BFF Wants CSOs Observe Ballots Tabulation by NEC Magistrates

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Monrovia – As Liberians gear up for the most historic anticipated October 10, 2017 Presidential and legislative elections, the Better Future Foundation (BFF), the proponent of Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP), has called on electorate across Liberia to vote for candidates who prove demonstrated commitment to addressing the acute underdevelopment of the country due to the gross lack of infrastructure and skilled human resources.

The BFF statement was made to a gathering of over 500 community youth and student leaders on Thursday, October 5th, 2017 by its President Augustine Arkoi, at the National Youth Dialogue on 2017 elections, organized by the Youth Beyond Barriers (YBB) in the Auditorium of the University of Liberia in Monrovia. BFF indicated that the pending elections remain a defining movement for the nation as it relates to enhancing democratic governance, socioeconomic growth and development.

Presenting a copy of the DSP Petition Statement to the leadership of the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), BFF, in the statement, stressed the need for representation of civil society organizations and other stakeholders at every stage of the electoral process including the tabulation of both the provisional and official counting of the ballot papers by NEC Magistrates.

According to BFF, the participation of the CSOs and relevant stakeholders in all aspects of the vote-counting process will not only validate the outcome of the elections as acceptable, but also enhance their transparency, credibility and legitimacy.

The YBB National Youth Dialogue was facilitated by Prof. Debey Sayndee, Mr. Arthur K. Johnson, Mr. Felesu Swaray, and Dr. Felix L. Gerdes of the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation, University of Liberia; while goodwill messages were delivered by the only female Presidential Candidate in the race Macdella Cooper of the Liberia Restoration Party, Dr. D. Evelyn S. Kandakai, Former Minister of Education, and Mr. Flomo Mau Maiwo, Secretary General of ULSU, who all hailed BFF for empowering Liberian youth,  and pledged their full support for the implementation of the Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP) initiative.

At the same, BFF and its YBB youth and student advocacy group, called on political parties and independent candidates to show not only full compliance to electoral laws and regulations but also ensure that their followers subscribe to violence free and issues-driven campaigning; and acceptance of elections results.

In a related development, BFF and YBB have described as unfortunate and unacceptable acts of campaign violence committed sometimes ago in Clara Town on Bushrod Island in Monrovia as well as the recent campaign violence which occurred in Sanniqullie and Paynesville in Nimba and Montserrado Counties respectively.

BFF, YBB underscored the need for the NEC to accord speedy investigation of alleged acts of electoral violence and violations and to address grievances and institute appropriate corrective measures to serve as deterrence to all.

It can be recalled that BFF-YBB recently submitted a five-page petition to the 53rd National Legislature to ensure that the government emerging from the October 2017 elections makes highest degree of education accessible and affordable in Liberia.

In the petition, BFF stressed that in the first four years of its six-year tenure, the new government should guarantee that Liberians access PhD level education at the University of Liberia (UL) or subsidize same learning opportunity at other universities of higher learning in the professional spheres of Education, Health, Agriculture and Infrastructural Development in response to the acute human resource development needs of the country.

The Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP) of BFF primarily seeks to inspire a national consensus building aimed at accelerating human security, respect for, and adherence to the rule of law, promotion of infrastructural development as well as sustaining democratic governance in Liberia and the sub region.

The YBB National Youth Dialogue on 2017 Elections was held with federal grant support of the United States Embassy near Monrovia. Student Geraldine Flomo, YBB Gender Coordinator at the Cuttington University College, used the occasion to extend profound appreciation on behalf of YBB to the US Embassy, for what she called, “investment and empowering the youth of Liberia.”

YBB is a subsidiary youth leadership and development program of Better Future Foundation, which core objectives involve: Breaking Barriers, Strengthening Relationship and Promoting Development.

BFF is a local civil society organization that is dedicated to the post-war reconstruction and development of Liberia. BFF promotes peace and reconciliation, as well as educational development, and international cultural understanding and cooperation.

BFF has meanwhile applauded the US Government, United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the Africa Union, ECOWAS, Government of Sweden, the European Union, among others for their immense supports, and deployment of Elections Observer Missions in the country, and further call on all civil society organizations (CSOs), to fully document and hold all actors accountable consistent with national and international best practices during the conduct of the October 10, 2017 Elections.

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