Nearly 20 years after the end of the civil war, it was the first presidential election held without assistance from the United Nations. The National Elections Commission (NEC) proclaimed the victory of Joseph Boakai on Monday. But before that, for several months, she worked at a tight pace and managed to overcome all the difficulties.
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With our regional correspondent, Bineta Diagne
“ The presidential ticket Joseph Boakai – Jeremiah Kong of the Unity Party is declared the winner “. For Davidetta Brown-Lansana, the president of the National Elections Commission, this announcement sounds like the end of a long process carried out to its conclusion.
In both the first and second rounds, the vote was not marred by violence. When attempted fraud was committed during the counting, officials of the Electoral Commission were arrested and prosecuted. Voting was even resumed in certain counties when anomalies were detected.
This year, the National Election Commission managed to overcome all difficulties. But according to Davidetta Brown-Lansana, the most difficult thing was the pressure on social networks. “ The major problem was misinformation and above all, hate speech. These speeches were aimed at the electoral commission. But also the Liberians. We need to stop with this “, she explains.
“ I am a victim of the 1985 election”
Added to this are budgetary and logistical constraints. It was not easy to transport electoral materials to remote areas in the middle of the rainy season. Despite everything, voting was able to start on time in all localities.
Looking back, Commissioner Ernestine Morgan-Awar appreciates the progress made after two civil wars. “ I am a victim of the 1985 election. My father was kidnapped. It’s been 38 years. Until now, my family has no news from him. But today, I am here as a victim and at the same time, I am happy to see how we have progressed: we are capable of proclaiming the results of an election. This means a lot to me. We have turned a page in our history “, she rejoices.
To improve, the Electoral Commission intends in particular to carry out voting education activities in order to avoid a high number of invalidated votes during the elections.
“ The strength of democracy »
And while the results were still partial on Friday evening, outgoing President George Weah called his challenger to congratulate him and concede his defeat. A gesture welcomed by the international community, including ECOWAS, which closely followed this election, explains Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.
In a context where democracy is undergoing turbulence in our region, this is a clear example which shows that there is always hope for democracy in West Africa. We need inclusive elections. This will contribute to the strength of democracy.
Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security