A joint ECOWAS delegation comprising the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) and the ECOWAS Fact-finding Team has raised concerns regarding hate messages being spread by some media institutions and on social media ahead of Liberia’s presidential and representatives’ elections.
But President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has told the delegation in Monrovia Wednesday, 19 July that government is determined to manage such situation without infringing on the right to free speech.
“We must ensure that peace reigns before, during and after the elections because the 2017 elections constitute Liberia’s defining moment, which will test whether the country can move forward with political maturity or retrogress,” Mrs. Sirleaf said during a meeting with the ECOWAS delegation.
The joint delegation comprising ECONEC and an ECOWAS Fact-finding Team was led by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, President of ECONEC and Chairperson of the Independent National Election Commission of Nigeria.
Mrs. Sirleaf has assured the ECOWAS delegation that a lot of progress has been made towards the successful holding of the 2017 general and presidential elections and those outstanding challenges are being addressed both by the Government of Liberia and its international partners.
She however says logistical support in particular remains a priority of the government and partners of the country. On the Code of Conduct, President Sirleaf assured the delegation that the matter is being resolved through the Supreme Court of Liberia and expressed confidence that the best legal solution will be found through the court process.
In welcoming the ECOWAS delegation, President Sirleaf thanked them for the visit to Liberia at a very crucial period and acknowledged the important contributions ECOWAS has made in Liberia including the intervention of ECOMOG during the civil crisis. She committed her administration to the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible elections in Liberia.
Speaking earlier, the President of ECONEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu provided updates on their mission to Liberia. He informed President Sirleaf that his delegation has held talks with the National Elections Commission (NEC), the diplomatic community, Governance Commission, United Nations Mission in Liberia, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, the leaderships of both Houses of the National Legislature, Inspector General of Police and partner organizations, among others.
Prof. Yakubu points out that the primary goal of ECONEC is to ensure the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible elections within the ECOWAS region and consolidate the democratization process.
He congratulates President Sirleaf for her overall leadership in Liberia, the ECOWAS region and particularly for her role in resolving the political crisis in The Gambia.Prof. Yakubu commits to the return of ECONEC to Liberia in October to monitor the General and Presidential Elections, and tells President Sirleaf that a high-level delegation from ECOWAS led by the President of the ECOWAS Commission will visit Liberia soon.
Member of the delegation which was led to the Office of the President by the ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo include Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairperson of Nigeria and President of ECONEC; Mr. Newton Ahmed Barry; Dr. Maria do Rosario Gonacalves; Prof. Antonio Simbine; Prof. Bolade Eyinla; Mr. Paul Ejima and Mr. Chinedu Chinedu.
Others were Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Head of delegation of the Fact-finding Team; Madam Halima Ahmed; Mr. Francis Oke, Mr. Barou Luther Y. Youkou and Mrs. Bukola Ayoola.