MONROVIA – The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) observed that the political rally organized by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) on February 4, 2023, is a campaign activity and is a flagrant violation of Section 12 of the National Elections Commission’s (NEC) Regulation on the conduct of political parties and coalitions. The rally was characterized by wearing T-Shirts and printing banners depicting the picture of the President when the official campaign period outlined in the election timeline has not started. This violation undercuts the principle of a “level playing field” required for the conduct of a fair and credible election.
The ECC further observed that days leading to the rally, the CDC erected billboards that displayed the picture of the President in various parts of Monrovia, and NEC, has failed to take any action in keeping with Section 12 of its Regulation. The failure of the NEC to enforce its Regulation sets a dangerous precedence and undermines its neutrality as an independent Election Management Body (EMB).
In another development, the ECC is deeply concerned with the statement made by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor describing most Election Magistrates as corrupt. The ECC calls on the vice President to provide evidence to prove her assertion against the Magistrates. The Vice President further stated that the Magistrates needed to be rotated or changed. The ECC points out that the Vice President, has no authority to call on the NEC to rotate or to change any Election Magistrate. The Vice President’s statement is an attempt to interfere in the operations of NEC and undermines its independence. We call on the NEC to resist any form of external control and influence from pollical parties or those holding public office. The pre-campaigning activity and attempt to influence the NEC are early warning indicators of challenges ahead of the October 2023 elections.
The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is Liberia’s largest domestic election observation network with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections,
and governance established since 2010. ECC’s members include the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Center for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (CECPAP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). The ECC works in partnership with Democracy International with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).