The Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL), Mrs. Patricia Narsu Ndanema, and two other Commissioner Simitie Lavaly and Hassan Samba Yarjah joined the Independent National Commission for Human Rights (INCHR) from 8th to 12th October 2023 to monitor the Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia. The elections took place on 10th October and provided a cross learning information from HRCSL’s monitoring of the elections in Sierra Leone on 24th June 2023.
The team monitored the last day of campaigns on 8th October in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Montserrado counties en route to Monrovia. The Vice-Chairperson of INCHR Charles K. Harris at Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia welcomed the team and discussed deployment and key human rights issues to monitor during the elections.
On polling day, the team monitored the following counties; Montserrado, Buchanan, Margibi, and Grand Bassa covering over ten precincts. According to the National Elections Commission (NEC), polling starts at 8 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Most of the precincts monitored commenced voting on time which supported an easy process and close of polls.
However, at one station in Garden of Prayer Church, Cauldwell, Montserrado, polling could not commence on time due to a spoilt ballot box cover, which affected the commencement of voting in that station. It was also reported during the Press Briefing of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the media that several precincts in Sinoh County and Grand Cess County could not vote due to electoral materials arriving wet or not arriving in time.
The NEC Chairperson informed the meeting that provisions will be made for rights holders who did not vote on a poll day to do so within the 15-day period before the pronouncement of the final results. Meanwhile, security personnel and other uniformed workers who were registered to vote in the centres monitored were also given priority to enable them to vote early and undertake their duties at their assigned locations. In some stations, this preference caused slight tension between voters in the queue and the NEC personnel.
Local, Regional, and International (roaming) Observers were seen accessing polling precincts. Notable among them were: Election and Democracy Activity (EDA), EU, USAID, ECOWAS, Sweden SVERIGN, ABIC, Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), and INHCR. The other international Elections Management Bodies (EMB) – Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) and Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC) Sierra Leone – were also seen roaming. Media houses and journalists were seen moving freely to cover the situation on the ground- Sky Radio, Radio Maria, Love FM, and TV, Local Voice Radio Liberia, Press Premium Times, and 004 Press. They all had unhindered access to the precincts monitored.
The Chairperson of HRCSL Mrs. Patricia Narsu Ndanema, thanked the INCHR for the collaboration and congratulated the NEC and the people of Liberia for undertaking a peaceful election.