West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network Warns Liberian Gov’t Of Threat to Elections

By Jesse Kolo |

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS) has warned the government of Liberia against stifling the activities of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Development Diaries reports that there are concerns that the shortfall in funding for the October elections in the country could severely impact the work of the electoral umpire.

It is understood that despite the election body tabling a U.S.$53 million budget for the elections, a deficit of about U.S$3.2 million has yet to be met. According to the Chairman of the NEC, Davidetta Brown-Lansannah, the election can only be conducted if the finance ministry disburses the remaining funds.

Adequate funding is needed by the NEC to carry out voter education, voter registration, Election Day deployment, vote tallying and transmission, campaign finance regulations, and ensuring election security. Funding is also needed to support civil society organisation’s capacity and engagement in the electoral process and political parties’ engagement.

WADEMOS warned that insufficient funding will render NEC ineffective and could jeopardise the entire election process. ‘The availability of funds remains a tremendous challenge to the functioning of the NEC and to the extent that the activities of the NEC are hindered by money’, Coordinator at WADEMOS, Paul Kuffour, said.

‘There is urgency for the government to release all outstanding funds owed to the NEC to enable smooth performance of its functions’. ‘The deficit in funding for NEC and its ramifications for the successful conduct of elections, including the NEC’s capacity to embark on civic and voter education to adequately educate citizens in the lead up to the elections is particularly a cause for concern’.

The forthcoming elections will be the first to be managed single-handedly by Liberian security officials following the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers, and they will also be the first in Liberia to be conducted with a biometric voter register. Development Diaries calls on the Liberian authorities to ensure the funding needed by the electoral umpire is provided to ensure a credible and violence-free election come October.

Source: Development Dairies

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