…Says two-thirds of political constituencies must be heard at the Legislature
The Better Future Foundation (BFF), has observed that the increasing waves of electoral violence, political reprisals, claims of electoral fraud, acute lack of civic and voters education, inadequate training of poll workers, among others are the major recipes for the unprecedented high number of electoral disputes that effectively characterize the results of December 8, 2020 polls in the country.
BFF said that such raging disputes over the outcomes of December polls are not only worrisome but also troubling for Liberia’s fragile peace and democracy.
Delivering the organization’s reflections and observations at its Jacob-Town Head-Offices in Paynesville over the weekend on the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections held across the country and two-Representative by-elections held in Montserrado and Sinoe Counties, BFF President, Augustine Arkoi, indicated that the prolonged non-certification of 10 senatorial candidates and a representative by-elections candidates who were officially declared winners by the National Elections Commission (NEC), but prohibited by the Supreme Court of Liberia, pending the resolution of claims of electoral fraud and other alleged electoral irregularities as flagged by their political opponents since the December 8, 2020 polls, leaves much to be desired in the consolidation of Liberia’s hard-won peace and fledgling democracy.
Mr. Arkoi, in a statement released over the weekend pointed out that the absence of sustainable civic and voters education and failure to promptly investigate claims of electoral violence in previous by-elections and other reported irregularities remains another major factor for the overwhelming protests against the December poll results.
According to the BFF President, Liberia, as a country, must begin to employ the necessary mechanisms to ensure that national elections meet the minimum acceptable global benchmarks and standards including fairness, credibility and integrity so as to minimize the increasing waves of protests by political parties and independent candidates over poll outcomes.
BFF further asserted that mitigating the above challenges requires the robust, deliberate and the requisite Political Will of the Liberian government to make timely and adequate budgetary appropriations and the provision of other necessary logistical and technical support, without which voters across the country cannot make any informed decisions as it was recently demonstrated by the dismal outcome of the December 8, 2020 National Referendum.
Mr. Arkoi pointed out that the recent public protest by hundreds of NEC’s poll workers in demand of pay for professional services rendered the Commission in the conduct of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections and two-representative by-elections could have been avoided were funding previously requested by NEC made available by the government.
Instead, Mr. Arkoi observed that such public protest by the aggrieved poll workers was tantamount to subtraction from NEC’s credibility and integrity, something which he said, should not be allowed to germinate on the Liberian electioneering landscape.
The BFF Founder and President emphasized that the credibility & validation of elections are largely dependent on defeated candidates’ ability and sincerity to concede by calling to congratulate officially declared winners by the appropriate election authorities such as the National Elections Commission.
He indicated that BFF, in collaboration with other civil society and pro-democracy organizations (CSOs), particularly the Partners for Democracy & Good Governance (PdG), is committed to supporting all processes aimed at ensuring the creation of the necessary conducive environment for free, fair, transparent and credible elections in Liberia.
Accordingly, BFF calls on the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the nation’s Judiciary to ensure that the raging disputes over election results are timely adjudicated. BFF, a proponent of Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP) maintains that this will enable the voices and representation of two-third of the political constituencies of Liberia are heard and fully considered in the daily work of the National Legislature including Lawmaking, Representation and Oversight.