LNBA, NEC SIGN MOU TO CONDUCT ‘PEACEFUL AND TRANSPARENT’ ELECTIONS

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Ahead of the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections, the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and National Elections Commission (NEC) have expressed their both satisfaction for the strategic collaboration to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections.

On July 11, 2023, the Bar and NEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to set the basis for the LNBA’s strategic support to the NEC to ensure that credible and transparent elections are conducted with the mass participation of Liberians consistent with law in Liberia.

Additionally, under the MOU, the LNBA will provide legal support to the NEC by sensitising the public through the holding of public conversation on elections law and rulings of both the NEC and Supreme Court on past election cases as well as advocating for the adherence of the rule of law by all actors during the country’s electoral process.

Furthermore, the LNBA under the MOU, shall also provide support to the NEC enhance the commission legal capacity to be effective in the adjudication of electoral disputes inhding the increase of public knowledge on electoral dispute resolution mechanisms; especially working with all stakeholders.

The Bar as per the MOU, will also provide training support to electoral staff to include elections magistrates, hearing officers, pitiful parties’ representatives, independent candidates, media organisations and others on the disposition of all electoral disputes.

The MOU which is expected to last for a period of one year, further that the LNBA shall organize engagement with meetings with relevant international partners to seek their respective support and collaboration to address issues around electoral violence as well as the joint security about the early waring signs of conflict.

 

Meanwhile, the LNBA has also agreed to wholly to formate long term capacity development and training plan for its members and the NEC with support to come from the the UNDP and partners.

The program short-term activities that will be implemented within six months, is being heavily supported by the Swedish government, Irish and the European Union (EU) with money in the tune of US$150,000.

According to the Bar release issued Tuesday, July 25, 2023 in Monrovia, the MOU further that the NEC in collaboration with the Bar, will organize stakeholder conferences to do stock-taking amongst the LNBA, NEC, Supreme Court and Peace building office on all critical electoral interventions.

The MOU added, “NEC will recruit hearing officers and clerks and prepare them for training and set up a case management system for optimum efficiency, and shall also provide strategic information and education plan on Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) targeting political parties and other stakeholders to be rolled our for the smooth conduct of the electoral activities.”

“NEC and LNBA shall also hold experience-sharing sessions on ethical aspects of the EDR to withstand political pressure on the NEC senior leadership. The NEC will from time consult with the LNBA and raise any concerns regarding presentations made by any assigned lawyers on any related electoral matter, and the two parties have agreed that any lawyer performing legal services shall do so in keeping with the highest professional standard,” said in the MOU.

Meanwhile, the Bar also commended the NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Browne-Lansanah and her team of Board of Commissioners and including UNDP, the Swedish and Irish governments and EU for their unwavering support to actualize a mechanism that will enhance Liberia’s democratic credential.

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