Naymote Partners for Democratic Development in partnership with the Liberia National Police (LNP) completed the fourth community dialogue forum at the security hub in Jorquelleh District, Bong County with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The initiative, according to a release, is promoting civic participation of the youth, community residents and diffusing potential electoral violence at community levels, while building trust and linking communities with the LNP.
“Police officers a have civic duty to protect the lives and property of citizens, but they rely on citizen’s support and cooperation to succeed,” the Naymote release said.
At the Bong County event, LNP Inspector General, Gregory Coleman, assured Liberians of unbiased and professional police operations during and after the entire electoral process, noting that the LNP is for everyone under the country’s territorial limit.
Coleman spoke on the topic, “Electoral Security and the Role of the LNP.”
“I have come to talk to you about peace during the electoral processes. Let’s love this country by shunning violence; it does not solve any problem, but instead worsens situation. Let us believe in our potential, and the only way we can do this is by believing in ourselves that we can maintain peace. If someone has issues with the upcoming elections, the best way to solve that situation is through the justice system. Don’t take the law into your hands,” IG Coleman reiterated as the participants nodded in approval of his caution.
Following the transfer of security operations from the United Nations Mission of Liberia (UNMIL), Liberia’s national security sector assumes responsibility for security operations and coordination, especially during the October 10 elections.The LNP is heading the security coordination efforts for the entire electoral process as their first set to maintain the country’s security, but with support from the Liberia Immigration Services and the Armed Forces of Liberia.
Despite gains made in maintaining national peace and security, some of the issues identified as root causes of the country’s 14-year civil conflict remain under discussion. There are still issues with land disputes, access to justice, and respect for law, weak democratic institutions, concession-related tensions, corruption, youth unemployment as well as the exclusion of young people from decision-making.
NAYMOTE believes that these issues could trigger violence during the pending elections.
To address some of these issues, the entity and the LNP are implementing a project called, “Yes to Peace, No to Violence” with the goal of contributing towards a peaceful elections and increase trust among political party representatives, youth leaders, community residents and the LNP as a means to prevent election violence.
As part of the project, seven community mobilization engagements have been completed in Montserrado, Margibi and Bong counties which addressed complaint that the police have been far away from the people. They also held the perception that police officers existed only to protect government officials and not the ordinary people.
NAYMOTE and the LNP have completed four community dialogue forums bringing together over 600 participants, mostly youth and women, traditional leaders, motorcyclists, representatives from political parties, and community based institutions.
As part of their electoral violence prevention plan, the LNP recently assigned three officers to each political party, thereby helping with security coordination and protection of candidates.
The LNP is providing protection for all voters and candidates, protecting ballot papers, and deploying officers at all polling centers as support to the National Elections Commission.
During these dialogues, a video documentary on the impact of electoral violence was screened and discussions were held to get feedback from participants on how Liberians could avoid the occurrence of such violence during election. Peace messages from the U.S. Ambassador, the European Ambassador and the U.N. Special Representatives to Liberia, and head of UNMIL were screened.