Liberia will be returning to the polls for the third time on October 10th this year since cessation of hostilities of a brutal civil carnage which eneded in 2003 after conducting its first post-war election in 2005, electing Africa’s first woman, President Ellen-Johnson Sirleaf as President.
The National Election Commission (NEC), the body in charge of conducting elections in Liberia over the weekend accredited the Liberia-America Friendship Organization (LIAFO), an institution fostering US-Liberia relations and historical friendly ties to observe the Voter Registration which commences on February 1st and ends March 7th 2017, a prelude to observing the election on October 10th.
LIAFO sees it a solemn responsibility to creating an enabling environment where the Liberian electorates, election authorities, political parties, candidates, public and the world at large can have faith and confidence in the counduct of the elections and that the October 10th elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent climate and the process and ultimate result is reflective of the will of the Liberian people and result accepted as a genuine reflection of the votes cast, thereby eliminating incentives for false alarm of election fraud thereby misleading the public to take into the streets to the threaten the peace and security of the country by scrupulous and aggrieved party or candidate whose claims contradict data from polling centers.
The Liberian 2017 election is unique and occupies a special hallmark in the conduct of election in the country in that it will be the third post-war election and final transition to a stable democracy and society where there ispeaceful conduct of the elections and smooth transfer of power, a solemn resposibility the Liberia-America Friendship Organization has taken up with the foresight of protecting the peace and security prevailing in the country, a delicate catalyst for development and economic rebirth that will free the suffering people of Liberia from poverty and indignition and put the country on the trajectory of reclaiming its glory and catching up with its neighbors and the sub-regional renaissance sweeping across West Africa and the world.
LIAFO will unpologetically and unbashingly carry out its solemn responsibility without bais and favor to any and ensure that all stakholders in the election confirm to the constitution of the country and election laws, guidelines, code of conduct and other regulations that goverening the elections and players including political parties, candidates, the National Election Commision itself, media, civil society institution and the public.
LIAFO will ensure and where infraction occurs, takes the necesary steps to bring such infractions to the appropriate authorities responsible to adjdicate those infractions including the National Electional Election Commission and courts where necessary.
As an authorized group observing the Liberian elections, LIAFO is determined to be on the watchout for political parties and candidates who knowingly and willfully intend to run for office and political parties fielding candidates who do not meet the cateria to run for public office such as been a non-Liberian, dual citizen by implication (Liberia does not have dual citizenship), not meeting the 10-year residency clause of the consrttitution for President and Vice President and one year residency in a county or district for Senator and Representative respectively, breach of election guidelines, code of conduct and other regulations governing the participation and conduct of the election.
LIAFO wishes to further admonish political parties and candidates to refrain from doing business as usual such as establishing militant wings within their organizations and instigate fear in the public which are in violation of the constitution, election laws, code of conduct and other regulations governing them as no stone will be left unturned to bring legal action against any political party or candidate who enjoins such infractions.
The Liberia-America Friendship Organization call on the ruling Unity Party that is fielding the sitting Vice President in the October election for President, to abide by the constitution, election laws, code of conduct and other regulations governing the election not to use public resources to run the Vice President’s camapain, a caveat enycripted into law not to put the ruling party at an undue advantage to the opposition as LIAFO will not license such violation to occur without remedies to the appropriate legal institutions responsible to adjudicate such infractions.
LIAFO further calls on all political parties and candidates to restrict its expendtiture within the parameter established by law during this election period and desist from corrupting the process by influencing vote selling, votes buying and transporting or hauling voters to districts they do not reside with the sole purpose of having an undue advantage of their opponent as such act is unpatriotic and poisonous to the country’s fledging democracy and will be met with stiff resistance and legal action.
The Liberia-America Friendship Organization will network with all political parties, candidates and groups in a transparent and independent fashion in sharing iits data from polling centers and other issues relevant to the election with the priority to creating confidence and erode suspicion in the National Election Commission to conduct a free, fair and transparent election they might hold as well as supplement their incapacity to deploy party agents across all polling centers around the country as has been their shortfall over the several post-war elections conducted.
LIAFO is calling on all stakeholders in the election including political parties, candidates, civil society, media, election authorities and the public to put front and center the peaceful conduct of the elections and smooth transition of power ensuring that the country attains the hallmark “stable democracy and society”, imperatives for investment and development for the country moving forward.
LIAFO appeals to all Liberians and friends of Liberia to support its effort as it gears to observing the October 10th elecions.
“Liberia is all Liberians have” and it is the collective responsibility of Liberians to work for peaceful election and smooth transfer of power just as every well-off nation was developed by their own citizens, it is Liberians who must steer their country into the paradise it was meant to be,lection and Smooth Transition of Power by ensuring a peaceful election and smooth transition of power.
President/Liberia-America Friendship Organization-LIAFO
100 N 18th Stree, Suite 300