As Liberians elect new president, police allay fears of violence

Boakai and Weah
George Weah and Joseph Boakai (Photo Credit: Otec FM Online)

The Liberia National Police have allayed fears of possible violence in Tuesday’s presidential run-off election, saying the threat level “is very low’’.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on phone in Monrovia on Monday, spokesman of the police, Sam Collins, said the police were prepared for any eventuality.

“The Liberia National Police is prepared for this election. We have analysed the threat, and what we have gathered is that the threat level on this election is very low.

“We ask our citizens and foreign nationals within our country to be very relaxed because we have the capacity to deal with anything that will be perceived as unforeseen.

“But from where we speak right now we are very certain of a very peaceful election.’’

The United States government through its embassy in Monrovia had warned of possible violence before or after the run-off election.

In a statement, the embassy warned American citizens residing in or travelling to Liberia that criminal elements could take advantage of large gatherings to attack innocent persons.

“Even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

“You should avoid areas of demonstrations and protests and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings,’’ the embassy said.

The police spokesman, who declined to react directly to the security alert, insisted that there was no cause for alarm.

“We have done all of the analyses and planning, and from what we see, Liberians and foreign nationals can go about their normal activities on Election Day,’’ Mr. Collins reiterated.

Meanwhile, a NAN correspondent covering the election reports that the people are celebrating what many describe as “political Christmas’’.

The election is dominating discussions in almost every public circle amid the Christmas celebrations.

The run-off is between former World Football Player of the Year, George Weah, and incumbent Vice President, Joseph Boakai.

Both men are battling to succeed outgoing president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose constitutional two terms in office ends in January.

Mr. Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change led 21 other presidential candidates in the first round with 38 per cent of the total votes cast.

Mr. Boakai of the ruling Unity Party came second with 29 per cent of the votes.

They both fell short of the 50 per cent plus one vote stipulated by the Constitution for a winner to emerge in the first round.

NAN reports that the first round of the presidential and House of Representatives elections held on October 10 was generally peaceful and adjudged free and fair by local and international observers.

However, third-place finisher in the first round, Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party, filed a petition against the exercise on alleged irregularities and massive fraud.

The case, which ended at the Supreme Court with the dismissal of Mr. Brumskine’s petition for want of evidence, delayed the run-off earlier slated for November 7.


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