Magisterial offices for Election Magistrates now have fully fenced warehouses and generator rooms financed under UNDP Liberia’s Elections Basket Fund Project by the European Union, Canada, Sweden and Ireland.
The project supports the rehabilitation of 12 out of 19 magisterial facilities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) which includes installation of hand pumps in some areas.
The renovated structures and facilities, which are to be used for storing and securing elections materials, are being dedicated and handed over to the NEC.
Already, the structures in Kolahun, Voinjama, Kakata, Totota and Gbarnga have been officially turned over and similar engagement continues in the coming days in Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Nimba counties.
Speaking during the dedication in Kakata, the outgoing Chargé d’affaires of Ireland, Kate Brady, on behalf of the Basket Fund, stressed that securing election-related assets helps to bring value and viability to the credibility of the processes.
Ms. Brady praised the leadership role of the Elections Commission and the national government for taking ownership of elections in Liberia.
She also credited UNDP Liberia’s long-standing and invaluable partnership during the implementation of the elections project, which comes to a close shortly.
According to UNDP Liberia Resident Representative Pa-Lamin Beyai, the current project, “Support to Electoral Cycle, which started in 2015’’, after an extension, will finally end in the coming weeks.
Dr. Beyai says the on-going dedication of the 12 facilities is part of the closing activities. However, work has already started on the next phase of the project, which is envisaged to support Liberia from, 2020-2024, two upcoming electoral cycles.
He mentioned that successful Mid-Term Senatorial Elections and National Referendum are critical not only to further consolidate Liberia’s democracy but also to instill public trust in future elections.
“NEC cannot do it alone without the concerted efforts of all stakeholders—Government, Partners and the Liberian people,” Beyai noted.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through its Resident Representative, particularly praised and acknowledged the outstanding and long-standing partnership with NEC, Government of Liberia, traditional and bilateral Donors —Sweden, Ireland, EU, Canada, as well as former partners Japan and Germany, in consolidating Liberia’s democracy through credible and inclusive elections.
The UNDP Boss stressed that cost-effectiveness of the electoral process is critical and proper cataloguing and maintaining of assets is key to ensuring the sustainability of elections.
Dr. Beyai also encouraged the full participation of women in the elections process.
“We encourage Liberian Government, NEC, political parties and other electoral stakeholders to stand up to their commitment in ensuring that women are fully represented,” Beyai stressed.
According to the UNDP Boss, obstacles to the participation of women in the electoral process must be removed, and they are given sufficient space to assume leadership roles.
“I call upon Political Parties to ensure gender balance in the Primary elections and to nominate women leaders as their candidates,” he said.
Dr. Beyai’s comments were also buttressed by Ms. Brady who emphasized increased electoral support to women and marginalized groups.
At the same time, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, has expressed appreciation to donors of UNDP Liberia Elections Basket Fund — Ireland, European Union, Canada, Sweden as well as former partners Germany and Japan, for the overwhelming support the NEC has received over the years.
Madame Lansanah made the commendation during the dedication of warehouses, fences, generator rooms and hand-pumps at NEC Magisterial offices in Kakata, Totota and Gbarnga.
“What a transformation UNDP Elections Project has brought to our magisterial facilities. We are overwhelmingly grateful,” said the Commission’s Chairperson.
The NEC Chairperson described the support as a boost to the consolidation of Liberia’s democracy through inclusive, transparent, and credible elections. She stressed the importance of the upcoming voters’ registration process, especially for first-time voters.
The facilities that were officially turned over were gladly received and accepted by the various local leaderships. County Superintendents and Mayors lauded the support from partners; emphasizing that no longer will NEC personnel will be intimated or threatened during elections.