Home Politics US Rings Sanctions Bell…Frowns On Fake Video On ECC Boss; Reaffirms Confidence In Oscar Bloh

US Rings Sanctions Bell…Frowns On Fake Video On ECC Boss; Reaffirms Confidence In Oscar Bloh

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By: H. Richard Fallah

MONROVIA: The Unites States Embassy in Monrovia has sharply reacted to a video circulating on social media purporting to show the Chairman of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) Oscar Bloh, engaging in discussions in a political party office.

In its statement released Friday, November 10, 2023, The US Embassy mentioned that the Local Voices, a U.S. Embassy-supported fact-checking organization, has confirmed that it is not Oscar Bloh in the video as being speculated by others.

The United States further noted that it is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Liberia and around the world.

The US Embassy reechoed that it may pursue visa restrictions for those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Liberia, including through the purposeful spread of mis- or disinformation.

“As a result of this incident, we are actively exploring using this visa restriction authority because we view this as an example of impeding election observation efforts needed to ensure transparency,” the statement read.

According to the US Embassy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is proud to have been supporting the ECC since 2011 to provide objective and evidence-based observation of Liberia’s electoral procedures.

The released indicated that the ECC has been a trusted partner and a leader in Liberia’s civil society community for over a decade and that the USAID stands by the ECC and their commitment to promoting a free, fair, and peaceful electoral process in Liberia.

According to Liberia`s strongest ally, USAID has no intention of reducing or stopping funding to the ECC based on a misleading video.

“The U.S. Embassy is confident in ECC’s ability to report fairly and accurately on Liberian elections, including the upcoming presidential run-off,” the statement furthered.

The U.S. Embassy has at the same time, encouraged all Liberians to take the time to check their sources of information carefully, noting that the future of the country is in the hands of the Liberian people.

Meanwhile, for its part, the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) has termed the video as fake and malicious, and that the person in the video is not Cllr. Oscar Bloh.

The ECC in it statement dated November 9,2023 noted that its chairman Cllr. Bloh has never visited the data center or “war room” of any political party, including the Unity Party, and he has never had any conversation or meeting with Mr. Amara Konneh as being accused.
The Election training and monitoring group further assured 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.
According to them, they 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,” the ECC opined.
The group has at the same time disclosed that it has started 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.

Recently, a video circulated on Facebook and other social media platforms in which the producer claimed that the Chairperson of the ECC, Cllr. Oscar Bloh was in the “war room” of the Unity Party (UP).

The caption in that video and social media posts of one Mr. Manual Fle Chea also claimed that Cllr. Bloh was in conversation with Mr. Amara Konneh intending to conspire with some workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to allegedly steal the pending run-off election, something both the ECC and the US Embassy have denied.

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is Liberia’s largest domestic election observation network with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections, and governance established since 2010.
The ECC’s members include the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Center for Conflict Prevention and Peace-building (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).

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