The election commission chairman of the Liberia Movies Union (LIMU), Varfee Holmes, has denied allegations of bias in the just ended LIMU elections, saying that accusations of unfairness brought against them by Reality Team is “malicious.”
“Although Reality Team has complained about the issue, observers at the polls, including the acting President Kediatu Kamara, have found the election as free, fair and transparent,” he said.
Reality Team was one of two parties that contested the LIMU elections. But its officials, complaining about irregularities, filed during the weekend a complaint to the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), as well as the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice.
Sources say Reality Team is seeking the cancellation of the elections, as well as the remover, among other things, of the election chairman.
Repeated phone calls made by this paper to MICAT, which is one of the agencies that work directly with LIMU, yielded no results, as the ministry could not be reached for comments on irregularities that supposedly took place during the recent ended LIMU elections.
But Veteran filmmaker and President of the Liberia Culture Union, Kakura Kamara, has said that although being president of LIMU is not a lucrative position, it should be a done with passion and selflessness. He added that the union is not collecting any taxes from sales generated from movies.
“There is no salary attached to the LIMU presidency. As such, the opposition should respect the result, working with the leadership in order to establish a good market while awaiting the next round of elections. Besides, this is just a two-year leadership and there is yet more opportunity to lead the union in order to bring about much needed changes,” He emphasized.
Mr. Kamara also said, “that though the opposition might want to ensure that the election process has been free and fair, what is more importing is seeking to promote the viability of the industry.”
However, has said that being president of the union comes with lots of privileges, such as travel invitations to attend film festivals across Africa.
Mr. Holmes, however, has termed the complaint filed by Reality Team as an objective that is meant to tarnish the hard work done by the commissioners, presenting them to the public as cheats and tricksters.
“I’m astonished that they have failed to recognize our neutrality and fairness,” Mr. Holmes said.
“During the day of the elections, we observed that on the ballot papers the photos of Aaron Jergbon, who was contesting for the Producer Guide Chairman, including that of Sam Daniels, were missing,” he admitted.
“But the commissioners at the verification desk were able to explain it to the voters before they left to cast their votes. But the total number of ballot papers we printed was more than the overall votes cast because of poor voting turn out,” he added.
He disclosed that the ballot boxes have been sealed up and kept at MICAT and that the commission is awaiting whatever decision the relevant authorities can come up with.
He said further that the commissioners did the job without being paid and they have had to spend their own cash at some point in order to move the elections forward.
“We did this work because of our passion for the Liberian movies industry and the commission has kept its promise to conduct free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
Aaron Jergbon, who is chairman of Reality Team and who contested but lost during the elections said, “We can’t make comments now on the contents of the complaints that are being filed because the investigation is on-going.”
But he added that during the elections they observed a number of irregularities that were brought to the attention of the commission. Unfortunately their requests were ignored, he said.
“Sam Daniels, who was contesting for the Director Guild Chairman, and I noticed that our photos were not on the ballot papers during the election,” he disclosed.
He said that his party has nothing personal against the Martha E. Arkosah team that won the entire elections, but that they are seeking to have the process done credibly.
“ We are all entertainers seeking the common interest of the industry and it shouldn’t be considered as a political field where certain group of people decide the faith of the union,” Jergbon said.
“Whatever decisions that will come from where we have filed our complaints, the team will make an official statement,” he concluded.