The head of Liberia’s delegation to ECOWAS Parliament’s meeting, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr, has assured the parliament that the country is prepared for the general elections fixed for October 10, 2023.
Snowe Jr stated while presenting his country’s report at the ongoing First Ordinary Session of the Parliament for the Year 2023 in Abuja.
He said, with respect to elections fundings, the Government of Liberia committed itself to fully fund the October 10, 2023 Elections.
He said Liberian government would continue to uphold the tenets of democracy by ensuring every Liberian participates in the democratic process through free, fair, inclusive transparent and peaceful elections.
Snowe hinted that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) of Liberia has disbursed the amount of $47, 500 US dollars out of the $53,000,000 budgeted for the fiscal year of 2022 and 2023.
He said on May 4, 2023, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning assured the commission at the National Steering Committee on Elections of his commitment to providing the balance of USD $5,500,000 before the end of May 2023.
He said the National Steering Committee on Elections (NSCE) is a high level stakeholders’ committee with the primary objective to bring all relevant government institutions and key electoral stakeholders together to coordinate and collaborate for an inclusive electoral process.
He said the NSCE is chaired by the Honorable Minister of Justice and Co-Chaired by the United Nations Resident Coordinator and ECOWAS Resident Representative.
The head of the delegation said in furtherance of ensuring free, fair, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections, political parties have pledged to a peaceful 2023 Presidential and General Electoral Process through the adherence to elections laws and regulations and all relevant laws.
He said the signing of peace pact is referred to as the Farmington River Declaration.
He added that significant provisions in the Farmington River Declaration include the compliance with framework of the violation against Women in Elections (VAWIE) in order to safeguard and protect women’s candidates and participation in the forthcoming elections.
He also said that His Excellency, Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, addressed the signing ceremony of 26 political parties and witnessed the signing of the declaration by the parties.
Snowe also spoke on the Census 2023 conducted in the country.
He said the 2023 results show an increase in population from over three million to over five million.
He added that this outcome of the 2023 Census released by the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo- Information Services (LISGIS) has been challenged by political parties and major stakeholders, citing key credibility concerns surrounding the processes leading to the conduct of the Census and figures as released which the LISGIS has dismissed as unfounded.
He said in order to make the voter registration process more efficient, effective, and robust, the government in response to ECOWAS recommendations for Liberia to adopt a biometric voter roll, was able to secure a biometric voter system to facilitate the electoral process relative to voter registration.
The head of delegation said the NEC divided the country into two regions for the purposes for the Biometric Voter Registration Exercise.
According to him, the first phase of registration comprising six counties enabled a little over 1.4 million would- be voters to be registered.
He added that the second phase is already in progress in the remaining counties.
Snowe also highlighted m several issues ranging from political situation, security situation, human rights, healthcare, economic situation, and status of implementation of ECOWAS Text, among others.