US Envoy canvas full funding for NEC
By Lewis S. Teh
The United States government has urged that Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) be fully funded to enable it to conduct a free, fair, and transparent election this October.
Addressing a press conference at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia Tuesday, 28 March 2023, US Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy said there is a need for the Liberian government to provide the NEC funding support.
“Today with one quarter of the calendar year already behind us, the NEC has yet to receive any of its 2023 funding, even though we are less than seven months away from election,” said Amb. McCarthy.
This year, Liberians will be voting in October in a presidential and legislative election.
The incumbent President George Manneh Weah and his ruling party Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are seeking re-election against multiple opposition contenders.
With about seven months away from the pools, the U.S., Liberia’s traditional ally, has raised concerns about the government’s financial support to the electoral house.
“I am encouraged by President Weah’s statements at the UN General Assembly pledging a free and fair election. Liberia’s international partners share that goal, but we believe as with the integrity institutions, it can’t be achieved unless the NEC is fully funded,” Amb. McCarthy warned.
The U.S. Envoy pointed out that such a situation should concern every Liberian, urging the Ministry of Finance to immediately provide the NEC with its full 2023 budget.
Once the funding is provided, Amb. McCarthy said the NEC can have the necessary resources to effectively prepare for and implement all aspects of the electoral process.
Commenting on the ongoing voter registration process, Amb. McCarthy said the U.S. government condemns the violence that occurred at particular registration centers over the weekend.
He encouraged all voters to register peacefully and abide by the NEC’s guidelines on registering where they reside.
“I also want to encourage the NEC to move quickly to provide the promised meal and training allowances to the poll workers who are working long hours under difficult conditions,” Amb. McCarthy continued.
He indicated that the Embassy has its observation teams visiting various polling centers to observe the process.
Meanwhile, Amb. McCarthy explained that the recent U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report was mandated by the US Congress to inform on its status of internationally recognized human rights.
“No country is perfect on human rights practices in the world, and those reports are not meant to be punitive, but rather a sober and fact-based accounting of both positive and negative issues affecting human rights,” he said.