The story of UNMIL [Book]: UNMIL and the National Elections Commission
The National Elections Commission (NEC), the independent body established to administer and enforce all plans, guidelines, policies and laws relative to the conduct of elections, faced a few problems during the electoral period in late 2017. UNMIL’s Political Affairs Section analysed the possible gaps in the work of NEC and made recommendations to Mission leadership on what areas to support. These included encouraging the NEC to submit an early request to UNMIL for logistical support, obtain additional data management expertise, seek donor support, and hold regular meetings with the NEC Chair and Commissioners to boost their morale.
One of the parties filed a legal challenge over the integrity of the final registration roll after the first round of the elections on 10 October. In its 8 December ruling, the Supreme Court called upon the NEC to “clean-up” the roll prior to holding the run-off. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Political Affairs Section facilitated multiple meetings between Mission leadership and the NEC Chairman to ensure that the problems encountered during the first round would be addressed prior to the run-off. Political affairs officers also attended several NEC-convened Inter-Party Consultative Committee meetings to assuage the concerns of the parties, and to offer support and a platform for exchange of views, and to obtain information which Mission leadership would require to inform its various interventions.
The logistical and political support offered by UNMIL leadership, facilitated by its Political Affairs officers, helped to override possible challenges within the NEC and ensure that both the political parties and the public maintained trust in the NEC and accepted the final outcome of the elections.