The National Elections Commission or NEC, appears to be leaving no stone unturned ahead of the 2017 Presidential and Representatives elections. Documents obtained during the just-ended security training, organized by the commission suggest that NEC needs about 43,000 workers for the smooth conduct of nest year’s 2017 Presidential and Representatives elections.
The Commission has already outlined everything needed for the smooth and transparent conduct of the elections expected to peacefully end administration of African´s first female President. NEC said it needs 2,080 voting precincts nationwide, 5,500 polling places and 42,000 election workers, including supervisors, polling staffers, civic educators, 1,5000 casual workers, as well as temporary staffers, among others.
The Commission has also projected 70 trucks for nationwide used – expected to take election materials, 19 magisterial offices in the 15 sub-political divisions of the country and tally centers. According to document in the possession of this paper, NEC also needs 366 plus vehicles, 150 motorbikes, 2,750 porters for tabulations of results at magisterial offices, 100 canoes to be used to transport materials where vehicles are unreachable, and one central warehouse.
Yesterday, NEC ended dialogue with all security institutions here, including the Liberia National Police, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Fire Services, as well as Armed Forces of Liberia, among others on how to uphold the rule of law during the electioneering process.
Authorities at the Finance and Development Planning Ministry had told the public that the next fiscal year; the budgetary appropriation will seriously consider NEC’s projection for the smooth conduct of the elections monetary wise.
Speaking at the training, NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya said NEC, as the body responsible for the organization and conduct of elections in post-conflict Liberia, is racing against time to put in place all necessary safeguards, not only for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections, but a process that will keep the nation on a viable course of sustainable peace.
According to him, the peaceful outcome of any election, to include 2017, is possible only when the process is characterized by the highest degree of transparency and integrity. To ensure integrity, the process demands an electoral atmosphere free of fear, intimidation or manipulation at every stage.
He noted that the presence of adequate security not only professional, but well-motivated and neutral on elections’ day, is an imperative, especially during critical stages, such as voting, votes counting, results transmission and collation.
Chairman Korkoya explained that an election environment characterized by peace, adequate neutral security in and around voting places, helps to facilitate a free, fair and credible election, while lessening problems that could compromise voters’ confidence, integrity of records, turnout or election results.
He encouraged voters to be able to vote without fear, adding that election monitors or observers must be able to observe without intimidation; candidates must be able to campaign free of any apprehension that their supporters will not be intimidated or harmed on Elections Day. He stressed that adequate security during the election process is critical to providing protection of election materials, candidates, voters, monitors/observers and polling sites, maintaining that the mere presence of security on Elections’ Day is not in itself sufficient.
For integrity purposes, according to the NERC Chairman, election security must be neutral and impartial. “It should also be noted that security is not cheap; so it is very important to make a predetermination of the cost associated with financing election security operation. Funds allocated for election security must be properly managed and accounted for because the lack of adequate funding for election security or the mismanagement thereof seriously undermines the security of elections, for reasons that poorly motivated security officers are prone to negative influences,” he said, indicating: “This is true in the case wherein resources are not provided on time for it affects the timeline of the process.”.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by George Barpeen