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Friday, April 19, 2024

LIBERIA: CSO COUNCIL WARNS AGAINST FAKE ELECTIONS’ PROPAGANDA

Date:

MONROVIA – On the heel of falsehood against the Chairperson of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), which was verified by the US Embassy in Monrovia the US Embassy in Monrovia verified the US Embassy in Monrovia verified through its sponsored fact-checking organization; Local Voices, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has warned Liberians against fake elections’ propaganda.

It can be recalled that on November 8, 2023, a video circulated on various social media platforms, especially making rounds on Facebook in which an image purported to Cllr. Oscar Bloh; Chairperson of the ECC, pictured in the “war room” of the Unity Party (UP).

In the video, the purported image of Bloh was seen in a conversation with the former Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Amara Mohammed Konneh, with the sole purpose to conspire of conspiring with some workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to steal the pending run-off election.

But the ECC has since denied the report, stating that Cllr. Bloh has never visited the data center or “war room” of any political party, including the UP, least to state that he has never had any conversation or meeting with Mr. Konneh.

In addition to the ECC’s statement denying the allegation, the US Embassy upon verification of video also vehemently condemned the vehemently condemned the video upon verification of the video and renewed its commitment to supporting the work of the ECC.

“The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia is aware of a video circulating on social media purporting to show Chairman Oscar Bloh of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) engaged in discussions in a political party office. The ECC has publicly clarified that it is not Oscar Bloh in the video. Local Voices, a U.S. Embassy-supported factchecking  fact-checking organization, has also confirmed that it is not Oscar Bloh in the video.”

Consequentially, the CSO Council in a statement thanked the US Government for the quick intervention that aims to promote electoral credibility as the country heads for the most crucial process to elect a president who will steer the affairs of the state for the next six years.

NCSCL pointed out that the US’ prompt intervention and response to the matter has to a greater extent restored the trust and public confidence in the locally acclaimed elections observatory group.

The Council expressed strong support for its member organization (The ECC) and warned Liberians, especially political parties against spreading falsehood that has the propensity to create conflict and disturb the peace process.

“The National Civil Society Council expresses its heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the People and Government of the United States for the continue support to of the democratic process of Liberia. Specifically, we thank the US government through its embassy here for the prompt intervention in the latest fake video saga that could have undermined the credibility of one of the elections observer groups in the country; an action that could have somewhat created a serious dent in our electoral process,” said the NCSCL’s statement signed by Chairperson Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.

“Going forward, NCSCL hereby cautions political parties and ordinary citizens against spreading falsehood that has the propensity to create conflict and disturb our peace. At the same time, we call on individual politicians to desist from engaging into in negative propaganda and focus their attention to on issues-based campaign and development t and policy-driven issues,” the statement indicated.

In a related development, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) is urging Liberians to turn out in mass in exercising to exercise their democratic rights on Tuesday, November 14 run-off presidential election.

The ensuing Presidential run-off is necessitated by the failure of any of the 20 political parties, most especially with none of the two forerunners satisfying Article 83(b) of the Liberian Constitution, which requires a presidential candidate to win through an absolute majority.

Article 83(b) of the Liberian Constitution – organic law of the country states that: “All elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second Tuesday following.  The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run-off election.”

But contrary to this  constitutional requirement, President Weah of the ruling CDC obtained CDC 804,087 or 43.83 percent of the votes, while main opposition leader Boakai of  of the UP got 796,961 votes, which constitute constituted 43.44 percent of the total valid votes cast.

The Council called on Liberians to wake up from their beds to peacefully turn out at the various voting precincts to exercise their democratic rights.

NCSCL reminded Liberians that their votes are the most powerful weapons they have in hand to make the necessary changes for the growth and development of their country and for the betterment of the future ahead.

While being saddened over past incidents of electoral violence during the course of the two-month campaign period, the Council urged Liberians to conduct themselves peacefully at the various voting precincts and centers so as to to avoid chaos.

“The pending Presidential Run-off presents the biggest opportunity for Liberians to make the needed changes for growth and development and for the future of their country. Therefore, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia calls on Liberians to turn out in their numbers to peacefully vote on Tuesday, November 14. Don’t sit there and let this opportunity pass you, because it’s the only opportunity you have to decide your future for the next six to nine years,” said the Council.

“Again, the Council reminds Liberians going at the polls not to engage into any form of confrontation that has the propensity to derail our well-sought-for peace, for Liberia is all that we have,” the statement furthered.

“The whole world is watching us, and we, Liberians, are the first custodians of our own peace and so it’s our responsibility to keep the peace.  It is our hope and prayers that Liberians will remain committed to a peaceful process through civil engagement.”

At the same time, NCSCL reminded the two political parties participating in the run-off about their commitment to the Farmington River Declaration in promoting a violence-free electoral process.

The Council also lauded the country’s electoral management body – the National Elections Commission (NEC), for the preparation so far leading to the main event day; but cautioned the Commission to ensure a free, fair and transparent process.

“The Council is pleased to thank the National Elections Commission for managing the process leading to this run-off election despite the challenges along the way. As the Commission has committed to do, we crave for the conduct of a free, credible, fair, and transparent process on Tuesday; hence, the National Civil Society Council is poised to religiously follow the different developments at the poll,” added the Council.

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