….Justice Minister Urges Police To Be Neutral
By Necus M. Andrews
Officers of the Liberia National Police and other personnel of the joint security forces in Liberia have been cautioned to guide the process leading to the pending October 10 elections with neutrality.
Justice Minister Frederick Cherue said guiding the electoral process is vital because the country is still charged with attitudes of the war days.
Minister Cherue said while it is true that Liberia is enjoying an uninterrupted peace for nearly 12 years now, the anxiety for quick results is still being manifested in the country, especially by young people.
Cllr. Cherue said such anxiety can only be controlled by a trained state security force with crisis management skills.
The Attorney General of Liberia was speaking Wednesday at the National Police Training Academy in Paynesville at the closing ceremony of Elections Security and Crisis Management workshop.
He told the joint security personnel to hide whatever interest they may have in the elections and perform impartially because they are the gatekeepers for a violent free process.
According to Cllr. Cherue, violence is an obstacle to the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections. He observed that it takes a non-partisan and unbiased state security to make the country stable and peaceful especially in such crucial elections.
Minister Cherue assured that the 2017 elections will be conducted peacefully with the presence of prepared security. The Justice Minister called on citizens to embrace non-violent approach.
“If the Liberian people want peace, than they must follow the rules set up by the National Elections Commission. The attitudes of war still here, and you have the power to ensure a peaceful transition,” Cllr. Cherue said.
Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya, Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), who also attended the closing ceremony, said the training of joint security personnel is timely.
“We will deliver nothing less than free, fair and transparent elections; this is our obligation,” Cllr. Korkoya said.
The NEC boss said the conduct of the 2017 elections will entail a number of critical issues such as complaints from candidates, who may feel that the level playing field was not created.
“We are going to elections where we have 20 presidential candidates and 986 candidates for 73 electoral seats. We are all aware that 913 persons will not win for the House of Representatives-so these people will raise a number of critical issues such as the late opening of polling places. The timely opening of polling places will depend on the commitment of police officers to arrive on time,” Cllr. Korkoya said.
Police Inspector General, Gregory Coleman, urged his men to do everything possible so that the police will not be blamed for fueling violent.