By David A. Yates and Alvin Worzi
As many Liberians celebrate the victory of ex-football superstar George M. Weah on his election as the country’s next president, the Women’s Situation Room (WSR) has commended Liberians for exemplifying maturity in conducting a peaceful election.
According to the establishment’s coordinator, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, the WSR did not receive any reports on incidents of injury or destruction of property during the election of the country’s next President, which showed the world that “we have grown up politically and can now conduct elections in an atmosphere devoid of threats, intimidation, injury and or death.”
“We congratulate President-elect George Weah and his Vice President-elect Jewel Howard-Taylor on their hard-won victory.
“The WSR also commends Vice President Joseph Boakai and his running mate Emmanuel Nuquay for their well-run electoral race; but above all, for the Vice President’s very dignified and magnanimous concessionary speech, wherein he has indicated that he is ready to avail himself in any way that the newly elected president may find him useful to advance the good of our country,” she said.
Cllr. Wureh made the statement recently at a press conference held the Monrovia, when she released the WSR’s report.
She said that the concessionary speech has been welcomed by all Liberians as a vital instrument towards pulling this country together and healing it in the fastest possible time.
“Our Supreme Court must be congratulated also for its concise and well thought out opinion in conformity with our laws and for showing us that the use of our courts makes a marked difference in our lives when the rule of law is upheld,” Cllr. Wureh said.
It may be recalled that on November 6, 2017 the Supreme Court issued a stay order mandating a stay on the November 10, 2017 scheduled runoff until the complaint of Liberty Party could be fully heard.
The stay order (Writ of Prohibition) was in place until the Supreme Court heard Liberty Party’s appeal and rendered its opinion on December 7, 2017 thus lifting the stay order.
Cllr. Wureh asserted that Liberty Party utilizing the legal process clearly demonstrates to Liberians the significance of using the legal process to solve our problems rather than using violent means.
She said the WSR report of the Supreme Court’s opinion ordered the National Elections Commission (NEC) to hold a runoff rather than a rerun elections and contained eight (8) major counts that had to be adhered to before elections between the two leading parties could go forward, including “stopping all persons who did not appear on the Final Registration Rolls (FRR) from voting; cleaning up of the FRR; publishing the FRR and distributing it to all Magistrate Election Offices and polling places.”
“That NEC’s Officials stop making biased public statements; restricting voters to vote only where they are registered and where their names appeared on the FRR; publication of the FRR as pronounced in the Supreme Court’s decision; and limit any addendum to those listed in the NEC’s Polling and Counting Manual.
“ECOWAS is thanked and appreciated by the people of Liberia for stepping up to the plate and aiding our National Elections Commission by providing an experienced team of experts to assist NEC in the cleanup of the FRR as per the Supreme Court’s opinion,” Cllr. Wreh said.
She said NEC must also be applauded for complying with the Supreme Court’s mandate in such a short period of time to the satisfaction of both political parties and in time for the re-scheduled December 26, 2017 runoff.
“We, the Liberian populace, saw the effect of those mandates on Election Day when our observers reported that there was a marked difference in the efficiency of NEC’s poll workers from the first election day of October 10, 2017.” WSR, sponsored by UNMIL, fielded 160 women observers throughout every Electoral District in Liberia for the runoff presidential elections.
They reported that the major problem of voters experiencing difficulty locating their correct polling station on Election Day had been corrected by the Supreme Court order that NEC displayed the FRR at polling stations.
She said in their report all voters could transparently look up their names and ascertain where they were registered to vote. The recruitment by NEC of an additional 385 queue controllers to assist voters in finding their correct place to vote also added to NEC’s efficiency and cut down on the time it took individual voters to locate their names and vote.
“This coupled with low voter turnout (51%) made the wait time inconsequential. Queues were well manned and there was the rapid processing of voters. By 6 p.m. when our polls closed, there were no lines reported at any voting station.
“Our ‘Talking Bus’ community engagement project is still operational in the counties of Nimba, Lofa, Maryland and Grand Gedeh. Prior to the runoff, these communities initiated conversations about upholding the rule of law by peacefully accepting our Supreme Court’s decision for us to have the runoff elections,” she concluded.