News / Africa

Can Liberian Election Process be Improved?

A Liberian man exits a polling booth for the presidential election run-off at Klay town just outside the capital Monrovia, November 8, 2011
A Liberian man exits a polling booth for the presidential election run-off at Klay town just outside the capital Monrovia, November 8, 2011
Joe DeCapua

Now that Liberia’s elections are over, observers are looking at what went right and what didn’t. While the general consensus is the process was free, fair and transparent, there were incidents and violence and some technical and managerial problems.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has won a second term in office after a contentious election, including an opposition political party boycott and a deadly confrontation between police and opposition demonstrators. She promised to work to unite the country.

“There is a cooling off period that needs to be a serious, reflective, analytical review process,” said Oscar Bloh, director of Search for Common Ground – Liberia.

He said it should involve all political parties and stakeholders “to ensure that we learn from some of the mistakes that have been made over the past nine months and we prepare for more elections that will be held when the U.N. will be gone.”

The review process should not be led by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Bloh said, but rather the Law Reform Commission or the Governance Commission with “active involvement of civil society.”

He described Liberian society as “highly polarized” following the election.

Going alone in future?

“I think that the electoral process, especially in October and again with the runoff, was quite an impressive example of free and fair and transparent elections,” said Kate Cummings, program manager for the NGO Ushahidi Liberia, which promotes peace building. “One of the major reasons why I think this was possible was from a significant amount of support from the international community.”

Cummings said there was also a great deal of international support during the 2005 poll.

She said, “I think in the future what will really be an important difference is that maybe at the next election there will be even less international support for the electoral process, even more expectation that Liberians will handle the entire process on their own, as well as the security. And will Liberia ever really have to step up to that challenge at that time?”

Better management

Nat Walker, who works with the government’s peace building office, said, “I think that most of the problems that erupted and spread out into bigger problems came out from just simple administrative errors from within the elections commission. So there is a need to look at the whole structure.”

He said a problem such as a ballot error can become a major issue if the problem is not communicated quickly and effectively to voters.

“It’s not just the elections law, but just the way in which NEC is run on a day to day basis needs to be looked at very critically,” said Walker.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More