The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), has released its new report on the October 10 polls, entitled: “IREDD’s Monitoring of Electoral Integrity and Abuse of Incumbency.”
In the midst of the heavily competitive and intense campaigns, IREDD documented a number of incidents and violations which it said amounted to abuse of incumbency and a violation of the electoral laws of Liberia.
IREDD is a local civil society organization that conducts research and policy advocacy to promote social and economic justice, good governance and democracy.
The group’s project manager, Mercy Sackey, who read the report at a press conference in Monrovia, said during the electoral process, it observed that representatives of opposition political parties were denied access to public facilities, such as community and district town halls, something the group thinks should not have happened.
The IREDD report also stated that while public buildings and facilities have been widely used for campaign purposes, “some privileged politicians have easily accessed public facilities than others in the opposition.”
“The practice, according to the authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC), does not violate the Constitution or the election laws, thereby leaving all parties and actors with the choice of placing posters in public places they deemed fit. Public resources, however, come to include all government and state-owned resources that are not privately owned.
“Therefore, this act should be condemned as it is a privilege that certain politicians unnecessarily enjoyed at the expense of others, who otherwise cannot easily access government-owned facilities.”
The report claimed that no politician other than sitting lawmakers can post campaign stickers on behalf of themselves and the political institutions they represent or support on walls of the Capitol Building.
“The question is, what about the other political parties that are not represented in the legislature?” she asked.
The report covered a period of three months and was conducted in Liberia’s 15 counties with the aim of strengthening electoral integrity in the legislative and presidential elections in the country.
“From June, IREDD embarked on monitoring electoral malfeasance. So the report highlighted the outcome of the monitoring exercise over the past three months,” Madam Sackey said.