Call for more civil and voter’s education
Members of political parties of Liberia have recommended to the National Election Commission (NEC) that to have a free, fair and transparent elections come December 8, 2020, the voter’s roll must be provided on time, to help educate those that are involved with the process.
Political parties, who believe that the 2020 senatorial contest and other future elections timetable must be provided on time, also called for civil and voters education to make citizens participate in the election from an informed perspective.
The political parties made the statement at a one-day roundtable dialogue organized by the Liberia Peace Building Office in collaboration with Zoa, with support from IrishAid, with the intent to gauge the perspectives of different political parties and network of civil society organizations, including women and youth organizations, in a frame of dialogue with the sole purpose of formulating a road map for inclusive and peaceful senatorial election in December.
Edward Mulbah, Executive Director of the Peace Building Office, said the theme of the roundtable dialogue — ‘inclusive, non-violent peaceful election’ — was generated based on the motivation that Liberians, irrespective of political affiliation, have an important role to play in keeping the country peaceful, stable, and prosperous.
Mulbah said: “As we march towards December 8, 2020, for the conduct of the special senatorial election and referendum, and even in the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, our sincere hopes and aspirations are fundamentally hinged on the principles of respecting human rights, upholding the rule of law and maintaining the peace.”
He said the roundtable dialogue is intended to gauge individual and collative perspective of political parties and another stakeholder, including women and youth groups and marketing associations, on the challenges and opportunities they should explore as a nation and drive a user-friendly road map that guides the political parties, government and civil society organizations’ actions to inherently enable the nation to achieve a successful, peaceful and non-violent elections.
Mulbah said the roundtable dialogue will refine strategies and crucial areas that will help relevant government institutions, private sectors, and society to improve productive relationships with political parties during the pending special senatorial elections, setting the basis for peaceful presidential and legislative elections in 2023.
Bobby Livingstone, secretary of the Liberia Bar Association, in a proxy statement said the issue of the accessibility to the State broadcaster is a major concern that needs to be addressed before going to the polls in December 2020.
Livingstone said the inclusive and participatory space for the special senatorial elections cannot be enhanced with the current state in which the radio has been run.
He said the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) cannot be used just for the ruling party because it is funded by taxpayers’ money and, as such, all political actors must have access to the state broadcaster.
Livingstone said there is a looming danger for the December elections if LBS is being micro-managed by just the ruling party, a situation he said is not a good sign for the 2023 general and presidential elections.
The dialogue brought together 30 political parties, including Liberty Party (LP), All Liberian Party (ALP), Unity Party (UP), and Alternative National Congress (ANC), Victory for Change Party, among others; three civil society organizations, as well as two representatives each from women and youth organizations.