MONROVIA, Montserrado – Oscar Bloh, chairman of the Elections Coordinating Committee, is calling on the National Elections Commission to make available information to the public on the status of election materials that were transferred to the various countries in preparation for the presidential runoff election.
The ECC is a consortium of civil society organizations working on the elections. They have been observing the process since the beginning of the electoral cycle.
Jerome Korkoya, chairman of the National Elections Commission recently told a news conference in Monrovia that due to the stay order issued by the Supreme Court on the presidential runoff election into a writ of prohibition filed by the Liberty Party, some election materials had already arrived in Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee, and Grand Gedeh.
Bloh, addressing a news conference on Thursday, said it is prudent that NEC informs the public on the condition and situation of the materials.
The chairman of the ECC called for a speedy and timely adjudication of the writ of prohibition filed by Liberty party before the Supreme Court.
Bloh said the ECC is urging the court to maintain such space in hearing and adjudicating all other electoral petitions that may be filed before it, and arrive at rulings that are guided by laws and not influenced by public sentiments.
He said NEC is moving in the right direction for giving priority to the hearing of complaints filed before it by the All Liberian Party of Benoni Urey as well as Liberty Party, as instructed by the Supreme Court.
“While the ECC acknowledged the legal technicalities and complexities associated with the electoral petitions and the doctrine of due process, it is calling on NEC to provide regular updates to the public on progress made on the disposition of the LP case and all other complaints,” he said.
This, according to Bloh, will help build confidence in the electoral process and minimize the anxiety.
He said while Liberians are anxious to know when the presidential runoff election will be held, speculations on the formation of an interim government is premature as the country has not yet reached the political crisis point. Additionally, he said that the fact that disputes are being heard is reason to urge Liberians to allow the rule of law to take its course.
Bloh mentioned that in his organization’s preliminary observation report, all political parties and independent candidates were asked to pursue the legal process relating to all electoral disputes and petitions.
“The ECC lauded parties and independent candidates for taking the path of the law in seeking solutions to their grievances,” he added.
Bloh reiterated the ECC’s call for adherence to the rule of law in the adjudication of all electoral disputes and the protection of the country democracy and constitution.
“The ECC is concerned about the slow pace of the legal progress of electoral disputes and also aware that such creates uncertainty and concerns among Liberians regarding the holding of the presidential runoff election and its implication for the country’s political transition,” he said.
Bloh further said the ECC is calling on NEC to refrain from making public statements that run the risk of inferring judgments on petitions in the absence of according the aggrieved parties formal due process as was directed by the Supreme Court with the Liberty Party case.
The ECC chair also lauded leaders of various political parties for demonstrating leadership by calling on their supporters to remain calm while the electoral disputes and petitions are being heard.
The ECC remains the single largest professional civil society platform monitoring, documenting, and reporting all aspects of the electoral process and has deployed over 4,000 observers during the 2011 and 2014 elections in Liberia.
Members of the ECC include the West Africa Network for Peace Building, the Women NGOs Secretariat, Action for Genuine Democratic Alternative, the Center for Democratic Governance, and the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building.
Featured photo by Zeze Evans Ballah