Did Korkoya Resign or Not?

NEC chairman Jerome George Korkoya

Sources say he did but the President stopped him.

Against the backdrop of avalanche of calls from various quarters demanding the resignation of the chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), the veracity of reports which went viral late Thursday night that the NEC chair, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya had resigned has apparently fizzled out with fresh reports suggesting that he is staying put, having been ordered to do so allegedly by President Sirleaf.

The story of his alleged resignation, which went viral on social media indicated that Korkoya’s resignation became necessary following what is being interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the NEC’s handling of the elections process, and which was allegedly  passed by the Senate yesterday. The allegation gained weight when it was proclaimed by Bomi County District #1 Representative-elect Edwin M. Snowe, at a political rally in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

“What we have been wishing for, it has finally come to pass. Korkoya has resigned,” Snowe announced to a crowd of jubilant supporters. Later Snowe returned to inform the crowd that Korkoya’s employer said he should not resign, but remain to see the elections process through.  “That one is left with his boss,” Snowe added.

Earlier that afternoon, the NEC Chairman and six other commissioners appeared before the Senate plenary for the second day this week to provide an update on the elections process. The open session was a continuation of the adjourned hearings held Tuesday, Dec. 19.

According to Daily Observer Senate correspondent, J. Burgess Carter, the Senators grilled the NEC chair, specifically on reports that the controversial final registration roll (FRR) is on display in several counties even though he had told them on Tuesday that the process to clean the FRR was tedious because it was being done manually.

From their questions, which they claimed were based on reports from their respective counties, it was clear that the Senators were neither satisfied nor convinced that Korkoya and his team were completely living up to the mandate of the Supreme Court.

At one point, Grand Gedeh Senator Alphonso Gaye proffered a motion to declare a vote of no confidence in the NEC for its handling of the elections process. However, Senate Pro Temp Armah Z. Jallah ruled that the motion be withheld because other senators had not had a chance to speak; and therefore, the motion was not accepted.

Another motion by the same Grand Gedeh senator called for the discharge of the NEC officials from the hearing and that the Senate emerges with a statement the following day (Dec. 22), on a prescribed course of action based on what transpired over the past two hearings. This motion was accepted and the NEC officials discharged, while the plenary agreed that a statement be prepared and released ahead of the runoff election.

Meanwhile, next door at the Supreme Court, four of the five justices yesterday upheld the Dec. 26 runoff date, declaring they saw no need for the NEC Chairman or any of his commissioners to recuse themselves from the process.  However, the court ordered the incarceration of NEC spokesperson, Henry Flomo, on grounds that he had uttered a public statement while the case was yet before the court; an act the High Court said was contemptuous.

An unimpeachable source told the Daily Observer that following the Senate hearing, a flustered Korkoya proceeded to his office at the NEC and began to pack his belongings. But with the outcome of the UP complaint from Supreme Court and an alleged call from his boss, the NEC Chairman stayed his decision.

Around 8:30pm, NEC posted on its Facebook page: “Do not believe in false information!
Contrary to rumours, Chairman Korkoya has not resigned and remains the Chairman of the National Elections Commission. The Commission is united and ready for December 26 Run Off Election. We will, together, make these elections a success.”

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