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Integrity Watch Liberia, NEC launch political parties accountability project 

By Lewis S. Teh 

Integrity Watch Liberia in partnership with the National Elections Commission (NEC) has launched a political financing project aimed at reducing electoral malpractices, corruption, and bribery ahead of the October polls.

The initiative falls under the Strengthening Political Accountability Project (SPAP).

The objective of the project, according to Integrity Watch Liberia, is to strengthen compliance enforcement of the campaign finance framework in Liberia.

It aims to promote a level playing field and equal opportunities among contestants for a more accountable and transparent electoral process. 

In an overview, Integrity Watch Liberia Executive Director Herold Aidoo said over the past six months, political parties’ campaign financing monitoring was identified as a gap.

He said Integrity Watch did its assessment of what could be done to have a free, fair, credible, and transparent election.

According to him, Integrity Watch believes that political parties that are seeking state power must be institutions that demonstrate a greater degree of institutional accountability, transparency, and governance.

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Herold added that they realize that most often in the history of Liberia, the issues of how political parties are financed and how those finances are accounted for were relegated.

He added that it was against that backdrop that Integrity Watch Liberia approached the NEC last year and expressed interest in partnering with the electoral house to look at political parties’ campaign financing.

He said they will look at how they can strengthen political parties to make sure they comply with regulations.

That partnership, according to Herold, led to a formal memorandum of understanding to leverage the use of technology to support political parties to track how campaigns are financed.

“We are here basically today to launch the strengthening political parties accountability project, which is a project that seeks to monitor or track how political parties are financed,” he noted.

“We believe that the stronger the political parties are, the more transparent and accountable they are. When they assume state power, they will bring that … into [the] government,” he said.

Officially launching the project, Boakai Dukuly, a commissioner at the NEC, extolled the CSOs for a great initiative undertaken by Integrity Watch Liberia.

In remarks, Cllr. Cooper Krauh, the chairman of the opposition Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), said the launch of the project was important because the organizer, Integrity Watch, is a neutral party.

“We will all learn from this launch, and we learn about political parties’ financing. We will now begin to know where parties will get huge money from to finance their campaign,” he said.

For his part, Alternative National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Cllr. Aloysius Toe said the intervention of CSO actors is welcome to ensure that political financing is being monitored across the country.

“We will now urge the NEC to begin implementing the political financing law as we gear towards this October presidential and legislative elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, USAID Liberia office Director for Democracy, Rights and Governance, Suzanne Truchard said USAID has been supporting election activities here in Liberia with several partners.

She said USAID’s participation at the launching of the project showed the level of coordination in their activities.

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