Liberia: Voter Registration Postponed Indefinitely

… NEC tight lipped, but here’s why

The National Elections Commissions (NEC) has postponed the commencement of the country’s biometric voter registration exercise indefinitely.

With no stated reason for its action, the NEC is yet to have a vendor to supply biometric voting materials, as Waymark/Mwetana challenged the electoral body’s decision to award Laxton, a Dutch company, the contract for the supplies of biometric voting material and equipment for 2023 elections. 

The Waymark/Mwetana accusation against the NEC will have to first be disposed of by the NEC Board of Commissioners and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission, before a final decision can be made whether Laxon won the bid rightly. 

This essentially warrants the indefinite postponement of the voter registration process, though the NEC is not willing to say it now. The VR process was expected to kick off nationwide on December 15 and end on March 17, as announced earlier in its timeline delivery for the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

“The NEC informs the public that the previously announced 15 December 2022 date for the start of voter registration is being adjusted to a later date,”  said a statement signed by Prince Dunbar, the NEC’s Deputy Communications Director.

The Commission said it is developing a new timeline detailing the voter registration schedule, which will be communicated to the public in the soonest possible time.

“The NEC assures the Liberian people that the 2023 electoral process is on course and the Commission remains committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections on 10 October 2023,” the statement concludes.

The joint venture, Waynmark and Mwetena is one of the bidders that qualified and participated in both the evaluation and reevaluation conducted by the NEC’s bid evaluation panel.

The company noted in its complaint letter to NEC that Laxton did not meet the pre-financing requirement and that its delivery date is the longest received and recorded by the evaluation panel.

Meanwhile, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Chairperson of the NEC failed to state when exactly will Laxton deliver materials for the BVR process to begin. 

At a Senate hearing on Monday, December 5, she said that “a meeting is ongoing between NEC’s technicians and Laxton’s representative and from that meeting, it will be known when the company will be able to bring in the materials.”
The Daily Observer has been reliably informed by a source from NEC’s technical department that the president of Laxton, who is in Liberia, has said that he will not disclose when his company will bring the BVR materials unless a formal contract signing is done with NEC.