Women Situation Room Head Advocating For Election Date Change
Monrovia — The Women’s Situation Room- Liberia (WSR) has recommended that the timing of the Presidential and Legislative Elections be reconsidered.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo [email protected]
WSR is calling on the National Legislature to consider legislating that the election be held in the Dry Season, which runs from April 15 to October 15 annually, instead of its present timing of second Tuesday in October every election year. According to them, the re-timing would eliminate some of the problems encountered during the Rainy Season.
WSR-Liberia head, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, said conducting the elections during the Rainy Season, affects the capability of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to distribute ballots paper, other election materials and staff, timely.
Speaking on other election related issues, Cllr. Wureh also recommended that NEC polling staff be trained properly to handle the runoff election if there’s a runoff in order to minimize the high percentage of invalid ballots that are now being reported by the NEC.
Currently, authorities at the NEC have reported over 84,000 invalid votes of the 1,550,923 total votes cast in the October 10 elections.
Additionally, she said voter’s education prior to the implementation of any runoff election should be undertaken by the NEC.
Cllr. Wureh further stated that there is need to alphabetize the voters’ registration book in each polling station so as to eliminate the long time polling staffers take to locate the names of voters in the registry.
She commended the peaceful manner in which Liberians generally conducted themselves during the election process.
She lauded the efforts of the Liberian security services in controlling the pockets of violence which arose during voting on Tuesday Oct 10, 2017.
“We commend Liberians for turning out to vote and remaining largely orderly throughout the process. The turnout was massive, and despite the challenges, voters remained mostly calmed and peaceful. We applaud the large turnout of women who came out to vote,” Cllr. Wureh added.
She disclosed that the situation room trained and deployed 322 woman observers, including 20 supervisors coordinating in all 73 districts as part of the Angie Brooks International Center in collaboration with Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center based in Accra, Ghana.
She added, “The WSR-Liberia appreciates the vigilance of the general public, who called in to the situation rooms to report threats and incidents of violence, which eminent women in Monrovia and Suakoko were able to intervene in a timely manner in collaboration with NEC and the Liberia National Police.”
Cllr. Wureh also stated that they continue to monitor the counting, tallying and pronouncements of preliminary results.
“We reiterate that this phase of the election is just as important as the registration, campaigning and the voting process, as not being careful with its handling, has the propensity to derail the process and cause conflict.”
WSR-Liberia is a women’s peacebuilding mechanism for the mitigation of conflict before, during and after elections in African countries.
It mobilizes women in collaboration with youth to lobby and advocate stakeholders to support the call for peaceful elections.
It’s a non-partisan and neutral process that was initiated by the women of Liberia in 2011 with technical support from the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) for women’s empowerment, leadership development, international peace and security.