Liberia: Election Monitoring Platform Cautions Political Parties Against Violence Leading to Senatorial Polls

Monrovia — Amidst the commencement of campaign activities leading to the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections, the Liberia Peace Building Office (PBO), in collaboration with the National Center for the Coordination of Response Mechanism (NCCRM) through its election and COVID-19 monitoring mechanism, has called on political parties to refrain from vices that could lead to violence and destroy Liberia's flimsy peace.

The PBO and the NCCRM, along several partners including the Office of the National Peace Ambassador (ONPA), the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and civil society organizations have established a platform named the COVID- 19 Election Monitoring and Violence Prevention Situation Room (CEMViP-SR).

The CEMViP-SR, is sponsored by the Government of Liberia and other partners including the Swedish Development Agency. Through its 215 monitors spread across the 15 counties, the Situation Room will collect a nation-wide data on the elections and COVID-19 for public consumption and policy makers for action.

In its second major press conference, the Situation Room through Liberia's Peace Ambassador, Dr. William R. Tolbert, III, joined by the head of the PBO, Edward Mulbah, call on political actors of the ensuing elections to adhere to the guidelines and rules as developed by the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The statement comes on the heels of reports of intermittent elections related violence in Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Margibi Counties.

Dr. Tolbert called on political parties and residents of these counties to be proactive through dialogues to avoid escalation in tensions and violence throughout the country.

With the increase in reports of new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Situation Room, through Dr. Tolbert also called on the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and international public health officials to resume regular reporting of all cases in the 15 counties.

"We called on the general public to adhere to policies and procedures (use of masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing and electronic currency transfers for transactions where possible to curb the spread of pandemic," he urged.

Speaking on the increasing wave of mysterious deaths linked to ritualistic killings across the country, Dr. Tolbert called on the Liberian National Police (LNP) to conduct speedy and objective investigations with subsequent circulation of reports to the families and the public to impact peace and security throughout the country.

"We express condolences to the families of the deceased and appeal to the public to remain calm and wait for the LNP to present information related to the incidents," it adds.

"Elections are opportunities to vote into office candidates of our choice. Thereafter we shall remain family and friends. Let us not resort to violence during elections. Rather, let us all use these opportunities to remain peaceful and strengthen our nascent democracy."

Meanwhile, the CEMViP-SR was launched in August by Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf and will be maintained by the Peace Building Office (PBO), conducts analysis and provide real-time information for policy makers for action, as well as public consumption.

Also speaking at the press conference, the head of the PBO, Edward Mulbah said although the PBO and the Situation Room are initiatives of the Government, they will continue to maintain their impartiality during the exercise.

He said the Situation Room, which is stationed at the National Center for the Coordination of Response Mechanism (NCCRM) at ECOWAS Compound in Monrovia, will collect the nationwide data through the Liberia Early Warning and Response Network (LERN) Platform.

Speaking further, he revealed that the launch of the platform is an unprecedented move and will be maintained beyond the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections.

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