Amid public fear about Liberia’s security, especially during the forthcoming 2017 presidential and legislative elections, Peace Ambassador Rev. William Tolbert says maintaining millions of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) soldiers in the country would never sustain peace.
Ambassador Tolbert said peace can only be sustained if Liberians refuse to allow “some bad politicians” to influence them with money to engage in violent demonstrations.
Although he did not give any instance where a politician influenced people to engage in violence, he however, admitted that people are concerned about the security vacuum that has been created by departing UNMIL soldiers.
“People are afraid about the security vacuum the departure of UNMIL soldiers has caused particularly considering the approaching 2017 elections; but if we were to keep millions of them here, they can’t sustain the peace,” he said.
Rev. Tolbert said peace can be sustained if Liberians are ready and prepared to play their part to sustain it.
According to Tolbert, maintaining millions of foreign soldiers in the county would just be a waste of resources, because “We are going to still fight if we can’t accept to live together peacefully.”
The peace ambassador sounded those words at a two –day consultation workshop between the state security agencies and motorcyclists.
The gathering that brought senior security officers and executives of the motorcycle drivers together to discuss their peaceful existence was held at the Effort Baptist Church, in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
“We can sustain the peace by our words, our actions, and by coming together to say no more war,” Tolbert indicated.
He advised his audience that “election is at hand and you should not let anybody convince you to take money to do something bad. Stay on the positive track.
“Between now and 2017, let us do everything possible to work together to sustain the 13 years of peace we all have been enjoying, because politicians would come and they would want to divide us, but let us be mindful of their divisive tactics.”
According to him, Liberia would be safe only if the police and motorcyclists agree to work together during and after the elections.
“Let’s come together, let’s dialogue, nobody is an island, because we have alternative means to resolve our differences without engaging into violence,” Rev. Tolbert stated.
In his remarks, Deputy Police Director Col. Prince Mulbah informed motorcyclists that they were among the majority of voters for the 2017 elections.
“Politicians would want to penetrate you motorcyclists at all times for you to engage in post elections violence. Beware, open your eyes, be careful, because whatever violent demonstration you find yourself in, you and I are going to be the victims,” the Police Deputy Director indicated.
“Some of you don’t even have traveling documents to leave the country in case of post-election violence; but those politicians have, and when they influence you to cause the trouble, they will quickly leave us to face the weight,” Col. Mulbah warned.
He encouraged the motorcyclists to work with the police to ensure a violence free election.
“People are going to come with money to influence you to carry out illegal demonstrations but, you have to think about your families, your children and their future,” the police deputy noted.
“Remember, if you are to accept their violent action think about the aftermath, which is what the conference is about. Think about your children’s future and yours as well,” he cautioned his listeners.
“If our country (beomes) ungovernable because of our conduct, where do we have to go? We have nowhere to live so be careful and don’t let anyone influence you with money to cause violence before and after the elections,” Col. Mulbah admonished.
He asked motorcyclists to provide information that would easily help the police to arrest those planning to stage illegal violent demonstrations before or after the elections.