MONROVIA: The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Maj./Gen. Prince Charles Johnson, III says on election day, the AFL will only come outside of the military Barracks if there is an incident that the Liberia National Police (LNP) cannot handle.
General Johnson who is a product of the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) of the University of Liberia, narrated the role of the Liberian military during the country’s civil war for which it was dissolved after the war.
The General reassured Liberians that he often reminds his military commanders that the new AFL respects democratic principles and human rights, and it is no longer used to target people against the constitution.
According to Gen. Johnson, in the past the AFL was used to come to the University campus to quiet down demonstrations, arrest political leaders, and take them to military barracks for detention in violation of the Liberian Constitution.
“I say these things to mean that as we go to the election … because of our experience, we’ve decided [that the] NEC [National Elections Commission [ should not bring any precinct center in any of our installations because we don’t want to get involved,” said Gen. Johnson.
He told the forum that the mission of the new AFL is to provide support to joint security, explaining that AFL personnel will remain in their barracks on Election Day, October 10, 2023.
The AFL Chief of Staff made the statements at a program marking the celebration of the 2023 International Day of Peace, organized by the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) of the University of Liberia (UL).
The ceremony, held under the theme: “Peaceful Election: Prevent Electoral Violence,” was held on Capitol Hill campus of the UL.
It brought together students, UL officials, state security officials, foreign guests, religious leaders, and members of civil society.
The Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) at the University of Liberia (UL) celebrated the 2023 International Day of Peace with a parade and an indoor program held on the Capitol Hill campus of UL.
Following speeches highlighting peace messages, a panel discussion was held in the Auditorium of the University’s Capitol Hill campus on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
Amb. Josephine Nkrumah, the Special Representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Liberia delivered the keynote speech.
As Liberia gets closer to election day, Amb. Nkrumah suggested that electoral processes and the day of voting should be a celebration of fostering national cohesion where citizens exercise their right to vote and choose whom they delegate to lead them.
The ECOWAS Envoy said Liberians should exercise those rights peacefully in an atmosphere of hope for progress and development.
Amb. Nkrumah noted that Liberia has stayed the course of peace, and that should be proven to the world this year.
In proxy of the President of the University of Liberia Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., the Vice President for UL Relations, Cllr. Norris L. Tweah, said the University has been at the epicenter for the sustenance of peace and democracy even before Liberia transitioned to democracy.
“Many of our forebearers – students, faculty, and staff – lost their lives for the peace in this country. So, it is fitting that we are here in this very iconic, historic … place to talk about how do we [protect] the peace especially as our country goes to another election,” said Cllr. Tweah.
The UL vice president expressed confidence that these elections will go ahead peacefully, stating that everyone just needs to be reminded that they now live in a democracy and citizens have to elect their leaders.