Shakespeare Z Zeanbo
Monrovia-Liberia: The National Elections Commission on February 7, 2023 launched the 2023 Biometric Voter Registration BI-Monthly Briefing session aimed at updating the public on the preparation for the Biometric Voter Registration Exercise.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia, NEC Boss, Madam Davidetta Brown Lassanah disclosed that Laxton Group will procured the BVR equipment and software for the NEC and will support the NEC in the Implementation of its BVR process and have been closely working with the NEC/ UNDP Technical Team to ensure that the Voter Registration software is fully built to function for the NEC Biometric Voter Registration exercise. She said Laxton Group has been in the country for the past months , and have conducted first and second level test of the BVR software for use during the Biometric Voter Registration exercise.
“The out station testing of the BVR equipment and software was done on January 25, 2023 at the Firestone Liberia Rubber Plantation (Division 16), to ensure that capturing of fingerprints for manual laborers will not be a difficulty during the full implementation. The Technical Team made a live presentation of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system ( equipment and software) to the leadership of the Liberia Marketing Association during a one day Information sharing session organized by the Commission. NEC/UNDP Technical Team Developed and launched the Temporary Staff Application platform (jobs.necliberia.org) to handle recruitment of all temporary workers during the 2023 Voter Registration process, and NEC Headquarters and Magisterial staff have been trained to manage the requirement process,” Madam Lassanah asserted.
According to the NEC Boss, the Government of Liberia has allocated $18.37 Million United States Dollars for the Biometric Voter Registration exercise of which Fourteen Million, Two hundred Twenty Five Thousand United States Dollars (14,225.000.00)have been received by the Commission.
She further stated that the balance of Four Million, One Hundred Fifty Thousand United States Dollars (4,150,000,00) is due the Commission as per the 2022 fiscal year approved budget. “The Commission has been in discussion with the MFDP on the remaining amount in other to support the contractual arrangements with the Laxton Group,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, Madam Davidetta Brown Lassanah has strongly warned Political Parties, Coalitions, Alliances and Independent Candidates to refrained from pre campaigning as violators will be fined up to Five Thousand United States Dollars or its equivalent for acting outside of the campaign period announced by the Commission. She however informed Newsmen that the Elections rules and regulations are still under review and pending publication for political parties and general public.
At the same time, Madam Lassanah used the opportunity to remind all political parties, coalitions, alliances and independent aspirants that the official campaign period for the 2023 General Elections begins on August 5,2023 to October 8,2023, and only after being qualified by the commission during the 2023 candidate nomination period can an aspirant become a candidate to contest in the pending election.
“The Commission urges all Political Actors and Stakeholders to continue to promote non-violent engagement during these electoral activities. We urge the public to take advantage of the existing legal channels in addressing grievances. The Commission thanks the Government of Liberia, our international and development partners and the Liberian people for their support to the Commission.” Madam Davidetta Brown Lassanah concluded.
In remarks, on behalf of political parties, the Secretary General of the People’s Unification Party, Mr L. Moses K. Kwehai expressed regrets over poor implementation of the elections laws by NEC. He further lamented the Coalition For Democratic Change violated the elections laws by pre campaigning during its February 4th, one million citizens rally at the ATS.
“On behalf of all opposition political parties we therefore challenge the NEC to warn the ruling CDC to refrain from all pre campaigning activities, failure on the part of the NEC to implement the laws, we opposition political parties will join the CDC to pre campaign,” he concluded.
The head of Namote and its Partners Mr Eddie Jahwolo expressed great sadness over the low budgetary allotment to the NEC by the Government of Liberia.
He stressed that a free, fair and transparent elections required more funding so as to make the process smooth and easier for the National Elections Commission. “ we are disappointed that at this time the Government of Liberia is yet to provide the necessary financial support to the commission to get needed work done. “Elections can trigger into violence if the right things are not done.” Mr Jahwolo concluded.