Korkoya Dispels Rumor on Secret Meeting with President Sirleaf

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NEC chair Jerome George Korkoya encourages women voters to register to make the exercise inclusive

The chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome G. Korkoya, yesterday refuted speculations that he and his co-workers recently met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ‘secretly’ to discuss a couple of issues, including the management of the October 10 election results.

Addressing journalists at the Commission’s seventh regular weekly elections update, Korkoya said while it is true that he and his colleagues, as well as some partners of the NEC, met with President Sirleaf before her trip to New York, their encounter was held in the open.

“The Commission represented by me and some of my colleagues took the 19 NEC magistrates to the president’s home so she could reemphasize her call on us to manage the affairs of the elections with transparency, accountability, and fairness,” he said.

He stated that the essence of the President’s meeting with the magistrates before her trip to the UN Headquarters was for them to be “direct beneficiaries of the resounding call for all of us to ensure that there is a historic election process which we all will certainly be proud of as citizens.”

“We met with the president in her yard at her home at the time the magistrates had completed their training here in Monrovia in legal reporting on elections and proper and careful management of their results. Rumors stating that we ill-discussed the ensuing elections are diabolical lies,” he said.

Touching on other issues, Korkoya said the recruitment of poll workers has been completed and their training is ongoing.

“The number of temporary and permanent election staff working on these elections is 29,200. There are 73 electoral districts across the 15 counties and 2,080 electoral precincts and 5,390 polling places,” he said.

He added that the Liberia National Police and other paramilitary services, including Fire Brigade, Immigration, DEA will deploy 6,000 officers across the country on Election Day and will include at least two officers to a precinct and escorts for election materials as well as safeguarding the materials at designated storage sites.

“As of now, over 3,500 national citizen observers will be deployed and 200 regional and international election observers will observe the elections. The regional and international organizations include The African Union, ECOWAS, Carter Center, NDI, and EU,” he said, noting further that diplomatic missions that will also observe the elections include the United States, Japan and other embassies.

“They all have applied for accreditation and we hope to take care of them as soon as possible,” Korkoya noted, admonishing all observers, national, regional and international to be very impartial in the discharge of their duties and report all preliminary results and other reports to the public accurately.

He said in accordance with Section 22 and Sub-section 22.3 of the Elections Laws of the country, the final voter registry has been completed and distributed among the 19 magistrates of the 15 political sub-divisions.

He further said that the distribution of the final registry to all political parties has also commenced.

About the SMS text service attached to the 2017 elections, he said: “It is now active and live.” This service is intended for voters to check their election details, including polling/precinct center, age, and voter ID #. All the voter has to do is text his or her voter card number to 1847 and he or she will receive details on where he or she will vote, Korkoya said.

On election materials, he said a total of 100,000 mock ballots for each election and 1,210 tactile ballots are already in the country and being used for training purposes.

“The 3,053,435 presidential and 3,112,725 legislative ballot papers are scheduled to start arriving in Liberia on September 24,” he said, adding that there is a five and three percent contingency included in the respective amounts in line with international best practice, and 30,000 tactile ballots will also be delivered for the visually impaired voters.

“Prepacked polling kits have arrived in the country on the 17th of this month and a second batch on the 19th of this same month. Polling booths arrived on the 17th of this month and we will begin dispatching them on the 28th of this month.

“Sample ballot papers have so far been produced for five of the 15 counties: Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Montserrado,” Korkoya said, noting that sample ballots for the remaining 10 counties will be ready this week, probably today.

He called on the qualified political parties to collect their allotment from the political affairs section of the NEC.

He said the local distribution of the materials will be challenging but the Commission will exert efforts to dispatch them to all voting centers across the country.

“Be it by road, canoes, motorbikes or any other safe and convenient transportation means, we will make sure that no part of the country is left without the election materials on election day,” he said.

He noted that the NEC has appealed to UNMIL to provide assistance in the form of air transport to get the materials to hard to reach areas.

“I am pleased to announce that UNMIL has agreed to assist the Commission through said means. We are grateful to the SRSG and his corps of officers at the helm of UNMIL leadership here for always being supportive of our efforts to do the right things for our beloved country,” he stated.

“Training of polling and elections staff started on September 13, with a training program for 42 county-level trainers. On September 22nd the training for 416 electoral supervisors will commence. Training of 11,000 presiding officers and voter identification officers is scheduled to start on September 29,” he said, noting that in the first week of October, about 17,000 polling station staff will be trained in procedures and areas related to their specific tasks on election day.

He applauded the Angie Brooks International Center for assisting and collaborating with the NEC in training all the 19 magistrates on improving and strengthening their capacity to handle complaints and appeals at the county level.

“With our partners (UNDP), The Commission is conducting further training this week with the National Bar Association, political party representatives and media and civil society to increase understanding of the complaints and appeals process aimed at improving the quality of complaints that we may receive,” he noted.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Ellen should have held that meeting at her office or maybe at the NEC headquarters. The idea of such a meeting being held at the president’s house is enough to make skeptics speculate. Our leaders should know better.

  2. Liberia is a sad country and one of the worst places in the world to live. This country has been ruled by diabolical and satirical creatures for too long. Why the hell would this stupid fool Korkoya take magistrates to the HOME of the President? Why did you not go to her public office, you fool.

  3. President Sirleaf has no business holding a private meeting at her home with NEC Chairman and Elections Magistrates. Her act of meeting privately with Elections Magistrates at her home when elections are less than three weeks away borders on tampering and interference with NEC which should be an independent body.

    This is in complete violation of the law and no defense put forth by Korkoya who is himself in violation of the law as a foreign national presiding over Liberia’s elections, can justify or make the President’s act legal.

    President has unfortunately allowed blatant violations of our electoral laws which she swore under oath to protect ostensibly because she has vested interests to protect.

    Pursuant to the preservation of her interests, she has now switched gears from Brumskine’s faltering campaign to that of the George Weah- Jewel Howard Taylor unholy alliance even if it means the return, under different guises, of Charles Taylor to power.

    Already top former NPFL notorious figures are lining up behind Weah and Taylor obviously in response to Charles Taylor’s call to his supporters to return to base and everything will be alright.

    President Sirleaf is without doubt aware or should be aware of Charles Taylor’ connections to the Weah-Howard Taylor quest to ascend to power so it remains troubling why it appears not to matter to her.

    Pursuant to this she has made every effort to slam her Vice President’s drive to succeed her. And through her actions she has made it clear to West African leaders especially leaders of the Mano River Basin that her personal interests come first even if it means dumping her faithful Vice President of twelve years, Joseph Boakai, for the Weah-Taylor ticket and putting to risk or compromising regional security.

    As we approach elections, there are rising fears of increased electoral violence the beginning of which we are now witnessing between the CDC and the Liberty Party. As George Weah has already declared that he will accept nothing less than a declaration of victory, the stage is now set for post electoral violence and multiple legal challenges to the elections results.

    And back to the Supreme Court we shall find ourselves. Lest we forget the Supreme Court has delivered opinions in the same set of circumstances contradict each other as in the case of the Code of Conduct recently.

    Can the Court therefore be trusted to act in defense of Democracy as the case may be? It failed to do so when it overturned the 2011 referendum results which clearly defeated the Simple Majority requirement. It is possible therefore that under pressure from the Executive, the Supreme Court could bow and declare victory for Weah.

    But it remains to be seen whether the Court shall be willing to bend to the will of the Executive if such a situation arises, being fully aware of the implications. And we must not lose sight of the fact that money matters and along with threats of physical harm it can move mountains.

    • John,

      Do you know how many meetings Trump had had at his property since he became president—–meeting with world leaders……Why is it that we do not respect our leaders, is it because she is not from someone party? This is not the first meeting that she every had at this location, so many people have met her at her home during the past 11 1/2 years, and further more the meeting was held in the opening.

      • Meetings with election officials is different from meeting with international guests or other officials at your house. So, Trump in no way would have meetings with US elections chief or officials at his house closer to US elections, especially when there are controversies he supports a particular candidate.

  4. With all due respect to the above insightful comments, to use a cliché, I wouldn’t create any huge storm in a teacup over NEC officials and “partners” meeting with a president at home who isn’t running for reelection, and was on the verge of leaving for a UN meeting where democratic transition would be the meat of her address. Moreover, after the fire outbreak at the Executive Mansion, had it not been for bureaucratic nonchalance cum ineptitude, that office would’ve been her home. Lest we forget, unlike the US, the NEC isn’t only part of the Executive Branch, but the latter also has supervisory control despite the oversight authority of the Legislature over it, or its vaunted “autonomous” categorization in the 1986 Constitution. Not to mention that NEC commissioners are appointees and “hold their offices at the pleasure of the president”.

    Perhaps, one vulnerability of ours – as members of an engaged public – is the habit of being reactive rather than proactive on constitutional or ethical matters with dire effects on stability. For instance, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh was the lone voice some time ago demanding that NEC Commissioners ought not to be appointees of presidents, for the very reasons raising concerns today. With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, taking into consideration that we made the Guinness Book of Record reference fraudulent elections in 1927, the Sawyer – Kesselly National Constitutional Committee should have put in place steel – reinforced guardrails, such as a truly independent NEC, to avoid any repetition.

    So, now that we have missed out on taking precautions, the next administration, with the urging of citizens, should amend the constitution to take away that power from the presidency. It should be one of many constitutional amendments necessary in achieving decentralization of an already omniscient & omnipotent Executive Branch. Put another way, making much ado (another cliché) about a president not in the race meeting with NEC officials and “magistrates”, anywhere, could be wrongly perceived as distraction by galvanized partisans of the various political parties. After all, folks, in this metadata Information Age, EJS doesn’t have to really see NEC officials to influence them; therefore, the focus should be on examining voters’ listing, vigilant monitoring of voting and vote – counting in order to ensure transparent and ethically – conducted elections.

    Remember, crying ourselves hoarse with “wolf” “wolf” from sunrise to sunset while the wolves are napping could make others ignore warning alarms during nighttime when those prowling baddies want some flesh, any flesh. (“Eh wlati, eh saylay weh”) Of course, we can correct the many mystifying national mistakes; that’s the beauty of intimately knowing our own past, Liberian history.

    • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has got no business inviting the EC at her house, especially given the tense nature that the process is now assuming. Her move is very untimely and reflects an appearance of election tempering. Give her actions of late including but not limited to her submission of a bill for immunity, highly controversial coc bill that was blindly signed into law and other political outreaches and underreaches clearly depict a troubled and unsettled leader. This move counts as the latest in several measures to influence the outcome of the elections to the detriment of the Liberian people.

      Ellen will not rest until another round of blood baths inundates the country. This is her trademark: glorying at the blooded demise of Liberians. She came to power on that note and will not leave power without a repeat of the blooded trail. A vampire of a leader. Ellen is quite aware that she could never have been President in peace time, so she chose the dark and blooded path in league with the devil to wrest power.

      The fact that she made a mess of the presidency should not come as a surprise. No amount of accolade or international ovation will satisfy her. She’s a troubled soul hunted by her devilish deals.Ellen will leave Liberia just how she took over the leadership. The fate of fools is that they are wise in their own eyes until it’s too late.

      The stage is set for another storm to hit Liberia, this is the making of a woman who is a companion of death. One would have wondered that Ellen would do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition; but considering the emerging realities, this is a far cry from that expectation.

      I simply urge my fellow compatriots to remain prayerful as we too are praying day and night for God’s mercy and not to allow this evil seducing character have her way by feeding the living flesh of Liberians to her object of worship – the Devil.

  5. Go and prepare to count the ballots and abstinence. You pallet Chair. Go to work.
    The silent majority is in control. No political gimmicks or bluff. We have our eyes on this NEC. We will have the actual factual count. The Liberian nation is now in control. There are few days left.
    Gone to 57% silent majority in the interest of the Republic of Liberia.

  6. There is or should be a budget called “the President’s budget” utilized since the birth of this nation which takes care of the President of Liberia, and immediate family. This budget was encumbered most between 1944-1971. There is nothing to hide in this budget because it is intangible and pays for all expenses of the first family. In other words, no matter where she stays or what office she has the public controls all her activities as long as she is still the executive, not withstanding, the peoples’ money which might have not been knowledgeably used, just because her workers were busy corrupting other government funds and functions. Thus, whatever or where in the nation election discussions with this President have no impact on the standing control, especially the silent majority to see gimmicks arrowed towards this election process. She heads the executive branch. Therefore she heads NEC. It is also her last proof of her legacy; so she has no alternative but to find the truth without violence, penury and rancor. Right now it doesn’t matter who becomes President to her, as long as the count is right in peace. Can’t we see yet the power of 57% versus 34% and 9%? There is no actual yet because the day to vote and abstain has not arrived. So do you not tell that right now all present election statistics are based on registered votes and abstinence? The remedy to any foreseeable riot or violence is already magnetized by the power of the majority, the actual factual count. Let us agree. It is an exact science that after Liberia’s blood shed, no one wants war again in this nation. The attempt to riot will be self inflicted on such individual, party or tyrant caught by a few in an isolated cell without any effects on this growing public. Regardless who they may be. The solution is to vote power greed out for a peaceful democratic and smooth transition. Without reservation, the Liberian given by our founders is the best way ahead. Don’t fool yourself. Only God knows who wins this Presidential election.
    Gone in Silence. Let Liberian people know.

  7. The skepticisms of the other commenters resonate with many, unquestionably. But granted that the present governance hasn’t given us reasons to trust it, less than three weeks to the October 10 moment isn’t the time to remove ourselves from the realm of rationality, for eventually, election results’ disputes would be decided in court on evidence, not assumptions. President Obama and his wife campaigned nationwide for Democratic Party nominee Mrs. Hilary Clinton; though Liberia lacks an independent election commission, we can overcome that by being persistent on the issue of voters’ listing and the actual counting of votes.

    And, thankfully, as proof that the International community joins the vast majority’s desire for credible transparent elections, the USAID – sponsored National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Carter Center publicly demanded that NEC publishes voters’ listings on time for registered voters to check their statuses. Like I expressed on this platform before, if the Liberian people resolutely maintain vigilance, regardless of EJS’s choice for president, these elections won’t be stolen in the full glare of the international community. Indeed, the need for stability, which protects its many investments, will trump any consideration of pleasing even a loyal partner on her way out.

    We pray that all would end well for Liberia by the end of these trying times: Amen.

  8. Really Korkoya and madam president?! How stupid do up both think the Liberian people are?!?! Why madam president are you now working from home? And you korkoya you and your staffs no longer have office??? You people are so corrupted and shameless it scares! WOW!! You people are talking Liberia for joke!!!!

    • Really Korkoya and madam president?! How stupid do up both think the Liberian people are?!?! Why madam president, are you now working from home? And you korkoya you and your staffs no longer have office??? You people are so corrupted and shameless it scares! WOW!! You people are taking Liberia for joke!!!!

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