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The Impasse That prevented the senatorial election from proceeding has been removed following the House of Senate concurrence with members of the House of Representatives to conduct the election on December 16, 2014. This decision removes some obstacles threatening the election. There has been fear of a constitutional crisis in the country if the elections were postponed.
Before The Senate's concurrence, both houses of the national legislature had been divided over whether or not the election should be held on December 16, 2014, the date proposed by NEC and endorsed by members of the House. The decision comes a day after the Elections Commission declared Thursday, November 20, 2014 for the commencement of campaigning. With the Senate's endorsement, well meaning Liberians are on course for the elections to be held. However, it is not clear whether the Elections Commission has everything in place including money and logistics.
These Concerns Are genuine because we do not want to start a process that would be stalled or impeded as a result of lack of money and logistics. We have heard that NEC intends to request the National Legislature for extra budgetary support to enable the entity purchase anti Ebola materials including PPEs. The exact figures are not known, but we would think that the request for extra budgetary support to purchase Ebola materials would have been presented long before this time, because Liberia is actually pressed against time.
Notwithstanding, The Election comes at a critical time in the history of our country, especially when Ebola has taken the lives of our compatriots. The World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola Response Roadmap and Situation Report have shown a cumulative cases of about 15,000 in eight countries affected by the disease. The WHO situation report revealed that the cumulative deaths in the eight countries as of November 9, 2014 stand at 5,160. Of this figure, Liberia accounts for 6,822 cumulative cases, with 2,836 deaths.
WHO And The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to warn Liberians of the risk of Ebola spreading if the election is held. CDC has a clear position to NEC, warning that “…if it becomes imperative to hold the elections, the following preventive measures among others, should be observed...that voters on election-day be advised to stand at least three feet apart; that mass migration of voters be restricted; and that the NEC be very careful with the participation of sick people in the election.”
Now That A date has been agreed upon for the election to be held, we call on NEC to ensure that public health situation is prioritized throughout the process, including campaign periods. Political parties and independent candidates are encouraged to ensure that these processes would be chivalrous void of riotous conduct. Any kind of violence between and/or among political parties' supporters would trigger the multiplication of Ebola cases.
Lest We Forget that these are not normal times; we are in a period of war against an enemy that has caused so much devastation for an already economically strangulated population.