Liberia: CSO Leader Propagates Change Election Date

The chairperson for the civil society organizations in Grand Cape Mount County, Mr. Alex Balo is recommending the change in the election date from October in each election year, to months in the dried season.

He believes change in date of election will help mitigate the current challenges face by voters and the National Election Commission (NEC), especially in getting materials and election workers to polling centers across the country.

Speaking at a community media forum organized by the international media development organization Internews in collaboration with the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) and community radio stations in Grand Cape Mount, Mr. Balo opined that this will ease the current challenges being faced by NEC during the rainy season when roads are deplorable, counties and communities become hard to reach.

Commenting on the adjudication power of NEC, Mr. Balo said that the election commission can't the be the referee at the same time a player during the election process. During the 2017 elections there were lots of irregularities in the field then you have to bring the complaints back to NEC; "NEC will not admit to be being wrong."

He therefore suggests that an autonomous body be setup comprising of various sectors that will preside over issues of election irregularities.

Also commenting on the reduction of tenure of elected officials, Mr. Balo also called for the reduction in the tenure of elected officials - the president and representatives from 6 years to 4 years while senators from nine to six years.

The forum took place recently at the Sinji Youth Center with panelists also including Mr. M. David B. Amah Sr., Magistrate for the local NEC office and Madam Bandu Fahnbulleh, head of disability, Grand Cape Mount County.

Madam Mamu Paasewe, chairperson of the of Tewor Women for Peace and Development also stressed the need for the allotment of seats to women and other special population in the legislature should be taken as key because women are very influential group of people they should be given more seats at the national legislature.

Participants that spoke at the community media forum in Sinji called for total amendment in all elections laws in Liberia.

Another issue highlighted during the forum was prohibiting of elected officials from contesting other posts while maintaining their current post. By Musa Paasewe, Radio MARWORNET, Grand Cape Mount County through Internews

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