The head of the African Union's (AU) elections monitoring group in Liberia, Erastus Mwencha, yesterday re-emphasized the call for Liberians to ensure that the 2017 elections do not tear them apart and take the nation backward.
"The AU in collaboration with ECOWAS and all other local and international partners are watching Liberia, the oldest independent African republic that set the agenda for continental independence from colonial rule. We are watching you as you people go through these elections," Mwencha said.
Addressing journalists at the Julius Berrian School on Peace Island, Congo Town, Montserrado District #10, he said the international community believes that Liberians are mature enough to maintain the peace and that they should do all it takes to keep it very close to their hearts.
"Resources of all kinds, including time, money and the lives of foreign troops have been spent to bring you together as a people and put an end to the civil conflicts. Now is the time for all of you to prove to the international community that you are prepared to handle your own affairs with no need of destroying lives and properties as it was done some years back," he said.
"It is encouraging to see people coming out in large numbers and they are very enthusiastic to exercise their democratic right. This is a historical electoral process intended for a peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected president to another in almost a century since 1944 as your history explains. Therefore, we believe that this will stand as a beacon of hope for the sub-region and even beyond," Mwencha noted.
He said Liberia is a history-making nation in so many aspects. "This nation was the first to elect a woman president on the continent of Africa as well as the first and only African country that has produced a global best football player. It has lots of achievements in the collective history of the continent and the world at large," he said.
Touching more on the voting process as he toured precincts across Monrovia and its environs, he said: "As for now we have been at five polling stations and we saw that the process has started on a good note except that the identification process of voters' information by polling staff is very slow." He recommended that the National Elections Commission (NEC) see reason and allow all voters in queues across the country cast their votes even if its 6 p.m. deadline expires, a position that the NEC has already said it has allowed.
He wished the country well and admonished all stakeholders to allow the electoral process to be transparent and credible.