Liberia: “Our Democracy Under Attack, UP Won’t Take it lightly,’’

Electoral District #3 Representative Clarence Massaquoi. 

..... Rep. Massaquoi asserts  

Ahead of the Lofa County Senatorial election, Representative Clarence Massaquoi of electoral district #3 has warned that “our democracy is under attack and the UP will not take it lightly.”

“Let me send these words fourth, and I want our international partners to hear this, that our democracy is under attack and the UP will not take it lightly,” the Lofa County Representative said.

According to him, by denying UP’s candidate, the NEC has bitten more than it can swallow because the UP will make sure that the by-election is not conducted in Lofa County.

He continued that the NEC and every other member of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) are aware of UP’s withdrawal from the CPP, and therefore, the party cannot be held for a clause in the document that was allegedly altered.

“We did not sign … any document that talks about denying us. [The] Article 8 they are talking about and raising is what we are against because we did not sign … anything,” said Massaquoi.

“Therefore, it cannot hold us. We have taken enough and any attempt we will resist. This is how elections are rigged and we will not sit for that to happen to us,” he concluded.

He stated that the NEC’s action against the UP will be resisted with all the energy they have because they have taken enough from the commission.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) earlier released a provisional list of aspirants to participate in the upcoming Lofa County By-election. The list however excludes Unity Party’s candidate Galakpai W. Kortimai.

The NEC has named Momo Cyrus, Mariamu Beyan Fofana, Kpator Joseph Jallah, Sumo G. Kupee, and George Beyan Samah as potential aspirants for the Lofa Bye-election.

But the opposition lawmaker Mr. Massaquoi told journalists after a hearing of the ongoing election case at the NEC headquarters Wednesday, 13 April 2022 that they have gone out of patience and they will make sure that there will be no election in Lofa if the NEC excludes the UP’s candidate.

Rep. Massaquoi, who acknowledged that even though they cannot determine the ruling party’s involvement in the matter, the Unity Party will not sit back and watch anybody thwart the country’s peace.

He noted that the country’s democracy and fragile peace are under serious attack by people who he claimed are undemocratic — that people want to use the country’s already weak system at the National Elections Commission which is allegedly occupied by commissioners loyal to the ruling party. “To contest in an election is a constitutional right. Only the court can deny or guarantee that right. But in this case, while the case is still ongoing the NEC has posted provisional listings that essentially deny the UP and its candidate,” Representative Massaquoi said. 

Unity Party and a faction of the opposition Liberty Party, chaired by Mr. Musa Bility and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) under the CPP banner, are before the NEC on account of CPP’s request for the electoral body to forbid the UP and the All Liberian Party (ALP) to register candidates in their own names for the pending Lofa by-election.

Mr. Bility’s LP faction and the ANC believe that a clause within the controversial framework document of the crumbled CPP would disqualify UP and ALP from fielding any candidate in the Lofa by-election after withdrawing their memberships from the opposition bloc.

But UP insists that it is not a signatory to the controversial CPP framework document submitted to the Elections Commission by embattled Bility and the ANC.

ANC political leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings is currently facing criminal trial after being accused by ALP political leader Benoni Urey of allegedly tampering with the CPP framework document and illegally attaching his (Urey’s) signature to a photocopy version.

Cummings has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Representative Massaquoi warned that they will use every legal means allowed under Liberia’s democratic process to stop the by-election in Lofa County.