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CSOs Chide ECC Bloh Over ‘War Room’ Gossip , But…

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) says its attention has been drawn to a video circulating on Facebook and other social media platforms in which the producer claimed that Chairperson Oscar Bloh was in the “war room” of the Unity Party (UP).
The caption in the video and social media posts of one Mr. Manual Fle Chea also falsely claimed that Cllr. Bloh was in conversation with Mr. Amara Konneh intending to conspire with some workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to steal the pending run-off election.
The ECC wishes to make it absolutely clear that the video is fake and malicious, and that the person in the video is not Cllr. Oscar Bloh. Cllr. Bloh has never visited the data center or “war room” of any political party, including the UP, and he has never had any conversation or meeting with Mr. Konneh.
The ECC assures the Liberian people, its international development partners, including USAID and the Embassy of Ireland, and all political parties that it will never compromise its independence and will remain a non-partisan national domestic observation group.
The ECC will continue to conduct its observation in a neutral and professional manner and update the Liberian public accordingly. We are committed to providing an independent assessment of the credibility of the conduct of elections in Liberia.
In the meantime, the ECC has started its step-down training of election observers across the country to observe the runoff election on November 14, 2023 and will update the public about observation findings in the coming days.
The ECC is Liberia’s largest domestic election observation network with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections, and governance established since 2010.
ECC’s members include the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Center for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (CECPAP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL).
However, three renowned local civil society organizations operating in the country are calling for an immediate probe into allegation linking the Chairperson of the ECC.
The CSO groups are demanding Mr. Bloh to recuse himself from all activities of the ECC until the investigation is conducted and concluded.
“We strongly believe that given the fact that it borders on the integrity of civil society actors, people considered to be watchdogs of society, there is a need for an independent investigation into the matter to relief the CSO community of the reputational damage,” the CSO groups expressed.
The Liberians for Democratic Advancement (LIDA) Movement for the Defense of Women and Girls Rights in Liberia (MDWGRL) and Equal Society for All (ESA) in a joint statement stated that in a society such as Liberia’s, the tendency of being untrustworthy under such circumstances is very high.
“We want this avoided through an investigation by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which is the highest donor to the ECC to ascertain the truism in this grave claim,” they noted.
The group while calling for the claim to be investigated so as to bring credibility to the pending process added, “We hold strongly that a credible civil society is sine qua non to the growth of our nascent democracy and sustenance of the country’s hard-earned peace.”
The CSO groups in the joint statement read by the Executive Director of LIDA, Mr. Festus Doe, stressed the need for a full-scale investigation into this grave allegation since the matter in essence borders on electoral integrity and as well as the credibility of the ECC, which happens to be major local election observatory group, which monitors and reports on the outcome of electoral processes.
“Though the ECC has vehemently denied the allegation linking its head with one of the parties in the pending run-off, our three organizations – the Liberians for Democratic Advancement (LIDA), Movement for the Defense of Women and Girls Rights in Liberia (MDWGRL) and Equal Society for All (ESA) hereby call for an immediate probe into the issue at hand. This investigation can be led by relevant CSO groupings and key stakeholders in the electoral process. It is our belief that this will not only ensure the credibility of the election; it will meanwhile restore integrity and confidence in the very ECC if the allegation is proven otherwise,” the statement indicated.
The groups pointed out that on the heel of said grave allegation, the ECC is under all moral obligations to exonerate itself through an independent investigation in order to maintain the trust and confidence of its many donor partners including USAID and the Embassy of Ireland that are investing hugely towards the promotion of democracy.

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