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With eight days to the conduct of the general and presidential elections in the country, the senior Magistrate of lower Nimba County has alarmed over the inaccessibility and deplorable road conditions in the western region.

Magistrate J. Bledor Flomo named road construction, back by the weather as the most outlining challenge to their work as election magistrate, noting that if the road is bad, and the ground is dried, they could it, but with the road damaged and wet, it is quite a challenge.
“For example, if there were five polling places ahead of you and the car supposed to go and reach the materials, it become difficult in getting there, so, we hope that such can be worked on by the NEC management,” he bewailed.

The statement was made on October 1, 2017 in an interview with Internews Women Journalists’ Fellowship (IWJF) in Saclepea in central Nimba County.

Considering the remoteness of some of the communities, with roughly a week to the October 10 polls, the magistrate doubts whether the system put into place by the PMD elections management of the Republic of Liberia will work as planned.

Lower Nimba County has about 60 percent high to reach areas, and against this backdrop; Magistrate Flomo is recommending to the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission to deploy voter materials three days ahead of the elections date.

“There are some areas cars or bikes cannot reach and people have to carry these voter materials on their heads, therefore, in order for them to be on the safe side it is better to start as soon as possible to avoid any problem that may surface,” Flomo added.

“The fact of the matter is NEC does not have cars to work with, they do pass through some of the institutions like Efficient Logistic Services to rent cars or motorbikes because there are some areas you will reach that cars cannot go but only motorbikes,” he narrated.

The NEC Magistrate explained that Lower Nimba County has 23 supervisors and one assistant manager who does not have car but has a motorbike.

Even though NEC promised to add the number of motorbikes to 24 but Flomo wondered whether it will be given on time. He disclosed that they have started receiving some non-sensitive voter materials and not ballot papers.

Ballot papers are more sensitive and it is very dangerous for sensitive things like ballot papers to be in the county to stay some numbers of weeks or more time.

Flomo said he foresees good plan to improve infrastructural development when the next democratic regime comes to power in 2018 to enable election magistrates and all NEC workers to carry out smooth operations.

According to him, regular elections is the focus of every nation, therefore, it must be conducted in a safe space and environment. Flomo revealed that the Commission had earlier called on political parties and all political actors within that part of the country to cooperate in avoiding election violence that could lead to conflict among a group of people.

In a related development, NEC had started the training of presiding officers, ballot paper issuers, ballot box controllers amongst others to avoid invalid votes.

He indicated further that the National Elections Commission has its own civic and gender mobilizers that have worked to register 104, 250 in upper Nimba County which constitutes 48 to 52 percent that represented females and males respectively.

“The NEC has 32 civic educators and gender mobilizers in the field, plus some CSOs to deal with community-based and faith-based organizations,” he added.

He used the occasion to warn politicians to do away with violent acts and continue tell the people their platforms instead of attacking personalities because violence in itself is an extra ordinary conflict set aside.

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