Zwedru Liberia -The National Elections Commission (NEC) has begun consultations with stakeholders aimed at preventing electoral violence ahead of the 2020 Special Senatorial Election (SSE).
The initial consultations, which are being with representatives of registered political parties and civil society organizations, began Wednesday March 4, 2020 in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County with more than 70 participants in full attendance.
The workshop is part of series of planned consultations organized by the National Elections Commission with the aim of mitigating electoral violence.
It followed election violence during the 2019 By-election in District 15, Montserrado County. It also serves as a reminder of the 2016 Ganta Declaration against electoral violence signed by registered political parties.
Marking remarks during the official opening in Zwedru, Liberia Deputy Justice Minister for Codification, Cllr. Nyanti Tuan, admonished party representatives to serve as Ambassadors in sharing the knowledge of peace and stability gained at the close of the consultations.
Cllr. Tuan urged the participants to extend the knowledge of nonviolence to the greater society through party initiatives.
As quoted by a NEC press release, Cllr. Tuan said to the participants, “be honest and sincere to the process of upholding the peace of the country. You have the moral duty to avoid violence during the pending Senatorial election”.
He reminded the Parties that failure to play a positive role could result in violence protests thereby undermining the hard-earned peace the country has enjoyed since the signing of the Accra Peace Accord.
In similar tone, UNDP’s National Program Officer Roosevelt Zayzay said “we all have a stake to preserve the peace of Liberia, no matter where or who you are we want you to serve as Ambassadors to spread the message of peace during the process”.
Zayzay said the UNDP took keen interest in the issue of electoral violence because of the series of violent incidents that occasioned some key by election last year.
Speaking on behalf of the political parties, Augustine Nimely of the Change Democratic Action (CDA) said the Parties had gathered in Zwedru fully prepared to learn new approaches in mitigating election violence, especially ahead of the pending Senatorial election.
The UNDP Elections Project, in partnership with European Union, Sweden, Ireland and Canada, supports the Zwedru consultations. The next consultation will take place in Kakata, Margibi County. The National Elections Commission is coordinating the consultations.
Topics being highlighted include Election Violence in Liberia, with Emphasis on Violence against Women in Election, Negotiation and Mediation in Election Processes, Voter Registration Modality, and Legal Approach in Healing Election Violence.