On their decisions on credible elections
The initiator of the Women’s Situation Room, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, says while the United States Embassy near Monrovia has said it has confidence in the integrity of the October 10 elections, it is important to note that the ongoing electoral crisis demands respect for the Constitution of Liberia and the Supreme Court regarding credible elections.
Cllr. Chesson-Wureh was speaking yesterday at a one-day dialogue in Monrovia organized by the Liberia Media Development Program in Promoting Democracy, Preventing Elections Violence through Dialogue.
As a civil society organization the Women’s Situation Room (WSR) finds it expedient to speak out on the issue to protect Liberia’s peace; and as a lawyer, she is very happy to see the justice system at work, said Chesson-Wureh. “We would (rather) see the case in court than see somebody’s child in the hospital. We are appealing to everybody to please give them the space to do it; we know that we are all concerned so that we do not run into the time and over to January. We could run into problems, so we are still hopeful that we are going to have a transition of power in January, so let the justice system do its work.”
She said as a lawyer, she strongly believes in the justice system and therefore aggrieved political parties must use the legal process, as is being done, rather than getting in the streets to cause violence for “the common people who don’t have a place to run.”
Cllr. Chesson-Wureh said the Supreme Court and the NEC have been encouraged to speed up with the cases and give the final ruling in the shortest possible time to ensure that the process is in line with the constitution so that there can be a peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected president to another.
The WSR initiator said if the Supreme Court finds irregularities and fraud sufficient enough to lead to a rerun of the elections then the country has to go for a rerun and if it calls for a runoff then the two candidates must go for it, and the Liberian people will have the chance to decide who becomes their next president.
“One of the things people seem to be forgetting about is that if the court decides that we are going for a rerun then it means all the representative candidates-elect will have to go back to campaign for their their positions,” she said.
The president of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Frances Greaves, said because the NEC staff went to the polls with a poor administrative management structure, it led to many challenges during the process.
Madam Greaves said major challenges faced as a result of the Voter Roll made the electoral process questionable, and therefore it needs to be looked into to avoid the same problem if there is a rerun or runoff.
“We can’t have elections with people’s names written on sheets,” she noted.
She said the NEC and political parties must employ people with experience as both observers and poll workers to make the process credible and peaceful.
In his remarks, the President of the Press Union of Liberian (PUL), Charles Cuffey, said the media respects the election guidelines and the Union’s Code of Conduct during the elections by avoiding hate messages and other actions that are capable of causing violence in the country.
He said because the media educated and informed the public, there was a huge turnout of voters during the October 10 elections, indicating that there is a need for the media to educate the public on how to vote to cut down the huge number of invalid votes.