In Support of Political Parties
Posted June 8, 2004
In its efforts to ensuring that the pending elections are free, fair and transparent, the National Elections Commission(NEC) has been holding discussions and consultations with relevant groups and institutions in the country. Besides, it has been touring some parts of the country to get first-hand information about electoral issues.
Continuing this move, the NEC on Monday began a two-day consultative meeting with signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which include political parties, former warring factions and civil organizations.
The meeting is intended to getting some clarifications from those who framed and signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on four important political issues, namely, “How elections are to be conducted by NEC; What electoral system is to be used; What amendments are to be made to the electoral system; and to what extent is the re-demarcation of constituencies to be made.”
At the well-attended meeting, several political parties in their presentations corroboratively said, there should be Chieftaincy and Municipal elections for paramount, clan and town chiefs first, to be followed by National elections for president and Vice president, senators and representatives in October 2005.
The parties placed in various groups, contended that this method will forestall any manipulation of local governance by any elected Chief Executive; get around chiefs and mayors being imposed on the people by the President through county legislative caucuses and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Furthermore, the parties observed that the major problem with the Liberian democracy experiment is inherent in the sequence of the electoral process of the country. Additionally, they said after the national elections and elected officials are seated, nothing is done for the holding of the local elections.
We welcome the holding of these consultative meetings as they would help to enhance the electoral process. The suggestion by the political parties on Monday is in the right direction based on experience in the past. We support the suggestion of the parties because over the years, we have observed how local elections have not been held after national elections.
Therefore, as the parties have said, it is necessary that the local elections be held before National elections to ensure that the government is complete. We note in the past how after national elections, governments have used the “no money syndrome” as an alibi to avoid the holding of local elections, something which have unnecessarily given the Presidency undue powers.
As the country tries to correct the mistakes of the past, it is prudent that the call by the parties, be supported to sustain the much desired democracy. Ergo, we support the call by the parties.