Amos Lavalah: Properly Investigate Electoral Violence In Gbarpolu
A concerned Liberian, Amos M. Lavalah, has warned Liberians to desist from electoral violence if the democratic process in the country is to be sustained and advanced to an appreciative level, in order for the citizenry to have the opportunity to choose their leaders through the ballot box.
According to Lavalah, he witnessed and experienced the electoral violence at Moi River, Kongba District, Gbarpolu County, which is a difficult area to be accessed by vehicles due to lots of hills that look like a mountain range.
Lavalah alleged that the supporters of one of the candidates in the mid-term senatorial election in Gbarpolu County, Botoe Kanneh, set up two checkpoints leading to Moi River, with some youth holding cutlasses and preventing other candidates’ supporters from accessing the area to share their messages with the people.
He explained that the boys at the checkpoints also prevented him from accessing the places at Moi River, noting that they intimidated him while Kanneh and her female friends were around watching their boys stopping other people from passing at the checkpoints. This, according to him, reflected his mind back to the actions of the 14-year senseless civil war.
He noted that reports coming from Gbarpolu County through the electronic and print media of intimidation of Kanneh are not as factual as being reported in Monrovia, with women organizations condemning without proper investigation of the situation in the county.
Lavalah explained that, in holding election in rural Liberia, the government should ensure that lives and properties are protected with the presence of enough police officers to prevent electoral violence from erupting among the people.
He observed that the lack of adequate police officers in more rural parts of the country after the civil war has made some people to think that they can take the law into their hands and do anything with impunity.
According to him, it is about time that the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Liberia National Police (LNP) work together to ensure that enough police officers are present in the counties to maintain law and order during and after the electoral process.
Lavalah urged the youth of Liberia to be mindful of politicians whose intention is to use them for electoral violence. He called on them to resist violence in any form and ensure that the fragile peace is maintained and sustained.