CSO Groups Demand Probe In Oscar Bloh’s Alleged Compromised Neutrality
Ahead of the pending presidential run-off election, three renowned local civil society organizations operating in the country have called for an immediate probe into allegation linking the Chairperson of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) to the Unity Party (UP).
On the evening of November 8, 2023, a video circulated on a number of social media platforms, especially on Facebook, in which an image, alleged to be that of ECC Chairperson, Cllr. Oscar Bloh, was seen in the “war room” of the UP.
In the video, the image in question was seen having a conversation with former Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Mohammed Konneh, with the intent of conspiring with some workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to steal the pending run-off election.
“Although the ECC has reacted to the allegation, we strongly believe that given the fact that it borders on the integrity of civil society actors—people considered to be watchdogs of society—there is a need for an independent investigation into the matter to relieve the CSO community of the reputational damage. In a society such as ours, the tendency of being untrustworthy under such circumstances is very high, and we want this avoided through an investigation by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is the highest donor to the ECC, to ascertain the truism in this grave claim,” the CSOs said in a press release.
The Liberians for Democratic Advancement (LIDA) Movement for the Defense of Women and Girls Rights in Liberia (MDWGRL) and Equal Society for All (ESA) in a joint statement called for the claim to be investigated in order to bring credibility to the pending process. “We hold strongly that a credible civil society is sine qua non to the growth of our nascent democracy and sustenance of the country’s hard-earned peace,” the release stated.
The CSO groups, in the joint statement read by the Executive Director of LIDA, Festus Doe, emphasized the need for a full-scale investigation into the grave allegation since the matter in essence borders on electoral integrity and as well as the credibility of the ECC, which happens to be major local election observatory group which monitors and reports on the outcome of electoral processes.
“Though the ECC has vehemently denied the allegation linking its head with one of the parties in the pending run-off, our three organizations–the Liberians for Democratic Advancement (LIDA), Movement for the Defense of Women and Girls Rights in Liberia (MDWGRL) and Equal Society for All (ESA) hereby call for an immediate probe into the issue at hand. This investigation can be led by relevant CSO groupings and key stakeholders in the electoral process. It is our belief that this will not only ensure the credibility of the election; it will meanwhile restore integrity and confidence in the very ECC—if the allegation is proven otherwise,” the statement indicated.
The groups pointed out that, on the heel of said grave allegation, the ECC is under all moral obligation to exonerate itself through an independent investigation in order to maintain the trust and confidence of its many donor partners, including USAID and the Embassy of Ireland, that are investing hugely towards the promotion of democracy.
In so doing, the CSO groups are demanding Bloh to recuse himself from all activities of the ECC until the investigation is conducted and concluded.