International observers monitoring the electoral process in Liberia are providing series of recommendations to Liberian authorities to enhance future polls and strengthen the country’s democratic process.
The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) through its Elections Observation Mission (EISA-EOM) outlines challenges it observed during Tuesday, 10 October elections polls ranging from underrepresentation of young people in elective offices, growing engagement of youth as militants by political parties, delay in distributing the Final Registration Roll for public scrutiny, delay in releasing regulations on collation and tabulation of results, lack of substantial issue-based or policy-focused campaign messages, widespread misinformation about elections on social media to weak communication strategy, and low visibility of NEC’s programs.
ESIA therefore, urges the Government of Liberia to promulgate into law provisions on compulsory gender quotas for female candidates in line with Liberia’s international commitment to affirmative action.
It also calls on government to explore possibility of legally moving Election Day to a timeframe that does not coincide with the rainy season to reduce logistical challenges and risks while facilitating voter’s participation.
“Enforce the rules in the election law by prosecuting offences such as voter trucking. To the NEC, strengthen public communications with emphasis on key processes making it more proactive, timely and precise. Collaborate with CSOs to improve the conduct of civic and voter education”, the group recommends.
For its part, election observers from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, recommends that to address congestion and long queues at polling precincts, reforms may be introduced in the electoral laws to reduce the number of voters per polling unit, taking into cognizance the need for such reforms.
Though these are but few of the recommendations from foreign observers here, with more to come, we think they are germane and should claim immediate attention of authorities of the National Elections Commission and the Government of Liberia in order to enhance our electoral process.
Elections are crucial in consolidating peace in Liberia. A credible poll produces an outcome that will be acceptable to majority of the population and advance democratic governance. Anything short of allowing voters to freely choose leaders of their choice is counter-productive and not healthy for the country.
Even more important, however, is the process leading to the actual conduct of the polls, and this is why there is need for stakeholders, including actors and referees to work together in conducting credible elections so that results are validated by both national and international observers for the good of the country.
This is why we think that it is important that our electioneering authorities and the government take these recommendations, and others to come very seriously to improve the process.