Monrovia. The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) and the Liberia Election Observation Network (LEON) have agreed to strengthen collaboration and coordination for the observation of the 2023 general election. By signing this MOU, both observer groups will work together to coordinate on nonpartisan election observation and reporting efforts in the lead-up to the 2023 Liberia general presidential and legislative elections under the terms of collaboration as below:
Terms of the Collaboration
Both ECC and LEON reserve the right to independently monitor, observe, verify, and publish reports from the observation of the various 2023 electoral events. Such independence alludes to the organization’s own commitments and, interests as it relates to democracy in Liberia. However, in the spirit of coordination, both organizations will seek to collaborate on the following areas where feasible:
3.2 Information Sharing- ECC and LEON will make efforts to maintain adequate information deemed necessary or as it relates to the areas of observation, deployment methodology and reports. Both organizations will organize regular coordination meetings to provide regular briefings on key activities.
3.3 Advocacy- Included in the information sharing above will be issues related to each organization’s advocacy campaigns around electoral reform themes. ECC and LEON will share information regarding their work in election reform and advocacy. Where possible, both organizations will seek a united front on pertinent matters and will encourage other stakeholders such as political parties, government ministries, and agencies, CSOs, NEC, Media, and the Legislature as well as development partners to support their advocacy ideas/perspectives, context, and challenges before releasing statements. However, both organizations understand that there may be times when opinions and perspectives differ and, in those cases, nothing in this MoU bars any parties from taking its optional course of action.
3.4 Press statements – ECC and LEON will release their own public statements according to their institutional methodologies throughout the electoral process. During regular coordination meetings, each organization will seek to inform the other in advance of the release of key public statements and offer the opportunity to discuss any areas where perspectives may differ. There may be points in the electoral process where ECC and LEON wish to collaborate by holding joint press conferences and press releases at sensitive stages of the electoral process. Further, the parties will coordinate regarding the timing and location of any press conferences to manage the focus of journalists at a time during observation.
3.5 Monitoring- Wherever possible, ECC and LEON shall work together to create indicators for monitoring and observing the electoral process. While each organization utilizes its own observation, checklists and data collection tools, standardizing key checklist questions to make data more comparable across organizations may be considered where possible. The groups recognize that each organization has its own unique observation and deployment methodologies, which may require both institutions to deploy observers to certain locations to ensure that each organization on its own collects nationally representative data. Where possible, ECC and LEON will explore coordination around deployment to maximize the impact of observers’ presence.
3.6 Based on the prevailing circumstance, both organizations shall share resources such as logistics needed for movement to link observers as well as jointly organize debriefing sessions for experience sharing, learning, and peer accountability. The institutions will also set the standards of payments for election day observers and share the list of observers that includes county, district, and center of assignment to regulate the movement of those seeking temporary employment with these organizations.
As an acknowledgement of this understanding, the parties to this MOU have agreed:
- To the contents stated therein and shall be binding on all parties to the extent that it does not impede the realization of the mandate of either institution
- That the understanding of the terms contained in the MOU shall not be subject to any legal instrument or interpretations
- That the parties do not assume any legal liability for claims against the other for damages, death, injuries or loses arising out of collaboration under this MOU
- In the event where a misunderstanding ensues, both parties will support timely communication of grievances and seek peaceful resolution.
- This MOU intends to support the spirit of collaboration and does not supersede either organization’s own methodology, programmatic work plans, grant agreements, or financial or operational policies and procedures.
The partners believe this coordination effort is necessary to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency and will provide all interested parties with the widest range of coverage of electoral perspectives than would otherwise be available at this time.
About the Partners:
ECC and LEON are Liberia’s largest domestic election observation groups comprising network members with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections, and governance targeting different sects of the population including historically marginalized groups such as women, youth, and people with special needs. Both organizations maintain a non-partisan status and conduct their observation activities through volunteers that reside in every electoral district of the country. The ECC observation effort is supported by USAID while LEON is supported by SIDA.
Click to download a copy of the ECC / LEON’s release here: