The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) with support from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Small Arms Program (ECOSAP) and UNDP Community Security and Social Cohesion have concluded a successful week-long massive sensitization and awareness campaign against electoral violence. The campaign took place from 3 – 10 November.
The commission deemed it necessary to carry out the massive sensitization and awareness campaign against electoral violence during the first round of the Montserrado County senatorial by election campaigning exercise.
The by-election has been described by political actors in the country, especially Montserrado County, “as a trial balloon” to the presidential and general elections slated for 2011.
The awareness campaign was launched at the commission’s office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. At the launch, members of the commission urged the public to carry out a by-election free of violence and to also help campaign against the use of illicit small arms and light weapons in their respective communities.
During the weeklong campaign, the commission held meetings with political parties and communities leaders. The meeting discussed, among others things, how to educate residents of the various communities and partisans of political parties about the importance of an election free of violence.
Posters, flyers, banners and t-shirts with anti-electoral violence messages were also used during the campaign to educate the public. Anti-electoral violence messages were also aired and scrolled on several radio and television stations. Some of the messages read:
“Ballots not bullets, stop electoral violence; Your voice is the ballot not Bullets etc.”
The awareness campaign, according to LiNCSA, was a huge success with no major violence reported at polling centers. Accordingly, LiNCSA is therefore commending the senatorial aspirants, voters and public for carrying out an election free of violence.
The commission is also urging the public to exercise maturity on Tuesday, November 24, the date set aside for the second round in the Montserrado County by-election.