By Bill W. Cooper
Integrity Watch Liberia’s political party campaign finance and abuse of incumbency monitoring findings shows that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is in the lead in campaign violation practices.
The report also accused the Unity Party (UP) of being second to the CDC in the act, with several other political parties making up the list.
The findings were displayed before the media, representatives of the National Elections Commission, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, and international partners, including the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Christine Umutoni, UNDP, and UN Women, among others.
At the ceremony, held in Monrovia over the weekend, the Executive Director of IWL, Harold Aidoo, said the endeavor was made possible through the “Strengthening Political Accountability Project (SPAP).”
In a graphical presentation for abuse of incumbency, the Coalition for Democratic Change’s reported violations amounted to 60, followed by the Unity Party with 20, while the Collaborating Political Parties ranked between 10 and 20.
Under Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Disclosure by parties, both the CDC and Unity Party ranked neck-to-neck, falling between 60 and 50 on the graph, while under Public Non-Disclosure by parties, the UP ranked 50, followed by the CDC and CPP, falling between 30 and 40.
At the same time and with the aid of pictorial evidence, Aidoo indicated in the findings that on October 4, 2023, the CDC senatorial candidate in Grand Bassa County, Janjay Baikpeh, allegedly used the Bassa High School to campaign during school hours.
“All the students converged outside and were made to dance and chant CDC song and slogans. Assistant Director for Human Resources Planning and Policies at the Ministry of Education, Candidate Monibah E. N. Sheriff, used the Ministry of Health’s vehicle for his campaign activities in Golo Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County,” he noted.
The Integrity Watch Liberia Boss also stressed that the Director for Economic Statistics at the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, Candidate Boima H. M. Sonii, allegedly used the institution’s vehicle for his campaign activities in Grand Cape Mount County Electoral District 2.
He furthered that Moses N. Dologbay, County Education Officer, had CDC stickers on his official MoE vehicle and used it for campaign in Nimba County. “In River Gee, MOH Vehicles, paid for with donor funding, were used for campaign for the CDC at a campaign rally.
The civil society actor also averred that the New Georgia Township Commissioner’s office in Montserrado County was allegedly used as Zone 1-5 campaign office for the county’s incumbent Senator, Saah H. Joseph.
Remarking at the occasion, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Madam Christine Umutoni, noted that campaign finance is key in promoting democratic processes and sustainable development.
She also emphasized the UN’s commitment to supporting transparent and fair electoral processes.
The UN RC, at the same time, highlighted common challenges related to campaign financing, such as the influence of money in politics and the risk of corruption.
Madam Umutoni also stressed that these challenges undermine the integrity of elections and democratic institutions.
CDC Leads 2023 Campaign Violators -Integrity Watch
By Bill W. Cooper