Army Chief Says Military Will Not Be Involved in 2017 Electoral Process
Monrovia – The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Major General Daniel Ziankahn says the army will not be a part of the electoral process this year.
The Army Chief disclosed on a local radio talk show that the AFL will.
“The military will not be a part of this election. All we can do is to provide security for the country and provide logistical support if the need arises,” he said.
“No political influence will get the AFL involved in electoral campaign, I think there are some mechanisms now put in place for politicians to interact with other security apparatus like the Police.”
Though he distanced the Army from the electoral process, he was quick to point out that the army could get involved indirectly.
“We could be involved indirectly and I want to be clear about this—we are not going to be assigned to polling station or vote places or whatever name you may call it,” he said in a strict tone.
“Maybe there is a bad road leading to a precinct and you want to take the ballots there, you can call the engineers but count the Armed Forces of Liberia out,” General Ziakhan noted.
The Army Chief said the AFL is neutral and not political, emphasizing that the AFL will exercise its neutrality during the 2017 elections period.
He also disclosed that the army will create a code of conduct for the soldiers to follow during the elections.
“General Johnson and the rest of the guys are trying to craft some code of conduct for the Armed Forces of Liberia where our spouses will not even be allowed to bring political parties T-shirt on our bases and we will not also allow any car political stickers to enter our premises,” General Ziankan said.
He, however, warned the public especially those who have relatives and loved ones in the army not to get involved in carrying any political party materials while paying a visit to the barracks.
“If you want to visit your relatives, loved ones and friends in the barracks during this political season, please do not carry any political party or politician T-shirt on our bases. Our Military Police (MP) will not allow you in if they see anything of such,” he said.
He reaffirmed the army’s commitment to remain neutral in the pending elections.
According to General Zankahn, the AFL is however prepared to provide security for the country to ensure a smooth and fair election in October.
In recent Liberia’s history, election has been marked by violence especially during the 2011 elections that afforded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf second term in office.
Ziankan’s call comes on the heels of Deputy Police Director for Operations, Abe Kromah’s, recent statement that the Police and other security apparatuses are fully prepared to handle security for the 2017 elections.