With less than 10 months to the legislative and presidential elections, two aspirants who lost in the 2005 and 2011 general and presidential elections are concerned about the preparedness of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to avoid irregularities they alleged took place back then.
Speaking to a team of journalists yesterday at a gathering in Caldwell, Montserrado County, District #15 Representative aspirant Travis Z. M. Kollie said NEC in 2005 demarcated electoral districts after the voter registration and created a new polling center in Logan Town that was known to the incumbent
Richard Holder and a few other contestants.
“These acts carried out by NEC were counterproductive to the objectives of democratic elections which called for fairness, transparency and accountability,” Mr. Kollie noted. “I’ll leave no stone unturned this time around to use the law against anyone or institution that may trample on my constitutional rights. The demarcation of electoral districts after voter registration led to voters who should have voted in this district not to do so because they fell in either District#13 or District#4.”
Mr. Kollie claimed that he is contesting this year’s representative election because Rep. Richard Holder, who is the incumbent, has failed to reconcile the people of the district and developments he promised the people in 2011 are not visible anywhere in the district.
He said he believes in the capacity building process of young people and as such if the voters of Dist. #15 give him the chance to serve, he will work with them to provide the means for their career development.
Mr. Kollie has also promised that basic social services, such as schools and clinics which are lacking now, will be available once there are people to work for the district while he works at the Capitol.
He said his wish to go to the Capitol is not because he wants to enrich himself. “I have businesses which include a photo studio and houses from which I collect rent regularly,” he asserted.
Mr. Kollie’s statements came barely a week when Montserrado District #2 Representative aspirant Lt. Col. Jimmy W. Smith said he has evidence of wrong counting and numeration in the 2011 representative elections that saw Hon. Sekou Konneh winning the seat of representative at the National Legislature.
Col. Smith said he also has evidence of tampered ballot papers that he reported to the NEC but his opponent Sekou Konneh did not honor the NEC’s call for investigation although he was called upon several times. “We had the grounds to have continued pursuing the case at the Supreme Court but chose to decline in the name of peace for our people who have so much respect for us and have their confidence in our ability,” he said.
Col. Smith also said he will not take anything for granted in the October representative and presidential elections because to continue to compromise his rights in the name of peace for the people will sink the district into more deficits.
When reached, the Acting Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the NEC, Joseph T. Nyensuah, said it is the right of anyone to raise concerns about irregularities but should not forget to validate whatever he or she says with facts.
“We are not prepared to deal with speculations and sentiments of individuals because they will always be there. In the same token, NEC is doing a professional job in the interest of everyone, regardless of whatever political institution you come from or even if you are an independent candidate vying for any national elected office in our country,” Mr. Nyensuah pointed out, adding that it has become globally normal for losers in elections to easily concede defeat and happily commend the victors.
“For us to live in a much more defined and civilized national community, people contesting elected posts should be willing to accept the outcomes of elections, most especially when they have no tangible reasons to prove the wrongdoing of the conductor of the process or those who contest against them,” the NEC communications chief said.
Mr. Nyensuah said with Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah serving as the chairman of the National Elections Commission, he believes Liberians will be happy with the Commission after the conduct of this year’s elections.