The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) on 11 September 2023, launched its Situation Room to serve as an information hub to monitor the elections scheduled to be conducted by the National Elections Commission (NEC) this October.
Through the Situation Room, the LCC will gather data from precincts from the 15 counties. LCC anticipates 20 campaign monitors, and 300 election day observers will be deployed throughout the country.
The LCC will also collaborate with other situation rooms and observers. In this way, the LCC leadership will be better informed to speak periodically on the conduct of the various campaigns and issues concerning the election.
Ambassador Medina Wesseh, former Secretary General of Mano River Union (MRU) officially launched the LCC Situation Room.
“I am most pleased and honored by the invitation to launch The ELECTION SITUATION ROOM of the Liberia Council of Churches,” said Amb. Wesseh.
The Liberian diplomat said the whole world appears to want Liberia to succeed, adding that Liberians themselves must want to succeed also.
“Hundreds of international observers are to be deployed to monitor the election to ensure that it is free, fair and transparent. The Liberian Constitution gives power to the people to elect their government and to change that government if it fails to meet their needs,” said Amb. Wesseh.
She explained that the way to exercise that power is to vote, noting that every vote counts.
“The next thing is they must get out on election day and go to the polls to cast their ballots. You as leaders must get involved to help ensure that the people must not sell their votes or let anyone take those ballots away from them.”
According to Amb. Wesseh, they lose their power and their voices if and when they do not vote. She said the people also lose their right to complain for the next six years if they vote foolishly.
She states that the LCC and its constituent member churches and denominations must all get involved in this process.
“As the good shepherds the Bible reminds us about, they must lead and guide their flock,” Amb. Wesseh urged the Chruch.
On election day, she urged, the people must leave their houses, take their voting cards, in this case, the latest biometric voter identification card, and go to the polling center or prescient where they registered and cast their votes upon receipt of the ballot papers.
“We have … presidential [and legislative] elections. So, each voter will be handed three sets of ballot papers. One to vote for the president of their choice, one to vote for the senator of the county, and the other ballot to vote for the representative of their choice in the district they reside.”
She hoped that serious voter education was going on for the people to know how to cast their votes and for what offices.
She continued that leaders of the churches must get involved by encouraging their people to go out on 10 October to leave their homes and abode to go out and cast their votes.
“The Bible says a good shepherd is there to lead his sheep. The good shepherd is not expected to lead his sheep astray. The shepherd protects his sheep from the moment he takes them out to graze till dusk when they all retire,” Amb. Wesseh noted.
According to her, religion is central to Liberian life and the Church has been pivotal in nurturing the spiritual well-being since the foundation of the Liberian nation.
“The Church and religious institutions help sustain harmony and cohesiveness in the communities.”
She said the [presidential and legislative] elections this year are being held at a time when Liberia is at a crossroads.
“We recently celebrated 20 years of uninterrupted peace since the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord ending our civil war,” she remarked.
Madam Wesseh explained that the LCC and the Interfaith Religious Council led the initial efforts at restoring peace in this country.
“Delegations of religious leaders at the onset [of] the war in 1990 took the risk to shuttle between the government in Monrovia and rebel leaders in the bush or bushes to arrange peace talks, long before the international community came around,” she recalled.
She stated that the religious leaders both Christians and Muslims, have never hesitated to make available their good offices to facilitate conflict resolution.
“Alarming flashpoints have arisen over the last five years that tested our fledgling democracy and nearly brought our country to the brink of calamity.”
“There were mass protests in the streets against corruption, shortages of essential commodities, skyrocketing cost of living, extrajudicial killings, and challenges to the rule of law,” she recalled.
She indicated that religious leaders were quick to raise their voices every time to try to avert a crisis.
She said it seems most appropriate and should be most welcome, therefore, that the LCC has decided at this time to launch the Situation Room to serve as an information hub to monitor the elections.