By Emmanuel Weedee-Conway|
The West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), in collaboration with its partners, on Tuesday, December 26, 2017 resumed the operations of the “Liberia Elections Early Warning and Response Group (LEEWARG) Election
Situation Room (LEEWARG ESR)” by monitoring the Presidential Run-off Election.
The Situation Room is hosted at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in Monrovia with the kind support of the sub regional body (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the Governments Austria and Sweden.
Speaking at a news conference to launch the operationalization of the Situation Room, the Co-Chairperson of the group, Ambassador William R. Tolbert III, disclosed that while there were some improvements in the process, there were also hitches at other centers across the country.
Amb. Tolbert noted that it was observed by WANEP’s observers that political parties’ representatives were present at most polling centers visited.
He also disclosed that there was also huge security presence at various polling places across the country.
“During our monitoring, we observed that queue controllers were effective in helping voters to identify their voting places,” he said.
“Voting turn out has been generally low in all the centers monitored so far. Voting generally started on time in all the centers monitored. However, in the case of Legbanga Polling Center, Lofa County District # 1, Polling Place 3 as of 12:00 Noon the FRR was not available. As a consequence, voting started late. In Biafra community, Grand Bassa County, there was no voter turnout up to 11:30am; even though poll workers were in place,” the report stated.
The LEEWARG Co-Chairperson also reported that in Bassa Community, Maryland County, six voters were not allowed to vote, because their names were not on the FRR.
“Also, a 22 year old male was arrested for attempting to vote a second time, using a different voting card. He had voted earlier at 8:20am,” he among other things reported.
According to him, the group’s main focus was to facilitate collation, analysis and response to reports sent by monitors/observers.
He said during the entire run-off process, a total number of 25 personnel were deployed in three sections of the ESR. He named the three sections as: Data Gathering Section, Analysis Section and Decision-making Section.