Coordinated Election Situation Room (ESR)
October 10, 2023 General and Presidential Elections in Liberia
This Election Situation Room is an integral part of the Electoral Violence Monitoring, Analysis and Mitigation (E-MAM) project, coordinated by West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) in partnership with the Office of the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Liberia and the National Center for the Coordination of Response Mechanism (NCCRM). It is designed to monitor, analyze, report and facilitate response to violent threats to peaceful conduct of the October 10, 2023 Liberian general elections.
The Election Situation Room located at Sinkor Palace Hotel, Monrovia is made up of four operational sections comprising Data Gathering Room, Analysis Room, Decision Room, and Communication Room. For three days (October 9 to 11), 36 Liberians youth, experts and eminent persons are mobilised to operationalize the ESR with the support of resource persons from other West African countries. The situation room is resourced by 150 observers deployed in identified hotspots across 11 Counties.
On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 2,471,617 registered Liberians comprising 1,237,257 females (50.058%) and 1,234,360 males (49.9%) will go to the polls to participate in the elections. This general election is the fourth election since the end of the civil wars in Liberia. Out of the 46 registered political parties, 20 candidates are accredited by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to contest the elections. These include two (2) females (representing 10%) and eighteen (18) males’ presidential candidates. There is a total of 886 candidates contesting for 73 seats in the House of Representative, which comprise of 143 females, representing 16% and 100 candidates, including 7 females representing 7% contesting for the 15 available seats in the Senate. The elections will be conducted within 5,890 polling places at 2,080 voting precincts across the Country.
Electoral campaign and related incidents:
The period leading up to the October 10 polls have generally been peaceful except for the unfortunate incidences that occurred between August 2023 and end of the campaign on Sunday, October 8, 2023, including.
• Violence between two rival parties in Bahn, Northeastern Nimba County last August which left one person dead.
• The September 29, violence in the Northwestern City of Foya, Lofa County in which 2 persons were confirmed dead.
• Clashes between rival supporters of two parties on the last day of campaign (Sunday, October 8, 2023) on the Japan Freeway in Montserrado County that left some persons injured.
II. WANEP’s Contributions:
Under a regional project titled, “Electoral violence Monitoring, Analysis and Mitigation (EMAM)” funded by the European Union and being implemented in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), WANEP contributed through:
– a hotspot mapping exercise targeting all the 73 electoral districts,
– a training, equipment and deployment of 20 community monitors in the hotspot,
– a training for representatives from CSOs, political parties, religious and traditional leaders on ‘’Electoral dispute management and response design’’,
– a ‘’National Election Response Group (NERG), a multi-stakeholders platforms comprising 21 representatives from relevant state and non-state actors, launched on 23 August 2023. The NERG met several times to analyse the collected electoral data and recommended responses,
– four rapid sub-grants awarded to four Liberian CSOs to implement response activities in Montserrado, Nimba, Cape Mount, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Bong.
– a training and deployment of 150 observers only in the mapped hotspots for three days observation mission.
III. Challenges and Concerns for the Peaceful Conduct of the Elections
The following are some of the identified concerns and challenges from the pre-election observation:
• The delays in the publication of the final voter registration roll raised public sentiments, leading to concerns of integrity and transparency of the process.
• Perception about the logistical capacity, neutrality, impartiality and professionalism of the security agencies throughout the election process.
• Hate speeches, misinformation and disinformation propagated by some political actors and supporters and how they could fuel tension during the voting.
• Negative media reportage and social media propaganda.
• Perceived communication gap between the NEC and the general public about issues pertaining to underage and double registrants,
• Existence of mistrust and suspicions between political actors on the neutrality of the NEC’s Board of Commissioners and how it can affect the post-election;
• Logistics deployment capacity of NEC in the context of the ongoing raining season in Liberia and how it can affect the polls.
• Disagreement between NEC, political parties and candidates over whether or not to perforate the Biometric Voter card after voting.
• Potential for delay of material deployment due to flooding and poor road network.
• Fears that pre-elections violence incidents could negatively impact voters enthusiasm and thus affecting voter’s turnout on polling day;
• pronouncements of victory by political parties/candidates ahead of official results by NEC.
• Perceived interference in tallying /results / general Results management.
• Increase in the number of voters per precinct (even above 3,000 at 92 polling centers) could cause over-crowdedness, delay in counting and tallying of votes, overburden NEC poll workers.
• Efforts aimed at increasing women’s political participation has been dampened due to political parties’ failure to meet up with the gender parity agreement of including at least 30% of quota for either gender in their candidate’s nomination.
• Heightened rhetoric by politicians of an outright win at the polls and how it can affect the results announcement.
In view of the challenges raised, the ESR recommends the following:
▪ The National Election Security Taskforce should uphold the principles of neutrality, impartiality and professionalism in the discharge of their duties;
▪ The Joint security should be robust, proactive and do everything to ensure swift and professional investigation of violence that may erupt before, during and after October 10 elections, in order to serve as deterrent, while ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice;
▪ The Press Union of Liberia, private media owners both print, electronic and social media outlets should advise their members to respect the ethics of the Journalism profession and refrain from disseminating any information that could exacerbate tension.
▪ The General Public is encouraged to verify before sharing any information on social media;
▪ The NEC should keep frequent communication flow with the general public at all levels throughout the electoral process.
▪ Political actors should observe the provisions of the New Electoral Laws.
▪ NEC should ensure the timely opening of polling centers and deployment of personnel and logistics on polling day and where hitches occur, immediately inform the general public;
▪ In case of incidences leading to displacement of voters from their original abode, NEC should be flexible to ensure that no one is disfranchised.
We call on all stakeholders to be tolerant of the electoral process and of one another.
The ESR called all eligible Liberian voters to peacefully turn out to exercise their democratic franchise tomorrow, October 10, 2023 and wait for the results to be officially announced by NEC.
Finally, we appreciate the general support of our partners, the EU for funding this project and our core funders (Swedish International Development Agency, and Austria Development Corporation).
May God bless Liberia and make our nation great and strong.
Done in Monrovia, October 9, 2023, The Election Situation Room