IJG Calls for Sweeping Audit, Electoral Reforms, Others -As Newly Elected Senators Join Colleagues on Capitol Hill
Following conduct of the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial and special representative elections, and with the return of members of the Liberian legislators back to Capitol Hill to start working on the people’s business that they were elected for, the International Justice Group (IJG), while commending the new bloc of senators, particularly those from the opposition bloc, has called on the legislature to prioritize an audit of the three branches of government, which accordingly has not happened in over 15 years. As The Analyst reports, the IJG is also calling for serious streamlining of the budgetary process to enhance reporting and accountability, while demanding the urgency of electoral reforms and a full implementation of the TRC Report, as well as compensation to Justice Kabineh J’aneh and Former First Lady Mrs. Nancy B Doe.
In a strongly worded press statement issued Sunday, January 10, 2021, the International Justice Group has commended the people of Liberia for turning up massively to participate in the November 8 Senatorial elections and rejecting the “Ill-conceived, short-sighted, divisive and very partisan Referendum 2020.
“The success of the election has deepened our democracy and demonstrated to the people of Liberia the power of their votes and their abiding faith in the democratic process which must be strengthened by our collective resolve to uphold the rule of law, respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, fight corruption, defeat impunity, institute justice and respect the basic tenets of self-governance, the will of the people and democratic rule,” the IJG noted in its presser, adding, the opposition political parties, the entire opposition bloc have a big share in this feat for their steadfast organization and engagement with grassroot constituent to reject corrupt senators and reject the so-called referendum.
Condemnation of unpatriotic elements
The IJG further noted with disdain and condemned the level of violence and existential threat to the process posed by unpatriotic and undemocratic elements, which the group believed mainly to be elements of the Government of President George Weah and his ruling Congress for Democratic Change Political Party.
“The emergence and disruptive behavior of a traditional or cultural authority in the electoral process in Gbarpolu County elections is not only reprehensible but its is so distasteful as to warrant a thorough investigation by the Elections Commission with assistance from the Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs, to bring the perpetrators of violence and election related offences and crimes to justice as was also reported in Nimba County,” the IJG said.
The IJG further congratulated all newly elected senators, as product of the people’s choice and challenge them to commit themselves to the people’s business ahead of personal or partisan interest as they rise to the portfolio of been representatives of the people.
“They have been upgraded to the enviable status of employees of the people. They should remember that they are not lords of the people but rather servants of the people, bound by the laws and constitution of the Republic of Liberia,” the IJG furthered.
Dillon’s Campaign, the IJG stated, giving special recognition to the Montserrado County Senator who recently reclaimed his seat, was hailed for its groundbreaking campaign which mobilized and capitalized on grassroot supporters in a revolutionary way never seen in the history of Liberian political campaigning.
“His campaign visited and interacted with nearly all districts and was transparent (we know where his source of funding came from) and he accounted to his constituencies, including Liberians in the Diaspora. This underscores the valuable role of the Liberian Diaspora in the future progressive development of our country. Furthermore, it highlights the weaknesses of the Elections Commission in holding political parties, electoral candidates, including presidential candidates, to account for the sources of political funding for program, operation and administration, and campaign financing as the election laws of Liberia clearly provides,” the IJG stated.
Regarding the issue of electoral reforms, the IJG called on the National Election Commission (NEC), major stakeholders and political parties to initiate dialogues towards electoral reform which must be had before the next major electoral cycle in Liberia.
“From experience, the issues of campaign and political funding, constituency engagements by officials elected to represent the people, strengthening the conflict investigation and dispute resolution mechanisms, constitution of the Board of Commissioners, party loyalty of elected legislative officials, trucking of voters from one constituency to another, enhanced transparency during elections etc. will be crucial to addressing outstanding issues that remain challenging to strengthening our democratic process,” the IJG release signed by its Executive Director Jerome Verdier, stated.