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Pres. Weah Frowns on Electoral Violence -Urges Political Leaders to Embark on Dialogue

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Political temperatures continue to flare up to near extremity amongst Liberians, particularly since the ascendency to national leadership by President George Manneh Weah. Much of the extreme tempers which boil over on the social media and radio talk shows often have their way of clashing physically and leaving behind trails of blood at electoral times—like during the couple of by-elections which have cropped up since the new political administrations took power. None has hardly come to pass without physical clashes between opposition political blocs. Last Saturday, perhaps for the third time in a single by-election, there was bloodshed again. There was damage to property. The Chief Magistrate of the State, His Excellency George Manneh Weah, is concerned about these fracases which continue to dampen the electoral landscape. In a statement following the most recent electoral bloodletting, the Liberian leader sounds furious, threatening that “Political leaders will be held accountable for disruptive behavior, regardless of their political alignment.” The Analyst reports.

Saturday electoral violence which left a vehicle of one of candidates severely damaged and scores of persons reportedly wounded has brought to new heights of deep hate, division and bitterness amongst Liberians.

Fears of insecurity continue to spread amongst population as violence after another take place at political campaigns and the opposition steps up its agitation expressed mostly in street demonstration.

Last Saturday, August 17, saw the reverberations of violence again, this time in Logan Town where a by-election is taking place with the last two candidates drawn from the opposition and ruling political parties are scheduled for a rerun in a few polling stations as result of dispute results from those areas.

Though the matter is in litigation following the filing of a complaint by opposition candidate Telia Urey, both camps in the by-elections had been engaged with their ground-games. Both camps faced up and there are reports that Ms Urey’s vehicle was damaged and several supporters of from the camps were wound.

The event which is part of series of elections-related feuds has drawn the attention of President Weah.

In a statement issued by the office of the Press Secretary, it is said that the “the attention of the Executive Mansion is drawn to the appalling electoral violence which occurred on Saturday, August 17, in district 15 between supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change and the four collaborating opposition parties.”

According to the statement, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and the Liberia National Police have been mandated to carry out a thorough and expeditious investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, irrespective of who is involved.

“The maintenance of the peace is a high priority on the government’s agenda, and it will spare no effort in ensuring the protection of lives and properties,” said the statement which quoted President Weah as saying that “Electoral violence in all its forms will not be tolerated, and individuals who disrupt the peace will face the full weight of the law.”

President George M. Weah has accordingly mandated the Liberian national police and other security agencies to be proactive and bring to book anyone engage in violence.

The President said the government remains committed to ensuring that all Liberians exercise their democratic rights.

“Notwithstanding, political parties should ensure that their supporters remain peaceful at all times,” said the President, who added that “Political leaders will be held accountable for disruptive behavior, regardless of their political alignment.”

Said the statement further: “Meanwhile, the President urges candidates and political leaders to restart the process of engagement under the auspices of the National Elections Commission Inter-Party Consultative Dialogue, while at the same time warning against the use of vitriolic rhetoric that could lead to violence.”

The Liberian leader also called on residents of district 15 to refrain from violence. He said it is the responsibility of every Liberian to maintain the peace the country enjoys.