President Weah’s warning in a special address to the nation Friday, comes in the wake of the recent elections violence incidents in District Number 15 in Montserrado County.
In the speech broadcast on radio stations across the country, , the Liberian leader stressed the need for the populace to keep the society peaceful at all times, as every citizen enjoys their fundamental and constitutional rights, including the right to choose their leaders in electoral processes.
“As I said recently, electoral violence in any form will not be tolerated. Any individual who disrupts the peace of will face the full weight of the law. This includes not only the perpetrators but also those who incite and promote hatred and violence because they bear the greater responsibility; therefore they are equally culpable for ensuring mayhem and destruction,” he pointed out.
Violence erupted recently in District Number 15 over by-election results between people loyal to the main rival candidates Abu Kamara of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)and Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP).
On August 14, the electoral outfit, National Elections Commission (NEC) ordered a re-run at some 20 polling places within the period of ten days after hearing complaints that followed the July 29 Senatorial and Representative poll in the county – a ruling later upheld by NEC’s Board of Commissioners.
In the latest violence on August 17, supporters of the two politicians clashed and damaged properties, including vehicles.
Some people sustained injuries in the event which was widely condemned by the government and local and international partners.
This incident prompted President Weah to order the Ministry of Justice to investigate the violent incident for appropriate action.
In his speech on Friday, the President emphasized the need for political leaders of contesting parties in District #15 to admonish their supporters to behave in an orderly manner and to refrain from acts that are not within the confines of the law.
“They should not encourage unruly or violent behaviors. Political leaders should not standby while their supporters resort to acts of aggression which could threaten the safety of citizens. There is no greater right in a democratic dispensation then the right to choose those who would lead us,” he said in his speech adding,”Elections are fundamental underpinnings of Liberia’s democratic processes.”
Also, the President such electoral franchise cannot be trampled upon.
He then restated his government’s commitment to ensuring a conducive atmosphere for citizens to freely and peacefully cast their ballots in every election notwithstanding the significance of the poll.
Moreover, the President reminded NEC of its statutory obligation to conduct elections in an organized, professional and transparent manner such that the required procedures and processes be respected and followed, and the results reflect the true will of the voters.
He said in the event of disputes and other challenges, the Commission is expected to meticulously institute dispute-settlement mechanisms to avert the situation from degenerating.