Election Violence: NEC Must Take Responsibility
On Saturday, December 20, 2014 Liberian voters across the country go to the poll to elect fifteen senators in the Special Senatorial Elections. Thirteen out of the fifteen incumbent Senators, who’ve already served for nine years, are racing alongside one-hundred and twenty six other candidates for the fifteen senatorial seats in the fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia.
With the deployment of polling staff and election materials at the various centers, the National Elections Commission or NEC is finally set to conduct the poll, while political parties and candidates will end campaign activities at 6:00 this evening as required by the guidelines of the NEC. But ahead of all of these, the entire process continues to be marred by violence and complacency on the parts of supporters of candidates and NEC.
At the core of the violence are supporters of Candidate George Manneh Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC and Independent Candidate Robert Alvin Sirleaf- also the son of the President of Liberia. Violent clashes continue to take between the two supporters- the latest being in the PHP Community on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, south of Monrovia with reports of ‘bloodletting’, looting and vandalism to the detriment not only to innocent and law-abiding community residents and traders, but the image of our dear country.
As these violent clashes continue to occur between the supporters of Weah and Sirleaf, authorities of the NEC exhibit the highest degree of complacent carelessness, disregarding their own election laws and guidelines, probably, out of weakness or mere fear. Not only that they continue to remain conspicuously silent and retarded in instituting actions against perpetrators of these physical violence, they also continue to play blind eyes to the verbal and reckless violence by supporters of these two candidates on the radio waves.
By now, the National Elections Commission would have either ‘disqualified or harshly reprimanded’ Candidates George Weah or Robert Sirleaf for such violence because of their inability to exercise the leadership required to ‘control a group of people’. Unfortunately and regrettably, NEC authorities continue to ignore these, when the gavel is already in their hands.
Let it be made emphatically clear that owing to the recklessness and gangsterism being perpetrated by supporters of Weah and Sirleaf, whatever violence that may characterize the process leading to Saturday’s poll will be blamed on the authorities of the NEC – whether destruction or death, the commission will be blamed because it pretends not to have ‘teeth to bite’.