Editorial: Close The Border With Sierra Leone For The Next Phase Of The VRU

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THE HOT PEPPER joins the Election Coordination Committee (ECC) in expressing concern over the occurrence of electoral violence, notably in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties, and the unnecessary heightened political tension in the country. The ECC made this observation at a news conference in Monrovia on Friday, September 18, 2020, which they see as a breach of the New Elections Law of Liberia.

THE ECC RAISED concern about the trucking of voters from Montserrado into Bomi, particularly district #1.  “The ECC condemns the trucking of voters, and wishes to inform the public that such act contravenes Section 10.1a of the New Elections Law, which prohibits the trucking of voters, and the practice constitutes an electoral offense and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or both,” Oscar Bloh, Chairman of the ECC, stated.

“THE ECC FURTHER notes that the trucking of voters, which goes with financial benefit and other forms of financial inducements to mobilize support, is a calculated attempt by politicians to unduly influence the outcome of the results of the December 8, 2020 election. These practices amount to the commercialization of Liberia’s fragile democracy and undermine the principles of electoral integrity, credibility, and legitimate representation of citizens at the National Legislature,” ECC said in a press release.   

THE ECC EXPRESSED further concern that most registration centers lacked uniformed security personnel, and about 50% of the total of 115 reports received showed that political parties deployed agents to observe the voter roll update exercise.

“THE ECC RECOMMENDS that, to help enhance the quality of the registration exercise and to build citizens’ trust in the electoral process, it calls on the government to close the border with Sierra Leone for the next phase of the VRU, a broad-based stakeholders’ consultation with political parties, CSOs, media, religious institutions, and prominent citizens to reduce the escalating tension in the country.”

THE ECC ALSO called the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct an immediate investigation of voter trucking and prosecute the doers, in keeping with due process of law, while political parties demonstrate political tolerance backed by public commitment to remain civil, reduce the use of inflammatory statements and refrain from violence and intimidation.”

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