MONROVIA: With some concerns being raised about the readiness of the national security architecture to confront any unforeseen challenge during and after runoff election on Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14, 2023, the Joint Security of Liberia has said adequate preparation has been made to provide security protection which will cover the citizens, the voters and their respective votes before, during and after the last phase of the general elections to determine who becomes the eventual winner between President George Manneh Weah and his main challenger Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the Unity Party.
Speaking at the Joint Security press briefing, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, the Minister of Justice who is the Chairman said the government has factored into consideration every aspect that concerns making the ensuing runoff peaceful where citizens will go out to freely elect the President with fear or molestation and warned that any act that undermines the peace and security of the country “will be met with reasonable but proportionate force”.
“As Liberia proceeds to the polls on November 14, 2023, we as a government, remain steadfast in the maintenance of law and order during these crucial and challenging times in our history. We urge the people using social media to issue threats, to desist with immediate effect while exercising the rights to freedom of expression.
“The government will not allow one or institution to use any means to create fear, confusion and chaos during this period, especially using the social media to mislead the people with the intent of undermining not just the electoral process but the peace and security of the entire country.
“The Joint Security will closely monitor individual social media posts or comments with the view of bringing to book those found liable of using the social media to cause trouble”, he said.
Minister Dean used the occasion to highlight instances of falsehood perpetrated by individuals during the first round of the election which he termed baseless, unfounded and alarming stories circulated on social media suggesting imminent bloodshed in the country aflamed by rumors that there were plans ‘to rig the awaited election”
“In addition to the waves of disinformation and misinformation, the joint security received reports of diehard party loyalists and extreme thugs who have planned to proceed to various tally centers under the disguise of protecting the votes. These accounts also indicated that there were plans to attack prominent citizens.
“These assertions go against the collective interest of Liberians to build a better society, undermine the security and pose a direct threat and challenge to our democracy and peace
“The joint security hereby condemns in its strongest terms this false alarm and anxiety which could cause violence in the region. We caution against all acts that have the propensity to cause violence and set into motion actions that kept Liberia peaceful over the years”, he said.
He spoke positively of the just concluded general elections held on October 10, 2023, and said the country is going through its fourth general elections which on previous occasion had been peaceful since the end of the 14 years of civil war, adding “this we believe is evident that multiparty democracy is gaining strong root in Liberia. He said the respect for the constitution and election laws, was observed by all parties participating in the first round of the elections.
“We join the international community of election observers, to thank the Liberian people for their outstanding participation in the first round of the general election, held under a peaceful atmosphere. That shows that the Liberian people are convinced and resolved that the only way to determine leadership is through the democratic process. The government of Liberia remains grateful to these people”, he said.
He stated that Liberians go the last lap of the election, they should be reminded that the National Elections Commission(NEC) remains “the only institution constitutionally and statutorily authorized to declare and announce election results”, therefore parties should avoid announcing results before NEC, refrain from celebrating until the final results are declared and announced and any aggrieved party should resolve election results peacefully, while if there should be a cause for protest, it should be through the legal process.
The Joint Security also announced that as a means of protecting the borders during the election, the land borders with Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone will be closed on Sunday, November 12, 2023 and will remain so until the end of the process.
Meanwhile, Minister Dean also announced that preliminary investigations have been concluded in the violence that took place on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Foya and some persons who were found liable of the act have been charged for ‘murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, rioting, illegal possession of firearms, terroristic threats” have been forwarded to court and are awaiting trials.