Overhaul Elections Process -EU Warns GOL; Cautions To Be Careful; AS More Problems Could Pop Up And Block The Democratic Process In 2023 Elections

For so many years, elections in Liberia have grimly been marred with selfish-driven political motives saddled with cheating carefully inspired and coordinated either by the power of the day, or extreme used manipulators planted in dedicated and strategic institutions totally or closely connected to the workings of elections’ process, which results continue to breed wide hullaballoos, severe tensions, courts’ engagements, chronic mistrust, acute disappointments in the process managers and by extension, upheavals at the pathetic expense of precious lives and factors of production; and a long delay in national growth and development thereby nastily impacting the security and livelihoods of the people.

This is not fair for the country, not fair for the craving-to-be- accomplished citizens who must, based on the havoc, be ruthlessly confronted with hard, tough and very rough pattern of survivability and, paradoxically, this is the country graciously endowed with globally most needed varieties of abundant resources, most cherished and available climate coupled with rich fertile soil and forests; is unable to foot its elections processes without begging and holding the feet of foreign nations and financial institutions to help them or such scheduled elections will become victims of reluctant hiccups.

This negative blanket spreads over this country’s electoral process; for a country that is 173 years old is perpetually irresponsible to do what is solely its obligation, has instead elected to become global mendicant in this 21s Century.

Until we shut up and stop the wolf-crying all over the place as champion of the “no money syndrome”, we have just begun taking the heat from those who provide the needed resources, while keep drinking from the cup of bitter discipline forced to abide by, despite imposed rules some very nerve-wrecking to easily digest, due to our naïve mental concept about being fruitfully-self-reliance to do for ourselves what is just and nationalistically binding on us. In short, it is often stated that he who takes care of your stomach, controls your mind. Equally, while it is truth that no man is an island, and that we may need each other at one time or another, our dependency quest must not reach the zenith of a renounced CULTURE.

Wrongly or poorly handled elections due to the no money syndrome thereby being punctuated by rigging, has earned us a very serious consequence resulting into an unwanted  and senseless 14 years of bloodbath that has engraved a bad scar on the image of our country and our individual characters.

Out of this orbit, the European Union (EU) that has been too helpful to the country and people in several sectors of developments, of which the facilitation of our elections’ activities also takes center place. To make government rearrange and readjust its approach towards the elections process to safeguard the democratic tenet, the EU is urging that government must overhaul its elections process if the 2023 general and presidential elections is to make a unique and praiseworthy difference.

Recently, at as news conference in Monrovia at the climax of the follow-up mission, the former Chief Observer of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM)of the EU to Liberia, Madam Maria Arena, unveiled several recommendations and noted that  the recommendations advanced by the EOM would be meaningless if the Liberian Government, through its relevant actors fails to take actions.

Madam Arena who is also a member of the European Parliament noted that the decision taken by the Mission to follow up on recommendations submitted to the Liberian government is intended to ensure that citizens benefit from electoral reforms and a sustained and vibrant democracy.

She noted that all around the world electoral processes are marred with challenges, but the necessary reforms are required to improve democracy in those areas.

“We know that when changes are needed, it takes time for democracy to change-be it the judiciary system, legislative, or civic education system. And so, it is necessary to initiate something before it is too late.2021 is not too late, but 2023 is too late. We have to do it as soon as possible”, she said.

Ms. Arena indicated that for an electoral process to be supported by the citizens, the entire process has to be transparent beginning with the voters’ registration exercise.

She noted that it is important that stakeholders are cognizant of the Voters’ Registration (VR) process and Liberians also feel “really respected” during the exercise.

Madam Arena pointed out that most often people, particularly Liberians have “mistrust” in the voter registration process, and as such, the Liberian authorities should give transparency to the VR process prior to the conduct of future elections.

The European Parliamentary observed that the filing of complaint arising from electoral matters has the proclivity of delaying future inaugurations and creating tension in Liberia.

According to her, the Mission is calling for the National Legislature to undertake the review of Article 83 of the 1986 Liberian constitution in a bid to help remove “uncertainty on the span of appeals timelines to safeguard future inaugurations against potential conflicts with compliant timelines”.

She added that, a complaint system that is feasible must be implored by the Liberian government to avoid conflict between the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Supreme Court relative to inconsistency in the timing of the complaints filed.

Madam Arena pointed out that more problems would arise from the 2023 general elections and Liberia’s democratic system would be “blocked” if these issues are not tackled by the relevant authorities by ensuring a clear complaint system for the benefit of all actors.

She said that though EU remains supportive of Liberia’s democratic process, the guarantee of an effective democratic system in the country rest on the shoulders of Liberian authorities and the citizens.

“Our mandate is to recommend reforms in the electoral process to have a more effective democratic system. We have seen some shortages and we’ve recommended that these shortages be changed for the future elections. We think elections should be the responsibility of the Liberian people”, Ms. Arena intoned.

Making it crystal clear where the money spent by EU in Liberia comes from, the Head of the EU Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, explained that the EU’s support to Liberia is solely funded by tax payers from European countries.  Amb. Delahousse said the EU would not “waste money” in Liberia without any trend of transformation.

“European financial support to Liberia or to any other country is made of money that comes out of the tax payers’ pockets. So, we try not to waste money- and where we bring money to support a program, we do so-if possible in a transformative way that that money will have an impact and obviously that we are targeting a success”

-Writes GDJ

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