EJS to Head Election Observer Mission to Zimbabwe

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Former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) have selected former Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to co-chair their observer mission to Zimbabwe’s elections later this month.

According to a Zimbabwe news magazine, former President Sirleaf will be joined by US congresswoman Karen Bass, former US Assistant Secretary Connie Berry Newman and Ambassador Johnnie Carson.

Madam Sirleaf, who spoke recently on her preferment by the elections monitoring organizations, said Zimbabwe could use the election to chart a new trajectory after years of political and socioeconomic turmoil.

“These elections provide an opportunity for Zimbabwe to make a clear break with its past that would be significant not only for the Zimbabwean people, but for all of Africa,” she said.

According to Sirleaf, “no prosperity can ever be realized in Africa if countries fail to respect the tenets of democracy, which include regular elections in order to allow each given population the inherent right to access, evaluate and determine how their country should be run by those they entrust with power.”

On her own historic transition of power to an elected leader who is now President George Manneh Weah, a former soccer legend, Sirleaf said that period in her political life demonstrated a resolve of and by the people as provided for in the rules of engagement in democracy to shape the destiny of the country and exemplify the true meaning of leadership as Liberia is the first after Ethiopia to have declared its independence from outside manipulations.

US congresswoman Karen Bass said she is happy to form part of a team interested in seeing that Zimbabwe, a country that has been ruled with an iron fist by Robert Mugabe for over 30 years, gets a new history by having a democratic election void of manipulations from incumbency or whatever outside factor.

“I am delighted to be part of the leadership of this joint IRI-NDI international election observation mission. We hope our presence will contribute to more credible elections,” Bass told Zimbabwe magazine and a host of other international media outlets, including the British Broadcasting Service (BBC), recently.

With 25 long-term staff and 14 long-term observers already in the country, Madam Sirleaf’s delegation from IRI and NDI will bring in 22 short-term observers who will be arriving on Tuesday, July 24.

The Daily Observer has been informed by New Zimbabwe.com that the IRI-NDI observation effort, which began with an in-country (local IRI-NDI offices) presence on April 23, also included a June 3-8 Pre-election Assessment Mission, which issued a detailed statement at the conclusion of the mission that set forth 13 recommended steps for enhancing public confidence in the electoral process.

According to the statement, the IRI-NDI mission will conduct activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct launched at the United Nations in 2005.

“And will base its findings on international standards for elections. The mission’s approach is consistent with regional instruments to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, including the African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections,” the statement said.

It added, “all activities will be conducted on a strictly independent and nonpartisan basis and ensure that everything is done without interfering in the election process and in conformity with the laws of Zimbabwe.”

IRI-NDI have observed over 200 international elections gaining a reputation for independent assessments.

Zimbabweans will on Monday, July 30, go to the polls to elect for the first time in over 30 years a new leader without having to worry about the presence of Robert Mugabe as a politician and former leader of Zanu-PF party.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Justice and Defense Minister, also known as “The Crocodile,” succeeded then Africa’s longest serving President Robert Mugabe on November 18, 2017, after Mugabe was ousted by a popular military measure but in safety.

Mnangagwa was a key Mugabe confidant for decades until they fell out because of the presidential ambitions of Mugabe’s wife, Grace. Despite his long association with the government that has presided over Zimbabwe’s decline, including economic collapse and human rights abuses as reported by many international media and human rights organizations, Mnangagwa has promised democracy and reached out to other countries for help.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Everyone but Ellen Johnson should be allowed to oversee or participate in what is usually termed as “free and fair” elections! Ellen heavily (silently actually) meddeled ( I am not commenting on the outcome of the elections here, simply her involvement inorder to influence the results the way she wanted it against her own party). Wholesale rampant corruption during her “reign”, her involvement in Liberia’s civil crisis among others should not qualify Ellen despite being a Nobel laureate ( The Nobel Peace prize is the most controversial prize ever been awarded lately, human rights record no longer seem to be the order of the day). My views regarding this matter has nothing to do with any party affiliation ( I have no specific party affiliation, my regards will go to any party doing the right thing to benefit the Liberian people).I am not sitting on the fence, I just don’t see which party fulfills this requirement of improving the Liberian people’s lives! The current party (conglomeration of parties in reality) has a long way to go, we are watching their record, but it doesn’t help with the statement , “that’s our time to eat” (or alike statements) !

    Someone is pulling the strings here for this lady. This is not an honor done to us Liberian, it is a dishonor to us rather than an honor.

  2. Everyone but Ellen Johnson should be allowed to oversee or participate in what is usually termed as “free and fair” elections! Ellen heavily (silently actually) meddeled ( I am not commenting on the outcome of the elections here, simply her involvement inorder to influence the results the way she wanted it against her own party) in her “home going” elections to the detriment of her own party. Wholesale rampant corruption during her “reign”, her involvement in Liberia’s civil crisis among others should not qualify Ellen despite being a Nobel laureate ( The Nobel Peace prize is the most controversial prize ever been awarded lately, human rights record no longer seem to be the order of the day). My views regarding this matter has nothing to do with any party affiliation ( I have no specific party affiliation, my regards will go to any party doing the right thing to benefit the Liberian people).I am not sitting on the fence, I just don’t see which party fulfills this requirement of improving the Liberian people’s lives! The current party (conglomeration of parties in reality) has a long way to go, we are watching their record, but it doesn’t help with the statement , “that’s our time to eat” (or alike statements) !

    Someone is pulling the strings here for this lady. This is not an honor done to us Liberians, it rather a dishonor done to us.

  3. You are entitled to your personal opinion, but the IRI, and the NDI saw things differently. Unfortunately, the decision is not yours to make.

  4. Mr. John Doe

    We have heard and continue to hear the refrain to the song over and over that the past president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was wicked, she killed many people, she influenced the election, she embezzled large amounts of money and fled to the U.S., she was nepotistic, she has been incarcerated in Boston, and so forth.

    Notwithstanding as the refrain is sang, Ellen’s popularity and reputation continues to soar and she continues to receive high honors from various world leaders and organizations. Why? The International Community monitored Ellen’s governance style during her presidency, and for the same reason the United Nations kept a strong presence in Liberia. They observed during this time that even though she was faced with many challenges, she was sincere in her determination to stabilize war-torn Liberia; embrace and maintain democratic reforms; uphold the freedom of speech and ensure that Liberians express themselves unreservedly on issues that affect their daily lives.

    Moreover, in spite of all the allegations from Ellen’s accusers nobody did produce the warrant, proof, and facts to establish a cause for her indictment. And so the International Community regarded the accusations as unfounded and invalid. They relegated them to the status of sounding brass and tinking cymbals. As the result it made and it is still making her accusers to sound ridiculous and shamefully malevolent.

    Like other past governments, Ellen’s government certainly failed to deliver on some of her promises; some of which were the results of her personal indiscretions though. Included among those failures and the the Liberian Observer did mention a few, are for example: her government’s failure to reduce the abject poverty; its failure to reduce corruption; and its failure to implement the True and Reconciliation Comission’s plans which would have gone a long way in reconciling the post-civil war ethnic tensions that have engulfed the nation today, and from all indications they still remain a very thorny issue in our national dialogue.

    However, the International Community also realized that some of these failures were not intentionally masterminded. For a case in point: what could she had done to push an aggressive agenda at the time when the country was just about to experience some glimmer of economic hope and then the Ebola pandemic hit the country, killed investors’ confidence, drove out foreign businesses and swept away all the little gains that it had accomplished?

    So, like you Mr. Doe I am also a non-affiliated citizen of Liberia. By this I hold no exclusive loyalty to any political party or individual. Nonetheless, I refuse to join the anti-Ellen bandwagon when I possess no knowledge of the actual facts.

    • Thank you Mr. Kollie for taking your time to express your point of view on this matter (related to my comment) in a very dignified and civilized manner. I appreciate your comment. However, I would like to point out a few facts pointing to Ellen’s involvement in the Liberian civil crisis. In 1990 during a BBC interview, Mrs. Sirleaf directly and indirectly promoted the idea of destroying the executive mansion and “We will rebuild it”. One might tend to downplay the gravity of these words, but in a war situation where you have “participants” a wide variety of motives for participating as well as different levels of understanding, this kind of statement voraciously refuels and magnifies the desires of the actors/participants to commit actrocities against the population. This was not a wise statement to make given the crisis was already fought by among others many underage participants (sometimes forced against their will, I will come back to this) with a very low level of understanding. By saying such, you give them a “pass” to cause massive destruction especially when you are in a position of authority (Mrs. Sirleaf exercised some control over the NPFL from the begining).

      By Ellen being part and parcel (whether through financial or moral support; both of which she was) of a brutal civil war,destroying the childhood and lives of many Liberians and ultimately causing the death and or torture of “uncountable” individuals, my opinion is she shouldn’t have been allowed to hold any office in government let alone serve the country in the capacity of a President. I have nothing personal against Mrs. Sirleaf, but I believe all actors in the civil war shouldn’t have been allowed to take part in the governance of the country. My experience is that our folks tend to be naive and lenient, cherishing vice and this is evident by a popular slogan used for Taylor’s campaign “you kay ma ma , you kay ma pa, I way voe for you!”. We don’t choose leaders based on their record, rather we choose them based on their popularity and/or ability to cause harm (Taylor).

      Ellen supported a war involving the recruitment of innocent children/minors (this is a violation of international law ) destroying their childhood , sending many to their “early graves”. A lot of these kids are now adults, many suffering from the scars/trauma of war, living a useless life. No one pays attention to them and they resort to drug addiction and other types of crimes. I am not putting all the blame on Ellen as she briefly supported the war, she is much of a symbol here for all major actors such as Prince Johnson, Charles Taylor,etc. etc.

      Now, regarding her governance , there was widespread corruption and embezzlement of public funds by folks owing no loyalty to the country. I can cite instances if requested to. I know that the international community overlooked her past, but the key question that I have is, would they have allowed her the same privilege in their own countries given her involvement in the war?

      NB: I don’t hate Ellen or another other individual cited here, it’s just that I think they shouldn’t be/have been allowed to take part in any governmental/political activity at any level, national or international!

  5. Thank you Mr. Kollie for taking your time to express your point of view on this matter (related to my comment) in a very dignified and civilized manner. I appreciate your comment. However, I would like to point out a few facts pointing to Ellen’s involvement in the Liberian civil crisis. In 1990 during a BBC interview, Mrs. Sirleaf directly and indirectly promoted the idea of destroying the executive mansion and stated; “We will rebuild it” , refering to a likely event should Taylor have destroyed it. One might tend to downplay the gravity of these words, but in a war situation where you have “participants” with a wide variety of motives for participating as well as different levels of understanding, this kind of statement voraciously refuels and magnifies the desires of the actors/participants to commit actrocities against the population. This was not a wise statement to make given the crisis was already fought by among others many underage participants (sometimes forced against their will, I will come back to this) with a very low level of understanding. By saying such, you give them a “pass” to cause massive destruction especially when you are in a position of authority (Mrs. Sirleaf exercised some control over the NPFL from the begining).

    By Ellen being part and parcel (whether through financial or moral support; both of which she was) of a brutal civil war,destroying the childhood and lives of many Liberians and ultimately causing the death and or torture of “uncountable” individuals, my opinion is she shouldn’t have been allowed to hold any office in government let alone serve the country in the capacity of a President. I have nothing personal against Mrs. Sirleaf, but I believe all actors in the civil war shouldn’t have been allowed to take part in the governance of the country. My experience is that our folks tend to be naive and lenient, cherishing vice and this is evident by a popular slogan used for Taylor’s campaign “you kay ma ma , you kay ma pa, I way voe for you!”. We don’t choose leaders based on their record, rather we choose them based on their popularity and/or ability to cause harm (Taylor).

    Ellen supported a war involving the recruitment of innocent children/minors (this is a violation of international law ) destroying their childhood , sending many to their “early graves”. A lot of these kids are now adults, many suffering from the scars/trauma of war, living a useless life. No one pays attention to them and they resort to drug addiction and other types of crimes. I am not putting all the blame on Ellen as she briefly supported the war, she is much of a symbol here for all major actors such as Prince Johnson, Charles Taylor,etc. etc.

    Now, regarding her governance , there was widespread corruption and embezzlement of public funds by folks owing no loyalty to the country. I can cite instances if requested to. I know that the international community overlooked her past, but the key question that I have is, would they have allowed her the same privilege in their own countries given her involvement in the war?

    NB: I don’t hate Ellen or another other individual cited here, it’s just that I think they shouldn’t be/have been allowed to take part in any governmental/political activity at any level, national or international!

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