The rules and standards for pre-campaigning by political parties, coalitions, and independent candidates in this year’s presidential and legislative elections are reportedly being reviewed by the National Elections Commission. Immediately the rules and instructions for pre-campaigning have been reviewed and approved, according to NEC Chairperson David-Etta Brown-Lansanah, they will be made available to the public.
Madam Lansanah gave a directive to all political parties, coalitions, collaborations, and independent candidates during the press briefing on biometric voter registration in Monrovia, saying that they must respect the campaign schedule, which runs from August 5 to October 8 for this year’s presidential and legislative elections. The new regulation and penalties that will be attached to the infraction are now being developed by the Political Department of NEC, according to Madam Lansanah.
Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, the National Elections Commission has formally inaugurated the 2023 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), Bi-Monthly Briefing Session. The NEC chairperson cites one of the main goals of the bimonthly briefing session on biometric voter registration as routinely updating and involving the public in the process, which will start on March 20, 2023, and end on May 11, 2023.
She stated that the Laxton Group has been purposefully collaborating with NEC and the United Nations technical team to guarantee that the software is designed for the BVR exercise. Laxton Group is the vendor purchasing the equipment for the Biometric Voters Registration. Madam Lansanah continued, “The first was at the NEC offices, and the second was on January 25, 2013, at Division 16, Firestone Rubber Plantation in Margibi County. The Laxton Group also did the first and second checking of the equipment.”
The Liberian government has allocated 18.37 million US dollars, but only released 14,225,000 US dollars, she continued. NEC has been in contact with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to release the fund in order to support the contract agreement with the Laxton Group. The remaining balance of $4,150,000 USD is due and expected to be included in this national budget. Because the commission won’t think twice about using the penalties when required, Lansanah urged political parties, coalitions, and independent candidates to keep advocating for a peaceful electoral process.
Moses Kwehai, the national secretary general of the People’s Unification Party, spoke on behalf of political parties and voiced unhappiness over the NEC’s decision not to discuss the pre-campaign activities of some political parties and politicians in the nation. He claims that the Coalition for Democratic Change recently displayed a strong pre-campaigning that plainly violated international electoral laws. “We had assumed the commission would have imposed a fine on the CDC, but all we hear is the news of the BVR’s start and the rules for the proscribed pre-campaigning.” We take this breach extremely seriously because, if the commission takes action, other political parties will soon start cooperating with us, he continued.
The upkeep of peace is a primary concern to the CSOs, according to Eddie Jawolo, Executive Director of the National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections, who spoke on behalf of the CSOs. He believes that poorly managed elections have a tendency to lead to political unrest and chaos.
Jawolo voiced dissatisfaction at the slow pace of financial support for the NEC, noting that the CSOs have expressed unequivocal trust in the commission’s ability to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections in the nation. Additionally, the UNDP, represented by Ambassador Laurent Delahousse and Political Party Campaign Finance Specialist Aaron Tingba, sent statements of support. Elizabelt Sambolai, president of the Liberia Marketing Association, Michael Johannes, head of the EU delegation, the US Agency for International Development, and many others.
Reported by: Augustine Octavius