The Inspector General (IG) of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Gregory Coleman, has warned that police officers will not tolerate any form of violence during and after the 2017 presidential and representatives elections. “The LNP will drastically deal with anyone or group of individuals that will attempt to undermine the country’s peace,” Coleman said.
He said signs of pre-electoral violence in some quarters, as in the case of the recent Clara Town saga where the convoy of Vice President Joseph Boakai was reportedly attacked by thugs, are troubling and promised that an investigation has been launched into the incident, as well as another incident that was reported in Margibi County.
Coleman said the upcoming elections is pivotal to the country’s emerging democracy and called for citizens’ support to the police during the election period. IG Coleman said violence is not the way forward in handling issues that may arise during the electoral process. He encouraged those with grievances to seek the rule of law rather than resulting to violence.
Coleman gave the warning last Tuesday in Margibi County when the LNP, The Carter Center, the Swedish Embassy and other partners launched the “Don’t Bribe the Police’’ and “Yes to Peace, No to Violence’’ campaign. The IG called on Liberians to collaborate with the LNP by exposing those who have allegedly committed crimes, but were evading justice.
The LNP administration is concerned about allegations of bribery from the public against the police, stating that the campaign will help the public to understand their role in keeping the police clean from such allegations, he said. Coleman called on the public to desist from acts that will corrupt the police, and also admonished police officers to be professional in their day-to-day activities. He lauded the Carter Center, Swedish Embassy, USAID, the Justice and Peace Commission, and the government for supporting the initiative.
Pewee Flomoku, the Carter Center chief of party, pledged his organization’s commitment to working with the LNP to build its capacity. Flomoku said the role of the police is critical in the Liberian society. He said the “Don’t Bride the Police” campaign is supported by partners, including his organization, to build citizens’ trust in the police.