By Abraham Kollie (Margibi Correspondent)
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has dedicated some newly renovated NEC facilities in Kakata City, Margibi County.
The facilities include a generator room, a fence around the magisterial office, a hand pump, and a storage facility.
UNDP Resident Representative in Liberia, Pa Lamin Beyai, speaking at the dedication ceremony on Monday, August 3, said the project is intended to provide the needed security for the commission through the provision of a better storage facility (warehouse) for electoral materials and to ensure that NEC has space without intimidation and hostility.
Beyai said through the project, UNDP has installed solar energy in all the magisterial offices in Liberia and at the same time added a generator house as a backup.
According to him, the project is being implemented by UNDP and partners including Sweden, Ireland, the European Union, Canada, and at some point Germany and Japan through the “Support to Electoral Cycle Project” which began in 2015.
He said the current project, after extension, will finally end in the coming weeks.
One of the last project activities he said includes the rehabilitation of 12 NEC Magisterial Warehouses and construction of fences and generator rooms.
He narrated that the project had faced several challenges due to the COVID-19, including the lockdown and the travel bans.
“But with the understanding of the partners, we were able to find a way of working with the contractors to complete the project. We are grateful to Vacce General Constructions and the International Consultant for delivering on time,” Mr. Bayai said.
After five years of the current election project, UNDP and partners have commenced work on the successor project, envisaged to support Liberia from 2020- 2024.
He said, “it is our hope that such a facility will contribute to the conduct of credible, transparent, and inclusive elections through safekeeping and protection of key electoral materials.”
Meanwhile, the UNDP Resident Representative said the successful conduct of the Mid-Term Senatorial Elections and National Referendum is critical to ensuring public trust in future elections and mobilizing international partnerships.
He stated that while NEC may be the anchor, they cannot do it alone without the concerted efforts of all stakeholders including the Government, Partners, CSOs, Community Based Organizations, Political Parties, other stakeholders, and more importantly, the Liberian people.
Mr. Beyai said the focus of everyone should be on the peaceful elections before, during, and after, noting that it is necessary for any credible elections.
He said indicated that enhanced awareness and voter education are critical to ensuring that voters, especially first time-voters and women exercise their rights to vote.