-Raises Issues Over Appointment Of NEC Commissioners
By R. Joyclyn Wea
Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON) says reform processes are actually needed for Liberia because of the ambiguity in some of the laws thus making it much more difficult and challenging for the Country young democracy.
LEON is a network of four Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to include: the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) and National Union of Organizations for the Disabled (NUOD)
Established in May 2017, the organization observed the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia thus deploying 128 long-term and over 1000 short-term observers, issuing 11 statements and recommendations on the electoral process.
Speaking with this news outlet over the weekend in Central Monrovia, LEON Acting Head of Secretariat said based upon experiences from the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections, actors within the electoral sphere of Liberia think there is a serious need to amend some of the laws to ensure that future elections are conducted in a form and manner that will not jeopardies the smooth operations of the electoral processes.
Augustine Tamba wants Article 2.1 of the new election law which gives the President the appointment power to appoint the board of commissioners of the NEC amended, in order to increase public confidence in the process of selecting the board of commissioners of the NEC.
He pointed out the need for public and Civil Society Organization (CSOs) to get involve with the appointment of individuals who would serve as commissioner at the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The LEON Coordinator maintained that other non-political actors in the Country should get involve with the vetting process of those who become Board Of Commissioners of the NEC and that the Board of Commissioners having a clearer oversight and policy making function with the secretariat having operational and managerial responsibility.
The Organization at the same time recommending the “change in the election date” from rainy season to dry season, something that also requires a change in Article 83(a) of the Liberian Constitution.
Liberia’s elections were held on the first Tuesday of May until Section 5 of the 1847 Constitution was suspended in 1975.
Giving reason for such change, Tamba noted that campaign and election preparation are being conducted in the rainy season, when many roads are impassable especially in remote areas; something he said increases the cost of campaigning and running the elections
“This further reduces participation of rural populations. Voter Registration updates can be made during the dry season to minimize impact,” he added.
Tamba bewailed “What we are suggesting is not to back but, at least to move it a bit to the dry season to allow free flow of activities ensuring that we have parties participating and those concerns within the process also participating.” TNR