All eyes are now set on this Saturday, December 20, 2015 for the Special Senatorial Elections in the fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia. Thirteen of the incumbent fifteen Senators will engage a hundred and twenty-two other candidates for fifteen seats in the Liberian Senate. Saturday’s poll followed the lifting of the Stay Order issued more than two weeks ago on campaign and other electoral activities by the Supreme Court of Liberia. Ahead of polling on Saturday, December 20, 2014, reports of elections violence have been emerging from some parts of the country, including Bomi and Grand Bassa Counties.
At the core of the violence are radio stations and supporters of candidates and political parties, there are threats of violence from officials of a certain political party if and only if there poll did not favor their candidate. As these violence are occurring, alongside threats from these party officials, the National Elections Commission or NEC continues to remain conspicuously silent.
While reason(s) for the lack of actions against such occurrences by the NEC may not been known, it is important and in the interest of a peaceful senatorial election that the NEC begin to name and shame, as well as reprimand violator(s) in keeping with the elections laws and guidelines. The Commission must not allow the peace characterizing this electoral process to be threatened by violence in any form and manner- the laws must be executed to the latter as a way of ensuring a peaceful process leading to a free and fair poll.
Political parties and candidates who choose violence or threats of violence as the only way to seeking redress that any form of violence at this time will only send a bad signal that Liberians are a bunch of unserious people. The National Elections Commission must be given the opportunity to address all electoral grievances or matters arising from campaign activities and other forms of irregularities, other than political parties and candidates “beating war drums” or crying wolf.
The inability or failure of the NEC to address such issue(s) as already emphasized must lead the aggrieved parties and candidates to the Supreme Court of Liberia for justice in return. Choosing the Rule of Law over violence or threats of violence is only indicative of political education and maturity.