Angie Brooks, Partners Begins a 3day 2023 Elections WSR Review

By: Laymah Kollie

Liberia: The Women’s Situation Room (WSR), a peace body committed to ensuring nonviolent elections in Liberia, has kick-started a three-day women’s political, mediation, and peace dialogue, aimed at Promoting a peaceful electoral environment and community security in Liberia.

Tagged: “Promoting peaceful electoral environment and community security in Liberia Women’s Situation Room,” Tuesday, April 2, 2024, unveiled day one of the dialogue. Divided into three parts, day one dealt with security, media, open discussion, and a way forward.

Well seated in the Cecil Dennis Conference Hall at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, scores of women from different spheres joined Madam Olubake King Akerele and her team to reflect on the 2023, general elections, as they identified challenges, missteps and prooffered recommendations for future elections.

Elaborating on the overview of the occasion, Madam Olubake King Akerele reminded her audience that the dialogue endeavors to afford women, state actors, and the media the opportunity to retrospect and dialogue on the 2023, elections.
As the team implies, she said the dialogue takes interest in promoting a peaceful electoral environment and community security in Liberia, concisely through the Women’s Situation Room.

During the genesis of the dialogue, media executives, including Women Voices Newspaper Publisher and CEO, Mrs. Helen Nah Sammie and TruthFM Talk Show Host, Marka Davies laid down challenges media institutions faced during the 2023, general elections. 

Mrs. Helen Nah Sammie outlined fake news, limited resources, access to information, and political interference as a few of the many challenges media institutions faced before and after the 2023, general elections.

According to Mrs. Sammie, the media grappled with misinformation before the elections, with instances such as reports of irregularities by NEC staff and a political party allegedly misusing its headquarters for voter registration, which were later debunked. 
“Media outlets themselves, including us fell victim to manipulation, as certain political party supporters altered cover pages with derogatory headlines for propaganda purposes. Post-election, there was a surge in fake news and misinformation on various platforms, underscoring the urgent need for media institutions to combat falsehoods and prioritize accuracy in their reporting.”
Moreover, the Women Voices Newspaper Boss said many media organizations in Liberia encountered financial and resource constraints, hampering their ability to comprehensively cover a wide array of issues, including monitoring candidates’ campaign messages. “Post-election, sustaining field reporting became a challenge for numerous outlets due to insufficient resources for their reporters’ expenses. Delivering in-depth coverage of election results proved demanding for media institutions that lacked the necessary financial support.”

From her end, the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) President Lisa Tenneh Daisay threw light on the outstanding role of female journalists during the elections. 

Meanwhile, the second session of the dialogue focused on security experiences during the campaigns and on election day. H. Moses Carter, the Liberia National Police Spokesman while speaking on challenges the LNP faced before and after the elections, pointed out the issue of two political parties conducting an event on the same day and in the same environment. 
Like it was widely known, Carter referenced the electoral violence in District #10, as a vivid example. Similar to District #10, another incident of the challenge Carter noted was the violence on the Japanese Freeway.

Like the Police Spokesman, Madam Asatu Bah Kenneth, the immediate former Deputy Commissioner General of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) outlined resources and manpower as some of the many challenges the LIS experienced before and after the election.

The Women’s Situation Room women’s political, mediation, and peace dialogue continues today with a session with the youth, specifically with first-time voters, and the at-risk youth.
The Women’s Situation Room (WSR) is a women’s peace-building mechanism for the mitigation of conflict before, during, and after elections in African countries

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