Ahead of the pending Presidential and Legislative Elections scheduled for October this year, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Gregory O.W Coleman, has assured women aspiring for legislative seats of police protection during the campaign process.
Coleman said the LNP was under full obligation to provide an enabling environment that will encourage the participation of women in the pending elections, describing them as an important contributor to the current peace the country is enjoying.
Inspector Coleman said the police will not favor any group of people over another, but will provide equal opportunity for all, including women participating in the electoral process.
According to an LNP statement, the police boss admonished the women to be peaceful during the election process, adding that the upcoming elections were very crucial to the survival of the country’s emerging democracy.
He encouraged the women to alert the police on issues of insecurity that they may encounter during the electoral period, and promised to deal with anyone that wants to create an atmosphere of insecurity for women.
“We will do all we can to protect you, but we also ask you to support our move of promoting peaceful elections, which is good for our country,” the Police Inspector General indicated.
The Police Chief made the statement over the weekend in Gbarnga, Bong County where he met with over one hundred women who are aspiring for legislative seats, and their campaign managers.
The training of the women is being done by the National Movement for Transparent Elections.
At the same time, the Liberia National Police has held discussions with citizens of Bong, Nimba and Lofa Counties as part of its nationwide tour geared towards promoting peaceful 2017 elections.
The citizens of the three counties expressed their willingness to support the LNP in promoting peaceful elections, stating that the pending elections are historical and crucial to Liberia.
Bong, Lofa and Nimba citizens called on the Liberia National Police leadership to increase manpower in their respective counties ahead of the elections.
They said the lack of adequate logistics for local police officers is hindering the smooth operation of the police, and want the police leadership to consider addressing issues confronting the counties ahead of the elections.
For his part, the Police Inspector General informed locals of the three counties about the need to uphold the rule of law during the elections, as the upcoming election is important for the future of the country.
He said the “Yes To Peace, No To Violence” initiative being undertaken by the police is intended to build the confidence of the public in the LNP.
He called on the citizens to support the initiative, indicating that it is being promoted not because of fear of the public, but to take the police to the people for better cooperation and understanding.
He called on the locals to report any form of police misconduct that they may experience while interacting with officers assigned in their respective counties.
He said gone are the days when law enforcement officers were lords unto themselves by abusing public trust.
“You are encouraged to report any forms of misconduct on the part of officers to the Professional Standards Division of the Liberia National Police in your county; and I can assure you that appropriate action will be taken against any officer that will be found liable,” the IGP said.
The police-citizens dialogue was attended by local officials in the three counties, and the officials reminded the citizens of the role they have to play in promoting the transition process, saying that it must be void of violence. They promised their fullest commitment in working with the police to promote violence-free elections in 2017.