CDC Warns NEC against Irregularities in October Poll

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The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has warned that it will resist any electoral result that will be marred by irregularities in the forthcoming Special Senatorial Election.

The National Electoral Body (NEC) is expected to conduct Liberia’s first ever Special Senatorial Election since the 1986 Constitution came into force.

Accordingly, polls will open on the second Tuesday in October of this year.

Ahead of this election, the largest opposition party is speculating that there are elements within the employ of the Commission plotting to carry out “rampant vote rigging in favor of incumbents and candidates of their choice.”

At a news conference in Monrovia Tuesday, June 24, CDC said, “The coming election is a test for Liberia relative to how our fragile democracy can be sustained.  It will also be a gateway to 2017 general elections.”

The CDC further threatened, “Any attempt to tamper with this election, the consequences will be serious.”

Speaking on behalf of the party’s executive committee, CDC Deputy Chairman for Operations, Mulbah Morlu, said: “CDC Cautions NEC-based data-manipulators secretly operating within the Commission to beware of the realities of changing times, as 2014 must not be mistaken for 2005/2011 when Liberia’s larger electoral communities were disenfranchised through widespread elections fraud.

“We invoke the patriotism of the morally upright existing within the confines of NEC to remain disobliging with systemic fraud and work to avert a catastrophic national tragedy of democratic decadence, by exposing the masterminds of fraud and their dreadful deeds.”

“The despicable strategy of this grand scheme would make it possible to manipulate election results to favor certain incumbent candidates and others of their choice. The likelihood of said calculated fraudulent exercise is detrimental to the electoral process, the CDC said.  It requests NEC to rotate and reassign election magistrates, given that most of them have been serving in those capacities since 2005 and are now working at the behest of incumbent political actors,” CDC’s statement noted.

Relative to processes leading to the conduct of the polls, CDC alleged that NEC deliberately reduced the number of polling places across the country in order to deny majority of voters with lost cards.

Morlu asserted that NEC reduced the number of polling for the voter’s card replacement process to four per county, a decision CDC considered as “fraudulent and electoral malpractice.”

The party wants an extension of the deadline (June 30-July 30 2014) for accreditation of observers, party agents and others in order to allow inclusive participation.

In the 2005 elections, the CDC, George Weah won the first round of voting but lost with 28 percent of the vote over the Unity Party's 19 percent. Since neither party had won an outright majority, a run-off was scheduled. The NEC announced that the UP had won the election with 59 percent of the vote and that Weah had lost with 41 percent. The CDC alleged fraud on the part of the CDC. International observers generally characterised the vote as free and fair.

At a fundraising event for the Sirleaf Market Women's fund in New York a few years later, Madam Sirleaf, in expressing her gratitude to the market women who had overwhelmingly supported her, jokingly admitted that market women had in 2005 confiscated the voter registration cards of their sons, the majority of whom were weah supporters.

Weah again lost the presidential elections in 2011 after instructing his party to boycot the run-off, again citing fraud.

As such, this is a major election for the CDC, which the party sees as a "gateway" to the next presidential elections scheduled for 2017.

Having lost two presidential elections in 2005 and 2011, Weah has decided to take the Senate route to the presidency. The CDC has endorsed its top executives, including Weah, to stand on the party’s ticket in the election.

When contacted, the NEC’s Director for Communication, Joey Kennedy, declined to comment but released this statement; “NEC Executives are meeting now and we will officially respond to every allegation raised by the CDC.”

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