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ECOWAS launches elections emergency response

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The ECOWAS Office in Liberia has formally launched an EU – Funded Emergency Response Mechanism (Africa Peace Facility Project), titled emergency support to preventive diplomacy and related action to ensure a free and peaceful election in Liberia.


Amb Tunde Ajisomo, Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission President to Liberia told journalists on Tuesday, 11 July at the ECOWAS office in Monrovia that the idea behind the project is that they have been following Liberia’s political issues and are aware of the coming elections.

He says it’s all about institutionalizing mechanisms for ensuring peace and security, here, adding that ECOWAS wants the elections process to remain transparent and peaceful.
He says the message to the youthful population is the message of peace and nonviolence, noting that it is a reason why they are calling them ambassadors of peace, replicating at their own community level the message that the Ambassador of Peace of Liberia and international organizations here are preaching for development.

During the launch, Liberia’s Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman emphasized the Liberia National Police (LNP’s) commitment to ensuring that the integrity of the security as it relates to the upcoming elections will remain unquestionable.

“One of the things that I would like to stress that we’re going to be doing in this period is the issue of what’s going to be said on radio during the time of the elections”, Col. Coleman says. In identifying stakeholders of the police, aimed at carrying out the process, Col. Coleman says the media are number one stakeholders that police have identified to work with very closely.

He says a proposal is going to be made to set up a communication team to effectively and efficiently communicate with the public during elections and to have a legal team attached to that communication team to be able to decide on statements that will be made to see whether they constitute hate to immediately check on them.

“We do not want to be seen as coming out and checking people for things that we just personally believe that [were] wrongly said”, he says, adding that they want it to come from an independent body that will be able to determine what’s right or wrong. He insist that hard messages are transmitted during these times and they are very, very important.

“So once again the commitment is established, we will remain the police, our role remains impeccable and we will do everything we can to see a smooth transition”, he notes.
He says the police are doing everything they can to challenge themselves and hold themselves at real higher standards. He says the police are not leaving any stone unturned, but will serve as a state tool for anyone. Col. Coleman adds that the police force is not just limiting itself to local arrangements but it is also looking at international partners to make sure that everything is done for the conduct of a smooth election.

Liberia’s Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpah says the project is in the right direction, expressing pleasure over the process. He says government is grateful to those who are supporting it, and further expressed hope that the religious community will be actively involved.

Earlier, the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps of Liberia Amb. Abdoulaye Dore observed that at times, political leaders are not the problem, but their followers. According to Amb. Dore, the press is also key, on grounds that it can help to calm or inflame tension.

Inter – Religious Council Rep. Sheikh Omaru Kamara pledged the commitment of the religious council here, saying they are doing their work continuously and are not waiting for anybody.

By Winston W. Parley

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