Unaddressed Electoral Violence Will Hinder Elections -BFF, Others Alarm; Deploy Election Observers in Rural Liberia
As the much-anticipated December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections and the National Referendum fast approach, the Better Future Foundation (BFF) has alarmed that the increasing waves of past and current uninvestigated acts of electoral violence have the propensity to scare voters away on polling date, erode public confidence in government and inevitably undermine the nation’s democratic governance and the rule of law.
Making the statement over the weekend during the launch of a civic education and public awareness exercise over the weekend in Saclepea, Nimba County, via various community radio stations including Truth FM and Radio Saclepea, BFF President Augustine Akoi asserted that “Credible elections are assured by exhausting all the required processes, such as civic and voters’ education, proper training of poll workers, timely and convenient verified voter registration that is acceptable by all stakeholders.”
As one of Liberia’s leading civil society leaders, Mr. Akoi pointed out that it is the obligation of the Government of Liberia (GOL), or the state, through its relevant ministries and agencies, to thoroughly investigate when any crimes, including acts of electoral violence, are committed and to institute proactive measures within the ambit of law in righting the wrongs.
Mr. Arkoi, during his engagement with the public via the local radio outlets in Saclepea, appealed to politicians including independent and political party candidates for the Special Midterm Senatorial Elections to play by the rules of the electoral process as enshrined in the guidelines of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The BFF President asserted that all elections have guidelines that must be respected at all times by all stakeholders including the NEC, political parties and independent candidates and their supporters.
The Better Future Foundation (BFF), a non-state actor and an advocate of ECOWAS regional integration, during its civic education exercise in Saclepea, explained the rights and responsibilities of registered voters, independent elections observers and their limitations as well as their DOs and DON’Ts relative to the December 8, 2020 elections and the National Referendum.
At the same, the BFF President cautioned that the Liberian civil society remains resolved during its election observation to gather and document the conducts of various political actors and their followers, analyze and subsequently derive a concluding report with recommendations to government and international stakeholders on the credibility, transparency, integrity of the electoral process and the status of governance in the country.
The BFF President used the occasion to call on the Liberian Government and its international elections partners to adequately fund the National Elections Commission (NEC) for its smooth operation.
Better Future Foundation, characterized as unfortunate and worrisome the gross underfunding of the National Elections Commission to prudently execute all required processes leading to the December 8 Midterm Senatorial Election, which is a provisional requirement of the Constitution of Liberia.
Meanwhile, Rev. Morris Yeedoun, Executive Director of Harvest International, and founding member of the Partners for Democracy and Good Governance (PdG), cohosted the CVE campaign in Nimba County. He pledged the full commitment of his organization to effectively coordinate, and strategically deploy election observers to assist the Government and the NEC achieve credible outcome of the December 8th Senatorial Elections.
BFF, proponent of Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP), in collaboration with Partners for Democracy and Good Governance (PdG) are expected to deploy over 100 election observers in eight counties across Liberia during the upcoming Midterm senatorial elections.
The civil and public awareness campaign was launched by the BFF, in collaboration with the Partners for Democracy and Good Governance (PdG), with the express aim of discouraging the increasing acts of electoral violence and ensuring inclusive and peaceful elections across the country.