AS CAMPAIGNING INTENSIFIES for the Special Senatorial Elections in the country, groups of supporters are emerging in every sphere of the counties using different strategies and methods for campaigning, some of which are beginning on a very violent footing.
MONTSERRADO COUNTY ALONE is with 10 qualified candidates and it is of no surprise that we have already begun experiencing violence being perpetrated by supporters of two of the candidates in which no one group is yet being held accountable for the action or is prepared to take the blame.
WEDNESDAY’S CAMPAIGN SPREE was ruined by stone-throwing supporters wearing the campaign T-shirts of Robert Sirleaf, an independent candidate and George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) which culminate into a serious clash in central Monrovia.
THE CLASH STARTED in the PHP Community, a neighborhood which is popularly known to be the training ground of Mr. Sirleaf’s Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) Football Club. Amb.Weah was said to have been attending one of his campaign rallies with supporters who arrived on the scene chanting campaign slogans and that situation turned out to be unfavorable for both the supporters and other passers-by.
THE CLASH BETWEEN the two groups resulted to the damaging of vehicles and other properties while some individuals received minor injuries thereby leading to the prompt intervention of the police who were able to contain the situation in a very professional manner with no one victimized due to their involvement.
YESTERDAY DURING THE regular Ebola briefing at the Ministry of Information, it was said that political parties including senatorial candidates will be held accountable for acts carried out by the supporters of their candidates among other things.
WHILE WE ARE categorically denouncing Wednesday’s violent act, we also call on the government to go beyond just warning political parties and put in place punitive actions to be meted out against candidates whose supporters are found in the act of causing public disturbances and discomfort for private citizens to include being held accountable for damages that might occur.
IN AS MUCH as political campaigning processes are always lousy and are carried out in open places, we urge campaigners to be cognizant of the rights of others as well as their individual responsibilities as human beings. Having also in mind the transmission mode of the Ebola virus, we caution the supporters to continue to exercise the preventive measures outlined by the Ministry of Health.
THERE IS A saying that ‘We all want to go to heaven, but who is prepared to go now?”, and so is the case with the election; violence and Ebola. We crave the indulgence of the candidates to control their supporters because we are all eager to see a favored candidate emerge as winner but if we conduct ourselves in ways and manners that will be irresponsible, we might not survive to see our candidate become the next senator that we so much desire.
AGAIN, WE URGE all of the 138 candidates to keep the campaigning process clean and be prepared to take responsibility of every action of their supporters as together we envisage a civil and peaceful electoral process in the midst of the Ebola surge.