The WANEP-Liberia Election Situation Room has released findings from its observers on the just-ended Presidential and legislative Elections held across the country.
In a statement issued yesterday in Monrovia, WANET disclosed that generally, the voting process went well in most areas monitored by its observers and in accordance with the electoral process. According to the group, there was the presence of the Joint Security Task Force in most of the polling stations even as the voting process was concluding. There is an absence of campaign materials in and around the observed polling stations. Additionally, the presence of International and Local Observers increased as the voting process concluded.
WANET noted that based on the reports received from deployed ESR observers in the field, there was the presence of poll watchers from most of the political parties especially in the urban cities.
It added that the ESR observers reported that voting proceeded peacefully in most of the places they observed they further reported that some had already begun counting. There were however isolated cases of verbal and physical attacks including in Montserrado County, Smart Academy, District #5 in Monrovia’s Paynesville suburb due to the late arrival of materials.
According to WANET, at the conclusion of polls, some incidents were observed. They include technical Incidents at the John Baakalu, District #3, Bong County where some voters came in with their mobile phones in violation of the electoral laws and at the blind eyes of the NEC officials.
In Montserrado County District #10, at the Wells Hariston School according to WANET, a voter was caught with a fake voter card while another escaped the scene after being caught with two ID Cards at Mother Kebbeh Polling Station.
“In Nimba County, District #1, at Tokay Hill Community, Foundation Academy Day Care a presiding Officer in polling place #5 was allegedly discussing with one of the candidates in the car and voters had to protest for his replacement. In Brewerville, Montserrado County, electoral District #17 (Jartonor Town), polling place #4 of polling station # 30345, the Polling Officer at place #5 requested the reopening of ballot boxes of polling place #4 to allow voters who were not part of this polling place to vote, despite the fact that the ballot boxes had already been sealed,” WANET added.
According to the group, in Montserrado County District #5, there was a fist cuff between security personnel and some voters following their agitation over the delayed arrival of materials.
In its recommendations, WANET noted that while voters and party poll watchers were being encouraged to exercise patience and restrain from any act of violence and provocation that may result in tension, the NEC officials and security agents present at polling stations were also encouraged to ensure compliance to laid down procedures to fast track the collation, counting, and tallying process.
The group further recommended that security presence should be increased in all the identified flashpoints, particularly in places where there have been reported cases of violence leading to injuries during the voting process. The group also added that the Joint Security must without delay investigate all alleged electoral fraud cases to act as a deterrent to future offenders.
Concluding, the ESR thanked Liberians for their diligence and patience throughout the voting process, especially in areas that experienced challenges with the starting schedule. “We call on all stakeholders to exercise tolerance and trust in the electoral system while we wait for the collation, counting, tallying, and final declaration of the results by the National Electoral Commission. We also thank all domestic and international observers for their role. Finally, we are grateful to all our partners for their support so far.”