Former President John Dramani Mahama is confident of a free and fair electoral process in Liberia’s landmark polls scheduled for today.
Mr. Mahama who is leading the Observer mission of ECOWAS to monitor and report the Liberian elections was speaking to media men ahead of the elections.
According to him, previous experiences with civil war in Liberia will serve as a precedent for leadership and citizens in to ensure that this election is void of any violence.
He noted that the phase of series of wars in Liberia which saw the country in chaos and mayhem will be a thing of the past since lessons have been learnt and hence more prudent decisions will be taken moving forward.
Mr. Mahama explained that leadership of the Liberia, just as in the case of Ghana (where all presidential aspirants signed a peace declaration prior to the 2016 elections) have signed a peace declaration; the Farmington Declaration to affirm their commitment to guaranteeing peaceful polls.
“They themselves should know that after what Liberia has been through with regards to the civil war, peace is important to them and so they want to restate their commitment to peace, they signed a peace declaration called the Farmington Declaration which is something we did in Ghana when all political candidates signed a peace treaty committing themselves to the rule of law…….in all the speeches I heard, they all referred to that and said that they are committed to it and will abide by peaceful resolutions of any disputes.
Additionally, he said, the appropriate instruments to ensure the integrity of the elections have been put in place to guarantee a smooth running of the polls.
“I anticipate that election day will be okay, it will be uneventful…they’ve adopted instruments that will ensure the integrity of the elections because the polls are going to be counted at the polling station and the results will be declared there to the public so everyone will know what happened at their polling stations and then from there, results will be sent to county tallying centers, and all the parties have their representatives at the country tallying centers…..I think that the systems have been put in place for a free and fair election that is if the parties take advantage of the instruments that have been given to them.
John Mahama, having served in his capacity as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government previously was called on by authorities in Liberia to deal with outstanding electoral issues as regards logistics and deployment, security among others, before today’s polls.
Mahama has been celebrated for his commitment to ensuring the stability of the sub-region and the continent generally.
Prior to this call, he sat as head of the 15-member delegation from the Commonwealth nations to observe Kenya’s elections in August this year.
Liberia is voting today to elect a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping down after 12 years in office.
President Sirleaf, 78, served two six-year terms in power - the constitutionally mandated limit.
Sirleaf, the continent's first female president, will be the first democratically elected leader in 73 years to hand power over to another elected leader.
Twenty candidates are running for the country's top job. Liberians will also elect 73 legislators to the House of Representatives (lower chamber), also for six years. No poll will be held for the Senate (upper house) this year.
Official provisional results are expected within two days, but the electoral body has until October 25 to issue its final confirmation of the results and to announce a runoff if necessary for the presidency.
The House of Representatives uses a first-past-the-post system, where the representative with the highest number of votes is elected.