To ensure transparent elections in October, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has launched Liberia’s 2017 Electoral Integrity Platform to promote monitoring and reporting on the activities of candidates and political parties in the ensuing elections.
Harold M. Aidoo, Executive Director of IREDD, made the remarks recently at the official launch of the program in Sinkor, stressing that the upcoming elections are important to Liberia’s transformation.
He stressed that the credibility of the 2017 elections depends on the extent to which the political playing field will be leveled for all. “We will have monitors from various constituencies working closely with journalists, community radio stations and compliance using the different indicators,” he said.
As civil society organizations, director Aidoo said, “We have a major role to play during and after the elections, and how we contribute to the country’s democracy is important.
“We need to ensure that our democracy is underpinned by the respect for and adherence to the rule of law.”
Director Aidoo said the project is part of IREDD’s governance program, adding: “We believe that the foundation of every democracy must be supported by the respect for the rule of law. We will be monitoring some of issues that occurred during the 2005 and 2011 elections due to population and other indicators that have helped us to choose eight counties to work in.”
He said the project sets defined indicators against which Liberians will judge the opposition and incumbent parties as well as independent candidates on whether or not they are leaders with integrity.
Director Aidoo said the program targets eight counties but named seven, including Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, Bong, and Nimba, with plans to collaborate with other CSOs in reaching to other counties.
Therefore, he said: “In order to make every candidate to feel that they have equal chance of participating and winning the election, we need to create a level playing field. So we as CSOs need to ensure that the rules and regulations of the guidelines that are laid down by the National Elections Commission (NEC) are respected.”
Lamin Lighe, Executive Director of the National Elections Commission (NEC), who officially launched the project, said the NEC remains delighted for the initiative, because elections are everyone’s business, and the NEC cannot be the referee and the player at the same time.