Japan, UNDP Strengthen Election Security Support with U$1.14m Grant

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(2nd from left, onward): NEC Commissioner Sarah Jegede; UNDP Deputy Country Director for Operations, Rokya Ye Dieng; Japan Ambassador to Liberia, Kaoru Yoshimura; Inspector General of Police, Gregory Coleman; and NEC Executive Director, Lamin Lighe

The Government of Japan and United Nations Development Program have filled a crucial gap in election security funding. In advance of the October 10, 2017 general elections in Liberia, Japan and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) yesterday signed an exchange of notes to strengthen election security with a fund of US$1.14 million. The project is to support the deployment of police and other civilian security personnel to provide security during the elections.

At the signing ceremony, the heads of the National Elections Commission, Liberia National Police, the Ambassador of Japan to Liberia and the Deputy Director of Operations of UNDP acknowledged the importance of this funding. Exchanging the notes at the headquarters of the Elections Commission, the Ambassador of Japan to Liberia, Kaoru Yoshimura, said “The elections in October will once again mark an important milestone in Liberia’s democracy and nation building. Japan’s support is an indication of its commitment to peace and stability in Africa. We are confident our support and that of other development partners would greatly contribute to a peaceful, democratic and credible election.”

Representing the chairman of the National Elections Commission, Commissioner Sarah Jegede welcomed the grant underscoring the importance in ensuring elections are held in a secure environment. Counselor Jegede said: “Elections are in many ways about partnerships and national institutions working together. The National Elections Commission’s preparations for the October 10, 2017 elections are on track. It is extremely encouraging that our partners at the Liberia National Police and other security agencies are equally prepared and our international partners Japan and UNDP have supported financing for a key part of their policing tasks.”

The Inspector General of Police, Gregory Coleman, also welcomed the grant and reiterated the role of joint security services in building trust and confidence in credible elections. He took the opportunity to highlight the commitment of the police to the electoral process: “On behalf of the President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Liberia National Police family, we would like to thank and appreciate the Government and people of Japan for the continuous support given the LNP and the nation, Liberia, as a whole, especially during this elections period. We remain forever grateful.”

Signing the exchange of notes on behalf of the UNDP, Ms. Rokya Ye Dieng, Deputy Country Director for Operations, underlined how important and timely the support from Japan is for the forthcoming elections. She said: “Professional election security is key to successful elections. The support from the Government of Japan will guarantee security across the country ensuring that election material is safe and secure at all times. It will also support good community based policing principles on election day. I cannot stress enough how important this support is for the national joint security services being deployed. I would like to thank the Government and people of Japan for supporting Liberia at this crucial moment.”

The support reflects the long-standing partnership between Japan, the Republic of Liberia and the United Nations Development Program.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Ambassador Kaori Yoshimura (May God bless and protect his country) said, “Japan’s support is an indication of its commitment to peace and stability in Africa”. Considering the ongoing maniacal nuclear bombs’ provocations of North Korea against, especially, southeastern Asian nations like Japan and South Korea, it takes extraordinary charitable spirit for the Japanese to care for “peace and stability in Africa”.

    It is, therefore, for their singular demonstration of empathy even when they face grave danger, NEC ought to show gratitude by conducting credible transparent elections this year. One crucial area to start is following the precedent set in the 2011 general and presidential elections: Publish the list of registered voters nationwide by counties, districts, cities, villages and constituencies. Folks, it boils down to correcting the voters’ roll to reflect the reality of Liberia’s actual voting population.

    For, make no mistake, we can have ECOMOG, UNMIL, and NATO forces during the coming elections to buttress security on the ground, but the only guarantee of “peace and stability” – from the casting of ballots to the announcement of results heading to the inauguration of whomsoever wins – is the credibility of NEC. So why Chairman Korkoya can’t tie up all loose ends now, for example such as Dr. Tipoteh’s observations, to avoid the inevitable attacks on the fairness of the races and the credibility of NEC, knowing it could stoke violence?

    Once again, we thank the indefatigable Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe and the disciplined generous people of Japan for continuously identifying with our significant needs via many areas including roads, electricity, food sufficiency (rice), security capacity; and, most importantly, for just being a trusted and dependable friend.

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