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LNBA and NEC sign MoU for peaceful elections 

The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) and the National Elections Commission (NEC) have signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the conduct of a peaceful, creditable, and transparent election this October. 

The LNBA issued a special statement Tuesday, 25 July 2023 under the signature of its National Secretary General Cllr. Bornor M. Varmah following the signing of the MoU.

The MoU seeks to 

set the basis for the LNBA’s strategic support to the NEC to ensure that credible and transparent elections are conducted with the mass participation of Liberians consistent with the law. 

Cllr. Varmah disclosed that the LNBA and the NEC under the MoU will organize stakeholder conferences to do stock-taking among the LNBA, NEC, the Supreme Court, and the Peace Building office on all critical electoral interventions. 

The statement pointed out that NEC will recruit hearing officers and clerks and prepare them for training and set up a case management system for optimum efficiency. 

Also, the NEC shall provide strategic information and an education plan on Electoral Dispute Resolution targeting political parties and other stakeholders to be rolled out for the smooth conduct of the electoral activities.

However, under the MoU, the LNBA and NEC will hold experience-sharing sessions on ethical aspects of the EDR to withstand political pressure on the NEC senior leadership. 

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The statement disclosed that the NEC will from time to time consult with the LNBA and raise any concerns regarding presentations made by any assigned lawyers on any electoral matter. 

The statement pointed out that the two parties under the MoU have agreed that any lawyers performing leg services shall do so in keeping with the highest professional standard.

” Under the MoU, the LNBA will provide legal support to the NEC by sensitizing the public through the holding of public conversation on Election Laws and ruling of both the NEC and the Supreme Court on past election cases as well as advocating for the adherence of the rule of law by all actors during the electoral process,” the statement added.

According to the MoU, the LNBA shall provide support to enhance the legal capacity of the NEC to be effective in the adjudication of electoral disputes and increase public knowledge on electoral dispute resolution mechanisms working with all stakeholders. 

The press statement added that the LNBA shall sensitize the public on the calendar of events covering the entire process. 

The bar will provide training support to electoral staff including elections magistrates, hearing officers, political party representatives, independent candidates and media organizations, and others on the disposition of all electoral disputes. 

Cllr. Varmah further indicated that the MoU is for a period of one year. Under the instrument, he said the bar shall organize engagement meetings with relevant international partners to seek their support and collaboration to address issues around electoral violence as well as organize meetings with civil society organizations (CSos), religious leaders, and the joint security about the potential risks associated with early warning signs of the conflict.

” The LNBA, shall provide training support to Civil Society Organizations, [the] security sector, media organizations on the effective and efficient and timely disposition of electoral complaints,” said Cllr. Varmah.

He said it will also enhance the knowledge of LNBA members on the difference between courtroom litigation and electoral dispute resolution.

“To implement the short-term interventions under the MoU, the UNDP electoral support program with support from the Swedish, Irish, and the European Union is to provide … US$ 150,000.00. The short-term activities will be implemented within six months,” he said.

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