Liberians Laud 2023 Elections As Peaceful And Credible
By: J. Peter S. Dennis |
The 2023 Presidential and legislative elections in Liberia have peacefully passed without major incidents related to violence reported by observers and the media so far, as the National Elections Commission (NEC) is still releasing preliminary results.
Peace was the order of the day as Liberians headed to the polls to elect their leaders from among 1006 candidates.
In August 2003, Liberia signed the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord to maintain peace in Liberia after nearly 15 years of civil unrest.
Since then, the country has enjoyed the fragile peace during and after elections.
It was on October 10, 2023 when Liberians headed to the polls to elect 73 representatives, 15 senators and President and Vice President under high security presences.
So far in Bong, there were no major electoral violence reported. According to the NEC, there are 555 polling places in Bong.
Elijah Dolo, a first-time voter in Green Hill Quarry of electoral district#1 appreciated the NEC’s staff and the citizens for conducting a peaceful electoral process; stating “I was afraid that there was going to be war or violence because everybody was talking here and there. Being a first timer, I was afraid. But when I approached the queue and even after voting, I didn’t see any violence”.
Faith Togbah, a voter in Zebay of electoral district#1 says, the process was peaceful as they voted under no duress.
Jessey B. Dayeamue, an observer for the CDC in district#2 in Bong said “I haven’t experienced any violence. The people have come and gone in peace. The officers are here, but seated far from the queues lecturing as the voters are making their way to vote without any tension”.
Stephen Sayween, a Unity Party observer in electoral district#2 in Bong admitted of the peaceful nature of the elections while appreciating the NEC staffer for being on top of their gains for a swift process.
Arthur Rosa Cheeks, a voter in electoral district #3 appreciated Liberians for turning out and conducting themselves in a peaceful manner.
Mr. James Karbee Saybay, a four-time representative candidate in Bong lauded the electorates for turning out to vote in a more organized and civil manner. “We went into a process that was largely peaceful; I want to be grateful to every Liberian for that conduct. Many people were afraid that there was going to be war right after election due to the different political tensions like the violence in Foya, the Japanese free situation, etc. But at least, thank God”.
Pre-elections violence in various parts of Liberia earlier raised tensions and sparked fears in some quarter, prompting numerous appeals to politicians and their supporters to prioritize the urgent need to ensure nonviolent elections.
“Generally, voting is largely proceeding peacefully without any major disruption reported. The joint security is said to be on full alert to respond to any security threats,” said the Election Situation Room of the West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP) Election Situation Room (ESR) in its preliminary report released after the close of polls Tuesday evening, October 10, 2023.
Also, the head of the West Africa Elders Forum (WAEF) Mediation Mission to Liberia lauded Liberians for the peaceful manner in which they conducted the October 10 polls.
Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, said that in addition to the voting public, the Joint Security and the political leaders did excellently by ensuring that peace, law, and order prevailed during the voting period.
In a statement released on October 11, Jonathan praised the candidates for adhering to the Farmington River Declaration, which encourages peaceful conduct during and after the elections.
On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 2,471,617 registered voters comprising 1, 237, 257 females (50.06%) and 1, 234, 360 males (49.04%) went to the polls to participate in the elections. Out of the 46 registered political parties, 20 candidates were accredited by NEC to contest the presidency which included two (2) females (representing 10%) and eighteen (18) males (representing 90%). Additionally, there were a total of 886 candidates contesting for 73 seats in the House of Representatives, while 100 candidates including 7 women (representing 7%) contested for the 15 available seats in the Senate. The elections were conducted within 5,890 polling centers and at 2,080 voting precincts across the country.
Article 80 C of the Liberian constitution gives every Liberian citizen the right to be registered in a constituency, and to vote in public elections only in the constituency where they registered.
Article 77 b also says “all elections shall be by secret ballot as may be determined by the Elections Commission and every Liberian citizen not less than 18 years of age, shall have the right to be registered as a voter”.
As the National Elections Commission keeps rolling out preliminary results for the just ended 2023 general elections, Liberians are encouraged against early celebrations.
The United States Embassy on Thursday, October 12, 2023 criticized some political parties and candidates who are beginning to pre-maturely declare themselves winners in the just ended presidential and legislative elections.
“The U.S. Embassy, like other international partners, will be awaiting official results from the NEC before judging the outcome of the election, despite claims by any party or candidate and encourage Liberians to patiently do the same. We continue to urge all citizens, political parties and political candidates to await official results calmly, patiently and peacefully” the US Embassy statement noted.