As the campaign gears up, the ECC calls on all political parties and independent candidates to adhere to the laws governing the elections and conduct their campaigns and political rallies in a peaceful manner. The laws include provisions contained in Chapter Seven of the New Elections Law (NEL), the Campaign Finance Regulation promulgated by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct regulating the conduct of public officials. The Farmington Declaration signed between political parties and the NEC should also be adhered to. In the meantime, the ECC has observed with impunity the gross violation of the Code of Conduct by the government by the appointment of public officials on the campaign team of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
In the same manner, ECC calls on the government to refrain from the use of state resources during the campaign period and grant all political parties and independent candidates equal access to the use of public facilities. All political parties and independent candidates should on the other hand, adhere to the threshold of financial spending as outlined in the NEL. In compliance with article 83d of the Liberian Constitution, all political party and independent candidates are required on September 1st of each year to publish and submit to the National Elections Commission detailed statement of assets and liabilities.
Parties and candidates should also avoid the use of inflammatory and hate speeches and to embrace issues-based campaign rather than attacking personalities. Furthermore, the ECC calls on political actors to refrain from disseminating fake news, misinformation, dis-information and mal-information to the public. Political parties and independent candidates are also strongly advised to avoid the use of militant groups as an instrument to intimidate their opponents and instill fear among citizens. By the same token, the ECC calls on state security agencies, particularly the Liberia National Police to conduct itself in a professional and non-partisan manner in the protection of lives and property and should be robust in responding to any acts of violence.
The state-owned media is under obligation to ensure that it provides equal access to all political parties and independent candidates in their quest to convince voters and rally their supporters. The media, in general, can make or break the peace; therefore, it has the responsibility to conduct itself in a non-partisan manner and be conflict sensitive in its coverage of the campaign.
At the same time, the ECC condemns the toting of caskets by some supporters of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) on the first day of campaigning. This action is inflammatory and provocative and runs counter to the spirit and intent of the Farmington Declaration and has the propensity to incite violence and intimidation during the campaign period.
Free, fair and credible elections are not assessed by the number of votes acquired by a political party or independent candidate but by adherence to the laws and regulations guiding the elections as well as respecting the fundamental values and principles of democracy.
These elections are critical for the consolidation of the country’s fragile and emerging democracy. As compared to other elections, this one is more critical because for the first time since the end of the civil crisis, the maintenance of internal peace and security will be the primary responsibility of state security agencies, particularly the Liberia National Police. Therefore, it is the collective responsibility of all political parties, independent candidates and their supporters to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner to limit putting burden on a police force that is challenged in terms of finance, logistics and human resource.
Observation & Deployment Methodology:
ECC has trained and deployed all its 92 long-term observers for the observation of the campaign. District observers will monitor campaign events and rallies conducted by political parties and candidates throughout the 73 electoral districts, while county coordinators will closely watch the conduct of the media during the campaign period. ECC observation of media and campaign events will be guided by a thorough checklist and all observation reports will be submitted through coded text messages to the ECC’s reporting system for verification and analysis. In addition to the issues flagged, ECC will also keenly follow Intimidation and violence directed at women candidates and their supporters, vote buying and the commercialization of the democratic process, the coverage and conduct of civic and voters’ education and preparations of the NEC for election day.
Reporting and Communication
ECC will issue updates and statements based on observation findings to the public as the process progresses, followed by a comprehensive report. ECC will also regularly update its social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) with additional information during the process. In addition to providing updates, ECC will promptly notify the relevant authorities of any verified critical incident reports or other pertinent information to enable immediate redress. At other times, ECC will collaborate with independent fact-checking organizations to combat any misinformation or fake news that may be spread during the campaign period.
The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is Liberia’s largest domestic election observation network with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections, and governance established since 2010. ECC members include the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Center for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (CECPAP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). The ECC election observation effort is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “The contents of this release are the responsibility of the ECC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.”
Please download a copy of the ECC’s campaign release here: ECC Campaign Deployment Statement_2023_Final_published