakness,” Coleman said.
“We are prepared to adequately deal with any situation that will want to undermine the electoral process, but we believe that what we are doing by reaching out to you will positively affect the process and therefore seek your indulgence to promote a peaceful transition,” he said.
On logistics for police and other security agencies that will be involved with the electoral process, Coleman assured them that the government and international partners are gradually addressing the logistical needs of the security sector.
“What is more important is to seek your ownership of the process,” he said.
He admonished the citizens to get involved with initiatives that will promote peace by alerting the security sector of anything that has the propensity to derail the gains the country has made, and prove to the world that Liberians are ready to put the past behind them.
He cautioned citizens of the region to discourage their children form engaging in violence, adding that they must not be used to promote the selfish interest of others during the elections.
In dialogues held in Grand Kru, Maryland, Grand Gedeh and Rivercess counties (Sinoe County’s dialogue was postponed due to health concerns), local officials and citizens expressed overwhelming support to the police drive in support of peaceful elections in October.
The citizens said they were shocked to see the Liberia National Police taking the lead in promoting peaceful elections, as the police in the past had been unfriendly to citizens.
The citizens expressed their commitment in promoting the initiative but called on the central government to provide full support that will enable police officers to be deployed to all polling centers across the country.
They also called on the police to do way with acts that will portray them as a partisan institution, because for the elections to be peaceful, the police must provide an enabling environment for all stakeholders.