MONROVIA – On the heel of recent statement by former Vice President and standard bearer of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Joseph Nyuma Boakai, which tends to threaten the peace and stability of state, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has taken the Liberian statesman to task.
It can be recalled that during one of the campaign rallies of the UP, the former Vice President warned that it would be the end of Liberia if the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah rigs the ensuing 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
In the video, Ambassador Boakai openly sounded a warning that states: “That’s why you need to protect it. If they think they’ll steal this election, you will not allow it because if they do it, that’s the end of this country.”
Accordingly, the utterance by former VP Boakai has since been a major issue of discussion in various quarters of the Liberian society and the media, most specifically making rounds on social media, thus drawing the attention of concerned individuals and groupings including the CSO Council.
In a statement released Monday, September 25, 2023, the Council says the comment was outrageous, unfortunate disgraceful and unexpected of a long-standing and experienced statesman.
The Council pointed out that the former VP’s statement is a direct threat to the peace and security of the state “If he had said this regime is finished if they temper with our elections, it would have been reasonable to reconcile and reckon with said NCSCL in the statement issued under the signature of its Chairperson, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.
“The Council must warn Mr. Boakai that Liberia is bigger than him and his Unity Party together. He must be told that any desperate attempt to jeopardize the peace and security of the state and its people, he, his party will be made to account!” added the Council.
At the same time, the Council has called on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to do the needful by releasing the final registration roll (FRR).
Release of the FRR has been one of the main contentious issues raised by the opposition bloc – specifically from the UP camp with Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon and support group of the UP, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) pushing NEC to the wall.
Though the Commission has promised to do so, the Council maintains that this is an issue of critical nature to the country’s electoral process and as such, it must be considered with urgency by NEC.
In a related development, NCSCL has renewed calls to the Liberian government to provide the remaining amount of funding needed for the conduct of the elections, owing to the critical nature of the elections.
The ensuing 2023 elections are being squarely supported by the Government of Liberia (GoL), hence, NCSCL, which the apex body of all CSOs in the country, in a statement pointed out that domestic financing of elections is a must and as such there should be no excuse for providing the full amount needed ensure a free and peaceful conduct of all the remaining processes.
It can be recalled that the Chairperson of NEC, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lassanah, while appearing before full plenary of the Liberian Senate recently, pleaded for the remaining US$3M plus.
Madam Brown-Lassanah, who disclosed that the government has provided a little over US$49M to the Commission for the conduct of the October 10, 2023 Elections, maintained that the remaining US$3M plus is needed to conduct possible run-off elections.
She pointed out that the amount so far disbursed by the government represents 80 percent of the US$53M budget requested.
“The Commission needs the balance of a little over three million dollars to conduct possible run-off elections,” said the NEC boss.
Based on this the account of the Commission’s latest disclosure, NCSCL is calling on the Liberian government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to do the needful by providing the remaining 20 percent so that the country would have a smooth electoral process.
As part of its roles and responsibilities to the Liberian society, the Council vowed to thoroughly observe the entire electoral process – pre and post electoral activities including financing among others that have the propensity of undermining the credibility of the entire process if not provided.
“Domestic financing of elections is a must! No excuse! MFDP needs to transfer the remaining 3 million plus, which they have promised to do. We are observing the space,” stated the statement captured under the signature of Chairperson Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.
“This is the first elections without support of UNMIL and while the UN is providing electoral support, the Government of Liberia is primarily responsible for electoral financing,” it added.
In execution of Article 77(b) of the Liberian Constitution, eligible Liberian voters will go to the poll to on October 10 elect a President/Vice President, 73 Representatives and 15 Senators with the two former steering the affairs of the state for the next six years and the latter for nine years. In those elections,
President Weah, standard bearer of the ruling CDC, will contest against 18 opposition candidates.