The Liberia National Police disclosed it has held a meeting with the leadership of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) ahead of the party’s rally today.Today’s rally, according to the CDC, is to petition Senator George Weah to run for president in the 2017 elections.The LNP said it wants the party to adhere to details of the discussion on today’s march, which among other things calls for the free flow of traffic and avoiding acts that will impede the free movement of people during CDC’s program.A police statement issued yesterday said an agreement was reached between the police and the CDC that there will be no interference with the traffic during the time of the march, to which the CDC has agreed, saying it will provide party workers to assist with crowd control.The police said due to congestion on many streets in Monrovia, it has informed the CDC to bus or truck their partisans to their headquarters to avoid impeding both human and motor vehicle traffic.According to the LNP, its interaction with the CDC was based upon a letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice, in which the CDC informed the Ministry of its desire to seek police protection for today’s program.The LNP has therefore encouraged the party to live up to the details of the meeting to avoid “unforeseen circumstances.” As for other political parties, the LNP said it has also encouraged them to engage the police whenever the need arises, as the police remain open to provide protection to all groups or individuals regardless of status.Meanwhile, since 2005, the CDC has continued to pull large crowds during rallies, demonstrating football legend George Weah’s popularity with the youth.The George Weah-Rudolph Johnson ticket in 2005 took the party to a run-off with the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-Joseph Boakai ticket of the Unity Party (UP).The UP won the runoff and the victory nearly erupted into chaos, with the CDC crying foul, but Providence allowed the intervention of the international community to defuse the tension. Six years later, the CDC, which remained the major opposition party, again went to a runoff with the UP. Weah ran again, but as vice standard bearer to Ambassador Winston Tubman. The poll again went into a runoff, with Weah losing out on the nation’s second highest seat. A day before the runoff elections, the CDC stormed the streets of Monrovia and Paynesville to warn the government and the international community that the party would not accept the results from the runoff elections to be held on November 8, 2011. The rally – pulling thousands of sympathizers – ended in a bloody demonstration, which the CDC has termed: “CDC Massacre Day.”The CDC believed that what occurred at their compound was an assassination attempt on Amb. Winston Tubman and George Weah. There were at least three deaths, and many wounded.Three years later, Weah ran for the Senate and pulling a huge crowd, convincingly won the elections for Montserrado County with a “very wide and historic margin” between him and the President’s son, Robert Sirleaf.Again, this would be the CDC’s sixth rally (two times each in 2005 and 2011; once in 2014) with a few years to the 2017 presidential elections.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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Representatives of 22 political parties have pledged their commitment to work with officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the smooth conduct of the October presidential and legislative elections.The parties made the commitment over the weekend at a stakeholders’ dialogue sponsored by the LNP ahead of the pending elections.The LNP, according to a statement, is currently touring the country with its “Yes to Peace, No violence” campaign as a means of reducing possible tensions during the electioneering period.A statement from the LNP said representatives of political parties also lauded the police for undertaking such an initiative, especially when the country is set to make a historic transition.Participants therefore called on the police authorities to create an environment that will be feasible for all political actors during the election period. The parties’ representatives said to access the police will further reaffirm the confidence which the opposition political parties and other elections stakeholders have built in the security sector to hold violence-free elections.The dialogue, which was characterized by frank exchanges, focused on how the October elections can be conducted void of violence.Coalition for Democratic Change representative Mulbah Morlu described the event as ‘unprecedented’ and as such, his party will remain engaged with the police to see that the upcoming election is violence free.Also, ruling Unity Party’s chairman for governmental affairs, Isaac Manner, embraced the move by the LNP and described it as “a good step for the country’s democracy.”Mr. Manner called on his colleagues at the forum to remain engaged with the police and avoid acts that will hinder the transition process.Other participants meanwhile reminded the police of their constitutional obligation to the country and its people, beginning with the protection of all, irrespective of party affiliation.They argued that Liberia’s political crisis has been the result of state institutions being used at the disadvantage of others.Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman underscored the importance of police-political parties’ relationship, especially during the crucial electioneering period.Coleman said as part of LNP’s commitment to prevent potential crises during the elections, the LNP will assign three police officers to each of the certified political parties.He said the assigned officers will serve as liaisons between the LNP and the party officials.He told the gathering that the LNP was a state property, and as such, it will be accessible to all regardless of their status.He informed leaders of political parties that the LNP as a security institution will do all it can to guard the process without fear or favor.“As Chief of Police, my primary focus is to preside over an election that will be free of violence and intimidation,” IG Coleman assured.He called on the parties to operate within the framework of the law by adhering to the election law.Representatives from the embassies of Sweden, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Lebanon and the UNDP were in attendance. In separate remarks, they described the dialogue as “fruitful and healthy” for Liberia’s democracy, the statement reported.Peace Ambassador William Tolbert lauded participants for committing themselves to hold peaceful elections.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said his party will not sit idly by and allow the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to subvert Guyana’s Constitution to its likening, while saying that the Commission is in breach of its statutory responsibilities for political reasons.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoAddressing his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo said he believes GECOM has allegedly received clear direction from Government, and the three Commissioners representing the Government have also received these instructions too.“Therefore their political role is to delay the election. They are in breach of their statutory duties and all of the responsibilities they have as Commissioners at GECOM. And they are acting in breach of the Constitution of Guyana, notwithstanding that they are just forging ahead for political reasons,” he added.He recalled that earlier statements made by the GECOM secretariat had indicated that elections could be held anytime, and thereafter two timelines were proposed. The Opposition Leader also noted that the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) staged protests across the country, stating that if there is no house-to-house registration “there will be war in Guyana.”“And we have now heard the Commission anxiously and suddenly come up with a vote that predictably…with the three Government Commissioners and the Chairman (retired Justice James Patterson) that they can’t be ready in the three months as stated in our Constitution…They have not said anything about when they will be ready or whether they have started preparation.”As such, Jagdeo said the Opposition may file legal action against GECOM in relation to a breach in its responsibilities. He explained that legal opinion is now being sought on the matter, but not to a great deal. In fact, he stated that dereliction of duty could the basis of such a challenge.International sanctionsIn the meantime, however, he told media operatives that his party plans to call for international sanctions, not only against GECOM, but some Commissioners. Jagdeo noted that he would prefer personal sanctions as opposed to the entire country, because the nation could suffer.Furthermore, he said if there were any doubts that the coalition Government is pulling strings at GECOM, the actions taken over the past few months is enough proof to validate the argument that the Commission is being influenced by the People’s National Congress (PNC).“We are going to mount our call for that and we are going to brief all the organisations. We have already started doing that and have our voice go to the capitals around the world to deal with this situation,” he stated, explaining that he plans to meet with more foreign diplomats.Asked again whether he plans to meet with President David Granger to address the issues before it becomes a constitutional crisis, Jagdeo said he does not intend to request any meeting and will not be part of any meeting for public relations purposes.He said the Government appears in denial since the No-confidence Motion and he does not understand why he has to “always be the responsible one” when it comes to the issues related to the no-confidence vote and possible early elections.GECOM had given July as a timeline for the hosting of elections, but at the same time, it stated that the present voters’ list would expire on April 30.Although the Opposition has been calling for elections within the constitutional time frame, the Government claimed that it was up to GECOM’s readiness to host same.Since the passage of the no-confidence resolution, GECOM has been dragging its feet with respect to elections preparation. It has also been calling for house-to-house registration which could take months. However, it is President David Granger who has to dissolve Parliament and set a date for elections.