By: Washington Tumay Watsonemail@example.com
The Women’s Situation Room (WSR) has encouraged authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to ensure early preparation for the runoff election.
The WSR wants the NEC to include alternative means to transport sensitive and non–sensitive materials to the various polling precincts and places across the country.
A statement from WSR noted that, “Where the need arises, these materials should be protected against damage and additional costs especially across rivers, communities, the NEC temporal staff managing the elections at the various polling precincts and polling places should be incentivised at the time of deployment to keep their focus on the tasks assigned to them.”
According to the statement from the WSR, their observers were engaged during the October 10 elections on the lack of stipends especially those in rural areas, wherein they had to rely on the generosity of residents.
“The WSR notes the conditions of NEC temporal staff deployment should not encourage them to seek relief in this manner as they may be leaning towards compromise,” the statement added.
The WSR statement further indicated that while the layout of polling precincts and polling places have already been determined from the October 10 elections, considerations should be boosted for voters with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and other persons who fall under the category of priority voting.
The statement from the WSR observed priority voting was not entirely observed through their observers and from the daily situational briefings by their analysts.
“One of the WSR observers was given the permission to assist a blind voter to vote, reduce such complaints in the runoff on November 14. It also remains unclear if the widely reported braille ballot papers were available at all the centers and if visually impaired voters received education on its usage,” the WSR statement noted.
The statement noted that the widely observed issue was the poor lighting at the time of counting the ballots to the point where the NEC temporal staff had to use flashlights from their mobile devices to do the counting. It is no secret that electricity is not available in every part of the country, it is also no secret that areas with electricity cannot rely on its supply all throughout the day.”
The statement however disclosed that the NEC should avert the lighting challenges during the October 10 elections by providing more torch lights, rechargeable bulbs and other forms of lighting to ensure the counting processes unhindered.
“Tally centers must have generators and enough fuel as backup should there be disruptions to electricity supply or malfunction of rechargeable bulbs and torch lights, this will avoid the creation and dissemination of fake news on social media of some persons using blackouts at these centers to manipulate the election results,” the statement further noted.
The WSR vehemently frown on the abuse of the Liberian traditional emblems for selfish political gains. According to the statement, the orientation of the Poro Society in Liberia is a much-revered traditional practice and one that has been very well situated as part of the culture, the Liberian traditionsdefine their meaning and their implications especially as it relates to the zoes and the country devil, this practice has no role in making democratic decisions in Liberia during elections,” the statement added.