EDITORIAL

193

A CALL FOR A PEACEFUL ELECTION

ALL IS NOW set for holding of the 2020 Special Midterm senatorial election to elect 15 senators and a national referendum to vote on eight propositions put forward by the Presidency on Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Coming up three years to the 2023 general elections, the ensuing exercise has expectedly generated a lot of anxiety with all major actors across the divide raising their respective stakes to emerge victorious at the end of the day.

WITHOUT ANY IOTA of doubt, the two events are key to the sustenance of nascent democracy. While on the one hand, the election will either renew the mandates of the incumbents or bring in some or a new set of Senators to represent the various counties and address the huge challenges facing the nation, the referendum on the other hand will afford the citizens the opportunity to vote on the propositions that may remove some of the bottlenecks that have been impeding our progress. Definitely these events will be major watershed moving forward as a nation and people as such we urge all stakeholders to make maximum use of the process.

SINCE 2005, WE have gone through three electoral cycles and a similar special midterm senatorial race in 2014 with resounding records that met an appreciable benchmark according to international best practice. We should strive to improve on the gains recorded in the past as a way further enriching our polity. To achieve this, every hand must be deck to make work.

IT IS IN this vein that we call on all political parties, contestants and any other interested parties not to reduce this voting process to a do or die affairs. We believe that the timeframe for the campaign purpose was enough to market the candidates and their platforms to the electorates such that by this time, majority of the voters must have made up their minds on the candidates of their choice. The voters should be allowed to go out there and freely choose their candidates without any occurrence of violence, intimidation and molestation.

FROM ALL INDICATIONS, the crucial role of the National Election Commission (NEC) cannot be overemphasized and that is why we seriously admonish her to step up efforts to deliver a non-partisan supervision of the entire process, NEC must be reminded that the 2020 election is a litmus test against the bigger picture in 2023. Getting it right now will restore confidence in the people that indeed we can rest assured for a better process in 2023 but anything short of this may cast serious doubt about the future. The electoral umpire must not only provide the enabling environment for voters to cast their votes but must ensure that all votes must be counted and results expeditiously released to reflect the wishes of the process. Most of the cases arising from elections related violence in Africa emanate from the way and manner electoral bodies conduct their affairs especially in instances where the opposition became victim of all decisions and processes governing elections. NEC must therefore not follow this path. It must be clearly seen as impartial in the discharge of its sacred duties.

THE NATIONAL SECURITY set up must come clean to play its part providing proper security and protection for the electoral body, contestants, voters, party agents and any other participants so as to avert any ugly situation that will derail the very important cause. The security apparatus must put on the garment of a national security and not a regime or partisan set up.

THE MEDIA MUST not be left out in this national endeavor. A balanced and sincere reportage of events and a non-partisan posture from the media can help to curb crises that may erupt from electoral exercises. When the media takes side to report on the wrong side of events such as giving undue presence to a certain group or candidate, or even declaring fake results, violence and other ugly occurrences are bound to wreak havoc on the people. The media must guard and guide against plunging this country into unwanted chaos and disturbances.

WE ALSO CALL on the religious leaders to intercede on behalf of the country to have a hitch free adventure on that day and beyond.

AT THE END of the day, it is the duty of we Liberians to make the process succeed. Let us do it and we can.

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