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Thursday, May 23, 2024

LIBERIA: CSO COUNCIL SLAMS EARLY ELECTIONS VIOLENCE, VOTERS TRUCKING

Date:

MONROVIA – On the road to the much-publicized 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, with the processes beginning with the biometric voters’ registration (BVR), the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has expressed displeasure over increasing violence at some registration centers, most especially in Montserrado County.

Ever since the process kicked off on March 20 in six of the 15 counties, there has been increasing violence at some centers, particularly at centers in Electoral District #10.

Electoral District #10 is represented by controversial Representative Yekeh Kolubah, a fierce critic of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), who is also at the opposite end, believed to be the most hated of the CDC.

Violence in the district was exacerbated at the weekend with serious clashes between rival camps of Rep. Koubah and the CDC on allegations/rumors of voters’ trucking with each pointing accusing fingers at the other end.

Saturday’s violent clash, which lasted for more than an hour, occurred when the Chairman of the Youth League of the CDC, Emmanuel Mulbah Johnson, went to the district to register at one of the National Elections Commission (NEC) registration centers on the Old Road.

During the process, members of the CDC, the majority of youth, chanted anti-Yekeh slogans while heading from and then back to their party’s headquarters.

With the tension building up by then, police stepped in and used teargas to disperse the crowd.

Predicated on these continuing tensions, the CSO Council on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, issued a statement to raise a red flag so that the situation will not further degenerate into chaos as the process progresses.

The Council in its statement, cautioned the Government of Liberia (GoL) to act through the LNP to exercise power and control to ensure that calm is maintained at all times at various centers, noting that this process sets the pace for Elections Day.

NCSCL also urged Liberians to support the government’s effort in ensuring that the BVR process remains peaceful at all times as the ensuing elections would be a defining moment of the nation’s democracy.

“The Government of Liberia must do the needful and at all times to ensure that these unnecessary tensions are calmed down. If necessary, the police must be deployed at some of these hotspot areas to control the process. Not only the government; even the Liberians [voters] themselves need to protect this process by keeping things peaceful. We are in a critical time; this is a defining moment for our democracy,” asserted the NCSCL’ statement carved under the signature of its Chairperson Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.

At the same time, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia has condemned all acts of voter trucking, terming the act as anti-democratic.

“This is not good at all for our electoral process and Liberians must desist. If we are to have a free and fair democratic process for the people to exercise their political franchise, politicians must desist from such habit of trucking voters. On the other hand, the voters too, must attach value to themselves, by realizing the importance of being eligible to vote in a national political process in the first place,” added the Council.

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