Liberia: Organization for Women and Children Extols Liberians for Conducting Peaceful Elections, Calls on National Elections Commission to be Swift In Responding to Citizens’ Complaints

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Monrovia – The Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) has extolled Liberians for conducting themselves peacefully during the just ended special senatorial elections, national referendum.

The organization, through its elections monitoring platform, Project Accountable Safe Space (PASS) end of polls statement said while the overall conduct of the process was peaceful, there were alleged incidences of violence and voting irregularities reported by traditional and social media outlets.

Specifically, the group pointed out several incidents, some of which include disagreements of polling staff and political parties’ agents that occurred in SD Cooper Road Community in Paynesville, William V.S. Tubman High School in Sinkor, Don Bosco and Len Miller High Schools.

In the statement, ORWOCH called on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to swiftly respond to citizens’ concerns and also called on all political parties and their supporters to remain peaceful, law-abiding and exercise restraint.

“We encourage all citizens to peacefully engage stakeholders in order to verify reported incidences, and avoid taking actions that could potentially lead to violence. We call on the National Elections Commission to be swift in responding to reports from citizens and call on security personnel to exercise restraint and calm. The Accountability room will continue to monitor the situation and issue statements in the wake of official pronouncements from the National Elections Commission. Liberia is all we have; let us maintain the Peace!” the group urged.

ORWOCH champions women’s participation in decision making processes. In the ongoing electoral process, it is partnering with PAYOWI, AWLN, NOPSWECO and YWCA to observe and monitor the Elections for women’s specific concerns.

The organization’s ‘PASS’ Accountability Room provides a safe space to facilitate credible community driven elections monitoring spearheaded by women during Liberia’s 2020 Senatorial Elections/Referendum.

PASS is being implemented with a focus on capturing incidences of electoral violence and voting irregularities—particularly incidences affecting women’s ability to vote.

The Accountability Room is being supported under the Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women Project being funded by Oxfam and the Government of Netherlands.

According to officials, the PASS’ Election Observers underwent an intense training the day before elections on basic elections’ activities including the responsibilities of an elections observer, NEC published voting processes, Liberia election law and completing forms designed specifically for formally capturing events as they unfold, amongst others.

In its preliminary report on Tuesday, the organization, through its Accountability Room commended the efforts of NEC and all stakeholders for putting in place necessary procedures to make sure the elections were held.

It observed that the commencement of the elections was generally peaceful with polling process on the overall opened on time except for a few places.

The group, however, noted that lack of clarity of the NEC regulation on whether or not voters would be allowed to vote without masks caused misunderstandings, with some voter exchanging masks which, thereby putting people at risk.

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