11 October 2017

Liberia: Securities Draw Lessons From U.S. Elections

Liberia's National Elections Security Taskforce says police are learning lessons on how to deal with security issues during elections, in respect to lessons learnt from other elections around the world particularly the last minute intervention by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that was very critical in determining the fate of the State.

"We're learning lessons from all of the different elections we're seeing around the world. We just saw the US elections. We saw how the FBI's intervention at the last minute was very, very critical and crucial in determining the fate of that particular state," Taskforce chair and Inspector General of Police Col. Gregory Coleman said Monday, 9 October.

His comment comes in response to demands for a police report and quick action against a disturbing brutal incident between supporters of opposition parties Coalition for Democratic Change of Sen. George Weah and Cllr. Charles Brumskine's Liberty Party in Nimba during the campaign seasons.

In the US elections cited by Col. Coleman, the FBI announced fresh inquiries regarding Hillary Clinton's alleged use of a private email server while secretary of state barely a week to elections, with some analysts suggesting that given the time to polls, it was hard to prove a negative or re-establish her innocence immediately.

Concerning the Tuesday polls here, Col. Coleman says the National Security Task Force is here to serve Liberians and under no circumstance will the task force tolerate anybody trying to disrupt the election process and the peaceful transition of power.

The taskforce composed of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) warns that it will act swiftly and decisively if anyone or group of people try to cause trouble on or after elections day.

"We expect no problems, but we are prepared for any eventuality," Col. Coleman says, and assured the public that the task force does not represent any party and will never be weaponized institution to serve political ends.

According to Col. Coleman, over 7,000 officers have been deployed in teams across the country to pay close attention to polling stations.

"On Election Day itself, you will surely see security officers deployed in your communities. They are there to ensure your safety and security as your exercise your democratic rights. Do not be alarmed if some are in riot gear and carrying weapons, especially in the more populous areas," he says.

Army Chief Gen. Daniel Ziankahn says the AFL will not be seen deployed in the streets unless there is a threat analysis, which requires the army's intervention. He says they will be protecting vital places and critical infrastructures.

Liberian Immigration Service (LIS) Commissioner Col. Lemeo Reeves says that borders would be closed during the elections time.

The Election Security Task Force has urged all political parties to communicate with their partisans to act according to the law and respect the electoral process.

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