The Integrity Watch Liberia has reportedly documented about 1,390 evidences against political parties, and independent candidates for allegedly violating the regulations of the National Elections Commission on political parties’ campaign financing during the October 10th presidential and legislative election in the country.
The Executive Director of Integrity Watch, Harold Aidoo linked all of the political parties and most of the independent candidates to violations of the NEC political parties’ campaign financing regulations.
Mr. Aidoo made the disclosure made the disclosure at a one-day stakeholder’s conference on handling the breaches of NEC political parties’ campaign regulations organized by Integrity Watch in collaboration with the National Elections Commission with funding from the United Nations Development Program in Monrovia Friday.
According to Mr. Aidoo, the evidences of the violation of the NEC regulations on political parties’ campaign financing are extremely long as they range from misuse of state properties, vehicles donated by international partners, taking out students of their classes to wait for prominent people and refusal to identify sources of funding.
Speaking during the conference, NEC Commissioner, Attorney Boakai Dukuly, stressed the need for citizens to begin taking legal actions individuals who will deliberately violate campaign financing in the country.
According to him, some individuals willingly violate the regulations on campaign financing without regard to the consequences to the Liberian people simply of their desire to win; “it is just a symptom on how we violate other laws disregarding the laws created by ourselves,
“This is something that is deeply rooted in our society and all must be done to eradicate habit of disregarding laws that are geared towards stabilizing our society. We have to deal with because we do not know how some these people get their money and how it is spent during campaign seasons,” said NEC Commissioner Dukuly.
He expressed the hope that participants come with recommendations aimed at curbing unnecessary campaign financing in the country.
For her part, the Chief Technical Advisor on elections at the United Nations Development Program, Dr. Lenka Homolkonawelcomed efforts by civil society organizations in Liberia to look into the issue of campaign financing in their country.
According to her, this aspect of election is very important so as to create a level playing field for all of the candidates regardless of their political and societal status.
She said without the enforcement of the regulations on campaign financing laws, the implementations cannot be achieved unless the citizens collaborate with civil society organizations so as to create the level playing field
In special remarks, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Liberia, Christine Umutoni, thanked the Integrity Watch Liberia and the National Elections Commission for promotion responsible campaign financing in the country.
She also thanked the Liberian government for financing the entire electoral process because it is the first time Liberia undergo elections without funding from the United Nations.
According to her, it speaks volume because the country is taking responsibility of its own affairs
The conference, which was held under the theme, “Strengthening Political Accountability Project”, brought together participants from the Liberia National Bar Association, civil society organizations, among many others.
The conference was funded by the United Nations Development Program with assistance from several international partners and governments.