Regional bloc ECOWAS is training political actors and stakeholders in Liberia to improve their dialogue and mediation skills as 2.5 million people in the West African nation prepares to decide the country’s new national leadership in a general elections on October 10.
ECOWAS’ Department of Political Affairs, Peace, and Security in collaboration with its country office is conducting the three-day event, which commenced on August 30 and expected to climax on September 1 in the capital Monrovia.
“The aim of the workshop is to enhance dialogue and mediation skills of political actors and stakeholders, ahead of the forthcoming General Elections scheduled for 10 October 2023,” the group said in statement shared with Oracle News Daily.
“The workshop which is part of ECOWAS strategic and operational electoral assistance to Member States, is a follow up to the Joint ECOWAS-African Union pre-election Fact-Finding Mission deployed to the country from the 23 to 29 July 2023, to assess the level of preparedness for the elections by the Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and other political actors and institutions.
“Conscious that election periods are moments of heightened political tension, the workshop aimed to contribute to enhancing the participants’ dialogue and mediation skills, create space for interactive engagements and opportunity to sensitize the population on the ECOWAS normative principles and frameworks on democracy and good governance, in particular, inclusive participatory processes, for free, fair, transparent, and credible elections.
Participants include, representatives from the National Election Commission of Liberia, the Liberian National Police, the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Liberian Immigration Services, County Peace Committees, the Inter-Religious Council and Traditional authorities, the National Peacebuilding Office, civil society organizations, women and youth networks and the media, as well as the Liberian Bar Association, the Inter-Party Consultative Committee and the National Commission on Disability.
Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia Josephine Nkrumah open the worship with the following persons in attendance: Christine Umutoni, the UN Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Chairperson of the National Election Commission (NEC) of Liberia and Some members of the diplomatic Corps.
The country’s previous three post war elections were subject of controversy and dispute.
President George Weah now seeking reelection, 2017 win was challenged on accounts that the National Elections Commission carried out widespread fraud and irregularities. The Supreme Court said in a ruling the fraud was not egregious to overturn the elections results.
Then US Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy said in a December 9, open letter additional Individual sanctions would applied under the Global Magnitsky Act in moths leading to the October polls should the goal of transparency, free, credible and peaceful elections is wanting.