Liberia: Referendum, Election Possible Next Year


All six panelists at the Liberian media Initiative (LMI) outdoor interactive forum, DUCOR DEBATES, have all spoken of the possibility of holding Liberia’s next national elections and referendum in 2011.
Presenting their positions on the country’s ensuing 2011 political process (the National Democratic Institute’s Alexander Chavarra, National Election Commission’s spokesman Bobby Livingstone and House Committee Chairman on Elections, Gabriel Smith as well as alongside the Secretary General of the ruling Unity Party, Wilmot Paye and the Chairman of the Opposition Liberty Party, Israel Akinsanya) all the panelists agreed that elections and referendum are possible, but only with strong civil society monitoring of the process.

With varying views, the panelists disagreed on the long held thoughts that elections have been the source of the conflict that led to the violent bloody civil war wrecking Liberia.

The opposition Liberty Party Chairman Israel Akinsanya and House Committee Chairman, Gabriel Smith, himself a Liberty partisan, argued that rigged elections in Liberia led to this country’s violent and destructive past. But the Ruling Unity party’s Wilmot dismissed the argument as having no researched basis.

He argued that bad governance in Africa in general and Liberia in particular has rather been the major source of conflict.

Though divided along this line, they concurred that there were great potentials for the holding of free and fair elections in Liberia next year.

On other aspects of the political process next year, the panelists cast a scrutiny on NEC’s plan to involve Liberian military logistics elections work such as moving equipment, materials and personnel.
The Civil society panelist at the LMI/DUCOR DEBATES forum NAYMOTE’s Mark Marvey argued that the military authorities in the country at the moment remain loyal to the sitting president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who has declared her candidature in next year’s elections, noting that this could pose a credibility problem for the electoral process.

NEC’s Public Information Officer Bobby Livingstone rejected the assertions, calling them a lack confidence in one’s own system.

He urged Liberian politicians to begin building confidence and trust in their own state apparatuses as foreigners would not continue to do for Liberia what it ought to do for itself.

The Panelists were discussing the National Elections Commission’s preparedness for the holding of Elections in 2011 on the November/December edition LMI’s Outdoor interactive forum DUCOR

DEBATES held at the FRIENDS OF FRIENDS HATAIE (CENTER FOFHA) at Carey Street Snapper Hill in Monrovia.


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