IN KEEPING WITH THE timetable or mandate of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Liberia’s electoral body, Liberians are trooping and queuing at different centers nationwide to enter their names on the electoral roster, in order to qualify their participation in the impending general and legislative elections of October 10, 2023. Indeed, such is the moment so much so craved by Liberians, to enable them to decide their country’s fate a few months from now, whether to remain put with the current regime or trigger a change of leadership at the polls.
THE ALREADY FESTERING MOMENTUM amongst Liberians to get registered should not and must not be aligned with the novelty of the system – the introduction of biometric ID cards which are profoundly embraced. Far beyond, it is rather a sign of readiness, willingness, and determination on the part of Liberians to exercise their inalienable franchise, as it is also a sign of acceptance of this new proceeding. What is being witnessed since the start of the Voter’s Registration Exercise on Monday, March 20, 2023- the trooping of Liberians to various sites – might be a signal of a very good outcome of the entire voting process.
OF COURSE, THERE IS no gainsaying the significance and rightness of the exercise, as it is seen a major determinant for the sustenance of peace and security, as well as an incontrovertible litmus test towards further rooting what is still considered by many as ‘bourgeoning democracy.’ The reason is that Liberia has come a long way in coagulating peace and democracy following years of a fratricidal civil conflict whose ghosts of violence, political agitation, and unorthodox display of attitudes by young people continue to hunt its existence.
BESIDES, THE FOLKS AT the NEC – the Electoral Body – may as well be overpoweringly elated hearing of good turnouts on the first day of the process, that their good work is now paying off, and that it is a sign of agreement and confidence in the process. In our modestly wider calculation, this is a kind of “When the Christmas is to be good, the eve tells it all” situation that Liberians are familiar with. However, we are equally reminded that of the saying “not everything that glitters is gold or a semblance of gold, meaning that what is being witnessed today should not be an outright crowning of the entire process.
WITH ALL THINGS SAID and done, ours is not to question the credibility of the NEC to manage this electoral process with efficiency, efficacy, fairness, and transparency, though we are under obligation to do so considering from whence we come. Right so, we owe the strongest of conviction that the onus of ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections void of unnecessary contentions, mishaps, and misgivings rests upon their shoulders. As the election is a game of unleavened contestation and polarization, it is unexpected that there wouldn’t be a bit of noise here and there evidenced by what is already before the Supreme Court of Liberia – the complaints of demarcation of boundaries filed by some members of the opposition.
WHAT THIS TELLS EVERYONE mainly the NEC that there is a likelihood of more and more legal challenges to some of its decisions or actions – let alone the outcome of the voting process, especially when it’s determined that the government in power has won (not suggesting that it should cheat). As a raw fact that election results in Africa are often decided at the courts, the purity of the process from the ongoing Voter Registration to voting day is of huge essence. This is why we want to urge the Body to ensure that it conducts itself in line with guidelines guaranteed by the elections law as well as the Constitution –without contradicting anything- so as to avoid situations that could undermine our democratic progression.
WE STRONGLY THINK THAT Liberia, in spite of untold setbacks, must come out of this election process with a bill of the clean sheet to be able to serve as an example to others. Indeed, the onus is on the NEC to do the needful now, to keep the country on this plain trajectory of peace, security, and infrastructural advancement. This is our honest and earnest plea.
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