30 November 2017

West Africa: Ecowas Observer Network Lauds LP, UP

The West Africa Election Observation Network (WAEON) has praised the political leaders of the Liberty Party - Charles Walker Brumskine - and his Unity Party counterpart - Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai - for the manner in which they are expressing their dissatisfactions with the October 10 presidential and representative polls.

WAEON is an independent, non-partisan and non-religious organization of citizen observer groups from 11 West African countries that aims at strengthening and supporting Citizens Election Observation Groups (CEOGs) in the sub-region. It was formed in 2010 and has its secretariat at the Accra-based Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

WAEON's endorsement follows statements from major bilateral partners such as the United Nations, the United States, European Union and others expressing confidence in the October 10 presidential and representative elections, which have come under a barrage of protests, bringing the country to a political stalemate.

The network commended all petitioners who have filed their complaints through proper channels - be it at the NEC or Supreme Court - particularly LP's Brumskine, for taking the lead by following due process in search for relief and not resorting to violence to address his grievances.

It may be recalled that LP's Brumskine filed a formal complaint to the NEC seeking for the cancellation of the October 10 elections and asking for a rerun.

The complaint was based on what he described as constitutional violations, irregularities and massive fraud detected in the electoral process on election day and the immediate postelection period.

After submitting his formal complaint to the NEC, Brumskine later filed a petition at the Supreme Court, in which he prayed the court for a stay order on all preparations towards the runoff poll which was scheduled for November 7, until the conclusion of the case pending before the NEC--a request that was granted.

"WAEON has been following with keen interest the ongoing developments in the country in the aftermath of the declaration of the results of the October 10 polls by the NEC. We must appreciate the manner in which Liberians have conducted themselves so far. We, however, appreciate the legal process that is being pursued by the LP and UP," the Network said in a statement yesterday.

"The network would want to urge all Liberians and stakeholders to be resolute in their confidence in the justice system to deliver a credible verdict on the procedural cases currently before it," WAEON said.

Apart from the LP and UP case and intervention described by the network as 'landmark petitions,' there are several other complaints that have been filed by political parties and House of Representatives candidates to the NEC. The implication, the group said, is the level of uncertainty that the hearing processes have for the parties involved.

WAEON, meanwhile, has made several recommendations to petitioners, supporters, citizens, and all other stakeholders to remain calm, to put trust in the election adjudication and justice systems, and wait patiently for the outcome of the NEC hearings.

"The NEC must expedite the hearing processes in all cases that have been laid before it within the 30 days that the law mandates while ensuring impartiality. The petitioners, supporters, and all other stakeholders must uphold the decision of the NEC; and if in disagreement, they should follow laid down procedures to seek redress," it said.

"The Judiciary, and by extension the Supreme Court, must treat as urgent and deal swiftly with any case that may be referred to it should any of the parties decide to seek redress at their end. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), domestic and international election observation groups must continue monitoring the processes impartially."

WAEON called on the media to sensitize citizens about the ongoing cases being adjudicated by the NEC and also ensure responsible reporting on the proceedings.

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