Nearly two decades after the conclusion of the civil war, Liberia has conducted its first presidential election without the assistance of the United Nations. The National Elections Commission (NEC) officially declared Joseph Boakai the victor on Monday, marking the culmination of a meticulous and challenging electoral process.
“The presidential ticket of Joseph Boakai – Jeremiah Kong, representing the Unity Party, has been declared the winner.” For Davidetta Brown-Lansana, the President of the National Elections Commission, this announcement signifies the conclusion of an extensive undertaking.
Throughout both the initial and runoff rounds, the electoral process remained unmarred by violence. Instances of attempted fraud during the ballot count were met with swift action, as election commission officials responsible were apprehended and subsequently prosecuted. In cases where irregularities were identified, voting was even redone in certain counties.
This year, the National Elections Commission successfully navigated numerous challenges. However, according to Davidetta Brown-Lansana, the most formidable obstacle was the influence of social media. “The primary issue revolved around misinformation and, above all, hate speech. These inflammatory remarks were directed at the electoral commission and, by extension, the Liberian people. We must cease such practices,” she emphasized.
The absence of violence and the swift response to electoral malfeasance underscore the dedication of the NEC to upholding the integrity of the democratic process. Despite external pressures, including those exerted through social media channels, the commission remained steadfast in ensuring a fair and transparent election, ultimately reinforcing Liberia’s commitment to democratic principles.