CDC Presumptive Standard Bearer, incumbent president George Manneh Weah, could rig 2023 General and Presidential Elections if appropriate safeguards through electoral reform are not put in place.
The likelihood seems high as anti-democratic precedents are fast sufficing in his remaining months.
We have been calling for electoral reform since 2018 and this pressing national concern cannot be overlooked. Thankfully, the European Union (EU) reinforced our call yesterday by echoing 23 previous recommendations it made after a flawed 2017 election. I have done a summary for national review.
Twenty-three (23) Recommendations from EU Election Observation Mission (EUEOM):
- Initiate a constitutional referendum to remove ethnic definition of Liberian citizenship and use civic education to campaign against racial discrimination.
- Review election laws and civil procedure laws to consolidate all relevant timelines and any procedural extensions.
- Establish lower courts of appeals in order to alleviate an overburdened Supreme Court, which could equally contribute to handling of cases including election complaints in an expeditious manner.
- Amend 2014 Code of Conduct Law to promote participation and right to stand.
- Review criteria pertinent to establishing and registering political parties in order to promote more cohesion and policy in party organizations.
- Review of regulatory requirements relating to political parties’ nomination of candidates and assessing procedures related thereto.
- Review provisions on electoral offences to address and remove any ambiguities and incoherencies.
- NEC to review and amend all appeals timelines in order to ensure consistency and fairness throughout.
We overwhelming welcome EU’s call for GOL to implement these basic democratic reforms which are not only doable before 2023 elections but critical to peace and stability in Liberia. We call on opposition political parties to focus more on electoral reform ahead of 2023. This would certainly save our democracy from potential collapse.
The EU spent a total of $62.2 million USD to help fund our 2017 elections and provide appropriate budget support.
1) 2017 – Euros 10 million ($11.2 million USD)
2) 2016 – Euros 16 million ($18 million USD)
3) 2015 – Euros 29.2 million ($33 million USD)
Read: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/liberia_en/29703/European%20Union%20injects%20EUR10%20million%20into%20Liberia%20budget .
If EU’s recommendations cannot be considered, we call on them to withhold all financial support toward elections in Liberia until these reasonable reforms are carried out or implemented.
Are democratic stakeholders and policymakers listening? Those who have faith in democracy must now begin to pursue this path in Liberia’s best interest.
About The Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is an activist who currently lives in exile. He’s a proponent of good governance, democracy, equality, and human rights.