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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Liberia: Advancing Democratic Governance – Classes from Liberia’s 2023 Elections and Modern Methods for a Higher Future

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The current nationwide elections in Liberia, performed in October 2023, adopted by a consequential presidential runoff in November of the identical yr, have yielded beneficial classes for reflection. The collective opinion of worldwide and regional observers and displays affirms that the carefully contested election was performed with a dedication to freedom, equity, and transparency. The vast majority of Liberians exercised their voting rights in a peaceable method, facilitating a clean transition from one authorities to the subsequent. Notably, former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. emerged victorious over President George Weah and is poised to be inaugurated on January 22, 2024. Liberia, as soon as once more, exemplifies political maturity, showcasing its means to conduct peaceable elections and transitions, a practice upheld since 2005, adopted by profitable cases in 2011, 2017, and now in 2023.

Commendations are as a result of Liberian folks for his or her lively participation. It’s noteworthy that the 2023 elections mark a major milestone as the primary in current post-conflict occasions that Liberia managed and financed primarily by itself, with technical help from key donor companions. This stands in distinction to earlier years when the United Nations and donors performed pivotal roles as each financiers and overseers, together with offering safety measures.

Whereas the general environment of the 2023 elections in Liberia maintained a semblance of peace, sure moments had been marred by rigidity, significantly cases of election-related violence involving fervent and exuberant youthful crowds. Notably, on September 29, 2023, clashes erupted between supporters of the Unity Celebration, led by former Vice President Joseph Boakai, and the CDC, leading to two fatalities and roughly 20 accidents in Lofa.

One other troubling incident unfolded in Nimba, the place violence prompted the suspension of voting in the course of the runoff, compelling the Nationwide Elections Fee to order a rerun in district 4, encompassing Beo-Longtuo City in Nimba County. Including to the challenges, heated confrontations erupted in Monstserrado in early October, simply days earlier than the preliminary spherical of voting on October tenth, as supporters of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), led by President Weah, clashed with these from the All-Liberian Coalition Celebration (ALCOP), led by Mr. Lusinee Kamara, leading to one reported fatality. These cases underscore the necessity for ongoing efforts to handle and mitigate election-related tensions and violence for the sake of fostering a really peaceable and inclusive democratic course of.

In opposition to the backdrop of the current electoral violence in Sierra Leone in 2022 and the following allegations of rigging and fraud that fueled post-election tensions, parallels had been drawn between Sierra Leone and Liberia, given their shared cultural and historic ties. The specter of a possible spillover impact loomed, particularly in a area susceptible to civil unrest and crises. Observers, conscious about these dangers, collaborated carefully with the Nationwide Elections Fee (NEC) and political events to alleviate issues, working towards decreasing tensions and preserving peace. Regardless of an undercurrent of depth within the carefully contested election, the place the last word victor emerged with a one p.c distinction, the end result was marked by the triumph of peace and stability. This underscores the importance of proactive measures and collaborative efforts in safeguarding democratic processes within the face of regional challenges.

Because the nation gears up for the forthcoming inauguration, it’s crucial to replicate on the pivotal classes gleaned from the current election and delineate the great initiatives that the Amos Claudius Sawyer Basis is poised to form. Aligned with its mission encompassing Democratic Governance, Rule of Regulation, and Peacebuilding, the Basis deems it becoming to guage election-related actions inside this contextual framework. In 2024, the Basis is diligently crafting main coverage initiatives in response to the discerned experiences of the 2023 elections.

1. Enhanced Voter Schooling and Sustained Public Engagement:

Addressing a major shortcoming within the 2023 elections, notably the excessive variety of invalid votes, the Amos Claudius Sawyer Basis advocates for a paradigm shift in voter training. It asserts the need of constructing voter training a basic facet of civics training in senior excessive colleges, properly prematurely of scholars reaching voting age. The Basis challenges the standard notion of limiting voter training to only months earlier than an election, urging its institutionalization and implementation far prematurely. Particular emphasis is positioned on reaching rural voters, and the consideration of a strong, continuous voter training program even in non-election years.

2. Everlasting Voter Registration:

The Amos Claudius Sawyer Basis champions laws mandating year-round voter registration, making certain residents are registered upon reaching voting age, no matter election cycles. Critiquing the apply of conducting voter registration shortly earlier than an election, which can encourage fraudulent practices, the Basis lauds the constructive influence of biometric voter registration launched in 2023. It contends that biometric registration ought to persist past election months, enabling the Nationwide Elections Fee (NEC) to register residents after they come of age, eliminating the necessity for grownup voters to re-register for every nationwide election. The only administration concern lies in updating addresses when people relocate.

3. Institution and Upkeep of a Nationwide Election Debate Fee or Secretariat:

The Amos Claudius Sawyer Basis, in collaboration with different NGOs, vigorously pursues the creation of a sustainable nationwide debate organizing mechanism. It envisions an entity geared up with sturdy staffing capabilities, adept at conducting data-driven analysis, polling, and formulating nationwide themes for inclusive debates. Recognizing the shortcomings of earlier swiftly assembled debate consortia, the Basis advocates for a longtime entity that’s well-funded and staffed by professionals. This envisioned Fee goals to set requirements for candidate participation based mostly on components together with scientific polling of the citizens.

4. Unbiased Media Consortium for Reporting Vote Tallys:

Acknowledging the authorized mandate of the Nationwide Election Fee (NEC) for reporting official outcomes, the Sawyer Basis underscores the position of media organizations in accountable reporting. The Basis goals to mobilize assets to facilitate the formation of an Unbiased Media Consortium, working underneath a set of requirements and pointers for correct reporting of tally outcomes. Emphasizing transparency, the Basis seeks to reduce disparities in tally stories amongst media organizations, making certain a coherent and dependable presentation of election outcomes. The aspiration is for media homes to unite underneath a single consortium, adhering to high quality and monitoring requirements, thereby bolstering the integrity of their reporting and fostering public belief.