ALP: ‘A Peaceful Election Is No Guarantee of a Fair One’

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Presidential Aspirant Benoni Urey and his All Liberian Party believe peaceful elections is not enough.

Wants Liberians’ ‘true will’ to be respected

The opposition All Liberian Party (ALP) says for relative peace which has been in the country for the last 12 years to be sustained, the “true will” of the Liberian people must be respected.

The ALP, led by Liberian businessman Benoni Urey, said respecting the will of the Liberian people must be reflected in the outcome of the October 10 Presidential and Representative elections.
ALP has therefore called on the government and all the contesting parties to sign a joint statement pledging to uphold free, fair and transparent elections. This is in addition to the Farmington Declaration signed early last month by major political actors in the presence of ECOWAS leaders during a regional summit here. The declaration called for violence-free elections.

In a statement released last week outlining six key pledges which, the party believes – if all parties are signatories to – shall result in an election outcome that will reflect the true will of the people.

The ALP’s call comes amid growing concern among the electorate of the government’s sincerity in delivering an open election. Electoral registration irregularities and ambiguity in the National Election Commission’s announcements are causing widespread unease among the public.

It is against this backdrop that the ALP said it wants political actors, including the government, to commit to a document which it believes can help to remedy perceived worries.

“In just over three months, Liberians will cast their votes for their next President. We, the parties of Liberia and civil society groups, must sign a statement pledging to uphold a free, fair and transparent elections,” the ALP said in a statement.

Liberians deserve this assurance, the party said, and “they must know that they can vote for their candidate of choice, free from fear; that the votes counted shall correlate to the true will of the people; and that each citizen’s vote – regardless of their region, ethnicity or political affiliation – will have equal value.”

Liberians are wary over external influences in the electoral process—many believing that the winners are decided ahead of the elections.
The ALP noted that it is imperative that Liberians can freely exercise their right, as guaranteed by the Liberian Constitution, to vote come October, “but they must know their vote will matter.”

ALP continued: “While we all acknowledge the importance of the Farmington River Declaration for a Peaceful 2017 Election, countless examples around the world demonstrate a peaceful election is no guarantee of a fair one.”

Therefore, the party noted, “We – the parties of Liberia and civil society groups call on all signatories to the Farmington River Declaration, to collectively commit themselves to the implementation of the document.”

Another issue that is garnering uneasiness among Liberians is the unwillingness of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to replace NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, though he seems to be in clear violation of the constitution. President Sirleaf’s deliberate silence on the issue has made many to believe that there is a hidden agenda with Korkoya’s presence as head of the NEC, many Liberians have said.

Following the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, the ALP and its collaborating partners said no substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws in the last six months before the elections, except with the consent of a majority of political actors.”

One issue that has generated immense debate is the Code of Conduct, which majority of the political parties is not willing to compromise.
“We – the parties of Liberia and civil society groups – officially pledge to strictly abide by the Liberian Constitution and the electoral law,” the release said.
The party also wants ECOWAS, EU and the AU to provide thorough and independent analyses of the electoral process.

In total transparency with political parties, the ALP wants NEC to ensure that every eligible Liberian who has registered to vote is listed on the official voter registrar.
“The names of all those who have gone through the registration process must appear on the electoral roll. Photographic identification of every registered voter is displayed on the electoral roll. These listings must be accurate and open to public examination prior to polling, and must be provided to all political parties,” the party said.

“We want the NEC to act independently and have the means to do so and we want all to respect the true will of the Liberian electorate.

“We, as political actors, declare to uphold each and all of these commitments; for each is integral to the others. Compromise one, and all are compromised.

“It is our duty to ensure each eligible Liberian can vote freely and ballot counting will be transparent. The only thing that shall remain unconditionally opaque is voters’ identities at the count.

“We encourage all parties to join us in giving this guarantee to the people of Liberia. The onus now lies with the government and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to sign,” the ALP political leader, Urey, was quoted in the release.

He said the Farmington Declaration, which calls for non-violent elections must be fully implemented, but this is not enough.

“Peaceful elections do not necessarily ensure a free and fair one. While we welcome the sentiment, we believe our electorate needs a stronger assurance from their politicians. The modest pledges contained in the statement released today are ones that any party that calls themselves democratic should endorse,” he said.

5 COMMENTS

  1. There couldn’t have been any practically strong and candid worded statement from a political party that means well for this election, than this release from ALP; unfortunately, they’re coming in too late, especially when it comes to the issue of the NEC chairman’s reckless statement few weeks ago by which is now a policy statement of that integrity body, even though few other political parties [ruling UP, CDC and few independent candidates], no other political party, including the ALP could voice out any dissatisfaction of the statement.

    Besides, on the issue of NEC chairman Korkoya’s status at the Commission, the ball rests with the President, whose silence speaks volumes. In clear terms of leading an integrity institution such as the NEC, especially during this period of political competitiveness and the lack of confidence in the entire administrative lead way of the chairman, it would serve the country best if either he resigned or be relieved by the President, who hired him anyway.

    In fact it’s being rumored that right after one of the NEC Commissioners, Jonathan K. Weedor released a statement distancing himself from the NEC chairman’s unilateral statement, the President called them for consultation, during which Commissioner Weedor was warned for his public statement. The fact remains that Commissioner is one of few long serving Commissioners at that electoral body.

    Interestingly though, many calls for the NEC to firstly admit that there was a major problem with the process, were brushed out by the Commission, through the media. Unfortunately, the media which is supposed to mirror the concerns of the people, created some sympathy for the NEC, leading to silencing the entire concerns of the people.

    Facts remain that the NEC is not fully funded to conduct this election; otherwise, providing piece meal funding is not necessarily the right way to go about getting things done correctly at the NEC.

    There are sketches of Voter Registration irregularities, which resulted into arrests with no information about these prevent cases.

    It’s a cleared and known fact that one of the most notorious cases of an Executive Mansion contractual employee caught with all necessary voter’s materials, including registration cards, eliminating machine, etc. is in fact back to work with no cleared cut position of the case. No one knows the ending of the case.

    It’s our prayer that God will handle this critical election in a more peaceful, and free, fair and transparent manner.

  2. While the leaderships of about twenty registered polititical parties are seemingly knock – kneed from toting tons of terrible deafening silence, once again, kudos to Mr. Ben Urey of ALP for not pulling any punches on an issue of existential primacy: Ethically conducted 2017 general and presidential elections. In this regard, we would also like to doff our hat to Mr. Montgommery Saar for his eloquent and we’ll – reasoned comments.

    The unavoidable fact is that “FAIR” elections ensure that the results won’t be DISPUTED, and hence, inevitably, the OUTCOME of the ENTIRE PROCESS would be PEACEFUL. Not to mention that the Farmington River Declarations are as good as President Sirleaf’s signature to the core principles of a “free press” after endorsing the WAN – IFRA’s Declaration of Table Mountain in Monrovia on Saturday July 21, 2012 – Worthless! Mr. Rodney Sieh of FPA, the Management of the National Chronicle newspaper, Mr. John H. T. Stewart, etc can attest to how reliable such promises are.

    But, unbelievably, the perception is that our Iron Lady, Justice Philip Banks, and NEC Chairman Korkoya think that they can use arrogance, legal jockeying, and intimidation to disenfranchise undocumented Liberian citizens in order to call the elections in favor of her choice against the true will of the vast majority of eligible voters. If the rumors are true, it is a very dangerous idea, and we advise the trio to abandon it in the name of concord and tranquility.

  3. Indeed, Honorable Urey has put it succinctly that for true democracy to prevail, government must derive its authority from the people.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and unalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; ……………”(- Declaration of Independence). Thanks Honorable Urey for your wise advice. Let the people decide who becomes their next leader.

  4. Perhaps, Ellen, Banks, and Korkoya believe that illiteracy is stupidity – far from it!

    For instance, when I returned home in September 1980, and living with my mom and her brothers in the Borough of New Kru Town at Point Four, one 12 yrs old nephew, whose grandmother resided in Bannerville, was attending St James Elementary and Junior High School on Bannersville Rd. And, to my amazement, the proprietor of that school was a blind uneducated Grebo traditional healer; wonder, Oh wonder!

    His name is Mr. Nathaniel Nyaah Juwley, and reportedly a current resident of Washington, DC, US. He used God’s gift of wisdom to provide education to those who were blessed with the sense of sight he never had as a kid! Uneducated Liberians aren’t as stupid as EJS thinks; according to observers nationwide, she has some big time surprises waiting for her!

  5. TO ALL LIBERIAN PEOPLE! You all must ask President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, what is in her
    mind for ensuing elections with her silence? Because, as her silence appears to formulating
    a strategy to disrupt the elections by twisting arms at the National Election Commission
    for not removing Mr. George Korkoya from the NEC, having legally proven all doubts about
    Mr. Korkoya. Even a secretly passed law of dual citizenship could go into effect immediately,
    it can not sustain Mr. Korkoya in that position at all! If at all it will be a law, it will have to
    wait for next administration. Therefore, the appears silence of the President is, indeed, a
    very, very serious concern! Whom does she think the George Korkoya fiasco will benefit?
    You all Liberians must ask the President.

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