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Women Accountability Room condemns elections violence

The Project Accountable Safe Space (PASS) Women’s Accountability Room has expressed concern over allegations of violence emerging in numerous regions of the country at the start of voter registration. 

In a press release, the group cited reports by some local dailies regarding the use of tear gas by the police to disperse members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) when the party’s leader visited Montserrado District #10 to register and began chanting party slogans despite police instructions to desist.

“In Grand Bassa County, Cllr. Charlyne Brumskine claimed on Facebook that her supporters had turned over to the police an alleged armed supporter of the incumbent Mathew Joe, who had threatened to burn down her office,” the release said. 

It PASS noted that this is the second time a perpetrator has been turned over to the police in Grand Bassa.

“We vividly recall Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott’s two pleas for assistance [before] the final attack that resulted in the death of her daughter Charloe Musu,” the lease added.

In District 7, PASS noted that complaints have been filed by Madam Wadei Powell concerning the alleged flogging of one of her bodyguards. It said these charges are quite grave and cannot be treated lightly.

The Accountability Room deplores the alleged election-related and non-election-related acts of violence that have occurred in recent times. 

It said this has not only threatened lives but also the livelihoods and trades of all declared in the impacted region, primarily women, who have been unable to conduct business and provide for their families. 

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It noted that this is inappropriate regardless of its origin.

The group argued that Article 10.25 of the New Elections Law states that any person who attempts, assists, or conspires with another person to conduct an election offense is guilty of an election offense.

“Clause 10:24(i) identifies “creating disorder” as one of the election offenses. In addition, Section 10:25 of the New Elections [Law] grants the National Elections Commission the right to sua sponte take the recognizance of offenders and impose civil punishment if an alleged offender is determined to have committed an election infraction.”

In light of the reported incidents, the group has requested that the National Elections Commission take note of the violence and respond under its statutory responsibility as noted in the New Elections Law. 

“We also demand that the Liberia National Police respond impartially and with promptness to avoid situation disintegration. We demand each complaint be investigated thoroughly, competently, and effectively, leading to speedy and definitive justice,” it added. 

In addition, the group said it anticipates proactive support from the security sector to guarantee the safety of all political actors, regardless of their party affiliation.

“Finally, we call on President George Manneh Weah and all political party leaders to condemn the violence occurring throughout the country and to call for a peaceful registration process,” PASS noted. –Press release

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