The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC), a Liberian election monitoring team, is calling on defeated candidates filing complaints to the National Elections Commission (NEC) about the just ended special senatorial election to provide sufficient and substantial evidence to prove their allegations of fraud.
In a statement issued amid the complaints that continue to mount, the ECC’s chairman, Oscar Bloh, acknowledged that candidates of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Bomi County, Congress for Democratic Change of Maryland County and an independent candidate of Bong County, Dr. Henrique Tokpah, have all filed complaints alleging that the just ended election was characterized by fraud.
One of the candidates, CDC’s Bhofal Chambers, is calling for the re-run of the elections on grounds that there were irregularities during the counting of the ballots, to the extent that his defeat is highly questionable.
The ECC which deployed its monitors in all the counties noted in the statement that elections do not end with the counting of votes and pronouncement of results, but are marked by the trust and confidence of the stakeholders in the outcome of the process.
Cognizant of candidates’ right to challenge the results, ECC said the complainants are also under obligation to provide sufficient evidence to prove their claims. He called on those alleging foul play to provide sufficient and cogent evidence to prove their cases.
The ECC further advises all parties and candidates that are contesting the results to follow the complaint procedures as outlined in Chapter 6, Sections 6.1; 6.2 and 6.3 of the New Elections Law of 1986.
By the same token and spirit of transparency and building citizens’ trust in the electoral process and the country’s fragile democracy, the ECC is calling on NEC to follow due process in speedily hearing and adjudicating the complaints, treating each case on its own merit.
ECC commended all parties and candidates that chose the lawful path in filing their complaints with NEC, and called on supporters to exercise restraint and calm, be peaceful and law abiding while all complaints are being addressed.
As an election monitoring body for both winners and losers, the ECC congratulated those who were declared winners as well as those who lost and conceded graciously.
According to the organization, this senatorial election has been competitive like other elections of the past, resulting in divisions among communities and fractured relationships. It is time for political reconciliation which requires winners and losers to combine their efforts in fostering the country’s development agenda, said the ECC statement.
The ECC is Liberia’s largest domestic observation group and undertakes its work with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through IREX.