With the most crucial 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections draws near seven months, the country’s electoral body, the National Elections Commission (NEC), is in the battle of serious financial crisis due to the failure of the Government of Liberia (GoL) to allot needed funding to the process.
Madam Davidetta Brown Lassanah, Chairperson of NEC, announced Friday, March 10, 2023 during a stakeholders’ engagement that it is yet to receive the money needed to conduct the much publicized process, that is intended to redefine Liberia’s stance for a good tenet of democracy.
Speaking with some level of frustration, Madam Lassanah asserted that delay and inadequate budgetary allocations had always been serious setbacks to past electoral processes with the ensuing process coming in similar shadow.
Alarmingly, the NEC Chair told the gathering of political actors, partners and media that out of US$33M, the requested for the conduct of the process, the GoL through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has only provided a check of US$4M.
It can be recalled that when she appeared a day earlier before the Plenary of the Liberian Senate, the NEC head informed Senators how its US$91M elections budget was adjusted to US$33M.
“We were informed that some four million was being processed but up to date, there is no funding for the elections process,” she indicated.
Madam Brown-Lassanah however disclosed that is of the US$18M requested for the biometric voters’ registration, the Commission has received US$16M with the expectation of receiving the remaining US$2M sooner than later.
Speaking of further progress towards the BVR, she noted that disclosed that equipment for the full implementation of the process are now in country, and have tested and ready for use.
“To save time and make the biometric voters’ registration process much easier and accessible. The Commission has established a personal registration portal on its web page, but each registrant has an option to register using the portal or go to a nearby registration center to register to vote in the pending elections,” the NEC boss stated.
At the same time, the Commission has released lists of Voter Registration Centers, which it says, is in accordance with law; however, the Liberian Senate has taken an exception to some of those centers.
Predicated upon this, members of the Board of Commissioners were then retired under oath to reappear before full Plenary next Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 1:30pm to provide report of assessment conducted that caused the Commission to reapportion voters’ registration centers.