The former President John Mahama-led ECOWAS Observation Mission has described Liberia’s 26 December presidential run-off vote as peaceful and satisfactory with the process up to the counting of ballots transparent and credible.
In its four-page Preliminary Declaration read by the Ghanaian Statesman in Monrovia on Wednesday, 27th December, the Mission called for calm and patience as Liberians awaited the results.
The Mission urged the National Elections Commission (NEC) “to work diligently and expedite action on the proclamation of the provisional results in order to avoid creating anxiety within the polity.”
It also called on the two candidates, Senator George Weah and out-going Vice President Joseph Boakai “to gracefully accept the will of the people.”
They should “refrain from prematurely declaring results” and “in the event of genuine grievances, to resort exclusively to legal means to seek redress,” the ECOWAS Mission counselled.
The Mission congratulated NEC for its professionalism and the measures put in place with the support of an ECOWAS Technical Team, to improve the electoral process.
It also commended Liberians for their patience, determination and peaceful conduct and called on development partners to continue to provide more support to Liberia in order to ensure that the country “maintains its progress towards political and socio-economic development.”
In her remarks, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Halima Ahmed urged Liberian political actors to continue to demonstrate political maturity for the consolidation of democracy in the country, which is on the throes of witnessing the first peaceful political transition of government in 73 years, and since the end of a devastating civil war in Africa’s first Republic founded by freed slaves from American in 1847.
NEC was expected to start releasing the poll results from Wednesday, with the final tally expected within the next 72 hours.
Among dignitaries at the well-attended conference on Wednesday were the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Farid Zarif and the Head of the African Union Observer Mission, Mr Erastus Mwencha, who also read his team’s Preliminary Declaration, which echoed the sentiments expressed by the ECOWAS Mission.
Also present were the ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, envoys of ECOWAS member States serving in Liberia, and representatives of other International observer teams.
The 35-member ECOWAS Observation Mission, which included Secretariat staff of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), were deployed by the ECOWAS Commission’s President Marcel Alain de Souza in line with provisions of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which mandates the Commission to assist member States holding elections.
ECOWAS had sent 71 Long-term and Short-Term Observers to the first round of Liberia’s presidential and legislative polls on 10th October, which produced the two frontrunners but without a clear winner.
The winner of the run-off vote will replace out-going President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Nobel Laureate and Africa’s first democratically elected female president, whose constitutionally allowed two-terms end by 16 January 2018.