‘Strengthen Electoral Systems to Avoid Violence’

D. Karn Carlor, Governance Commission Commissioner designate

-- Says GC Commissioner Designate

The Commissioner-designate for the Governance Commission, D. Karn Carlor, has called on the Senate to begin the process of strengthening the country’s electoral systems “to avoid persistent conflicts arising from elections.”

At his confirmation hearing recently, the incoming Governance Commissioner told Senators that most electoral problems and violence are the result of the electoral system, and laws -- as they are inadequate to meet the modern-day needs of the National Election Commission (NEC), which needs to be more independent and transparent.

“Build [and strengthen] the electoral system. If you do not build the electoral system so that when I drop my vote, I know it will be counted. But if I doubt that the votes will be counted, then comes confusion and problems. This is where the problem lies,” Carlor argued.

He added that the electoral system needs total restructuring to ensure that peace in Liberia is kept but, if that is not done, violence will continue to rise after every election.

According to him, peace in Liberia is only guaranteed when citizens start to respect each other and put the right things into place, such as well-structured electoral systems that meet the needs and aspirations of the people.

“To make peace is better,” Carlor told Senators,  making a perfect reference to the 1980 coup. These are very hard lessons Liberians must learn from the conflict. We have learned that peacemaking, after all, is complex, but better.

Carlor said when confirmed by the senate, his new vision is to ensure Liberians respect each other, which he hopes to achieve through education (training) and awareness.”

He said his vision is predicated on violence rising from past elections, which indicates that Liberians continue to be at each other’s throats (in confusion), which is not good for the county. 

“This is the major reason,” he said, “Liberians have to calm down, respect each other, listen to advice and improve the country’s positivity for the betterment of the nation.  If you have gone through the war, you will know that to make peace is better,” he stressed. 

In written talking points presented to the Committee, the nominee said the acts of retribution after the 1980 coup contributed immensely to the resultant Liberian civil war that lasted 14 years.

A career social worker of many years, Carlor said Liberians are having difficulties listening and have forgotten the past. 

“You cannot audit and nothing happens and you go back and nothing happens again and we go back to audit,” he added. “As audits are conducted, it is important for actions to be taken and right the wrongs that the audit revealed.”

Carlor said it is important to ensure that the right things are done at institutions of the country.

Dr. Henrique Tokpa, Bong County senator who chairs the committee said, “I do hope when you ascend to this position, you will protect the core values of the institution. The letter you read places a lot of value on you.” 

Dr. Tokpa said the committee has played their part and it is now left with the plenary, which is clothed with the responsibility to do the needful and communicate with Mr. Carlor’s employer, President George Weah.