-EISA Reports, provides six counts recommendations to NEC
By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson I
The international elections observation mission to Liberia – the electoral institute for sustainable democracy in Africa, has excused the National Elections Commission of using inconsistent legal frameworks to resolve election disputes.
They say the technicalities in addressing elections disputes have added complexity to the dispute resolution process and have the propensity to deny parties the right to be heard before condemnation, which is a fundamental human right as provided by the constitution of Liberia.
“While it is undisputed that legal matters may be adjudicated through technical grounds as provided for in Section 16.1 of the New Elections Law or based on merit, the overwhelming dismissal of electoral matters on technical grounds is concerning.
These technicalities have added complexity to the dispute resolution process and have the propensity to deny parties the right to be heard before condemnation, which is a fundamental human right as provided by the Constitution of Liberia.”
Delivering the preliminary findings of the observation mission on Thursday, November 15, 2023, former vice president of Zambia and head of EISA observers mission H. E. Dr. Nevers Mumba, acknowledged that NEC has jurisdiction to adjudicate electoral complaints and disputes in both the first and second instances, with the option for further appeal to the Supreme Court.
He stated that after the October 10 elections, EISA-IOM observes that the NEC’s County magistrates and hearing officers received a total of 50 complaints. He further added that of the 50 official complaints received by NEC, 20 were dismissed on legal technicalities such as lack of legal standing.
H. E. Dr. Nevers Mumba, stated that “The Mission observed that inconsistent legal frameworks are being used to resolve election disputes. An example of this is the NEC v. Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT) case, where the Board of Commissioners upheld a ruling made by the hearing officer of NEC.
VOLT’s case was dismissed due to lack of legal capacity to sue, as they failed to attach an authorization from the Board of the Party instructing the party’s leadership to file the suit.
The NEC found that since VOLT is a corporate institution by law, their failure to present a corporate instruction is enough reason for dismissing the matter due to lack of capacity to sue.”
H. E. Dr. Mumba in furtherance added that EISA-IEOM observed that the inconsistent timetable for filing election disputes created more complications with the elections dispute resolution process.
At the same time, the electoral institute for sustainable democracy in Africa has
recommended to the Liberian government six count recommendations intended to improve future elections in Liberia.
In their recommendations, the observer mission urged the government to consider appropriate electoral reforms to strengthen the existing legal framework by clarifying and strengthening legal requirements and establish measures to identify and deter incidents of voter trucking. They are also requesting the government to consider the establishment of an intermediary court/electoral tribunal to hear and dispose of elections-related matters.
In continuation of their recommendations, EISA urged traditional leaders to abstain from partisan politics in violation of the constitution and execute mandates in a
The international observers mission in their recommendations further urged political parties and candidates:
to leverage insights and knowledge gained from the 2023 election cycle to engage in consultations and implement suggestions for electoral reform.
Furthermore, the observer mission urged the Liberian media to eport only verified information and discourage inciteful language and dispel rumours around the conduct of elections.
Meanwhile, EISA congratulated Liberians for the peaceful conduct of the election and their calmness as the nation awaits the results from the NEC.
They urged that early celebratory activities must be stopped. Liberians see should wait for the official announcement from NEC.