The Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) has written a formal communication to Liberia’s development partners drawing their attention to what it calls the unwarranted delay in the conduct of the civic and voter education ahead of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
In October this year, FIND issued a statement calling on all stakeholders including Liberia’s development partners to provide technical and financial support to national civil society institutions to begin early civic and voter education.
FIND’s call was based on previous election observation reports, particularly the Carter Center 2011 Election Monitoring Report, which among other things highlighted late and inadequate voter education as one of the key contributing factors to the huge number of invalid votes, election violence, low voter registration and turnout, discrepancy in election results, double and underage voter registrations, misuse of state resources, and the use of excessive force by state security during the elections.
FIND, while acknowledging the pivotal role the international community has played in helping Liberians to maintain the peace, encouraged the international community including the country’s development partners to continue providing resources and technical support to bolster citizens’ awareness and participation in the pending 2017 elections as a turning point for Liberia’s postwar democratic dispensation.
“Moreover, the voter registration process is considered one of the critical aspects of the elections. Though the National Elections Commission (NEC) had announced that it would commence the civic and voter education on the voter registration process early this month, the Commission is yet to kick off this crucial component of the electoral process,” according to FIND.
Against this backdrop, FIND underscored the urgent need for an early intensive civic and voter education on the voter registration, stressing that this cannot be overemphasized.
“To this end, we call on the international community, regional bodies and International NGOs to provide technical and financial support to local and national civil society organizations for the successful holding of the 2017 elections. If adequate assistance is given to the local and international organizations, we believe, the 2017 Elections would achieve its desired results.
“More precisely, the electorates, on the contrary, would be fully informed about their rights and responsibilities, which overall results would translate into a successful, peaceful, orderly and transparent elections come 2017, paving way for a new democratic dispensation in our country,” FIND said.
FIND expressed the hope that its communication would be given consideration for the advancement of peace and stability in the country.
FIND is one of Liberia’s most vocal human rights and pro-democracy organizations, established in 2003 with headquarters in Gbarnga, Bong County. Among other things, FIND’s works focus on the promotion of human rights, good governance and peace building as well as the promotion of the rule of law through advocacy and awareness campaigns.