Voters in Liberia are not only expected to decide on who will represent them in the Senate on December 8, 2020, but they also have to make the very important decision of approving or rejecting dual citizenship; reduction of the tenure of the president, vice president and members of the legislature; and as well decide to change the date of election and shortened time for the National Elections Commission to hear electoral complaints. Amidst the already rancorous clamor from cross section of Liberians for the government to postpone the referendum because of its equal importance as the midterm senatorial election, the Liberia Council of Churches has now added its voice to the debate, calling for rescheduling of the referendum before or during 2023 general and presidential elections, The Analyst reports.
The Liberia Council of Churches in a November 10, 2020 press statement, “said as a result of consultations within and without the Christian community including the National Elections Commission, Political Parties, and other national and international stakeholders, we are informed and have come to realize that significant challenges need to be addressed to ensure the process of free, fair, and transparent elections as well as the national referendum both to take place as scheduled by NEC without hindrance”.
“As it stands, the Liberia Council of Churches engagement with its membership across the country shows that civic/voters’ education on the Referendum scheduled for December 8, 2020, is limited and this needs to be reversed. Secondly, the time to do the required civic/voters’ education across the 15 counties now, is short; therefore, the Referendum should be rescheduled to a later date to allow for proper planning, community awareness/sensitization and participation, amongst others. The Liberian people must own this process through their fullest participation. We hope and pray that the Government of Liberia, the National Elections Commission and the People of Liberia will take our recommendation in good faith. This proposal is in the interest of sustaining peace, security, the rule of law and strengthening participatory democracy and good governance in Liberia,” the LCC stated emphatically.
The LCC then proposed that the National Referendum be rescheduled before or for the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections to allow adequate preparations, sensitizing and educating the public by the NEC, the GOL, Civic society, and other national stakeholders including the religious community, on the Referendum.
“In this same regard, we commend the National Elections Commission, Government of Liberia, ECOWAS, the United Nations and the rest of International Community represented here in Liberia to include the United States Government, European Union, African Union, amongst others, for steps being taken to cleaning up the Voters’ Registration Roll (VRR) and ensuring that the December 8 Senatorial poll is free, fair and inclusive. This is critical to sustaining a peaceful and stable society and uniting the country for its forward movement,” the LCC stated, while encouraging all Political parties and actors to lend their fullest support to the process and look forward to the cleaning up exercise being brought to a logical and satisfactory conclusion soon.