ECOWAS and its network for electoral Commissions, ECONEC have reiterated their total commitment to peaceful and credible elections in Liberia on October 10 towards consolidating democracy in the country and the region.
The Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia John Mahama and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President of the ECONEC governing board made the pledge during a meeting in Monrovia on 6th October.
Mahama, Ghana’s immediate-past president leading a 71-member regional observation Mission, told Yakubu, who is also chair of Nigeria’s National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), that Liberia required all necessary support from ECOWAS and the international community at this critical juncture of his political history.
“It is the first time that an elected government will be transferring power to another since the country’s devastating civil war that lasted for more than a decade,” and only ended with ECOWAS-led international intervention, affirmed the former president, who also led the Commonwealth observation mission to Kenya’s August presidential polls.
He described Kenya, where the Supreme overturned the results of the elections as a lesson and a useful experience for the strengthening of evolving electoral systems in Africa, especially with the introduction of technology.
The head of mission, however warned about entrenching a precedent whereby “elections are now settled by the judiciary, instead of at the polling booths.”
He expressed his happiness at the commitment of ECONEC, saying “we have to work together to consolidate democracy in our region and continent.”
Prof. Yakubu, who led an ECONEC Needs Assessment and Solidarity Missions to Sierra Leone and Liberia last July said, the “integrity and moral force,” which the former president and his colleagues brought to electoral processes facilitated the work of election management bodies on continent, noting that all 15 ECOWAS countries are running a democratic government.
He restated his now familiar phrase that “it is cheaper to deploy ECONEC for credible and peaceful elections than to deploy, ECOMOG,” the regional military force after flawed elections.
Specifically on Liberia, the ECONEC boss mentioned the “huge challenge of delivering electoral logistics to the rural areas of the country during a rainy season,” and the impact of the electoral process.
He expressed the hope that Liberian stakeholders would take another look at the electoral time-table for easy delivery of materials and reduction of the cost of election in the country.
In a separate meeting with the Chair of Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) in Monrovia 7th October, Prof Yakubu reiterated ECONEC’s support to Liberia and other network members to the consolidation of democracy in the region.
The ECONEC boss was accompanied at the meetings by some INEC election observation team, including some Commissioners.
Chairman Korkoya thanked ECOWAS and ECONEC for their solidarity, and reaffirmed the commitment of NEC to deliver credible elections.
From Liberia Prof Yakubu will lead an ECONEC delegation to Abidjan for talks on capacity building for Cote d’Ivoire’s elections Commission, at the behest of the Commission.
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