WANEP ESR Urges Parties To Avoid Divisive Rhetoric – Wants Security To Be Proactive

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The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) coordinated Election Situation Room (ESR) is calling on political parties and their supporters  to  “avoid rhetoric that deepens divisiveness, continue to demonstrate leadership and tolerance, and commit to accepting the outcome of the elections”. At a press conference held in Monrovia on the eve of the presidential runoff election today, Tuesday, November 14, 2023, the ERS is also recommending to the security apparatus to intensify timely and effective response mechanisms to address security concerns during the voting, tallying, and official announcement of results. The ESR is supported by the European Union and complemented by Swedish and Austrian Development Agencies, which is an integral part of its Electoral Violence Monitoring, Analysis, and Mitigation (E-MAM) project.

The ESR monitors, analyzes, reports, and facilitates responses to violent threats to the peaceful conduct of the November 14, 2023, Presidential Run-off election. It is designed to mitigate election violence in West Africa through National Early Warning Systems (NEWS) and complemented by the Insider Mediators represented by and through the National Election Response Group. The ESR is urging the National Elections Commission (NEC) to continue to exhibit a high level of professionalism and to remain sensitive in the timely release of the results in line with the electoral laws of Liberia. In its statement, the group also called on the  NEC to ensure adequate lighting systems including solar lamps or torch lights, especially during the voting, counting, and tallying processes where needed. The ESR is at the same time challenging Political parties and supporters to refrain from unofficial pronouncements of election results, intimidation, and violence. “The leadership of the Joint Security should be proactive and non-partisan in the discharge of their duties and functions,” They said. ERS warns the media against mis and disinformation. Meanwhile, ESR is encouraging the media as well to refrain from inflaming tensions and being purveyors of mis and disinformation on mainstream and social media. ESR appreciates Liberian citizens and institutions of the state for the decorum it exhibited in the first round of the election and urges all Liberians to continue to observe the peace to ensure a successful Presidential run-off election on November 14th, 2023. They called for a level playing ground and equal access to state resources including protection by the security agents. One Hundred and Thirty-three (133) local observers, out of which twenty (20) were Long Term Conflict Monitors have been deployed in seventy-three (73) prioritized low, medium to high-risk areas across thirty-eight (38) districts in nine (9) Counties including Montserrado, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Bong, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Nimba and Margibi. The observers utilize structured checklists to report real-time data on incidents to the situation room regularly. The ESR comprises four operational sections, the Data Gathering Room, Analysis Room, Decision Room, and Communication Room led by 45 Liberians, including youth, experts, and eminent persons are mobilized to operationalize the ESR with the support of resource persons from other West African countries including a team from WANEP Regional Office. In addition, a team of Fact-checkers from the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) will provide support to the ESR in validating sensitive incidents and other social media posts. By Alfred Kollie, alfredkolliejr92@gmail.com/ newspublictrust.com

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