The Embassy of Ireland in Liberia has launched its Political Governance Project with the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC)
Titled “Promoting Inclusive and Peaceful Democratic Processes in Liberia”, the project which is implemented being by the Elections Coordinating Committee seeks to engage with all stakeholders to deepen political and development cooperation in the area of election and political governance.
The Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of Ireland to Liberia, Kate O’Donnell who formally launched the project at Corina Hotel in Monrovia on Thursday said, the initiative considers three key areas.
She listed the specific targeted areas as “Increasing Support to Electoral Reform, Civic and Voter Education and Reducing Violence Against Women during Election”
“This project will be implemented over the next nine months and will lead to a vibrant, peaceful, and prosperous Liberia”, she noted.
The Irish Ambassador repeatedly mentioned the huge disparity between women at both local and national leadership levels and in various forms of political representations across the country.
She recalled specifically the violence that occasioned the election of Gbarpolu County Senator Gboto Kanneh and said stakeholders must work together to address violence against women during an election.
The Irish Aid support to the ECC she noted, will also help increase civic and Voter education across Liberia and advance meaningful electoral reforms that will enable women not just to be key players, but also to educate ordinary citizens so that they can know that they are part of the political process in Liberia.
In February this year, the international community made a joint statement for support towards the amendment of section 4 of the election law to increase support and participation of women in elections as a way of improving female participation in the male-dominated political system.
The Deputy Executive Director of National Elections Commission Samuel Cole for his part committed the NEC to work with Liberians of all works of life to help improve the conduct and credibility of elections.
Cole said the NEC “does not have exclusive control over what happens in the field” when it has deployed pool workers, noting that it is ordinary citizens who must own the electoral process.
He lauded the ECC for its “collaboration and work with the elections commission” which has over the years yielded fruitful results.
Making remarks on behalf of the Liberia National Police, Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations, Col Melvin Sackor asked the Press Union of Liberia and the religious community to plead with their members to stop using their platforms to disseminate what he calls “hate speech”.
“We are begging you to tell the journalists, and the pastors and imams to desist from preaching hate messages,” he said, adding “we must use our platforms to advance peace and peaceful coexistence at all times”
Col. Sackor however said the LNP will work with everyone to protect the peace and stability of the country irrespective of political, ethnic, or social extraction.
The Law Reform Commission, the Governance Commission, the LEON, Democracy International, Internews -Liberia, and others made remarks at the launch of the Irish Aid/ECC project committing to collaborate and make the project successful.
Atty. J Cole Bangalu who represented the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) in his remarks thanked the Government and the people of Ireland for the launch of the project and said the CPP is committed to working with the ECC and all other partners to ensure credible outcomes from all elections.
He however complained of unequal access to state resources during election and said the Elections Coordinating Committee, election observation groups, and the international community must endeavor to ensure there is straight enforcement of the code of conduct every step along the way.