Liberia: We Need Party Agents in Polling Centers

15 November 2020

COMMISSIONER BOAKAI DUKULY of the National Elections Commission stressed the need for party agents to be present at various polling centers across the country during the December 8, 2020 special senatorial election to monitor the polls. He made the call last Friday, 13 November at a Training of Trainers Workshop for political parties, alliances, coalition and Independent Candidates, ahead of the special senatorial election.

COMMISSIONER DUKULY FURTHER noted the role of political party agents during elections is critical to legitimacy of election results throughout the country, as their presence during voting significantly help in validating free, fair, credible and transparent election.

WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREED with the NEC Commissioner that candidates, parties, alliances and or coalitions vying in the December poll should do everything necessary in having their agents deployed at various polling centers across the country to monitor the elections. This is important to avoid wild or unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud that could undermine the process.

IN OTHER WORDS, claims of electoral malpractices coming from the pending elections should be backed by facts or documentary evidence to authenticate their validity.

OVER THE YEARS, we have observed repeatedly with great disappointment that most political parties and or Independent Candidates failed to send agents or representatives to polling centers to observe both casting and counting of ballots. Yet, they are the first to alarm about malpractices, which does not demonstrate good intentions.

WHILE THE NATIONAL Elections Commission is statutorily and constitutionally responsible to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in Liberia, the Commission is not perfect in all of its activities because they are carried out by human beings, who may err or who may what to do something selfish.

HOWEVER, IF AGENTS of various political parties, alliances, coalition and Independent Candidates are present to watch the polls, they may quickly raise concerns and bring they to NEC's attention for prompt redress.

COMMISSIONER DUKULY CHALLENGED party agents to be truthful and to report exactly what they see but also to be careful in handling complaints arising out of the elections. And this is very important because if complaints are not carefully handled by parties or candidates involved, they may have the propensity to spark violence, which is counterproductive in a democratic process.

THE SUPREME COURT of Liberia has assured Liberians that it would remain fully active during and after the polls, ready to receive and address all electoral complaints in the interest of justice and peace. Political actors should learn from late Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, ex-leader of the opposition Liberty Party, who mustered courage and complained to the High Court during the 2017 presidential election. That was demonstration of leadership at its highest level!

EMULATING CLLR. BRUMSKINE'S style of politicking by using the law would surely go a long way in not just strengthening our growing democracy, but setting good example for our respective followers and zealous loyalists other than choosing means of violence.

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