Election Credibility Threatened


With less than two weeks
to the October elections, a group of three civil society organizations is urging the National Elections Commission (NEC) to play its part more actively and effectively.

The Alliance for Transitional Justice and the Paramount Young Women Initiative are among the members of the organizations.

The group noted that the fast eroding public trust amongst the general voting population is based upon concerns that the commission continues to demonstrate partisan, fear of manipulation from the Executive branch of Government, and public distrust of NEC independence vis-à-vis leaning toward the CDC to conduct a free, fair, and transparent election is worrisome.

At the release of the Liberia 2023 electoral violence indicators and strategy for containment yesterday, the group through its head, Jeremiah Swen said this threatens the election’s credibility, especially the legal and moral issues regarding the publication of the final Voters Roll.

Swen proposed that the NEC timely publish the final Voters Roll, administer it through its Public Relations Section, and enhance outreach initiatives (localize civic education).

He further cautions NEC to also consider timely publishing and providing comprehensive detail of what constitutes the total eligible voters (total number per counties, gender, and first-time voters), total disqualified multiple registered voters, and total numbers of disqualified registered under-aged voters.

“NEC Hour: Weekly (mid and weekend) live radio talk shows with ELBC and ECOWAS Radios preferably led by the NEC Chairperson and Commissioners aimed at strengthening trust, securing confidence, denying misinformation and disinformation, hate speech, and enhancing civic education on what constitutes election offense and violations, and citizens right to vote,” Swen recommended.

The group discouraged political radicalization, militancy. The ideal concept of youth radicalization and exploitation was mastered during the Liberian civil war and is now reinvented by the same authors (politicians)youths as perpetrators of civil war atrocities to engines of electoral violence and domestic and transnational crimes.

“Young people are the brain trust and power station to foster peace, defeat inequality, and domestic violence, and advance sustainable development, but, when deliberately impoverished and marginalized, they become fragile and exploited for radical extremism (political, cultural, and religious extremists),” Swen said.

The group noted that post-war young people’s limited capacity, social and economic inequality, and drug and substance abuse have exacerbated the growing trend of youthful fragility and vulnerability.

“These gaps have been exploited by political parties, and it has been proven that young people are the lead agents of political violence (electoral violence) and victims of the same.”

To address this, the institutions are proposing youth-focused interventions, youth lecture series (youth peer-peer dialogues), wings of peace (Community Outreach) and county peace and democracy jamborees, women to women; inspiring partnership, bridging gaps, securing confidence and defeating bias and fulfilling women’s increased political representation through women’s women-centered dialogues.

The intent is to transform youth vulnerability into conscious civil and political tools for constitutional adherence and peaceful participation.

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