‘Korkoya Decided Unilaterally’

Fellow NEC Commissioner distances self from Korkoya’s decision on voter roll discrepancies

14
6757

A commissioner at the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jonathan K. Weedor, has in no uncertain terms rejected the June 14 pronouncement by NEC Executive Chairman, Jerome G. Korkoya, that people with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10, even if their names and other details were not identified during the voters roll exhibition.

“It is important to emphasize that the essence of the voters roll exhibition exercise is to provide individuals who participated in the voter registration exercise the opportunity to vet the provisional roll aimed at establishing a final registration roll that is reliable and credible,” Cllr. Weedor said.

He noted further that there are several problems associated with the present provisional roll ranging from the omission of hundreds, if not thousands, of names to missing photos and profiles of registrants.

In his position statement on June 15 in Monrovia, Weedor said Korkoya’s statement concerning people voting on October 10 without establishing all relevant voter information about them is alarming, disturbing, and troubling because a reliable and credible final registration role (FRR) is a cardinal requirement of every free, fair and transparent election.

“In fact, the essence of every voter registration exercise is to establish a voter roll that can account for every eligible voter who participated in the voter registration exercise. And so the relevance of a reliable voters roll in every electoral process cannot be overemphasized because the absence of said roll is an open gate to fraud,” he noted.

The NEC executive said any action or pronouncement that has the potential to understate the relevance of a reliable voter roll must be discouraged because said endeavor is a recipe for chaos.

“In this regard and as a matter of principle, I wish to dissociate myself from the pronouncement of chairman Korkoya as it relates to the possibility of a huge number of individuals with voter cards being permitted to vote when their names, photos, and other particulars are not on the final registration roll (FRR),” he said.

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) was the first to raise concern about the NEC Chairman’s pronouncement, citing “a need for answers to some critical questions by the NEC.”

The day after Cllr. Korkoya made the statement, the ECC, through its chairman Oscar Bloh, expressed its disappointment at Korkoya’s remark and recommended “that the NEC shoulders the responsibility to let the Liberian people know how many registered voters’ names and photos are missing from the 2,080 voter registration centers,” he said.

According to Bloh, NEC needs to provide an explanation to the citizens on how the names and photos of registered voters got missing from the PRR. “The ECC is calling for a full investigation on whether this emerging problem emanated from the voter registration centers during the scanning of the forms, the printing of the PRR, or a combination of all of the above,” he said.

Interestingly, no political parties have released any statement concerning the NEC Chairman’s unilateral decision, which will no doubt affect their chances at the October polls.

In fact, only one political aspirant, Josiah F. Joekai, has spoken out against the pronouncement, saying it “cannot in any way be taken lightly since many Liberians stand to be disenfranchised…” He made reference to the numerous reported cases of illegal voter registration activities that took place using NEC registration materials in some instances, highlighting the plausibility that forgery may have taken place.

“Thus, no one doubts the possibility of the use of hundreds or thousands of forged Voter Registration Cards in October given the capacity issue that remains a challenge for the Commission,” Joekai predicts, adding, “This matter is grave and one that requires prompt and practical solution.”

It is not clear whether other NEC Commissioners were informed by Korkoya beforehand of his decision. However, Commissioner Weedor said he was taken aback by Korkoya’s pronouncement and could not recall any emergency meeting held by the Board of Commissioners at the NEC held before the announcement was made by the chairman.

“I called the magistrates in my areas of oversight (Nimba and Bong counties) and they confirmed the unprecedented and alarming situation of the omission of names from the roll and other associated problems. Upon my arrival at the office, I proceeded to the office of chairman Korkoya and inquired what was the information available to him relating to the exhibition exercise, and he responded that he has received information from around the country relating to the omission of some names from the roll,” Weedor said.

He said in the presence of the NEC executive director, Lamin Lighe, Korkoya indicated that there will be a press conference at 4pm to inform the public of the magnitude of the problem, and to assure them that the commission was working around the clock to address the problems, but was shocked when the NEC head said there will be no problem to vote for legislators and the president even if a person’s name and photos were not reflected in the FRR.

“Since my association with the NEC, dating back to March 2004, I have endeavored to contribute my quota to the consolidation of our young democracy aimed at protecting our hard-won peace. This commitment shall remain unshakable during these elections and the days beyond,” he noted.

“In a credible electioneering process, deception is not possible because numbers don’t lie and the facts are always unraveled no matter what,” Joekai warned. “Thus, it is better to divulge the reality now with respect to the current state of the voters roll rather than present a roll that does not reflect the actual number of voters in possession of Voter Registration Cards at the polls in October.”

Authors

14 COMMENTS

    • Some radio stations and power tv aired the press conference. In responding to a journalist’s question that some people were complaining that their particulars were not on the provisional voter registration list, Korkoya said that such people should not worry because those who followed the process and have valid voter registration cards will be allowed to vote. We understand that in our country some people think negatively and their minds immediately ran to people going to world trade center to fix fake voter I.d. A think to understand is that if a person goes to w.t.c. or somewhere else and obtain a voter I.d. card, that person didn’t follow the process and his card is not valid. The election commission should be careful in making sure that nobody uses a fake id to vote. But there is nowhere in the world well you will tell someone with a valid voter card that she can’t vote, even if her name doesn’t appear on a provisional list. So, on this issue, Korkoya was correct in saying those who followed the process and have their voter registration cards will be allowed to vote.

    • Bill Nagbe, good question, because if his citizenship status is not resolved, I can see it becoming a distraction to the election preocess.

  1. Some of your who making these noises aren’t informed. It is insane for people who called themselves commissioners at NEC would want to make trouble at the chairman pronouncement. In every election back by International Laws, legal registered voters are identified in two ways. Firstly, by the voter id, and the roll that election commission has as data base. Interestingly, it is possible that some errors can occurred during the registration process. You might have missed spelled names, some voter names not recorded on the roll and more. When the election commission noticed those errors it can decide to use these two methods above to identify preregistered voters. Example, if you name is not on the roll, you will used your voter id to vote. Tell me what would these commissioners do if the entire election commission data base is hacked today. Are we going tell people to throw all the voter id away? All political parties are aware of these two ways of identifying legal voters.

    • My dear are you aware of the numerous reported cases of illegal voter registration activities that took place using NEC registration materials? There is a possibility that forgery may have taken place. So frankly, no one should doubt the possibility of individuals using most of these forged voter cards to fraudulently participate in the process which could favor a particular political party….

    • Fatu Dunah, it seems you’re missing something very important here. There are many centers where the names of registered voters are not available on the identified roster provided by the NEC staffers at those centers. Except one is fully aware in advance that your name wouldn’t be on the roster, no one will feel good if you went to the center you earlier registered, to find your name and can’t find it.

      I’m not sure if you really understand the importance of this statement, which is considered a policy statement from the NEC, through its chairman, who’s the spokesman for the Commission.

      • If you said it right, “There are many centers where the names of registered voters are not available on the identified roster provided by the NEC staffers at those centers.” Then we are still saying the same thing as Moses Kollie. The Election Commission will now go to plan-B which is the vailid id issued during registration. There is no way we can go back to do registration because everyone would come up with different suggestions and it would cost commission time and money. A legal voter only gets disqualified when no name no id. Correct me if you have any idea.

        • Fatu, my sister, do not waste your time explaining to Joseph Boakai’s followers and relatives. They have not the slightest idea how elections are conducted, but all they want to do is raise false alarms because they fear defeat.

  2. Why is a Commissioner at NEC issuing such statements that will undermine the integrity of NEC? Why are not the other commissioners alarmed? Could it be because this very same Weedor character is associated with the persons who are currently suing Korkoya on citizenship issues and this is therefore another ploy to try to undermine Korkoya? The statement made by Korkoya is consistent with international best practice and there is nothing to be alarmed about.

    • Thank you my friend. The election commission is not one man show so if this is wrong as you said, i guess majority commissioners at NEC would have added their voices to condemned the chairman’s statement. I just feel we still have some dumb people in Liberia that want to make trouble during election.

  3. If Jerome George Korkoyah will go and make an intentional false statement under oath (that he has not automatically lost his Liberian citizenship as a result of his acquired U.S. citizenship) with full knowledge of the falsity of such statement, it is not surprising that he would say “people with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10, even if their names and other details are not identified during the voters roll exhibition,” amid the “several problems associated with the present provisional roll ranging from the omission of hundreds, if not thousands, of names to missing photos and profiles of registrants”.

    In short, an election commission´s chairman whose legal capacity is in doubt (as is the case of Korkoyah) naturally WILL NOT CARE about “a reliable and credible final registration role (FRR)” being “a cardinal requirement of every free, fair and transparent election,” if we may quote a commissioner at the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jonathan K. Weedor, who “has in no uncertain terms rejected the June 14 pronouncement by NEC Executive Chairman, Jerome G. Korkoya, that people with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10, even if their names and other details were not identified during the voters roll exhibition”.

    He (Jerome Korkoyah) has not started crying yet. The real cry shall be when his KPEHSEH behind is been placed behind bars for his commission of the crime of perjury -in this case both a felony and a treason. The former being his criminal violation of the Liberian Constitution, and the latter, for his allegiance to another sovereign nation while pretending to be giving allegiance to the sovereign nation of Liberia.

    • Zoebohn,
      You are right on all counts as regards this Korkoyah’s argument. Most people who are defending Korkoyah are either ignorant about the Constitution of Liberia and the applicable national immigration laws of Liberia and the United States. Korkoyah criminally took an oath to serve as Chairman of NEC, knowing that he was a citizen of another country and this is criminal in itself. He continues to prove that he has no interest in the integrity of the Liberian electoral process by his public pronouncements. If Korkoyah truly respects law and order, be it US or Liberia, he would do the honorable thing by stepping aside to allow for self-exoneration of this case to set the records straight.

      Additionally, Korkoyah demanded that if anyone has any information that he was criminally holding a United States citizenship and Liberian citizenship at the same time, that person or entity should take him to a court of competent jurisdiction. Why is he now crying wolf when his challenge was answered by honest and responsible citizens? If Korkoyah is not removed to save the integrity of this critical national elections, I’m afraid, Liberia might experience some aftershocks of violence during and after this election.

      Given the many reports of fraudulent activities involving voters’registration cards, some of which happened at the Executive Mansion, all of which have never been investigated; there is a grave need for an impartial electoral body to preserve the integrity of this critical election. Korkoyah and few of the commissioners do not enjoy the confidence of the Liberian people any longer and must be removed immediately to save this Nation from another wave of violence. Liberians should not be taken for granted, assuming that they will settle for anything less than free, fair, credible and transparent elections and this starts with the process.

  4. Swen,
    Commissioners at NEC have fiduciary duties and responsibilities to protect and defend the integrity of the electoral processes of Liberia and so, if a fellow commissioner is in error by making pronouncements that have the propensity to derail the integrity of this critical national elections, he or she has the legal and moral obligations to speak out in the supreme interest of the Liberian Nation and people.

    This nepotistic and tribalistic mindset of supporting individuals with tainted characters for obvious reasons must be erased for us to forge together patriotically for the love of protecting Mama Liberia.
    Please note that I’m not against tribal affiliations, neither do I reject my tribal lineage. However, when these affiliations and protections are intended to defraud National collective interest, I will suggest that Liberians unite on the side of national patriotic interest and love of Country.
    s
    It’s also an absurdity to think that someone else is undermining Jerome Korkoyah other than himself. Quite honestly, it’s Korkoyah who is criminally undermining the integrity of the Liberian Constitution and the electoral processes by his alleged criminal acquisition of Liberian citizenship.

    It’s also insane that any rational person will remotely suggest that Korkoyah’s pronouncements are acceptable norms in the international corridors. Who in their right minds derives such lopsided, erratic logic? Liberians must learn to be honest citizens to preserve the integrity of the Liberian Constitution and show a patriotic love of Country over self-interest and greed.

  5. This worrying, to say the least. This might just be the opportunity unscrupulous individuals that may have invested time and resources in purchase of voter cards or in illegally producing their own voters card to wantonly stuff voting boxes in their favor. Already there are speculations that this may be part of the mission of this gentleman…and could be orchestrating in favor of his former party. But let them be warned….we are watching with eagle eyes!!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here