Amb. Campbell was briefed on the current state of the 2017 elections including the challenges of funding; Voter Registration and Exhibition; increase in women’s participation; nomination; the involvement of the disabled community and the National Code of Conduct.
NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya, during the meeting held at the NEC headquarters in Monrovia, said in spite of the lack of adequate funding from Government of Liberia and from the international partners, the Commission is working frantically to meet deadlines.
On the call for increase in women’s participation in the pending elections, Cllr Korkoya informed Amb Campbell that NEC is formulating means in which interested women will participate in larger numbers. He said registration fees and lack of self-confidence are some of the problems facing Liberian women in politics.
On the question of the National Code of Conduct, Cllr. Korkoya said NEC is willing to uphold the rulings of the Supreme Court of Liberia and to work with the recently established Ombudsman to implement the Code. However, Chairman Korkoya said this is only possible after the membership of the Ombudsman is confirmed by the Liberian Senate as called for by the constitution of Liberia.
The NEC Chairman also informed Amb Campbell about the issue of bad roads in the Country. Cllr. Korkoya said the Commission is facing tougher constraints since the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia.
He said UNMIL was quite useful in assisting with NEC’s outstation activities; however, with the drawdown, he said NEC is finding it difficult to distribute election materials to the counties due to bad roads and the inadequacy of vehicles. He said the condition has even become serious with the Exhibition of Provisional Voters Registration Roll fast approaching (June 12-17, 2017).
Amb Campbell then reaffirmed the commitment of Ireland to support free, fair and transparent elections in Liberia. Considering the mounting financial constraints facing the Commission, Amb Campbell said the Irish Republic’s promise of US$500,000 to the NEC remains on course.
Amb Campbell, who is resident in Freetown, took up duty as Ambassador to Sierra Leone and Liberia since August 2016.
According to the Ireland Embassy in Freetown, “the Government of Ireland opened its first office in Sierra Leone in 2005 with Irish Aid representation. In 2014 it was upgraded to an Embassy when Sierra Leone became Ireland’s ninth Key Partner Country for the Irish Aid programme. This reflects a commitment to deepening and strengthening our relationship with Sierra Leone and Liberia”