Demands NEC’s prompt response to election irregularities, harmful effect of CoC, high incidence of invalid votes, other problems impacting election process
The Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) has raised serious concerns on what it calls questionable sources of campaign financing and the misuse of public resources, which it said created an uneven playing field in the first round of the presidential and legislative elections.
In a statement yesterday, the party said this situation raises the question of the fairness of the electoral process and called on the NEC to provide a definitive report on financing and spending by political parties.
MOVEE said the introduction of the Code of Conduct (CoC) by the Unity Party-led Government was not in the spirit of inclusiveness and fairness.
“The entire process was disruptive, targeted and tantamount to abuse of power and done to the extent of skirting around the spirit and intent of the Constitution of the Republic,” the party said.
MOVEE noted that the CoC harmed the electoral process and, in particular, created an uneven playing field for MOVEE, whose standard-bearer was its reported principal target.
“Not only was it offensive to the doctrine of democratic participation, the Code ultimately beclouded the minds of our supporters and well-wishers with uncertainties, adversely impacting the performance of our party.
“The electoral process, therefore, cannot be considered as fair because of the adverse effects on supporters and well-wishers of MOVEE and its standard bearer from the very start of the electoral process,” the party said. “MOVEE has a strong auxiliary support base that at least registered 300,000 members in its database. Our registered partisans processed ID cards, and exceeded 200,000 so that means we had about half a million members and well-wishers in our database.”
The reported 12, 800 votes in favor of Dr. Jones, the release said, is less than 3 percent of the number in the party’s database.
“This is a record of the unidirectional change of mind of potential voters over a relatively short period of time. While this may be possible, the question is, how probable is it? The concern of MOVEE is heightened by the high incidents of irregularities reported by a number of other parties and stakeholders.
“These allegations of irregularities included poor management and inefficiencies that hang over the integrity and credibility of the electoral process,” the release said.
It added: “MOVEE is particularly disturbed by the report of the emotional stress of voters in locating polling places, problems causing some voters to walk away without voting and challenges faced by the elderly, physically challenged and pregnant women.
“Also there are reports of stolen ballot boxes, mix-matched tally sheets, and poor lightning. There were also an unprecedented number of more than 88,000 invalid votes.”
These issues should be addressed immediately by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and all other arms of the government of Liberia with jurisdiction over electoral related complaints, the party said.
MOVEE also said that it is regrettable that more than half of a million registered voters did not participate in the elections.
The party, meanwhile, congratulated its partisans for the overwhelming turnout, which demonstrated the commitment to build a culture of democracy based on transparency, fairness, inclusiveness, and accountability, all of which bring credibility to the electoral process.
“We thank the international community including, but not limited to, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United States of America (USA), the European Union (EU), the People’s Republic of China, etc., for the support of the electoral process,” the statement concluded.