The axiom that failure to plan is planning to fail could become the fate of the 2023 elections unless the Weah administration begins early financial support to the National Elections Commission to start preparatory activities, the leader of the Alternative National Congress, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings has warned.
In fact, he is not the first politician to highlight the need for early preparation towards 2023.Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County had sounded such early warning to the government.
In April, Sen. Sherman who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee suggested a need to form a joint committee of both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate to sit with the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the President of Liberia to begin planning for the presidential and general elections, stressing that early planning would ensure those elections will not be postponed due to lack of sufficient funding or any other reason.
“Adherence to constitutionally mandated dates for the performance of any political process is one of the fulcrums for any democracy, let’s not fail to adhere to any mandate of the Liberian Constitution,” Cllr. Sherman noted.
Mr. Cummings agrees totally with the senator and adds that conducting elections on time is the most basic test of any nation’s democracy. He says Liberia cannot be failing this test and hopes to be democratic, underscoring that holding free, fair and credible elections, on time, is amongst the best ways to continue to keep the peace, and remain democratic.
There are enough reasons for these early warnings coming from two astute political leaders of our country, particularly so when President George Weah just recently postponed the 2021 national population and housing census to 2022 because of lack of money. Another reason for concern is delay by the NEC to pay vendors that provided services to the Commission during the December 8, 2020 senatorial elections due to financial difficulty.
In the face of such challenges, any patriotic citizen would have similarly given early warning signals like Cllr. Sherman and Mr. Cummings did to bring the government to alert. Lest we should forget, election is constitutional matter that needs to be handled with care.
In the words of Cummings, elections provide a chance for the people to speak, and choose thus, serious democratic governments do not delay elections, and they do not need to be reminded to plan to support elections.
We also add that it is not just about conducting elections, but that the process from start to end would be transparently free, fair and credible, which is only possible with early preparation and adequate funding.
Anything short of this on our way to 2023, could indicate that the government is already planning to fail which could be disastrous not only for our democracy, but the valuable peace Liberians currently enjoy. It is often said that ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’ The government must heed these calls and begin to act now to ensure conduct of peaceful elections.