Liberia: National Civil Society Council Seeks Answers from Elections Commission over delay in Certificating Botoe Kanneh as Senator of Gbarpolu County

Monrovia — The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NSCL) has called on the National Elections Commission to give reasons behind the delay in certificating Madam Botoe Kanneh who was projected as winner by top media institutions and observers of the senatorial race in Gbarpolu County.

Madam Kanneh, the lone female candidate in the race had to overcome multiple hurdles during the elections as she and her group of supporters were allegedly attacked by the all-male Poro Society during a rescheduled polls in Nomodatanau, a major town in the county’s third electoral district in December 2020. Madam Kanneh and her team have said the maltreatments was a plot to weaken her chances of winning the race.

The election in the town had been rescheduled when the Paramount Chief there, allegedly ceased the ballot boxes for some unexplained reasons.

The rescheduled election was finally held in January this year and Kanneh was projected to win Gbarpolu County as per results from the NEC tally sheets given to candidates’ representatives.

However, since the election, the NEC has not made any official declaration on the election in Gbarpolu.

Speaking at event marking the celebration of the International Women’s Day on Monday, the Chairperson of the NSCL, Madam Loretta PopeKai said the delay in Kanneh’s certification is infringing on her rights and called on the government to separate the traditional society from political processes.

Excerpt of her statement: “The NCSCL call on NEC to provide information to the public on why is the delay in certificating Botoe Kanneh- the delay is infringing on her rights.  While the Council support this process, we remain independent and inclusive institution that seeks to uphold fairer integration, participation and empowerment of all segments of the population.”

She continued: “We call on the National Government through the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs to separate our sacred tradition from political processes. A level, unrestricted and secure political environment must be created and sustain for all Liberians – this is a Constitutional and fundamental rights entitle to all citizens. These are legal instruments that strengthen and consolidate our democracy, promote collective ownership, inclusive and prosperous society.”

She said it is a fundamental and moral obligation on the part of the Council to signal out the limited and unfriendly space created for women’s political participation.

Speaking further, Mrs. Pope called on the 54th  Legislature to support the proposed Electoral Reform Bill submitted by the National Elections Commission seeking concurrence on an amendment of section 4.5 (b, c) to institute an enforceable 30% gender quota on candidate listings and the leadership of political parties and coalitions. Mrs. Kai said the NCSCL will continue to follow the electoral law reform process. 

She thanked President George Weah for his commitment and support towards women leadership and called on him to live by his commitment in ensuring gender balance in political life and the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) stated objective to increase the political participation of women.

The event, held at the Ministerial complex in Monrovia was organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the office of the First Lady. It was observed under the global theme: “Women In Leadership: Achieving An Equal Future In A Covid-19 World” and the National theme “Breaking Down Barriers In The New Dispensation Of A Covid-19 World.”

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