By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-The Executive Director of Naymote Partners for Democratic Development Eddie Jarwolo says the ongoing rift at the Commission is undermining the electoral body’s credibility to hold free, credible, and transparent elections.
Recently, NEC’s co-chairperson, Cllr. Teplah Reeves, accused her colleague, Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah, of “flagrant disrespect” of the entire board of commissioners and the NEC’s procurement process.
“What is happening at the NEC is really troubling. Liberia is on a time bomb if NEC cannot resolve internal issues and focus on working as a team and a singular institution charged by the Constitution to conduct free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections,” said Jarwolo.
Jarwolo also believes this is grounds for conflict, as the ongoing rift at the Commission is undermining the electoral body’s credibility to hold, free, fair, and transparent elections, and if this is not resolved to guarantee public trust ahead of the 2023 elections.
“The fight among Commissioners at NEC is troubling and, should the situation continue and remain as it is now, we from the civil society fear there might be another war in Liberia,” Jarwolo noted.
Similarly, President George M. Weah, according to Jarwolo, should see a reason to work with the legislature and ensure the NEC works as the integrity institution it ought to be.
“If the people don’t believe in NEC, they will not believe in the police and the courts. They will take the law into their own hands. Nobody wants to spend about US$20 million to become president and sit around and watch the supposed integrity institution leak information here and there. If people lose trust in NEC, the whole country might become ungovernable,” Jarwolo added.
He noted that if there is any post-election conflict, it will be difficult to be resolved or manage internally; registering that NEC should be responsible enough to resolve all “petty issues”.
Jarwolo said for President Weah to directly look into NEC’s internal conflict is in no violation of the law, pointing out that, in 2017, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had meetings with the NEC Board of Commissioners and she was always concerned that the Commission was not airing their internal crisis in the press.