Monrovia, May 17, 2011: Local and Traditional leaders have introduced a new debate stating that mainstreaming them in the outreach strategy of the National Elections Commission (NEC) will boost the effort to reach local residents in the fifteen political subdivisions of the country with messages about the National Referendum and the 2011 Elections.
The Chiefs and District Commissioners were coherent and spoke in one accord in Ganta, Nimba County at the close of a two-day Public Consultation on the National Referendum which brought together 168 Local Officials and Traditional leaders from Bong, Margibi and Nimba Counties. The local leaders in unanimity said they were prepared to venture into rough and colossal terrains with messages blended in traditional ethos that local dwellers understand. The folks however said that they needed to be adequately empowered to deliver the goods.
They maintained that with the requisite empowerment from NEC, their participation in ongoing civic voter education will add a new dimension and an aura that would positively impact the process, arguing: ‘‘We are well situated to roll out the message in the language and traditional ways that our people easily understand.’’
The leaders embraced the decision to involve them in the sensitization campaign about the National Referendum and rested with the assurance that that the strategy to bring them on board as conduits for awareness in their chiefdoms and districts will pay off well for the 23 August Referendum.
Referendum Coordinator Blamoh Sieh and the NEC team on the Nimba axis were quite elated about the ambiance which permeated the Assemblies of God (AG) Church in Ganta when the information that NEC had a little package for Referendum sensitization to be carried out in the districts circulated.
Coming from the background of the presentation by the NEC experts there was already an enthusiastic contingent of Chiefs and District Commissioners waiting, ready to transmit electoral information.
One of the presenters, Mr. Blamoh Sieh, Coordinator of the Referendum Steering Committee, said in clear terms that the current exercise to involve district commissioners in outreach effort is of the NEC a pilot project which, if carried out successfully could be replicated for the elections. The District Commissioners assured the NEC that they regard the task as a challenge and an honor for them to contribute to the national endeavor. The first public consultations were simultaneously held in Ganta and Tubmanburg. The meeting in Tubmanburg brought together about 131 Chiefs and Elders from Bomi, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Montserrado Counties. Members of the team on the Bomi axis included Deputy Referendum Coordinator Amos Koukou, Special Assistant to Chairman Josiah Joekai and others. Moreover, the event was attended by UNMIL Regional Officers and graced by an unannounced stop by Chairman James M. Fromayan.
The second phase of the public consultation which will take place from 20-21 May 2011 gets underway this week-end in Pleebo, Maryland and Buchanan, Grand Bassa. The second phase will cover Maryland, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties which will converge in Pleebo while the rest of the counties namely: Grand Bassa, Rivercess, and Sinoe counties will be in Buchanan.